The Council met on 24-25 July at St Frances Retreat Centre, Hillsborough, Auckland.
After the resignation in February of the Rev Rhys Pearson, the Nominations Committee completed its processes and provided the nominations of the Rev Emma Keown and Lisa Wells as the Convenor and Deputy Convenor of the Council. The Rev Wayne Matheson was also nominated to fill the vacancy created by Lisa’s nomination as Deputy Convenor. A Council teleconference supported these nominations.
At the Council’s meeting in March, the Rev Murray Robertson (previously senior pastor of Christchurch’s Spreydon Baptist Church) reported on his review, commissioned by the Council, relating to the way the Church fulfils its commitment to support local and overseas mission. His report had two focal points: the relationship between national and global mission; and the relationship between mission enabling and leadership development. The Council received Murray’s report in March but decided to extend the scope of the report by inviting the Very Rev Garry Marquand to work with Murray to ensure that the views of Te Aka Puaho, the Pacific Island Synod and the Council of Asian Congregations were also featured.
The Council focused a significant portion of its time at the July meeting discussing the new review report presented by Garry and Murray. The Council decided to set up task groups to look at the more detailed implementation of some of the recommendations contained in the report, especially in terms of how they relate to the Global Mission Office, the National Mission Enabler’s office and the role of the Assembly Executive Secretary. Because of the importance with which the Council views these priorities, it has been decided to hold a special one-day meeting on 4 September in Wellington to discuss reports from these task groups.
Garry Marquand presented a report to the Council about the progress that presbyteries were making in terms of the establishment of larger presbyteries with enhanced mission-supporting processes and focus. The Council was encouraged to hear of several presbyteries that were making very good progress but was also concerned to note situations where some presbyteries showed little interest in engaging with the vision and hope embodied in this structural development. The Council is aware that the 2008 General Assembly decision obliged all presbyteries to engage with this reform. There is an expectation that the 2010 Assembly will provide an opportunity to endorse new presbytery boundaries.
The Rev Ray Coster reported to the Council about the progress being made by the Press Go Board. The Board will hear of some exciting new proposals for growth projects at its September meeting. However, the Council agreed with Ray about the importance of maintaining a high level of communication and engagement with congregations.
The Rev Hyeeun Kim, with the support of the Rev Stuart Vogel, presented a report regarding the role of the Asian Council. Changes within the Asian community and shifting migration patterns requires a rethink of the channels best suited to support our Church’s engagement with both worshippers from various Asian nations and the wider Asian community. The Council agreed that the Asian Council should be reformed into an Asian advisory group under the oversight of an (expanded) Auckland Presbytery.
The Assembly has allocated funds to support Asian ministry and it is envisaged that these funds will be used by the advisory group in ways most likely to enhance and support the witness and mission of our Asian communities.
Council member Neil Walker presented his report on the history and role of the Nominating Committee. Building on the work completed in 2004, the Council and Nominating Committee were aware of the need to bring further clarification to their respective roles, membership and the relationship between the two entities. Neil will be leading a task group to look at these matters further, with the intention of bringing recommendations to the 2010 Assembly.
The Right Rev Graham Redding talked about the formalising of a new relationship between the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and Te Wananga a Rangi (our training centre for Amorangi, based at the Ohope Marae). Specifically the Te Ahorangi (the principal leader of Te Wananga a Rangi), who is the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, will have a role that incorporates both a commitment to support Amorangi but also has a wider brief focusing on our bi cultural commitment to training and educational responsibilities.
Pacific Island Synod
The Synod’s representative, Olinda Woodroffe, extended an invitation to the Council to participate in the Synod’s annual meeting at the end of August. The Synod continues to explore options for establishing a resource centre. The Council congratulated Olinda on her recent appointment as a CWM Trustee.
We were mindful that our meeting was overshadowed by the death of Gafatasi Lemuelu, the wife of Synod moderator the Rev Elder Aotofaga Lemuelu. Graham, Te Aka Puaho moderator Mille Te Kaawa and Olinda attended her funeral on the Saturday.
The Rev Ian Guy presented a report on the work of the sub-committee. Ian outlined the need to update the sub-committee’s terms of reference, which would in particular allow for a greater geographical spread of membership. There has been good progress with developing the infrastructure supporting ministers’ reviews. With work being done to further clarify the future leadership needs of our Church, along with pressing demands being made on the Personnel work group, it was decided to suspend accepting new applications from overseas and other-denomination ministers to become ministers in the Church.
Convenor Cunny Atchison presented a report detailing our accounts and budget performance. He led a discussion about the challenges of standardising a budget setting process for each cost centre. While the Church's finances are in a sound position, the effect of reduced investment income, coupled with expenditure associated with the Archives development, as well as a reduction in Assembly Assessment, has meant continued pressure to further reduce Assembly expenditure. You can read about the budget in more detail.
The AES review
Helen Beaumont and the Rev Steve Jourdain have completed an extensive performance review of the AES. Helen presented the report to the Council, which endorsed an extension of Martin’s position.
Te Aka Puaho
The Council heard the exciting news of the work being carried out by the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa and his team supporting Amorangi training, with several Amorangi working to complete formal university studies. Our marae has also been used by Ngati Tuhoe as a neutral meeting place to discuss various Treaty-related issues. Tuhoe strongly identify with the marae and are likely to provide support for its further development through resources released as a function of the settlement process. Wayne also had good news about close cooperation between the Bay of Plenty presbytery and Te Aka Puaho in terms of shared development of the marae and campsite area.
Our next meeting will be Thursday 19 and Friday 20 November 2009 and hosted by the Synod of Otago and Southland in Dunedin. As always, we welcome your feedback or comments. Please contact the Council via firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Christ,