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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
This weekend (on Sunday), New Zealand will celebrate Children’s Day. The official Children’s Day website says that the three key elements of caring for children are:
- Giving time
- Aroha and affection
- Praise and encouragement.
These are great “work-ons” for everyone, including the Church. We should be pouring these things into the children in our churches and our children’s programmes, as a fundamental plank of our interaction with children.
We also have something more for them as well. We have the message of a God whose love is so deep that he sent Jesus – his son – to die for them. But, how will they come to know this Jesus? They will know him first because we spend time with them, show that we love them very much and use every opportunity we can to encourage them. Even if nothing else is said – this love will open their ears to the message of the Gospel when we teach it.
In our work with children, I cannot emphasise enough how important this fundamental commitment to love and encourage our tamariki is; it not only cements in their hearts and minds what a great place church is, but their parents will see how they thrive in our company and how much they love being at church.
An old theology taught that punishment was the key to obedience. We now know that the opposite is true. Love is the key and the sooner we recognise this, the quicker we will find that our churches are filling up with children and their parents.
God bless you and your children this Children’s Day!
Dear Friends and Colleagues
In February I shared in the dawn service and later preached at the ecumenical service at Waitangi on Waitangi Day. It was a huge honour to be involved in these ways.
I shared in the opening of the new church building for St Paul’s Trinity Pacific in Christchurch, which was a wonderful occasion. I also spent time with the interns at Knox Centre for Ministry and Learning and came away encouraged by those who are responding to the call of God.
I have had meetings with people who offer our Church their skills, passion, experience, wisdom, insights and professional abilities as they serve at both presbytery and national Church level.
Also this month, at an ecumenical level and following the decision of the 2016 Assembly, our Church will be formally welcomed as a full member on the National Dialogue for Christian Unity.
This is a very privileged role indeed.
It is also the season of Lent. It is a time where Christians focus on simple living, prayer and fasting in order to grow closer to God. I have signed up to the TEAR Fund daily Living Lent Reflection. I wonder how you observe Lent and what practices you might have?
As we advised in December, our Asian Ministry Co-ordinator Rev Kyoung Han completed his term and returned to Korea last month. This role was made possible in partnership with the Council for World Mission. All the parties to that arrangement are reviewing this and Council of Assembly will determine the way forward.
Finance Manager Brendan Sweeny concluded is role at the end of January. We secured the services of Martyn Vincent for six weeks while we advertised, shortlisted and interviewed for this position. I am pleased to report that we have appointed Sandra Kennerley. We'll welcome Sandra to the team and introduce her more fully when she starts on 4 April.
The 2018 General Assembly will be held from 3-7 October at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. Assembly is a time for us to learn, grow and celebrate our Church’s life and mission.
Commissioners to Assembly
Pursuant to Book of Order 8.16 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery.
We will be using the statistics provided as at June 2017 to determine the number of commissioners. The very slow and in some cases non-return of these forms will impact on the determination.
Over the next month, presbytery clerks and administrators will be working to determine this process for appointing commissioners (based on published guidelines).
Voting for the Moderator-Elect, 2020: stage 1 deadline
As the first stage in the election process, all presbyteries, the Pacific Islands Synod and Te Aka Puaho are asked to nominate one person each to enter the voting process coordinated by the nominating committee. This person will become the Moderator at the 2020 General Assembly. The outcome of this voting process will be announced at Assembly 2018. Church councils may suggest names for consideration by a meeting of their presbytery, Synod or Te Aka Puaho. Each presbytery, synod and Te Aka Puaho should send one name to the convenor of the nominating committee, Rev Anne Thomson. Nominations need to be with Anne no later than Monday, 30 April 2018.
Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly
Following consultation with the assembly business work group, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by General Assembly. All material must be received by 8 June 2018. This timeframe will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to Assembly. In this way, we will be able to fulfil the 2012 Assembly’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.
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 Lynne from our office, so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year seven people will complete their training as interns. They represent a range of backgrounds and experiences. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each of them will shortly be 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.
The Gospel message reminds us there is always room for one more. I wonder how you and your community are planning to celebrate upcoming Neighbours Day?
Thanks for your engagement in God’s mission.
During Lent 2018, Knox Centre is offering (free) webinars. Each week starting Thursday, 1 March, two of the contributors to Snapshots in Mission will be interviewed via online video conferencing. What sparked their writing? What piece of music speaks to their article? What are the implications for church, ministry and mission? There will be time for Q and A, using video conferencing technology.
The webinars will be held weekly from 4:30-5:15 pm and started last week, with the final one scheduled for Thursday, 15 March. (If you missed the first webinar featuring Carolyn Kelly and Lynne Taylor, check out the recorded version here)
Learn how to link to the webinars by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean of Studies
Recently the Presbyterian Archives received a wonderful collection of material from the descendants of Dr John Kirk and his wife Nora. John was the chief doctor of the Canton Villages Mission for many years. This amazingly rich collection of photographs and documents vividly brings to life the world of the Canton Villages Mission and the life of a missionary family. We are extremely grateful to the descendants of Dr John and Nora Kirk for entrusting us with the care of this wonderful collection.
We have also received a very interesting collection from Presbyterian Support Canterbury. Along with the historical records of the Presbyterian Social Service Association (PSSA) – a forerunner of today’s Presbyterian Support – and the Presbyterian Ladies Orphanage Auxiliary is a wonderful collection of photographs illustrating the social service work of the PSSA, particularly with children and the elderly. Another very special feature of this collection is a selection of PSSA calendars dating from the 1930s to the 1950s, many of them illustrated with images of children from the PSSA orphanages.
If you would like further information about these collections, please contact us at email@example.com.
Connect 2017, 20-22 July at El Rancho, Waikanae
Connect is a superb opportunity for youth leaders to upskill, be inspired and network with other youth practitioners around the country. We know how quickly the calendar fills, so please encourage your youth leadership team to make Connect 2018 a priority. Every year we are incredibly grateful to the churches who invest in their youth ministry by financially supporting their leaders to attend this great event. We ask you to consult with your finance team to see how your church can assist your youth leaders in getting there.
Internship opportunity – Switzerland
With a deadline of 15 March, the World Council of Churches (WCC) invites applications of church-engaged youth to undertake an 18-month internship with the Council at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva in 2018.
The opportunity is for young people aged 21-29 who hold undergraduate degrees. WCC covers the majority of costs associated with the internship (see link below for more details). Interns are assigned to work for 12 months at the WCC offices in Geneva, Switzerland in one of the programme areas of the WCC. This is then followed by a six-month work placement in the intern’s own country. Find out more or apply here
Going Further thank you
Thank you to those who encouraged young adults to attend our national discipleship camp on Ponui Island in February. We were particularly delighted with the speaking contributions by Darryl Tempero and the positive feedback from participants.
Youth ministry consultancy service
Just a quick reminder that with the help of our regional youth enablers, we offer all congregations a youth ministry consultancy service. This free service includes reviewing your church’s ministry to young people, celebrating what is going well, seeking God’s direction for the future, and highlighting some areas to work on. To sign up or if you have further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.
National Youth Manager
I am writing this edition of Bush Telegraph from high up in a remote area of the Chin State, Myanmar, in a town called Mindat. Look it up on Google maps. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I am able to be connected to the world. I am here with two other members of our Church, Andrew and Karen Murch from Hawera, attending the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar.
We are also going to view projects that have been supported by New Zealand Presbyterians through the Ricebowl Mission. We will also be planning ahead for the coming year, and I will share photos, stories and details of new projects to support when I return to New Zealand.
Things are moving quickly with our partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu (PCV) this month. Two of our personnel serving in Vanuatu have already begun – Dawn Daunauda is now at Talua Theological College, and Nicola Young at the Korvan Community Health Centre. Neville and Gloria Jones and Martyn and Annette Vincent are returning between late February and early March to resume their respective roles serving with the PCV. Several congregations and school groups are well advanced with their plans for serving Vanuatu in 2018, promising a busy and fruitful year as we continue working in mission alongside our partner churches.
Please let me know if you would like to find out more, or if you would like me to visit and share about Global Mission at your church.
Global Mission Coordinator
“Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.” – Deut 6:6 (NRSV)
During the season of Lent, one question we could consider is: How do we “do” faith? The words in Deuteronomy point to the importance of “doing” faith together as a family. For the people of Israel, they were to remember God’s great commandment as they moved into the land of Canaan: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (Deut 6:4-5).” For them, one way to “do” faith together was by remembering God’s commandment as a family. They recited it together, keeping it before them from sun down to sun up.
As we journey to the cross and to the empty tomb during the season of Lent, we have a daily invitation to deeply consider how we are “doing” faith. This is something to consider as an individual – but even more powerfully – it’s something to consider together as a family and as the family of faith.
In Matthew 22:37-39, we read Jesus’ words: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’”
In light of Jesus’ words, how might God be calling us to “do” faith together as a family during the season of Lent? By what practices might we exhibit love for God and neighbour?
Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly coach
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on the NZCCSS.
In light of the current government inquiry into mental health services, the Council intends to work with Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) to identify key issues and engage in a larger discussion, particularly around services directly impacted by District Health Boards (DHBs) removing mental health related funding.
NZCCSS believes that while the government wants to better fund health care in New Zealand, the community sector has been stripped of funding over many years. DHBs and other agencies increasingly refer people with mental health issues, but adequate funding just hasn’t followed according to NZCCSS.
A key concern for the Council’s Children and Families policy group is that when a whole group of people in need of services miss out, they go off the radar. The extensive work of the non-government sector with these people becomes invisible because of poor funding, say NZCCSS.
In order to prepare its submissions to the inquiry into mental health services, the NZCSS Council will bring together ten key people from within the Christian social services network to discuss the key issues in mental health as well the bigger question – the impact of sustained underfunding on NGO mental health services.
Your Presbyterian representative on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is the Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks.
Special Collection, 11 March 2018
International Women’s Day is Thursday, 8 March 2018, and as approved by the General Assembly 2016 a PWANZ Special Collection is to be taken on Sunday, 11 March. This will support the ongoing advocacy role of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand locally, regionally and internationally including at the United Nations.
Your donation to our Special Collection will show support for the continuing mission of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand. Hundreds of women gather together in our Church throughout Aotearoa. We create spaces for women and girls, encouraging voices and leadership within the Church and wider community. We are already advocating for women locally, regionally, internationally, and at the United Nations. With your help, we can keep doing this work. We have the privilege of Special Consultative Status as a Non-Governmental Organisation with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Our 2018 annual mission projects - in co-operation with Methodist Women’s Fellowship - are supporting children whose parents are in correctional facilities in Aotearoa. Our international project is with Christian World Service and the Centre for Community Solidarity in Uganda, working with people caring for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS. You can help us to continue this work into 2019.
Your support is key in keeping PWANZ running. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as focusing on the ongoing need for gender equality. On 11 March, please show your support for Presbyterian Women and our mission to promote the activities of women and girls in our Church.
If you are interested in our work, consider joining the hundreds of Presbyterian Women worldwide, and helping us in our mission. We hope that you will help support our campaign and we thank you for your generosity. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrator – Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand
Cyclone Gita appeal
CWS is appealing for donations to help the people of Tonga recover after Cyclone Gita destroyed large areas of Tongatapu and ‘Eua. We invite your congregation to support this appeal for our neighbours. Funds raised will help long-term partner the Tonga Community Development Trust restore damaged home and community gardens, repair damaged rainwater systems, and with other needs. We will assist the Tongan National Council of Churches as part of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) response. ACT has sent a person to support the needs assessment. Please continue to pray for families and communities affected in American Samoa, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
Seven weeks for water
During Lent, the Ecumenical Water Network is sharing weekly reflections on water justice from Latin America. For those who are getting started on Lent, it is good way to focus on one of God’s gifts to the world.
World Water Day
This year’s World Water Day on 22 March focuses on nature-based solutions to the challenges we all face: 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water. You can help build water tanks in Uganda or repair rainwater systems in Tonga.
CWS has sent copies of the Summer Story “Give Us our Daily Bread” to churches and individuals. We invite you to support the Summer Appeal so many more people have enough good food for their families. Further printed copies are available from Pam.
World Day of Prayer
Please support the World Day of Prayer on Friday, 2 March in your community. Women from Suriname in South America have prepared liturgy and music with the theme “All God’s Creation is Very Good”. For more information, contact your local World Day of Prayer organising group or Zella at email@example.com
Faith Community Nurses Association annual conference
Save the date for the NZCFNA conference, which will be held in Tauranga on 7-8 September. The focus will be on providing a “toolbox of resources toward development of positive mental health in the world today”.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.50 per cent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 September 2017. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Kos van Lier.
End of Life Choice Bill
The date for public submissions on euthanasia and assisted suicide has been extended to midnight Tuesday, 6 March 2018. You can make a submission to the Justice Select Committee considering the End of Life Choice Bill before the Bill gets its second reading in Parliament. More info
Get your copy of Mark: The Illustrated Gospel Project
Mark: The Illustrated Gospel is the work of more than 40 artists from around New Zealand and features a complete paraphrase of Mark's Gospel, accompanied with artwork, poetry, music and liturgical resources and suggestions. Each Presbyterian and Uniting congregation is entitled to a free copy. Further copies are available for a cost. Orders your congregation’s free copy (or additional copies) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Glen Innis vacancies
Bookings for the school summer holidays will now be taken from 1 February for that upcoming summer. Bookings will no longer be taken 1-2 years in advance. Check out vacancies over the next couple of months here
Ordination and inductions
Rev Michael Coutts, licentiate to minister, St Andrews Central Hawkes Bay, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 9 February 2018.
Rev Alistair McNaughton, minister Kaikoura St Paul’s, to minister Geraldine St Andrew’s, Alpine Presbytery, 9 January 2018.
Rev Dal Gyun Lee (James), minister Lord’s Church Auckland, Northern Presbytery, resigned from roll BOO 10.3.2 Path A, 10 February 2018.
Rev Derek Yule, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, died 8 February 2018.
Rev John Gibson Smith, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 11 February 2018.
Check out the latest events from around our Church and from Christian organisations and partners. Read more