From the Moderator
By the time you get this I will be in Africa, on a Council for World Mission visit to the Uniting Congregational Church of Southern Africa (which includes South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe). In the 1990s, all the CWM churches around the world made a commitment to support and monitor each other in advancing the participation and leadership of women in their Churches. Each Church agreed to host a visit from a CWM team, to help the local church reflect on how women participate in leadership, how gender equity can be better promoted and abuse against women and children reduced. I expect to learn much and to reflect on our journey in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealnad at the same time.
We have all been shocked last month at the police activity in the Ruatoki Valley. Our strong historical links with Tuhoe, through Te Aka Puaho, made the trauma of the local people our concern in a very real way. We are grateful to Wayne Te Kaawa for first-hand information and to the Amorangi minister in Ruatoki, the Rev Hamiana Thrupp and his wife Honey and the two students in training for their presence and pastoral care. As yet we lack comprehensive information about the justification for the police action, although it goes without saying that violence of any kind is abhorrent to followers of Jesus. But the “branding” of an entire iwi (Tuhoe) as terrorists is deeply disturbing. Please pray for a just and peaceful outcome for this situation.
A visit from the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Sheilagh Kesting, and her chaplain was a delight: it’s good to keep our international links alive. Sheilagh was Ecumenical Officer for the Church of Scotland and was very interested in how our Uniting and Cooperating churches work, and how the different cultural and ethnic groups in our Church have voice and power in our systems. We welcomed her on to Te Kakano o Te Aroha Marae in Petone: thank you to the Wellington Maori Pastorate and to the Presbytery of Wellington.
Global Mission has asked that the Moderator’s Appeal for Myanmar be continued for this next year, and I enthusiastically support this. Andrew Bell and Andrew and Angela Norton have recently been to Myanmar and come back passionate about our support of that courageous but struggling little church. Look out for more of their story in the December issue of sPanz – it will be with you before the end of this month – or check out the Global Mission section of our website.
I also visited the Presbytery of Taranaki this month – arriving at Waitara in time to see the big-screen showing of a certain World Cup quarter final turn to custard! My sermon title “Whose side is Jesus on?”
As you work at Jesus’ side this month, may you be blessed with wisdom and hope.
Assembly Office update
It has been a month of mixed experiences. We have enjoyed the visit by the Church of Scotland Moderator and the hard work many put into ensuring her trip was an occasion of celebration and encouragement. We have also been saddened and disturbed by events that have affected the Maori community with which our Church has had such a long, enriching and particular association. I have witnessed many letters and notes of thanks, concern and support pass through the Assembly office over these weeks and realise again that as a community our celebrations are heightened and our burdens are shared through these times.
At a personal level, next week marks for me a year in this job. As clichéd as it sounds, I can’t believe where the time has gone. I truly learn something more about our Church every day - there is so much to give thanks for in the faithfulness and generosity of those working so hard to support our mission and ministry.
Council of Assembly
The Council’s four-monthly meeting is being hosteded at Knox College by the Synod of Otago and Southland from 15-17 November. Main items on the agenda for this meeting will include an update from Graham Redding about the transition from the School of Ministry to the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. This transition will be completed at the end of next year when the remaining resident ministry students finish their training. Funds from the sale of some of the houses owned by the School of Ministry will be used in the remodelling of the Hewitson wing. Three students begin their internship training next year. We are once again grateful to PSDS for their generous offer to contribute to a portion of the parish costs associated with hosting an intern.
If there are other matters that you would like the Council to consider, please write to me this week so I can make sure your concern is brought before the Council.
By now you should have received copies of our first social engagement booklet called “Coming of Age”. Jose Reader, who is coordinating these resources, would love to receive feedback from you about how the resource has been received and used by your congregation. Also any suggestions for subjects you think we should be addressing in this format would be very welcome. You might have also noticed that we are developing a “social issues” page on our web site.
Many have expressed their concern about the recent events centred on Ruatoki. The Moderator has written on our behalf to the Minister of Police, we have expressed our support and concern for our ministry colleagues serving in the community and supporting those most effected by these events, and we have made contact with Tuhoe leadership and circulated viewpoints expressed by our colleague and Te Aka Puaho Minister Wayne Te Kaawa. A number of ministers involved with police chaplaincy have also contacted me to ask for prayers and support for police involved in this action. We are reminded that no one involved in these events comes away unscathed. The Moderator awaits developments before making any further response on behalf of our Church.
Presbytery Task Group
I was talking to Garry Marquand a few days ago and he has only receive three or four responses so far to the consultation document sent to Presbyteries by the Task Group. If you have not already done so, please forward your responses to Garry as soon as possible.
General Assembly 08
Next week a small group of those most involved in the organisation of next year’s General Assembly come together to begin the planning process. The tentative date for the Assembly is from 2-6 October in Wellington. Travelling around the Church I know that several people and groups have indicated some intention to bring a proposal to the Assembly. I also know that some of these proposals relate very closely to work already being done either by staff at the Assembly Office or by one or other of our standing committees. So if you are working on something please let me know just in case there is some duplication.
Prayer support for the Assembly. Wouldn’t it be great to know that all around our Church and each day people were praying for our Church and its future? I have asked a few people about how best we could provide some kind of coordination for this support but if your parish has a special prayer ministry, then please let me know and maybe we can put something a little more organised in place.
John Calvin’s birthday
We are members of a 70 million-strong family of reformed churches from across the world, who, in 2009, will celebrate the birthday of the reformer who has been especially influential in forming our Church polity and theology – not to mention his influence on the development of modern western democracies. If you have some ideas on how best to celebrate the event, please let Graham Redding know. I’m thinking that perhaps every parish with the name “John” or “Calvin” in its name could help sponsor an event. Maybe with a French theme – especially if we can put behind us memories of a certain recent world cup.
Please pray for the Council of Assembly as it meets later this month in Dunedin. For those most affected by the events centred upon Ruatoki and other places around our country. Please pray for those involved in the planning of our General Assembly. And for ministers and church leaders as they prepare for the busy season leading up to Christmas.
Global Mission update
Finding our voice
About a year ago a beautiful baby girl was born to a young couple who worship at Otahuhu. A few Sundays ago her father was the preacher. Right throughout the sermon a little voice called out “Dada” and no amount of hushing by her mum could stop her. I am pretty sure that little voice got the attention of the whole congregation despite her father’s excellent sermon aided by a microphone. She has found her voice.
It got me to thinking about our “voice” as a church? I think we might have lost it. I have been working with our Moderator and the Communications Team to try and revive letter writing about international issues. I was struck by the strength of the opinion expressed in a recent e-newsletter from the Church of North India (CNI) about the situation in Myanmar. I quote:
Leaders of churches and Christian institutions in Delhi have called on the Christians around the world and the church organizations at global, continental and national levels to create awareness regarding the repression and brutalities by the Military Junta in Burma …urg[ing] the people and the government of India to exert pressure on the Military Junta for a dialogue with the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for early restoration of democracy in Burma and to end the oppression of minorities [within Burma].
The CNI called for their members to mobilise and engage in activities ranging from candlelight vigils to street demonstrations. They also highlighted the plight of the oppressed minorities within Myanmar who are “doubly oppressed” - the PCM membership is predominantly made up by people from the Chin minority.
Myanmar is still very much a hot topic for me and constantly on my mind. I am concerned that it seems to be sliding out of the media spotlight. Emails have started to trickle in from our PCM colleagues as internet access is restored now that the protest movement has largely been extinguished. Our prayers, concern and help are treasured greatly by the PCM. If you would like to know more about the history of the Burmese resistance movement, then I would recommend you view this photo essay put together by Time magazine: www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1665535,00.html
It is also amazing how much video footage of the marches is available for view on YouTube. This is a link to footage of the march in Kalaymyo where the Assembly Office of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) is located: www.youtube...com/watch?v=DDrU8ZBbA6s
Walking the poverty tightrope
In another part of the same CNI newsletter, they quote The Hindustan Times (3 October 2007) which raised the complexity of the twin challenges of poverty and unemployment. The article suggests that micro-finance offers one of the most credible way out of crippling poverty. Andrew Colgan from St Lukes, Remuera, and three friends plan to return to Myanmar soon to teach the principles of micro-finance to the church members. They have also established the Aotearoa Development Cooperative, a capital fund from which to make the loans. These young people are showing us the way. For a more indepth analysis of how to over-come poverty, I recommend you read Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty - how we can make it happen in our lifetime.
The challenges in Myanmar are as acute as India, made worse by the indiscriminate actions of the repressive military regime. We in the wealthy West are not powerless. We do have a voice. We can take action. We can do something about it. We can make a difference. Sitting idle is not an option for bearers of the Gospel of Christ.
Last month I posed the question as to whether it would be outrageous to set our Church a target of raising $100,000 in one year for the PCM. Two emails came in response to this. Both from people who have been infinitely involved in our work in Vanuatu. Made me appreciate how much seeing poverty sensitises people to the needs of others. All it would take is $250 per parish! Or $3 per member?
Capacity building for healthy communities and micro-enterprise initiatives
Chicken house - It costs $3000 to set up a house and put in the first stock of chicks. Restocking and feed cost $500. Water buffalo and carts - Not only do they increase the people’s capacity to work the paddy fields and transport goods, but they can be hired out and they calve. A team of two buffalo and a cart cost up to $1000 per team (depending on the season).
Vegetables - the few packets of seed we sent last year all grew and produced a crop. What if somebody who knows seeds was to go and identify the best crop to plant?
Agape Clinic - St Columba@Botany is taking the lead on this one. Contact Andrew Norton if you would like to know more. andrew.norton(at)stcolumba.org.nz
Theological Students - Post-graduate study scholarships for study outside of Myanmar start from as little as $5000 per year.
Notebook computers, Flash-drive/memory stick, digital cameras - and the like are greatly treasured.
Tedim Synod Church Centre and Manse - since this burnt to the ground, the people have nowhere to gather for worship and the minister is without a home. We have released US$3000 for the first phase of the rebuild. But we still need funding to achieve the target of US$10,000 to finish the rebuild.
Lairam Synod - has been identified by the PCM as the next Synod to benefit from our friendship. If you want to be part of the project from the beginning - this is your chance.
Please remember that mission experiences take a reasonable length of time to arrange. It you would like to investigate the possibility of taking a team somewhere in 2008, you really need to make contact with the GMO as soon as possible. Opportunities for individuals sometimes take longer. Please give enough time for adequate preparation.
National Mission update
Mission Possible – God invites us to be involved in His mission, to do the possible, and to trust Him with the impossible. Kevin Finlay, graduating this year from the School of Ministry, writes below about “Well Church” and comments on what he recently discovered regarding one aspect of caring for his people:
Well Church? Encouraging a climate of health? What do these things mean in practice?
This week I attended a seminar led by the Rev Simon McLeay and David Dransfield from St Columba at Botany, who on behalf of the Presbyterian Church are promoting a training programme "Working safe for Presbyterian Churches".
Through a Web-based programme (developed by David) health and safety training is available to our churches so that our health & safety officers and staff members can learn to identify, eliminate, isolate, and minimise risk. The programme is interactive and fun and the training can be done at one’s own time and pace.
I found David and Simons’ approach took much of the fear out of what I have heard about the Health and Safety Act. The information and explanations helped me change my thinking to see this as commonsense rather than political correctness gone mad.
Also for me considering health and safety issues from a missional perspective was helpful. For example, if someone was to get food poisoning at an Alpha dinner, they might be put off coming back to explore what it means to be a Christian and word could ripple negatively through the local community.
I believe this initiative is necessary to help churches raise the standard in the way we welcome, love and respect people and how we care for them. It is clear that this is a basic building block in our mission practice, and something we can do – Mission Possible.
As I transition from the School of Ministry to congregational ministry I am reminded of things I will need to be intentional about to ensure Well Church.
Youth Ministry update
Gidday! I’m Steve from PYM not Beaurepaires!
We live in an instant age, often at a frenetic pace, with huge amounts of information being thrust at us from a hundred different sources, so I have a great excuse; I want to help preserve your sanity by being as succinct as possible. I am Steve, an ordained Presbyterian minister, and I have been in full-time ministry with the Presbyterian Church since 1985. It is my pleasure to share with you my recent appointment as one of the two North Island Youth Coordinators with PYM. I job share with PYM and my church, Crossroads Christian Centre, which is in the South Auckland Presbytery.
Life has a habit of sucking the marrow from our bones and that is why I just love PYM’s vision: to make Jesus known. It is having a vision that helps us reign in life in Christ, to be the head rather than the tail, instead of simply ending up as flotsam. I cannot think of a better vision than to make Jesus known except for our church vision which is: where community and Christ come together. For me this is where it is at and I am pumped to be working with PYM.
My role involves networking, resourcing, advocacy, and leadership training in the North Island alongside Judy Te Whiu, my fellow North Island Youth Coordinator, with an emphasis on events such as the North Faithfest08. The strategic goal of PYM is to offer young people opportunities to grow in their faith in God. This just makes me say YEEEAAAAHHHH!! In line with all this we have the up coming Roadshow from 2-4 November and a beach mission at Mount Maunganui 28 Dec – 1Jan. It’s time to get the surfboard out and ride this wave. It is gong to be awesome. With God nothing is impossible!!!
God bless you all,
Check out www.faithfest.org.nz or email me at stevemillward(at)xtra.co.nz for details about the Roadshow and beach mission at Mount Maunganui.
Help build a better future – support the CWS Christmas Appeal
Christian World Service is grateful for the faithful support given by New Zealand churches to the Christmas Appeal in past years. Now we are asking you to do it again.
If you need further resources please don’t hesitate to contact us. As well as the worship resources, it is not too late to order more posters, including in Pacific and Asian languages or envelopes, service sheets, overhead transparencies of the featured partners, a PowerPoint presentation and a short DVD/video spot, “Help Build a Better Future”. Please order now.
It is only with YOUR help that CWS can fund its overseas partners in their efforts to overcome poverty and build a better future. Contact cws(at)cws.org.nz /phone 0800 74 73 72 if you want more resources, a visiting speaker or require further information.
Christian World Service has launched a new opportunity for gift giving this year. You choose from tree seedlings, goats, bicycles, rainwater harvesting tanks, seed money for a small business and more, making the appropriate donation that will directly help one of CWS’s partners working to overcome poverty. CWS sends out a card which you can pass on to the recipient. Further information is available at www.cws.org.nz or by phoning 0800 74 73 72.
The latest issue of World Watch, the magazine for children aged 7-13 years is now available with an accompanying leader’s kit. The focus is on helping to build a better future in Cambodia in keeping with the Christmas Appeal theme. Copies can be ordered from youth(at)cws.org.nz
Don’t forget to order your 2008 CWS Calendar
The new CWS calendar is a smaller than usual square format and retails for $6.00. It features “People at Work” in CWS partner projects. A great gift. Order your copies with payment to CWS PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8142. For more information: email@example.com / www.cws.org.nz
CWS is a member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munitions Coalition which is campaigning for their ban. More information on the campaign, including information on the Global Day of Action on November 5 can be found at: www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz
Australian photographer John Rodsted has a compelling presentation of still and video images documenting the lethal impacts of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Laos, and elsewhere. He will be speaking in:
- Christchurch: Thursday, 1 November, 5.00pm, Knox Church Hall, 28 Bealey Avenue
- Dunedin: Friday, 2 November, 7.30pm, Quaker Meeting House, 15 Park Street
- Wellington: Tuesday, 6 November, 6.00pm, Capital E Mackenzie Theatre, Civic Square
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the deadly explosiveness of cluster munitions on civilians. This weapon’s days are numbered. We need to get rid of clusters now.” - John Rodsted
Churches' Agency on Social Issues
CASI’s newsletter, Broadsheet, issue number 115 was mailed out in late October. If you are not on the mailing list and would like a copy you can download it from the CASI website www.casi.org.nz/broadsheet/ . This issue has articles on New Zealand’s Binge Culture (the problem is not binge drinking); the growing problem of affordable housing; CASI’s submission on the 2007 Immigration Bill; and Mahatma Gandhi’s “seven deadly sins for modern times”.
In the light of police anti-terrorism raids around the country in October people might like to read the submissions that CASI made on the Suppression of Terrorism Act right back in 2001 when it was first introduced, again in 2005 when it was reviewed, and finally on the amendments that were introduced earlier this year: www.casi.org.nz/submissions/smTerrorismReview07.htm
Where to find resources on Social Issues
As CASI is closing down we are suggesting places where you can find information on current issues. Last month re recommended the Rural Bulletin www.ruralwomen.org/ruralbulletin.htm) and the Rethinking Crime and Punishment (www.rethinking.org.nz). This month there are several other sites for you to look at:
New Dialogue is published quarterly by the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare OrganisationsNew Zealand with a good range of articles. There is a very good one on the need for community organisations to work hard at maintaining interaction with their local councils. “Local Government touches the daily lives of people much more directly and immediately than central government.... They affect where and how we live, work, move about, learn, recreate, our public health and our private welfare...” New Dialoguewww.nzfvwo.org.nz/files/newdialogue.htm
Gambling Issues: For updates on gambling issues go to the Problem Gambling Foundation website: www.pgfnz.co.nz
Maori Issues: Try going to the Tangata Whenua site and looking at some of their newsletters: www.tangatawhenua.com/rangikainga.htm
The Human Rights Commission: Their website address is www.hrc.co.nz/ The HRC covers several related areas including Race Relations and the Equal Employment Opportunites commission.
The Anglican Social Justice Commission: They have a good interactive website. http://justice.anglican.org.nz/
Introduction Work Group
The IWG still has five students to place for 2007 so please could Settlement Boards consider engaging with an Ordinand from the School of Ministry. Contact Amanda Guy, Introduction Work Group Convener. Ph: (03) 476 6559.
The Introduction Work Group is still seeking viable parish profiles for the 2007 Ordination Studies Ordinands. Our Ordinands are of high calibre experienced in many areas of the national Church and are ready to serve you at the completion of their studies this year. Please email profiles to the Convenor Amanda Guy or phone for further information on (03) 476-6559.
A reminder about the seniority allowance
Following changes in the way that financial support is calculated for Presbyterian Ministers, we have needed to make the following changes in the way that Presbyterian Ministers in Methodist appointments receive a seniority allowance.
1. That Presbyterian Ministers currently serving in Methodist appointments will continue to receive the pre-2006 General Assembly Seniority Allowance calculated by and paid from the Assembly Office in accordance with the pre-2006 General Assembly guidelines until the conclusion of their current term.
2. That any Presbyterian minister appointed or re-appointed into a Methodist position from 1 September 2007 will not be entitled to receive a Seniority Allowance from the Assembly Office.
3. That full-time service by a Presbyterian minister in a Methodist appointment will count fully towards the calculation of the seniority allowance entitlement when or if that minister returns to service in a ministry position under the Presbyterian Church’s call or appointment.
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
Omega Discipleship Ministries
Omega Discipleship Ministries offers small group resources in its discipleship series, available in English and Chinese. For more information contact www.omega-discipleship.com or office(at)omega-discipleship.org.nz or (04) 905-2209
The first in a series of four group study resources produced by Assembly Office is hot of the press.
Copies of Coming of Age: bring on the baby boomers will be available from your parish minister. Ageing is something that affects all of us. As you reflect on the issues raised in the resource – elder abuse, financial hardship – also consider what actions you and your congregation might take to make life better for ageing Kiwis in your community.
Look out for the next resource in the series (due out in December), which is on youth wellness.
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 October 2007 Please amend the roll in your yearbook accordingly.
Ordinations and inductions:
Rev Jung Hun Choi, ordained as Local Ordained Minister, Mt Eden – Greyfriars Parish, 11 October 2007.
Rev Catriona Cairns, Minister Within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister, St Andrew’s on the Terrace, Wellington Presbytery, 4 October 2007.
Rev Reuben Hardie, Lodged Certificate, Auckland Presbytery, to Minister, Sommervell Memorial Presbyterian Church, Auckland Presbytery, 27 September 2007.
Rev Les Solomona, Minister Within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister, St Christopher’s Seatoun-Strathmore, Wellington Presbytery, 27 September 2007.
Rev Brian Crane, ordained Amorangi, Opotiki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 14 July 2007.
Changes in Status:
Rev Paul Fransham, Lodged Certificate, Auckland Presbytery, to Minister Within the Bounds, North Shore Presbytery, on 27 September 2007.
Rev Rehia Rangitauira, Amorangi Auckland Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, to Minister Within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery, 30 September 2007.
Rev Heitapeka Tautau, formerly Chaplain Turakina Maori Girls College, died 23 June 2007.
Rev Sonny Ripia, formerly Amorangi Southern Urewa Maori Pastorate, died 21 July 2007.
Click here to see the full table of vacancies