From the Moderator
The Christian Conference of Asia was a huge experience for me. I’ve come home realising that we live in an isolated bubble. The impact of Asia upon us, now and in the future, is huge. I have a number of reports on my webpage you might like to have a look at.
My white paper on issues facing the Church is now published (download here). I’m getting some encouraging feedback. The most important thing is that people engage with the issues. Change happens one person at a time and the best way for that to take place is in conversations.
Please pray that these documents will help lead to greater engagement in the Church on issues within our own house and in the communities we belong to.
- 29 June - Induction of Geoff New (KCML), Dunedin
- 5 July - St Columba Botany
- 12-17 July - Uniting Church of Australia General Assembly, Perth
To catch up on what I have been doing, see moderator.presbyterian.org.nz
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
My reading in the past month...
The Secret Gospel of Ireland by James Behan and Leo Behan. This is a very engaging overview of history from the Desert Fathers to the end of the Middle Ages. This book gave me a renewed passion for history as a key to understanding why we act and think as we do today. It is also essential to understand mission is always in context. If we do not understand the context, we do not understand mission.
As I read, I imagine myself sitting in an Irish bar with a Guinness in hand thinking: “Thank God for the Irish!”
See also How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill.
“When we give a thing a name we imagine we have got hold of it. We imagine that we have got hold of being. Perhaps we should do better not to flatter ourselves too soon that we can name God.” Gregory of Nyssa
Grace and Peace in Jesus
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
I am writing this while in Dunedin attending meetings and a day with the interns as part of their winter block course at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.
July signals the time for the Presbyterian Youth Ministry event, Connect, which will be the largest national Presbyterian gathering this year. Over 300 of our youth ministry whanau are gathering in Ngaruawahia on 17-19 July. Connect is about networking, training and resourcing. It is our flagship training event for young people. I am looking forward to again being part of this time. I encourage you to do what you can to ensure that those involved in leading youth ministry in your setting have the opportunity to be part of this.
Later in July I will be part of the Presbyterian group at the Council for World Mission Pacific Roundtable being held in Samoa.
Council of Assembly
Council met in Auckland on 12-13 June. Read the update from this meeting here.
Vulnerable Children Act
A resource is being prepared to assist parishes to implement changes resulting from the Vulnerable Children Act, which came into effect a couple of days ago on 1 July. More information on this legislation and what it means for parishes will be out shortly.
Acting Complaints Officer
Our Complaints Officer Heather McKenzie is going to be unavailable during the July-August period. Council of Assembly has approved the appointment of Zona Pearce to be to Acting Complaints Officer during that time. Zona served as Southern Presbytery Clerk and brings wide ranging skills to this role. Should you need to contact Zona, her details are: 86 Avenal St, Invercargill 9810. firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 214 9414.
Ministry Development Programme
In order for ministers to retain their Certificate of Good Standing, it is essential that they participate in the Ministry Development Programme. A minister will not be in good standing if they do not have a review that is less than three years old. This does not apply to retired ministers, unless they are in, or plan to return to, some active recognised ministry role. Full details here
(Please note that the guidelines take account of ministers serving overseas and active ministers who are not currently serving in parish or chaplaincy positions.)
Copiers and Printers
A special deal for churches has been offered by Fuji Xerox for copiers. The deal includes the copier, consumables and service/support with no fixed monthly fee or lease. Fuji Xerox will also help with ending legacy contracts which your parish may have entered into. For more information, please contact Gemma Edgar – Strategic Customer Account Manager: email@example.com
Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support
Kids Friendly is partnering with Presbyterian Support again this year for the 2015 PresCare Love Reaches Out Art and Writing competition for children. Entries close 3 September, 2015. See the Kids Friendly website for entry forms and info and get creating. http://kidsfriendly.org.nz/love-reaches-out-love-is/
Service to recognise mark fallen chaplains
A special service is being held to mark 100 years since CHAP3 William Grant (a Presbyterian chaplain) was killed at Hill 60, Gallipoli. CHAP3 Grant was the first NZ Defence Force chaplain to be killed while on active duty. The service will be held at the Cathedral of St Paul in Wellington on Friday 28, August at 1400hrs. All are welcome and past serving NZDF chaplains are asked to register their intent to attend by emailing Hamish Kirk or phone on 06 351 9647.
Thank you for your partnership in God’s mission.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
I was chatting to Margaret Fawcett in our office last week, and she had just received 120 cleared police checks that morning. Margaret organises the police checks, free of charge, for congregations who have good child protection policies in place.
In reality, most churches do take advantage of this service, and this is a good example of our sustainable practice number 6. We will provide good management. It is easy for church councils to assist their youth ministry by organising the police checks for all applicable church members, not just the youth leaders.
Connect - Ngaruawahia Christian Camp, 17-19 July
There are just a few days left to register your youth leaders. Training youth leaders is a must for every church. Training helps to inspire people, and encourages leaders to critically reflect on their ministry practice. Just one new idea or concept can radically improve the health of a ministry.
With a team of over 25 spiritual directors on site this year, Connect gives leaders the opportunity to adopt life-long practices to enhance their personal soul care which will have a massive flow on effect to their ministry.
Keynote speakers this year are Bill Maston from Nexus International (Colorado), Mareta Ford from the Community Development Office of Hamilton City Council and David Crawley from Laidlaw College. In addition, we will have over 30 theoretical, theological and practical workshops. Each workshop is led by someone who researches it, teaches it or lives it. Please encourage your youth leaders to make this event a priority and to register ASAP. More details at http://pym.org.nz/connect/
National Youth Manager
Business meeting in September
The 2015 PWANZ National Business Meeting will be held on 26 September 2015 at Pacific Islanders Church, Newtown, Wellington. Plan to be there to have your input into the future of our movement. More details will follow by email from the Secretary.
Report from CWM Gender Justice Workshop (Pacific)
On 1 – 5 June 2015 the Council for World Mission held a “Gender Justice” Workshop (Pacific) for its Pacific member churches in Nadi, Fiji. I attended with the Revs Michelle Shin and Carol Grant. It was pleasing to hear gender officer roles appointed in Papua New Guinea, and that there was a huge growth of women pastors in Kiribati. We heard one of the big churches in Samoa pass in their gathering last month that “they do not support the ordination of women into ministry” and a Tongan newspaper headline “Opposition but Tonga Government firm on CEDAW report” (Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women). We had lengthy discussions on Christianity vs culture. As Pacific Islanders we have our own cultures, language, customs and traditions, and culture has helped women but culture has also hindered the advancement of women. Read our report from the workshop
In May I visited Myanmar with Joanne Wieland, the Ricebowl Mission Coordinator, and Margaret Dewse of the Myanmar Oversight Group. Joanne and I attended a church partners round table meeting with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM), facilitated by the Council for World Mission. The gathering included representatives of several churches who all support the PCM.
It was an informative meeting and helped us see the impressive breadth of mission and ministry being undertaken by the PCM, and the challenges they are addressing. If you would like to support the Ricebowl Mission, and sign up to the Mingalaba newsletter, you can find out more on www.ricebowlmission.org.nz. This month, Joanne and I will both be attending Connect, the national youth leaders training weekend, to share about Global Mission opportunities.
In June I attended a mission expo in Christchurch, hosted by the Baptist organisation Mission World. It was a good day of networking with many different groups and individuals who are all involved in mission, and it was good to see some Presbyterians in the mix.
The response to the Moderator’s Appeal for Vanuatu following Cyclone Pam has been very generous, with over $130,000 having been raised. We are working closely with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) and Uniting World (the Uniting Church in Australia’s global mission department) in the PCV’s cyclone recovery. Priority is being given to rebuilding staff houses and classrooms at Onesua College, and these are well under way.
I am in regular contact with our volunteers in Vanuatu who are doing very effective work. Neville Jones is working as the PCV logistics coordinator while his wife Gloria is working as a dental technician in the PCV’s dental programme. This is largely resourced by Uniting World. You can follow Neville and Gloria’s informative blog, http://www.jonesvanuatu.blogspot.co.nz/
Graeme and Maebry Reid originally went to volunteer at Onesua College. The cyclone put paid to that, and they are now working in the Seaside School and community in Port Vila, doing a fantastic job there. They are helping to establish a library and learning centre. If you would like to find out more about how you can support the Jones and the Reids, please contact me.
Several people have offered to serve in Vanuatu following the cyclone. I have found short-term positions for several people, from builders to plumbers to school teachers. Please get in touch with me if you would like to find out how you can offer your help to Vanuatu, as the needs will be ongoing for a long time.
Remember that I am available to speak to your church or mission group – all it takes is an invitation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Mission Coordinator
Presbyterian Research Centre
One of the roles of the Hewitson Library is to act as a repository for any publications generated by the Church. These are held in perpetuity in our Presbyterian Collection, and can only be used in the Library.
The collection includes General Assembly proceedings, Assembly Office publications, parish histories, journals, and books by or about those working within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. While we work towards keeping two copies in our Presbyterian Collection, we may also add a copy we can lend out.
Search our catalogue to see the scope of this collection - tick the ‘Presbyterian’ and ‘Presbyterian Journals’ boxes on the Advanced Search page: https://hewitson.mykoha.co.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-search.pl
Have you recently published something we should know about? While donations are appreciated, we understand the costs of producing publications and will purchase copies as required.
Contact Anne Jackman or phone 03 473 0775.
Did you know that if your church wants to apply to the Lottery Grants Board then you will need approval of the congregation, presbytery and the Church Property Trustees? The process you need to follow is detailed here.
The Lottery Board distributes community-raised funds back to community organisations. Our regulations ensure that churches can seek Lottery grants only for purposes that benefit the community, outside of the normal operations of the congregation. It is fair to say that there is often some trepidation in seeking approval from the congregation because individual members can have strong views about gaming activities. I have written a paper on this which contains some helpful advice in promoting this conversation. You can find it on my blog: www.vision2missionblog.wordpress.com along with other resources and articles arising from recent PressGo activity.
Applications for Presbyterian Foundation funding are now open for the 2015 round. The Foundation is looking for small projects (grants are usually in the range of $5,000 - $20,000) which are mission initiatives outside the usual activity of your church. The panel prioritises projects that have strong support from the congregation and seldom approves projects that are wholly externally funded. So if your congregation has a great idea and is prepared to back it with some funding then the Presbyterian Foundation is the place to go! Application details can be found here. Applications are open and close on 15 September.
If you would like to discuss any of these funding sources, or investigate others, please feel free to contact me: email@example.com, telephone 027 4455 723.
Respond to refugees
CWS is supporting calls to increase the number of refugees resettled in New Zealand. Under the current quota system, 750 people are admitted into the country and a further 300 as part of the family reunification scheme each year. New Zealand should contribute more funding to international efforts assisting refugees.
The United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees released figures showing record numbers of refugees in 2014. In total a staggering 59.5 million people had fled their homes, up 8.3 million from 2013. One in every 122 persons on the planet is a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.
New Zealand government spending on aid stays well below the target figure of 0.7% of Gross National Income – in 2013 it was 0.26%.
Following Cyclone Pam, CWS reports steady progress by local partners. Green leafy vegetables dominate food markets and starchy vegetables from the less damaged north are commanding twice the normal price. The government is distributing food in the worst affected areas and repairing or rebuilding infrastructure. ACT Alliance has helped 2,083 people with seeds and fencing kits. Food and water supplies helped 17,590 people. You can help the rebuild, by giving to Vanuatu Cyclone Appeal.
Give Gaza a break
July 8 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of attacks on Gaza, Palestine. One year on the World Bank reports the economy is on the verge of collapse and unemployment is at 43%. CWS partner DSPR is providing emergency supplies, health care, education and psychosocial care to some of those in need. Can your church organise a special fundraiser? We have images and stories to share. Contact CWS for more info.
Apply for a Presbyterian Foundation grant
Applications for the 2014 round of Presbyterian Foundation grants are now invited, and application forms can be downloaded from the Church website. The Presbyterian Foundation is a trust fund, the interest of which is distributed to support the mission of the Church, particularly innovative mission at the local and regional church level. Applications close on 15 September.
UCANZ event for smaller churches
UCANZ is preparing two days of learning and inspiration for smaller churches, 16-17 October 2015 in Lower Hutt. There will be practical workshops, uplifting speakers (including the Rt Rev Andrew Norton), and times of fellowship. This is open to people from any church to attend. The UCANZ Forum will be held on the Thursday night and a service of worship on Sunday. Details are available on the UCANZ website (ucanz.org.nz) or from Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conversations worship resources
A new website has been launched by the Rev Sylvia Purdie that contains resources for prayer and worship for churches, small groups and for personal reflection. Sylvia says that the resources are oriented to all-age worship, using forms of speaking that 'ring true' for kiwi people. www.conversations.net.nz
Practical Theology of Disability and Mental Health course, 1-5 Feb, 2016
Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago, and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership invite you to enrol for a course on A Practical Theology of Disability and Mental Health by Professor John Swinton, 1-5 Feb, 2016. Professor John Swinton of the University of Aberdeen will teach an intensive course in Dunedin, A Practical Theology of Disability and Mental Health – What does it mean to be Human. Download full details
Transitional ministry training
The New Zealand branch of the Interim Ministry Network(US) is facilitating a training event for transitional ministry in Auckland on 21-25 September. For more information or to register, download the course brochure.
Hymn lectionary resource
The Hymnbook Trust has made available a lectionary list of NZ hymns for the period July to September 2015. Download here
Download song “Mothers of our Faith”
The Rev Malcom Gordon has written a song to mark the 2015 milestone of the 60th anniversary of General Assembly’s decision to ordain women as elders and the 50th anniversary of a woman being ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Listen to the song and download here
Moderator’s Pentecost video
Watch a video message for Pentecost by our Moderator Rt Rev Andrew Norton. https://vimeo.com/128050069
Send KCML study leave reports
Study leave reports have the potential to benefit the whole church, but not if they’re not available to the wider church. KCML asks that all study leave reports be forwarded them for publication on the Knox Centre website. You are also invited to view the study leave reports already published there. Read reports at: http://knoxcentre.ac.nz/ministry-resources .
Presbyterian Investment Fund – reduction in interest rate paid on deposits
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits will reduce from 4.50% to 4.25% per annum effective from the 1 July 2015. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Kos van Lier.
Glen Innis vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis every year. With summer coming up, now is a great time to get your holiday organised. Check out the vacancies here
There are no changes to the ministerial roll to report this month.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.