September 2020

From the Moderator
Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Presbyterian Children and Families
Global Mission
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Schools Resource Office
Christian World Service
Church Register


From the Moderator

Changing world

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeit his soul.” (Matt 16:26).

There is so much going on in our world, in our lives, and Covid-19 has been added in on top of it all. With all of these things going on, it would be very easy to lose focus, to become disoriented, to feel overwhelmed with the restrictions, lockdowns, bubbles, and put life on hold. It is almost too much. Some of our plans and dreams have been shattered and are in tatters.
What are we in for? What are we to do now?

“Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

We - the whole world - are in for an almighty shake up. Many lives will be lost, economies will be in disarray and lives broken. This pandemic, the invisible invader, is a game changer. The landscape has moved. Normality is no more. Almost everything has been turned upside down. There are powerful forces at play. Destruction, mayhem and annihilation is taking place. Our world and its many nations are being brought to their knees. The past speaks to us of such pandemics, the present tells us to work together, and the future is unknown.

We are at the dawn of a new era and information technology is playing a big role: virtual communication, online meetings, Zoom, Skype and Facebook etc are becoming the new normal. The physical, people contacts, kanohi ki te kanohi, are becoming relegated to the old ways. This is our reality now. We have to make the most of the situation. Be human, be technological, be yourself.

For our part and with our responses, we must do our best and trust in the goodwill of humanity. The scriptural texts chosen urge us to be rooted, be established, be totally in Christ. In our changing situation, commit your all to the Lord. Stand firm in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matt 24: 35)

Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

PS: Please enrol, and do your part and vote.
PSS: Please, in the referendums, choose wisely and make informed decisions.

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Back in July my opening words in Bush Telegraph were “We are not going back to normal…” As a country, when we moved back to alert level 1, maybe we thought we were. Maybe, as the hours turned to days and the days to weeks – we thought – yes we are! Then came the Prime Minister’s announcement on the evening of 11 August.

A reminder that our website has a page dedicated to resources to assist during Covid – have a look. Our Moderator also has a weekly devotion, which is available every Sunday at 9am, on his Moderator Facebook page. It is also available on the Church's video channel and Facebook.

Maybe, like me, you have been reflecting on the alert level changes; the uncertainty; the anxiety; the change that this again brings to you, your whanau, your community and your church. Maybe, like me, you have been drawn back to what is core or essential. In that space I have been re-reading the Gospels. I have again and again been struck by the simplicity of two overarching themes: Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God and demonstrating that Kingdom.

I have heard and read of people and congregations who during various Covid levels have been people of hope; people of peace and blessing; people of grace and love; people who demonstrate the kingdom; people able and willing to give an answer for why we cling to the hope that is within us. I am mightily encouraged and challenged by that.

Personally, I am convinced that bringing some heaven to earth is the best way to introduce people to God’s kingdom, so that they experience the life God intends.

Our understanding is that we, as the people of God, are to partner with God in God’s redemptive mission in the world. That mission is what it has always been: Kua tae mai te rangatiratanga o te Atua… God’s kingdom come.

Staff update

We have three staff that I’d like you to pray for. One continues his journey back to health, two begin new journeys and we wish them every future success.

Matt Chamberlin: As you may be aware, Matt - our Presbyterian Youth Ministry National Youth Director - is still recovering from the concussion he received during an accident back in June. Matt is currently working just five hours per week, until at least the middle of October. If you need youth ministry support, please contact Gordon Fitch in the first instance. Please continue to pray for Matt and his family as he works his way back to full health.

Julie Penno: I would also like to acknowledge Julie Penno, Children and Families Co-Director who finished up in her role in August. Julie has journeyed through the past couple of years working alongside Robin Humphreys: listening, reflecting, visioning and helping transition the Kids Friendly department to the Presbyterian Children's and Families Ministry. On behalf of the wider Church, I would like to thank Julie for her service.

Rev Dr Steve Taylor: Rev Dr Steve Taylor has announced his resignation as Principal of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, effective from 31 January 2021.
For the past five years, Steve has utilised his experience and skill as a minister, theological educator, innovator and academic to help in the formation of our Church’s ministers and leaders. We thank Steve for sharing his passion for contemporary mission and leadership across the Church, and by doing so, encouraging us all to join God in God’s mission… Ngā mihi nui ki a koe.
I know you will take the opportunity over the coming months to let him know how much his support and leadership has meant.
We wish Steve continued success as he explores new opportunities, and as he continues to serve God’s Church and grow leaders in mission. There will be a gathering to farewell Steve, date to be advised.

Calling a newly trained minister

This year another group will complete their training as interns. Profiles for each person are available from the Rev Brendon McRae who coordinates introductions and discussions between final-year interns and ministry settlement boards. For more information, please contact Brendon.

Update your office bearer contacts

We use electronic communication to share information, update on important matters and pass on other news. Our office’s ability to do this is dependent on church councils advising updates to key contact people, changes in email etc. Please pass on any changes to Grace so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Take care.

Wayne Matheson

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

The PYM internship

Our Church desperately needs theologically trained, skilled, youth workers. People need to be invited and challenged to consider setting themselves apart for ministry and preparing themselves for this process. The PYM Internship offers fantastic support for anyone wanting to pursue a calling in ministry with young people through a bachelor, diploma or certificate level training pathway.

E Tū Tāngata Stand Together Aotearoa

E Tū Tāngata is a new programme from 24-7 YouthWork, which tackles one of New Zealand’s biggest problems – Tall Poppy Syndrome. If your church has a youth ministry, we recommend spending an hour going through it with your young people.
Download the programme on the E Tū Tāngata website (for free). The programme will help your group reflect on the following three core principles:

•    You have value
•    We succeed together, and
•    Others matter.

You may want to add a bit of Christian language and content to their guided conversations, but all-in-all, this would be an excellent addition to your curriculum.

The Girl On The Bridge

The Girl On The Bridge is a new kiwi documentary that tells the story of mental health activist Jazz Thornton – her journey to overcome a suicidal past, to help others with their struggles and the personal cost of her advocacy. It is a response to our collective anguish about New Zealand’s suicide crisis and our desire to “do something”. Ultimately, this is a film about hope. It’s a film about redemption. It’s a challenge to all of us to try to understand.

The Girl On The Bridge will be available in cinemas and online in September. But, you could arrange for the movie to be played in your church, or in a small group setting. Watch the trailer to learn more.

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Presbyterian Children and Families

Keeping connected

We encourage you to visit our new Presbyterian Children and Families ministry website: We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for ideas and resources around ministry to and with children and families. Our Facebook page has changed name to “Presbyterian Children & Families” and our Instagram to “childrenandfamiliespcanz”.

Farewell to Julie

We have said farewell to Julie Penno, who has served faithfully in two capacities (administrative assistant and co-director) over the past 2 ½ years. We are grateful for her service and wish her God’s blessings for her future children and families ministry endeavours!


What do we know about the families in our communities? As we seek to serve families in our communities, knowing who we are serving makes all the difference. Some recent research by Paul Spoonley points to how families in Aotearoa New Zealand have changed. In Spoonley’s book, The New New Zealand (published by Massey University Press), he highlights seven trends. Read a New Zealand Herald article about Spoonley’s research.

Father’s Day

As Father’s Day approaches this weekend, we remember all who long to be fathers, all who are father-figures, as well as all the fathers in our communities. Consider using this Father’s Day Prayer and Blessing: (from ‘For Everything A Season: 75 Blessings for Daily Life’ by the Nilsen family):

Father’s Day Prayer: God, from the beginning of time you have set aside fathers to give life, comfort, encouragement and guidance to their children. Today we remember the sometimes difficult, sometimes joyous task of fatherhood and the blessings we have received from our fathers. Amen.
Father’s Day Blessing: May the love of God shine through all fathers. May all children find peace and hope in that love. Amen.

Growing together in Christ

Robin Humphreys
Director, Presbyterian Children and Families

Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office

John McGlashan College is the next in this series highlighting Presbyterian church schools around Aotearoa New Zealand. John McGlashan, like last month’s Columba College, is in Dunedin. It is a special character, state integrated school for Year 7-13 boys. It currently has about 550 boys, including 120 boarders.

The school opened in 1918 due to the generous gift of John McGlashan’s family house on the proviso it was used as a Presbyterian boy’s school. John McGlashan was born in Edinburgh in 1802. He was an early settler in Dunedin, arriving in 1853, and spent some years working as secretary for the Otago Association, which promoted settlement of the area. Like many early Presbyterians, he strongly supported education, thus the naming of this school.

John McGlashan College is the only local school to provide the International Baccalaurate, but also emphasises physical fitness. Sports teams are many and range from the expected rugby to the less well-known ice curling. Places at the school are highly sought, especially by families from Central Otago. In addition to these boys, the boarding establishment also has about 30 international students every year, all of whom stayed over lockdown earlier this year. They were mainly hosted by the rural boarders’ families and, apparently, these “homestays” have been the highlight of their time here.

Unfortunately, applications to attend John McGlashan in 2021 have already closed. However, those contemplating education options for their boys in 2022 may want to check out their website Those visiting Dunedin with groups can also see the boarding facilities (which are available in the school holidays). Kristyn Mawdsley would be the best one to contact to ask about a visit.

Stephanie Wells
Presbyterian School Resource Office

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

At this time when our principal, Steve Taylor, has announced his resignation – we are indebted to how he has skillfully shaped the training of PCANZ leaders, and created space for the Spirit’s formation of those leaders. As Steve prepares for the space God is leading him into and towards, my mind goes to a blessing for him and his whānau: “Behold God beholding you . . . and smiling”. (Anthony de Mello, SJ)

Seeking a Ministry Formation Co-ordinator

We are looking for a Ministry Formation Co-ordinator (0.6 – fixed term). Among other tasks, the successful applicant would take responsibility for co-ordinating and teaching in at least two of these areas: mission in communities, worship, and/or theological reflection courses. We encourage applications from different geographic locations around New Zealand (the successful applicant does not need to reside in Dunedin). Find more details and the position description here. Applications close 5pm, Thursday, 10 September 2020.

Ministers’ study grants

Senatus meets in October and we invite applications for ministry study grants. Download guidelines and applications forms here. Applications can be submitted to the registrar by Wednesday 30 September 2020.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Global Mission

Updates from Vanuatu and Myanmar

Our global mission partners are all facing significant challenges. In Vanuatu, the economy has been affected by both Covid-19 border restrictions and the effects of Cyclone Harold on the northern islands. It’s a tough time for many in Vanuatu at the moment. Our cyclone appeal funds are being distributed to four presbyteries to assist with their rebuilding programmes, and the first allocation was sent last month.

In Myanmar, churches and educational institutions are still restricted by lockdown, and the country’s borders are closed. Our partners in mission at Tahan Theological College, Wayne and Helen Harray, are still in New Zealand waiting for the situation to change so they can return to their work. Read their latest blog.

I recently read the biography of Presbyterian medical missionary to India, Beryl Howie. The book, Teaching Hundreds to Heal Millions by Dunedin author Bartha Hill gives an excellent summary of Beryl’s amazing contribution to teaching and healthcare for women in India. I recommend the book – it’s available from the Presbyterian Research Centre’s Hewitson Library.

Week of peace for Palestine and Israel

A week of peace for Palestine and Israel is being observed 14-21 September. There are some informative and thought-provoking resources available that could be used in newsletters, worship or small-group Bible studies. Find resources here.

Other updates

Now isn’t the time to be planning for a mission appointment overseas – but those who have sensed a call to serve in this way could have a look at these positions advertised by the Council for World Mission, to see the kinds of roles that might be available when conditions improve. Learn more.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to share about global mission in a service at St Ninian’s Church in Wellington recently. Although it is a challenging season for global mission, it’s important to stay informed. Please get in touch if you would like to invite me to share with your congregation about the challenges and opportunities in our global partnerships.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

The Presbyterian Research Centre (both the Hewitson Library and the Archives) are currently still open to visitors at Level 2. We do ask that you sign in or scan the QR code before entering the building if you are visiting Dunedin: QR codes and manual sign-in sheets are available at the entrances to both Library and Archives. Please remember to maintain physical distance from others when you are on the premises. This may change as advice is updated. We are continuing to develop our online services as well as our physical collections to increase access to those beyond Dunedin.

If you are not on any of our mailing lists and would like to receive our emails about new books, events, project updates or blog articles please sign up here.

Jane Thomsen

CWS Notices

CWS appeals for Lebanon

When she heard the noise, Sylvia Haddad from the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon, feared an earthquake or bombing. Instead, two explosions at Beirut’s port killed at least 180 people, causing widespread damage.

CWS is calling for donations to the Lebanon Recovery Appeal to assist with housing, cash vouchers (for food or necessities) and school kits.

"Some people don't want to stay with other family, or in churches. They want to stay in their homes. They are mostly older people. We want to help them to get windows and doors for their homes, cooking utensils and other needed supplies," she says.

Big Hearts Connected World

In these challenging times, CWS, Oxfam and World Vision want the government to increase spending on aid and assistance with climate adaptation. Please sign and share the petition as the first step in the Big Hearts Connected World campaign.

World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel

With tensions increasing in the Middle East, it is time to pray and take action. Please join the World Council of Churches’ call to pray for peace 14-21 September. Creative Solidarity in Common Fragility includes biblical reflection, prayers and ideas for advocacy that you can use to participate in this global week.  

Coronavirus appeal

CWS is grateful for your generous gifts to the Coronavirus Emergency Appeal so far. Your donations are helping some of the poorest people in Bangladesh, Haiti, Nicaragua, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Tamil Nadu, India with much needed food rations and hygiene materials. Hunger remains a real consequence of the virus and people cannot afford medical care. Please pray for the poorest people in communities where the virus is rife and unemployment common. If you can, donate to a family with no money or means of protection.


Te Wiki o te reo Maori – Maori Language Week

From 14-20 September, New Zealand marks Maori Language Week – Te Wiki o te reo Maori. For ideas about how to get involved, check out the information on our website, which includes resources for the beginner te reo speaker, worship resources and more. Find te Reo Maori resources.

Church statistics

The 2019 Presbyterian Church statistics, including membership and financial information, are now available on the website. Read the statistics.

Resources for end of life choice referendum

In July 2020, the Interchurch Bioethics Council, of which the Presbyterian Church is a member, prepared two articles on the upcoming referendum for the End of Life Choice Act 2019 - one is a FAQs list and the other is an opinion piece by Rev Dr Graham O’Brien, Co-Chair InterChurch Bioethics Council. Download or view the resources.

Glen Innis holiday home for ministers

Ordained ministers are entitled to a week's free holiday accommodation each year at Glen Innis Station, south east of Waipukurau in Hawke's Bay. Check out the website for available dates and information about how to make a booking. Learn more.

Presbyterian Investment Fund

Deposits and withdrawals can be processed as normal during current alert levels, observing the requirement to provide advance notice for major (>$100,000) withdrawals. The interest rate paid on the PIF On-Call Fund is currently 1.75% pa and the interest rate on the new PIF Long-Term Fund is 3.0% plus inflation. The PIF is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

Church Register

Receptions to the roll

Rev Kris Heale, Anglican Minister, received 28 July 2020, Northern Presbytery.
Rev Becky Heale, Anglican Minister, received 28 July 2020, Northern Presbytery.

Changes in status

Rev David Williams, from Stated Supply to Minister, Auckland Central St Andrew’s First Presbyterian Church International Congregation, Northern Presbytery, 1 August 2020.
Rev Tom Phillips, from Minister, Papakura and Districts First Presbyterian Church, to Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, 3 May 2020.
Rev Johannes Suwantika, from Stated Supply to Minister, Auckland Central St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Indonesian Congregation, Northern Presbytery, 6 September 2019.
Rev Kalele Moresi, from Stated Supply to Minister, Hillsborough St David’s-in-the-Fields Presbyterian/Methodist Church, Northern Presbytery, 1 August 2020.
Rev Kylie Provan, from Minister, Whakatane Presbyterian Church, to Other Recognised Minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 17 July 2020.


Rev Raharuhi Koia (Jnr), Other Recognised Minister, from Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu to Kaimai Presbytery, 1 August 2020.

Changes in cooperative venture ministries

Rev Jenny Doyle, from Minister, Huntly Cooperating Parish, to Other Recognised Minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 26 April 2020.
Rev Talaitupu Fa’amausili, from Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, to Minister, Te Atatu Union Church, Northern Presbytery, 6 August 2020.

Short-term appointments

Rev Mary Petersen, to Stated Supply, Te Aroha Cooperating Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, 22 March 2020.
Rev Ralph Penno, Minister Emeritus, to Stated Supply Minister, St Andrew’s Mt Maunganui, Kaimai Presbytery, 25 May 2020.


Rev Peter Bristow, from Minister, Thames Union Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Northern Presbytery, 29 June 2020.
Rev Te Akatauira Ariki Teariki (Tau) Ben-Unu, from Minister, Mataura Presbyterian Church, to Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 6 September 2020.
Rev Doug Lendrum, from Minister, Auckland Central St David’s Khyber Pass, Northern Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuha Tapu, 31 March 2020.


Rev Alan Matheson, Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 22 July 2020.
Rev Johanna van der Kley, Minister Emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, died 10 August 2020.
Rev Chris Burgin, Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 2 August 2020.

Parish changes

Oteramika Kennington Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, dissolved 5 October 2020.


Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more


Check out our job vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table and featured ministerial vacancies for the latest roles available in Aotearoa and around the globe..