The Council of Assembly met at the Mary McKillop Centre, Mission Bay, Auckland on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 March.
Te Aka Puaho
The Rev Mitch Jarram and moderator of Te Aka Puaho, the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, spoke about the loss of Sir Rodney Gallen and his enormous contribution to the life of Te Aka Puaho and the Church. Mitch spoke about Te Komiti Takawaenga O te Haahi and about how its work may best be undertaken by a new entity which focuses on the provision of Te Whaiti scholarships. Wayne and Mitch also spoke about developments at our national marae and the work being undertaken to upgrade the facility. The Council heard about discussions with the Uniting Church of Australia in regard to possibilities of extending Te Aka Puaho’s ministry.
Pacific Island report
The Rev Asora Amosa, clerk of the Pacific Island Synod introduced the Rev Don Ikitoelagi who has recently been appointed as the Pasifika Misionare. Asora is also working with the Pacific Conference of Churches and will be providing information for the Church which will support us in advocating for countries like Tuvalu who are facing major environmental damage because of rising ocean levels.
The Right Rev Peter Cheyne provided an overview of his work among presbyteries and congregations. Peter spoke about his recent trip to Myanmar and his appreciation of Angela Norton’s work as well as providing an update of activities relating to the New Zealand Christian Network.
Transitional Ministry in the Northern Presbytery
Forbes Worn provided an overview of his work as transition manager for the Northern Presbytery. This is a role that the Council has supported through funding by the Council for World Mission. Forbes spoke about the specific challenges faced by the region in terms of its population and growing cultural diversity
Moderator’s Role Review
The Rev Andrew Norton spoke to the Council about his work in leading a small team to review the role of the Moderator. The Council recognised that Andrew and several others at the meeting had recently been nominated for the position of Moderator.
Andrew’s team looked at possibilities which included making the Moderator’s role a full time position for perhaps a longer term than the current two years, asking the Moderator to chair Council meetings, as well as bringing greater clarity to the position as ‘mission leader’ of the church. The Council greatly valued this work and has identified a group who may, after further consideration by the Council, bring recommendations to the General Assembly.
Dr John Kernohan spoke about his work in leading the commission which is currently overseeing the management and governance of Knox College and Salmond College. The Council expressed its great appreciation for the time and work being undertaken by John and the Dunedin based commission.
Martin Baker updated the Council on a range of national activities and the work of the service team. He spoke about recommendations regarding a time to complete the presbytery amalgamations process and brought recommendations regarding Archives and Hewitson library and their future work together under a single entity. He spoke about establishing task groups to look at how we engage with ministers and congregations for whom English is a second language, and to review the future work and structure of the leadership subcommittee.
Welcome to new Asian Ministries Coordinator and Asian report
The Council welcomed the Rev Han Kyoung Gyun to the meeting. Kyoung spoke to the Council about his work and early impressions of ministry among Asian and particularly Korean congregations. Kyoung’s three year mission placement from the Presbyterian Church of Korea is supported by CWM.
The Rev Hyeeun Kim spoke about the work of the Asian Council and about some of the challenges faced by ministers from Asia seeking to become recognised by our church. She talked about the functions of the Asian Council and its structural relationships with the Northern Presbytery and the General Assembly office.
The Rev Helen Harray reported on the work of the Leadership subcommittee. She advised that regulation regarding the pathway from Amorangi to National Ordained ministry had been developed. She spoke about the importance of supporting new forms of mission and ministry and support for a Pioneering Ministries Network.
Helen advised about the importance of an educational programme to assist ministers and other church leaders in regard to the ethical standards of our church and the importance of abuse prevention. Workshops are going to become compulsory for all ministers seeking to retain their certificates of good standing.
Convenor Cunny Atchison spoke about taxation issues regarding ministers who are provided rental accommodation by their congregations, and about the future of the minister’s car loan fund. Cunny talked about the ‘gift of partnership’ supporting Te Aka Puaho’s work and received support from the Council for re-establishing this gift. He spoke about the Assembly Assessment, which includes support for the Beneficiary Fund.
Cunny spoke about the work of the Presbyterian Insurance review Task Group. The Council endorsed recommendations directing congregations to ensure that they gain an engineering assessment on the safety of their buildings.
In preparation for the General Assembly the Council will spend some time compiling reports and working through a process of consultation with the Book of Order Advisory Committee. All reports need to be at the Assembly Office by early June.
The Council will meet again on 14-16 June in Wellington.