From the Moderator
What an inspiration Connect was – over 100 energetic youth workers from all over New Zealand, passionate about making Jesus Christ known: friendly, noisy and giving us much hope. It was a pleasure to join in – even if it meant I had to play basketball too! This superb event was very ably led by our new PYM team, of Steph Redhead, Judy Te Whiu and Robyn Burnett, as well as the Presbyterian Youth Ministry Focus Group.
A visit to the West Coast and to Christchurch this month have kept me in awe of the God who created our beautiful land. I travelled from one side of the South Island to the other on the trans-alpine express, which was just fantastic.
The West Coast is our smallest and most isolated Presbytery, but I found them in good heart. Like the far north, they have a united regional court – a Union District Council, and all four congregations are co-operating ventures, with strong lay leadership. However, if we want to support these congregations to grow in effect in the community and in numbers do we need to give urgency to plans for their merging with a larger presbytery/Methodist district?
In Christchurch I was reminded from listening to some congregations, unhappy at our withdrawal of funds from the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues, how easy it is to hear only the part of church news that adds fuel to our own fire. What folk have not so readily absorbed is the information that we are using other means to encourage study of and action around social issues in New Zealand. Please keep reading this Bush Telegraph to find out about this – and tell others in your church networks.
A real treat in Christchurch was to catch up with some of our oldest Presbyterians: I attended the 100th birthday of Mrs Jane Campbell, wife of the Rev T G Campbell (who was a giant in terms of the formation of Presbyterian Support in Canterbury), and 98 year old Lorraine Saunders, known in her time as “the Book Lady” of India, because her task was to publish, print and distribute Christian literature. She reminded us that next year it will be 100 years since the New Zealand Presbyterian Church forged a link in North India that resulted in the missions at Ludhiana and Jaghadri.
My best “community facing” stories this month are firstly a joint venture between St Georges/Iona (in Linwood Ave, Christchurch) and Presbyterian Support Upper South Island. Support will be providing community-based professional day care and the local church will be “hosts” to the enterprise. A good partnership!
And then there is the sterling effort made by the Year Nine students at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch – good news stories of young people energetically looking beyond themselves to bring love and justice to others. Let’s remember that the young people who attend our 13 church schools are a significant part of our youth work.
This coming weekend many of us will be involved in handing back to the local iwi the parcel of land used by the Presbyterian Church for its mission in Maungapohatu in the Ureweras, earlier this century. We will join with the descendents of that mission, led initially by Sister Annie Henry and the Rev John Laughton.
In the meantime, may we all be people of the Way – journeying with Christ to bring compassion, justice and hope wherever we are.
Assembly Office update
He mihi mahana ki a koutou *
We are the only country in the world where the three official languages are Maori, Sign and English. And last week was Maori language week. So, warm greetings to you*.
Council of Assembly
You will already have had a chance to read the Council of Assembly news. I really do hope that presbyteries and parishes will take up the opportunity to respond to two major documents that will be circulated shortly. First is the work commissioned by the last General Assembly to look at the effectiveness of presbyteries. The Very Rev Garry Marquand had led a group who have committed real time, energy and prayer to developing a consultative document that outlines some exciting possibilities for the shape of Presbyteries. This document was distributed to presbytery clerks earlier this week and Garry would like feedback to him by Wednesday 31 October.
The second document is the strategic document that will focus our Church’s work over the coming few years. The document is committed to outlining a strategy for building the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and enabling our Church to meet current and future mission challenges.
Key issues in the draft growth strategy are:
- Faithfulness to the Gospel. There are Gospel imperatives affirming the unity that is found in mission.
- Organisational capacity. While numbers have declined, and fewer congregations can afford to support full-time ministry, the wealth base of the Church, tied up in property and dispersed in financial investment held by our 430 congregations, has increased enormously.
- Age profile of congregations. In many of our congregations, especially the European or pakeha ones, the average age of members is well into their 70s.
- Inter-generational wealth transfer. The world is changing. The solutions that supported the Church’s mission and attracted support in the past are not the same ones for meeting the mission challenges of today and tomorrow.
- Maximising opportunities for leadership. We have committed ourselves to the training of men and women for ministry. Well-trained and equipped leadership is central to our strategy. We need to ensure that there are opportunities for those we train to maximise their potential.
- Affordability of growth solutions. The cost of land and building purchase in areas of rapid population growth are beyond the means of any single congregation and there is no central fund currently available to cover this cost. The cost of a stipend or full-time wage to fund new ministry initiatives that do not depend on generating income is also moving beyond the capabilities of many congregations.
- Funding challenges and opportunities. We know where the population growth is happening. We can identify people now who have real skills for supporting new church growth and planting. We have examples of church growth and development to draw upon. We need the resources to draw these components together.
The Presbyterian Church Schools conference is happening at Lindisfarne College on the 9-10 August. With 13 or 14 schools around New Zealand, representing some thousands of children and young people and their families, there are real opportunities for supporting and strengthening our Church’s mission and message among this group. We all need to look for ways to enhance our local church and presbytery’s relationships with these schools and also encourage the great chaplains we have working in this context.
Prison Chaplaincy Service
The Trust Board that oversees this critical and key ecumenical area of our Church’s life is entering into negotiations with the Government in regard to the ongoing provision of chaplains to our country’s sadly burgeoning number of prisons. The September issue of sPanz magazine will detail some of the work in this area of mission. Contact David Major via chaplaincy(at)pcsanz.org to find out more about how your church can support this new round of negotiations and how you can get involved in supporting ministry to prisons in your area.
Service Team Leaders Meeting
About every four months or so those supported to fulfil special tasks in the life of our national Church get together. Graham Redding, (School of Ministry – Knox Centre for Christian Leadership) John Daniel (National Mission Enabler), Andrew Bell (Global Mission), Brendan Sweeney (Finance), Amanda Wells (Communications), Yvonne Wilkie (Archives) and I spend a day together talking about the challenges we are facing and how we can work effectively together to provide support for the growth and mission of our Church. We are meeting in this instance in Dunedin. This will provide a particular opportunity for us to understand more about the development of the new centre. These are all really terrific people who are committed to serve and support the Church and its work. We are blessed to have such a great team.
In July the Communications team welcomed two new part-time members, replacing one full-time role. Former Communications Manager Jose Reader is working on specific projects two days a week, while Jason Reed has been appointed to the half-time role of Web Administrator and is also responsible for sPanz
Presbyterian Savings and Development Society
There are so many good things to say about the work of PSDS: their entrepreneurial vision, the commitment of their staff, the hard work of their Board and their ongoing commitment to support the work and ministry of our Church are just some of them. We want to thank PSDS especially for their recent funding of Kids Friendly and other initiatives that have greatly benefited from their support.
Please pray for:
The celebrations at Maugapohatu this weekend.
- The work of the Council of Assembly, and the initiatives being undertaken to support the future mission of our Church
- The Prison Chaplaincy Service and their negotiations with the Government
- The chaplains and staff of our church schools.
- The Service Team Leaders and their work
The generosity and support of PSDS and their staff and board members.
Global Mission update
One of the huge advantages of being part of the life of a local congregation is the knowledge that if and when hard times strike, you will have friends you can turn to for assistance who will look upon your need with deep compassion. Naturally one of the most debilitating things is when the exact opposite occurs.
That is the only way that I can think of to describe how it must feel to be a Zimbabwean. Not only is the aggressor your own government, whose brutal orders are carried our by your fellow Zimbabweans, but when you look beyond the country for help, there is nobody who seems to care. Thousands of people are starting to move south towards South Africa and the prospect of another humanitarian crisis in Africa is very real. This is simply horrific. Take a moment to read these two news reports on-line.
Trained Preschool teacher for St Thomas School in Jagadhri, North India
We will commence our celebrations of the centenary of our connection with North India at General Assembly 2008. The exciting thing is that the work continues in a lively way primarily through the work of Friends of Jagadhri and Friends of Ludhiana, as well as the GMO. The latest request we have received is for a trained preschool teacher. It is a large preschool with 400-500 children and about 10 teachers. They need the person ASAP and a minimum stay of six months is a requirement. Obviously longer is preferred but visas have to be renewed every six months. Accommodation, cooking facilities, furniture and bedding as well as some shared meals will be provided. The school is also willing to pay a small living allowance. If you are at all interested, please contact the GMO.
The Moderator’s Appeal established by Pamela after General Assembly 2006 to support the work of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, has been one of the most successful we have had in years. The students of two of our Presbyterian schools, St Kentigern College and Columba College, have made significant contributions. The funding is being shared amongst a number of projects unless the donor chooses one specifically. These include water buffalo, carts and community chicken farms. We will be funding the rebuilding of the manse at Tedim that burnt down. Once this is completed we plan to refurnish it, which includes pews as it doubles as a church. We also hope to provide equipment for the Zo Synod Office. All of this is just the beginning. This has been a wonderful way of ensuring that hosting the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar as our special Assembly guests amounted to more than just words. Please continue to give generously.
Some of the most treasured items are good second hand notebook computers. These can be carried in by visitors and “left behind”. If you have a source, please let me know.
The GMO continues to provide scholarships for two theological students from Myanmar who are studying at Masters level. The Rev Lal Chhandama is studying at Trinity Theological College in Singapore and the Rev Zam Khan Lam is studying at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the Philippines.
We recently received a request to help the Rev Van Bawi Kam who is also at PTS in the Philippines. He is about to be “expelled” as he has never been able to raise a scholarship. In order to pay the arrears and have sufficient to finish his MA Divinity degree, he needs $10,000. Of course if he is expelled, he doesn’t get the degree and he still owes about half that amount. Surely a Presbytery or group of parishes could fund raise to help our brother?
The people of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar know about us because we have “put our Christianity into action”. Like the Zimbabweans, they have looked abroad for many years for friends who can give them a hand. They don’t want us to do the work for them. But just as we experience in our lives from time to time, when hard times strike, there is nothing more precious than a compassionate friend.
It is almost five years Since Rev Glenn Jetta Barclay returned from the Holy Land. Glenn was sent by the GMO in response to a 2002 Assembly decision for us to engage in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine Israel. Glenn served a double term as an Ecumenical Accompanier, living amongst and serving with the Christian community in Ramallah. Glenn is living in Wellington and she is still willing to speak on the subject to your church or group. The World Council of Churches has just released five photo essays to illustrate the situation in Israel Palestine in a graphic way. Taken a moment to look at these images of yet another example of horrendous inhumanity:
Visit the World Council of Churches website http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=3785 for up to date news and information.
School of Ministry update
Click here to see a letter from principal Graham Redding that was distributed last month.
Book of Order Advisor
The Book of Order Advisor, Heather McKenzie, is now based in the Assembly Office. She has a new free phone number: 0800 424 872 (0800 4 CHURCH).
Storm damage and insurance cover
Parishes making a claim after the recent storms are required to pay the first $1500 of damage. This might put parishes off making a claim if they believe the damage is less than $1500. But if several parishes were damaged in the same storm, the claim is treated as one claim for all, meaning that the $1500 excess will be shared among them. This can make a small claim worth making. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Christian World Service
Peace Sunday Resources
These are available for download from the CWS website, www.cws.org.nz. Peace Sunday is 5 August and is a time to remember those who lost their lives in the bombing of Hiroshima and Ngasaki (6 and 9 August).
CWS, a long term partner of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, is supporting the New Zealand campaign to Save Zimbabwe and people working with those who are impoverished by the steady collapse of the economy. For an update on the current situation in Zimbabwe and for website links to groups and other relevant website refer to www.cws.org.nz/Resources/Zimbabwe.asp
Gaza alert - Financial aid is still needed to continue to provide much needed medical services and cash assistance to families for the coming months.
Darfur - CWS partners ACT International and Caritas Internationalis are providing shelter, health services, education, drilling boreholes for water, sanitation, hygiene and much more. A copy of the appeal flyer can be downloaded from the CWS website. A PowerPoint to promote the DARFUR appeal that can be used by parishes is available from CWS. To arrange use of this please contact: cws(at)cws.org.nz
Please give generously to both these appeals. Donations can be made online, by ringing 0800 74 73 72 or by post to PO Box 22652, Christchurch
Wipe Out Poverty – 2-9 September is CWS’s annual youth fundraiser - an opportunity to combine fun, and service and fundraising through art auctions, car washes, cake stalls, chocolate sales, mufti days and much more. Funds raised will go to support CWS partner Neythal, working with fishing communities in Southern India. It’s not too late to sign up your youth group. Contact Liz at youth(at)cws.org.nz or phone 0800 74 73 72 to register and receive a free kit to help plan your event.
International Day of Prayer for Peace – Churches worldwide are once more invited to pray for peace on 21 September 2007 or the closest Sunday. The International Day of Prayer for Peace offers an opportunity for church communities in all places to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities and societies. For more information refer to: www.overcomingviolence.org/index.php?id=1487
Walk/Run for Darfur – the annual CWS walk and run will be held in North Hagley Park, Christchurch, Saturday 27 October, 2pm. This event is supported by the Christchurch Anglican and Methodist Harrier Clubs. For more information contact: Mary Cavanagh at CWS phone: 366-9274 or email: mary.cavanagh(at)cws.org.nz
CAII – Hot Topic 6, Pacific Paradise Lost? Seeking a healthy future in the Pacific. Available for download from www.cws.org.nz/Resources/international.asp
@World Winter 2007 – to order a FREE copy phone: 0800 74 73 72 or email: cws(at)cws.org.nz
Youth Topics - Climate Change, What does it matter? A Poster resource for young people 12-18yrs is available now, contact Liz at youth(at)cws.org.nz
CWS Calendar 2008 - People at Work. (Available from August 2007)
The new CWS calendar is a smaller than usual square format which retails for $6. It features “People at Work” in CWS partner projects. To save expense please order your copies with payment to CWS PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8142. More information from cws(at)cws.org.nz
School of Ministry Scholarships
Are you a Presbyterian minister planning on further study? Do you know that you can apply for a study grant from the School of Ministry?
Applications are invited in March and September each year for post-ordination study grants for ministers in good standing of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. These grants are made possible through the generosity of the Mary Ann Morrison and M S Robertson estates and are administered by the Senatus of the School of Ministry.
What are the rules?
1. The proposed course of study will aid the applicant's professional development.
2. There is a potential benefit to the Church and the probability of significant service to the Church.
3. Parish and presbytery approval has been obtained for the study, where appropriate.
In normal circumstances grants do not exceed one-third of the study costs involved and may be held in conjunction with other scholarships and grants other than the Postgraduate Scholarship. Grants are not made retrospectively and relate only to costs to be incurred by the scholarship holder themselves.
How do I apply?
Applicants are asked to address the criteria and set out their expected costs including conference fees, tuition fees, basic accommodation and travel, and to supply any other information that may be relevant.
Enquiries to: the Registrar, School of Ministry, Knox College, Arden Street Opoho, Dunedin. registrar(at)schoolofministry.ac.nz Due dates: 31 March, 30 September.
A New APW Study Grant
The Association of Presbyterian Women is pleased to offer a grant to women seeking Christian training to help with course costs.
Application Forms may be obtained from:
Mrs Jill Little
APW National Secretary
PO Box 489
Or by phoning 06 323 -8218
Or by emailing jlittleapw(at)orcon.net.nz
Applications close on 30 September 2007
Important dates for National Assessment
There has been a significant change to the date for the national assessment weekend in 2008.
You will be aware that under the new training model for National Ordained Ministers, ordinands will be required to enter a two-year internship in a local ministry situation. Given that some candidates will present at the assessment weekend having already completed their academic requirements we will need to be able to place them into internships immediately. The School of Ministry advises that an August date for assessment simply does not allow adequate time to source and prepare suitable locations and supervisors. Therefore from 2008 the national assessment weekend will be held during May at a time and place to be advised by the NAWG.
Thus from August this year the following applies.
20 December 2007
Presbytery recommendations and student papers to be sent to the Registrar, School of Ministry, Knox College, Arden Street, Dunedin 9010.
National Assessment weekend. Location and dates etc to be advised.
Please note: these details can be found on the School of Ministry website at www.schoolofministry.ac.nz/nationalassessment.htm
Convener - Leadership Sub Committee
Spiritual Growth Ministries
Silent Seven Day Wilderness Retreat
Sunday 26 August - Sunday 2 September 2007
Set in the deep quiet of unique bush behind Muriwai Beach and near Lake Okaihau. Rugged coastline, sweeping beaches, forestry, streams, gannet and seal colonies make this a varied countryside ideal for a retreat.
This is a self-catering retreat. SGM provide the programme of worship, daily communion and reflection on them, and daily spiritual direction with your own spiritual companion for the retreat.
Cost: $25 registration plus $310.00 GST Inc.
Email Carole Hunt for a brochure with more details or write to her at: 1A OgilvyTce, Plimmerton, Wellington 5026. Tel: (04) 233-0714.
Spiritual Directors’ Formation Programme 2008 - 2009
This comprehensive and proven, two-year part-time course is open to mature Christians of any denomination.
- Systematic study of spiritual direction
- Regular workshops conducted by an ecumenical team of qualified leaders
- Supervised practical experience
For details contact the Co-ordinator:
Rev. Sue Pickering
83 Vivian St
Ph/fax ( 06 ) 759 2331
Applications close 20 August 2007. Early applications are appreciated.
The Presbyterian Foundation
Applications to the Presbyterian Foundation may be made from 1 June. Application forms, and guidelines for both parishes and presbyteries, are available on the Church website.
Parishes should submit applications to their presbyteries well before September, to allow time for presbyteries to evaluate and forward the applications to the Foundation by 15 September.
Churches’ Agency on Social Issues
Climate Change Issues
CASI’s resources on climate change come in three parts: Outlook – Still Unsettled is a booklet which outlines the issues, defines some of the terms and gives starting points for discussion and action; the Environmental Audit is a separate booklet that parishes and groups can use to assess their own environmental policies and practices; and the environment section of the CASI website has links to further information and resources, and will be kept up to date with latest news and progress. The booklets are available as free downloads from the website, or printed copies can be ordered from CASI: casi(at)casi.org.nz
Local Body and DHB elections
Local Body elections are coming up later this year. The schedule for these is:
- 27 July: candidate nominations open
- 24 August: candidate nominations close (at 12 noon)
- 21–26 September: voting papers issued – start of voting period, special votes are issued and early processing of votes begins
- 13 October: Election Day – end of voting period (at 12 noon) and announcement of preliminary results (as soon as practical after the close of voting)
- After 13 October special votes counted and official results declared
- 10 December: newly elected board members take office.
This is a significant time for influencing what happens in your community. It is an opportunity for Christians to put themselves forward as candidates, to influence the policies of candidates, and finally to vote for candidates with policies that we can support. For more information, and for links to places with more information see the CASI website: www.casi.org.nz
Electricity disconnections and hardship
The issue of electricity disconnections continues to be in the news. Information now coming out makes it apparent that the supply companies have been making considerable profits on fees for disconnections and reconnections, and so have little incentive to consider hardship issues, whether health related or other. For more information see the CASI website.
The Church Register lists additions to, deletions from, and changes in status on the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand Ministerial Roll as advised by Presbytery Clerks as at 25 June 2007 Please amend the roll in your yearbook accordingly.
Ordinations & Inductions
Rev Wayne Matheson, Minister Whangarei St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Churches Together in Northland, to Minister Knox St Columba Lower Hutt, Wellington Presbytery, 28 June 2007.
Changes in Status
Rev Alfred Taylor, Minister within the Bounds, Gisborne-Hawkes Bay Presbytery, to Minister within the Bounds, North Shore Presbytery, 26 June 2007.
Rev Richard Gray, Minister St Stephen’s Parish Timaru, South Canterbury Presbytery, to Minister within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery, 1 July 2007.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries
Mr William Penno, ordained for the sacraments and commissioned as a member of the Local Ministry Team, Waihao Co-operating, South Canterbury Presbytery, 17 June 2007.
Mr Alistair Young, ordained for the sacraments and commissioned as a member of the Local Ministry Team, Waihao Co-operating, South Canterbury Presbytery, 17 June 2007.
Mrs Jan Penno, commissioned as a member of the Local Ministry Team, Waihao Co-operating, South Canterbury Presbytery, 17 June 2007.
Mrs Frances Young, commissioned as a member of the Local Ministry Team, Waihao Co-operating, South Canterbury Presbytery, 17 June 2007
Short Term Appointments
Rev Helen Wallis, Minister within the Bounds, Central Otago Presbytery, to Interim Minister, St Stephen’s Parish Timaru, South Canterbury Presbytery, 1 July 2007
Rev William S. Stuart, Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery died on 21 July 2007
Knox Presbyterian Church Feilding and Apiti Presbyterian Parish, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery, merged to form Feilding Oroua Presbyterian Parish, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery, 1 July 2007. The Rev Rilma Sands continues as Parish Minister.
Click here to see the full table of vacancies