The March Council meeting enjoyed the very generous and warm hospitality of Te Aka Puaho at the Church’s Te Maungarongo Marae at Ohope.
Some of the meeting's highlights included:
Te Aka Puaho
The Council was joined by the Very Rev Tame Takao, and the new Te Aka Puaho administrator Katarina Irving, as Te Ahorangi the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa reported on developments within Te Aka Puaho. The Council was very pleased to hear of the strengthening of many of the Te Aka Puaho congregations, a new church plant in Northland and the work Wayne that has undertaken in speaking at a number of academic and wider public forums around New Zealand. There is a significant number of people applying for Amorangi training and members of Te Aka Puaho have been working to strengthen well being in the various communities in which they have a presence. The work of the Moderator of Te Aka Puaho, Millie Te Kaawa, and the leadership she has provided for both Te Aka Puaho and the wider Church, was acknowledged by the Moderator, the Right Rev Dr Graham Redding. Te Aka Puaho also spoke of building and development plans for the Ohope site.
A series of initiatives have been undertaken to support the continuing international mission commitments of the Church. These include increasing the space for articles in Spanz on overseas mission endeavours, and the development of new administrative processes by Assembly office to support funding relating to our mission commitments. The Rev Chris Nichol is working on a short-term, part-time basis to ensure, among other things, the continuation of partnerships and initiatives developed by the Global Mission Office, which are focused on establishing and encouraging congregations that take the lead in roles in specific mission commitments on behalf of the Church.
Shortly we will be advertising a two-year, full-time role to lead this work. This two-year period will provide us with the opportunity as a Church to clarify the wider strategic challenges of relating our global mission work to the other mission commitments that are most appropriately supported by Assembly funding.
The Council also received a report from John Trainor, who had been commissioned by the Council to provide a comprehensive review of the processes and events associated with the restructure of the Global Mission office. John provided very valuable insights into a number of governance, policy and practice matters.
The Right Rev Dr Graham Redding reported on his work as Moderator. His report included observations about the challenges of ensuring high levels of participation in national structures and decision-making processes. He also emphasized the centrality of worship in the life and witness of the Church, and the need to ensure the provision of resources and advice that upholds the quality and integrity of worship and liturgy.
Asian Advisory Group
This Auckland-based group leads the Church’s engagement with people and congregations who identify with countries from the Asian region. The group reported on the frequent invitations for involvement we receive from Korean and Taiwanese churches in particular, and of the work being undertaken to provide ministry to people newly arrived in New Zealand. The group reminded the Council that China has now become the biggest source of family-sponsored migrants into New Zealand. The Auckland region, followed at a significant distance by Canterbury, are the two most popular regions for arrivals from Asian countries. The group has organised a special event in Auckland for Korean ministers and elders on Saturday 27 March.
Cunny Atchison reported on the budget-setting process. The Council were encouraged to hear that the anticipated deficit for the first seven months of this year is significantly lower than budgeted.
The Council adopted the Church Property Trustees’ guidelines for the gifting and loaning of congregations’ funds. The process outlines that way that congregations can share funds they may have following the sale of property or accumulated for some other reason. These processes are particularly important in terms of supporting the Press Go initiative.
Convenor the Rev Ian Guy reported on progress with the ministry development programme and the launch of parish review training. The Committee is looking at guidelines supporting the provision of new church plants and mission initiatives, and reviewing the provisions and regulations for Local Ordained Ministry.
Pacific Island Synod
Synod secretary the Rev Asora Amosa provided a report on some of the key areas of focus. The synod is currently exploring issues surrounding a possible transition to become a synod with the same roles and powers of a presbytery. Work continues to develop a resource centre in Auckland. There is excitement over the decision by three parishes to share the support of a ministry intern.
Work on the redevelopment at the Knox Centre will shortly be completed, with the provision of offices and teaching areas.
The Mutuality of Ministry agreement update has been completed and will be used as the guide in terms of Methodist and Presbyterian ministers serving in the other denomination’s parishes.
The Moderator has, over the last two years, met with leaders of other national churches to develop a “Forum of Christian Unity”. The leaders are working to finalise a draft paper expressing the theological base for Christian unity in New Zealand.
Our next meeting will be held from Thursday July 22 to Saturday July 24 in Auckland.
Yours in Christ,