Presbyterian Church celebrates election of 5th woman leader in 120 years

30 Sept 2021

The Rev Rose Luxford of Oamaru will be the next leader of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Rose has been elected Moderator designate and will take up the role of Moderator in 2023. The result of the election was announced at the Church’s General Assembly, held online for the first time, on 30 September 2021.

She will be the fifth woman leader of the Presbyterian Church in 120 years, which she says is both daunting, humbling and an honour.  

Rose is the minister of St Paul's Maheno-Otepopo Presbyterian Church in Oamaru.

Referring to the challenges that Christian denominations face today - aging and shrinking congregations, and increased compliance issues for churches run largely by volunteers – Rose says, “Our Church needs to be realistic about how things are, and make hard decisions, yet we also need to nurture and give oxygen to those things that are healthy, life-giving and surprising. We have amazing, gifted and creative people in the Church and they need to be valued and celebrated”.  

Rose will bring to the Moderator role sensitivity, wisdom, openness and good humour.  

She has taken leave from her parish ministry over the years to study in the following areas that interest her: 'Exploring Forgiveness'; 'Insights into questions about death, and ministers and grief'; and 'Moving from co-operation to community in multicultural congregations'.

Born in Dunedin and raised in Milton, Rose had a full working life before becoming a parish minister. She undertook secretarial studies at Otago Polytechnic. Subsequent jobs included short-hand typist for the University of Otago’s Department of Medicine; apple grading; grape picking; secretarial work in Wanganui and Hawke’s Bay;  secretarial work for the University of Otago’s Department of Zoology, and administrative assistant for the University of Otago’s Division of Sciences.

Rose married in 1980. Following the death of her husband, she studied for a BA (Geography) at Otago, graduating in 1990.

In 1995, she studied at the Presbyterian Theological Hall, completing three years training for ministry and a Bachelor of Divinity (with credit) in 1997.

Rose was ordained and inducted at Iona Presbyterian Church, Blockhouse Bay in 1998 and served there for 12 years.

From 2010, she has served as minister at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Oamaru – now St Paul’s Maheno-Otepopo.

Rose has also served the Presbyterian Church in a number of leadership roles, including as Moderator of Auckland Presbytery, Moderator of the Southern Presbytery, as a Ministry Development reviewer, and is currently Convener of the Ministry Work Group, and a member director of the Beneficiary Fund Trustee Company.    

Rose has a close and supportive family network, including siblings, siblings-in-law, nephews, nieces, and also great nephews and nieces. She enjoys and values her family connections immensely.