This month, the Assembly Executive Secretary the Rev Martin Baker talks about what we can learn from the Church’s hardy Scottish Presbyterian forebears. Martin also asks that you start thinking about who you would like to nominate for the Moderator for the 2012 General Assembly, and shares feedback from the board providing support and advice to the principal and team at the Knox Centre for Ministry.
Knox Centre has had a very busy month and principal the Right Rev Dr Graham Redding talks about six recent activities, including the successful Calvin celebrations.
Other highlights include heartfelt thanks from the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, free trips for church goers to a volunteering conference in Wellington, outstanding early support for APW’s Turakina Appeal, and a new easy to use guide for parishes to create their own websites.
From the Moderator
Recently I attended the Presbyterian Schools’ Conference in Auckland. These schools do a fine job educating young people in a holistic fashion. We are working hard to strengthen the links between the schools and the Presbyterian Church. Our congratulations to St Kentigern School on the occasion of its jubilee.
Through my involvement with our Church schools and Knox College I am reminded that the high value we place upon a good education is part of our Presbyterian DNA. In Dunedin alone, our Presbyterian forebears played leading roles in the establishment of the University of Otago (the minister of First Church, Dr Thomas Burns was its foundation chancellor), and both state and church schools. This commitment to education can be traced back to Knox and Calvin, both of whom were influential in the establishment of educational institutions in their respective cities.
A few weekends ago I visited the Wairarapa UDC, consisting of seven churches, five of which are union churches. One of the issues these churches are grappling with is how they relate to the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches (from which they emerged at the height of the 1970s church union movement). The Uniting Congregations of Aotearoa New Zealand (UCANZ) is grappling with this too. The ecumenical landscape today is significantly different to what it was 35 years ago.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
At First Church, Dunedin, I recently enjoyed a terrific event that told the story of the arrival in Dunedin of the Rev Thomas Burns and his congregation. Congratulations to First Church, the Moderator, the Knox Centre, University of Otago, the Synod of Otago and Southland, and everyone involved. The son et lumiere performance (sound and light) interweaved the story of these Scottish pioneers with the teaching of Calvin. It was inspiring and really worth seeing.
The hardships they put up with in those early days! Worshiping in a building where some stood knee-deep in mud, and rain mixed with the communion wine. Within 25 years, and a couple of churches later, they commenced building what was then perhaps the largest church in New Zealand. A thousand people squeezed in for the first church service, which Thomas, sadly, did not live to see.
Talk about church planting and pioneer ministry! Providence, faithful vision and innovation, flexibility, ingenuity, and mutual sharing of resources and hope were characteristic of those early pioneers.
From another part of the country, and 50 years later, we have the extraordinary and treasured accounts of John Laughton and Rua.
We have so much historical DNA to draw on as we find new ways to proclaim the Gospel. If we had two sacred mounts for a Presbyterian pilgrimage they would be Bell Hill and Maungapohatu.
The General Assembly agreed that Presbytery Reform Teams be established by the beginning of 2009, and that Presbyteries are to begin operating within the new presbytery structure as soon as practicable, and that the new presbytery boundaries be formalised by the General Assembly. The Very Rev Garry Marquand is the Convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group and you can contact him for more details. This reform is seen as being critical if we are to provide the structures most able to support and resource congregations to grow and develop. With General Assembly just a year away, we do need to move on with this.
Special legislative procedure
There were two matters which needed be dealt with by presbyteries, UDC’s and Te Aka Puaho before then end of July under our special legislative procedure (formerly the Barrier Act). Please retrieve a memo regarding these decisions. Please let me know your voting on these matters if you have not already done so. Write or email me a copy of your meeting’s decision. There are a few presbyteries who I have still not heard from.
Knox Centre Advisory Board
The small board providing support and advice to the principal and team at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership held their six-monthly meeting last Saturday. There are many encouraging things happening, especially in relation to the new form of internship training, and the wider mandate of Knox to engage in education and support of congregations and their ministers. It is really encouraging to hear how many congregations are opening their hearts to our ministry interns, and of the generous support offered to them throughout their two-year training cycle. Thank you.
At their September meeting the Press Go Board will be looking at a number of significant, exciting applications for support of new mission and ministry projects. All these projects are about forming real engagement with the Gospel in our communities through the provision of people and facilities. Unless you and your congregation are willing to share some of your wealth, our ability to support initiatives that help extend our Church’s participation in God’s mission and ministry will be greatly diminished. We welcome applications requiring support, but we are dependent on congregations getting behind these initiatives with their money, prayers and encouragement. Congregations control the vast majority of the $125 million of investment funds we hold.
We have launched a brochure inviting all Church members to consider supporting the mission of the Presbyterian Church in their wills. Copies of this brochure are being distributed in Spanz or can be ordered directly from Assembly Office.
Campaign to reform liquor laws
The Presbyterian Church is lending its support to a campaign advocating for tighter controls on alcohol. The campaign by Alcohol Action NZ coincides with the Law Commission’s review, which is out for public consultation at the moment. Alcohol Action is a lobby group involving people from a range of health and medical services, social services, police, councils, churches, iwi, schools and other groups who are concerned about the social and medical costs of the current alcohol consumption environment. Doug Sellman, Professor of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, is conducting a series of public meetings around the country titled “Ten things the liquor industry won’t tell you about alcohol” and we encourage you to check out the resource-intensive website and get involved. If you would like some free pamphlets or flyers about the public meetings to distribute to your congregation or community, please contact Doug. Read more about this issue in the latest Spanz.
Law Commission is also holding a series of public consultations, starting on Friday 28 August in Hamilton – check out the programme and go along to have your say.
We are also putting together a submission to the Law Commission. Once we have prepared the draft, we would like to get some feedback to ensure it represents, as accurately as possible, the concerns of our Church members. Would you like to take part? All it would mean would be providing us with some comments on the draft submission. Please email Amanda Wells
2010 General Assembly.
A reminder that the Assembly will be held in Christchurch from Thursday 30 September to either Sunday 3 or Monday 4 October. I am very grateful to the Business Committee, and especially the small team in Christchurch, who have agreed to provide much of the administrative and organisational support for the event.
Free volunteering conference for church goers
If you would like to send a church goer to an expenses paid volunteering conference in Wellington? If so, please enter the draw to attend 'Volunteering Unleashed' - the biennial New Zealand National Volunteering Conference at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, 28-29 October 2009. We are making nine free places available and we will pay an allowance towards travel and accommodation.
Participants at the conference will explore new ways to inspire people to volunteer, and how to develop successful volunteer programmes at their church. To enter, email the name of your church and church goer to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 September. More information.
The Church is on facebook
Please check out our facebook page and become a fan. You’ll get the chance to discuss issues with fellow Presbyterians and let the Church know what most interests you. You can also use the facebook page to get regular updates on, and links to, new info and publications on our Church website.
The preliminary process for electing the Moderator for the 2012 General Assembly will begin later this year. Parishes will be invited to submit names of suitable nominees to their Presbytery/UDC. Each Presbytery/UDC will be asked to discuss nominations at their first meeting in 2010, and each nominate one person whose name shall be sent to the Nominating Committee. Full details of the process will be sent out later, but please start giving some consideration to who could provide this critical leadership role for our Church
Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
The Calvin celebrations were a great success. The worship service and sôn et lumière performances at First Church were well attended, and the two-day conference attracted approximately 70 people.
Kevin Ward has been leading a series of lay preaching workshops in Dunedin, Oamaru and on the North Shore, with about 20 participants at each.
The Knox Centre recently hosted a receptions workshop for eight ministers being received into the Church from overseas churches and other denominations.
We will have 12 ministry interns begin their training next year. This is the largest intake for some years. We are busy trying to arrange internship settings for all of them.
Knox College centennial
The Knox College centennial celebrations were held recently. Over 350 people descended on the College for the weekend, including quite a number of ministers who resided there during their theological training. It was a most enjoyable occasion.
Stage one of the Hewitson Wing redevelopment is complete and on budget. The new Archives facility is fantastic.
Global Misison Office
The General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar offers his thanks to all those in our Church who have given so generously:
“It is my pleasure to share with you the work that has been undertaken so far by the Church of Myanmar.
“With the help of your Church, and CWM, the Zo Synod office has a telephone enabling better communication between the Assembly Office and the synod. We are very grateful.
“During January to May 2009, your Church assisted through your relief fund, 1138 families (4216 people) in 30 villages in the Chin State. Recipients of the funds are overwhelmed with joy and have expressed their gratitude to both the General Assembly Office and your Church. They are relieved from starvation and have been helped to survive. Requests for support from remote mission areas are now being received.
“Leaders of the Lairam Synod have informed me that they have bought their two-storey wooden building (in the heart of Falam Town) for a boarding house. They requested that on their behalf I express their heartfelt thanks to your Church for your substantial financial assistance.
“Indeed, I do not know how to say thank you enough for the love and care you have given to the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, and especially for your hard work in raising funds. Once again, thanks a million and God bless you abundantly in all things.”
What wonderful news! As your can see your donations are changing lives. If you would still like to make a donation, or would like to know more about this relationship or others the Church has, then don’t hesitate to contact the Global Mission Office.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
August has been a busy month on the road for me - up at the Presbyterian Schools’ Conference, and then in the South Island.
The Schools’ Conference was inspiring with excellent speakers. More than that, however, was the opportunity to meet a number of our passionate chaplains and RE/CE (religious education/Christian education) teachers. There is a wonderful opportunity for surrounding churches to partner with our schools in various ways. In fact, they probably represent our biggest youth groups. A number of the chaplains I spoke with want a stronger relationship with churches. Are you up for this challenge and missional opportunity? This is something I will be pursuing and working on in the months ahead.
I had the privilege of speaking at the Christchurch Presbytery and running a workshop on worship and preaching, this provided some lively discussion from different church contexts. Robyn Burnett (Christchurch youth coordinator) and myself met up with the youth pastors at the Christchurch Korean Presbyterian Church to hear some of their stories and their work with young people. They run some large-scale performance events that draw in the Korean community, and are also open to the wider Church to attend.
This month, seeing the youth ministry in Oamaru has been very encouraging. It is a wonderful story of older congregations using the skills and gifts they have to reach young people and children. This has involved being open to change and overcoming the misleading perception of the “generation gap”. It is also a story of cooperation and partnering among parishes - something that is also happening in various other parts of the country – to share resources (mostly people) and work together in reaching and serving young people. In Christchurch, Knox Presbyterian, St Andrew’s and St James (with a few others) have come together to run one youth ministry while the young people continue to go to their respective churches on a Sunday. Such models of church two-timing and partnerships are a good strategic approach for parishes with only a handful of young people (or less). May such innovation and creativity long continue.
Why do I do what I do? That’s a question I ask myself fairly regularly. Travelling the length and breadth of New Zealand to inspire and encourage churches in their ministry to children has its rewards, but it also has plenty of challenges. While I’m sometimes called the “passionate Presbyterian” I don’t always find it easy to maintain my Pollyanna status when I visit churches that are grieving for the lack of children in their congregations.
After a recent service to celebrate the birthday of my church’s Small Miracles preschool, a parishioner said to me, “Well you have certainly made our church Kids Friendly”. I was flattered but I certainly can’t take the credit because making a church Kids Friendly is never up to one, or even several people. Valuing and celebrating children is the responsibility of the whole church. While ministers who love and value children are a real blessing to any church, we need to ensure that our kids friendliness is embedded in our culture and will survive a change of congregational leadership. Every one of us has a responsibility to minister to children, whether it’s serving on one of our many programmes, sharing our faith, greeting children by name or offering a warm smile.
When I was eight my teacher told me that Jesus was my best friend and that He lived in my heart. This meant I could talk to him whenever I wanted - out loud or in my thoughts, whether I was happy, sad, grumpy or scared - because He would always listen to me and love me. This has sustained me all my life.
My understanding of Jesus and God has matured, but I have never failed to feel the presence and love of Christ. It is this love that I yearn to share with children so they too can grow up with the knowledge that Jesus is with them forever.
It has been said that we discover our vocation in childhood and that “vocation is where your own deep gladness and the world’s hunger meets”. Well, my heart aches for our nation’s “hunger” – too many children not knowing the love of Christ. My vocation is to share my “deep gladness” in Christ with the children of our communities and country.
Association of Presbyterian Women
Turakina National Appeal for Boarding Scholarships
In the July Bush Telegraph, the Moderator the Right Rev Dr Graham Redding commended to you the Association of Presbyterian Women (APW) Turakina Maori Girls’ College Appeal.
After information packs were mailed out (towards the end of July), a generous offer was received from Aorangi Print that has enabled the school to send out 8000 more Turakina Appeal brochures to presbyteries.
By now congregations will have planned their fundraising for the Appeal, either as a campaign for individual giving or as a fun event for your church and community. The Turakina Appeal runs for one more month, concluding at the end of September.
As at 21 August, the Turakina Appeal total stands at $7,010 - donations have mainly been received from individuals.
We have also made available some worship resources. Please uphold in prayer the Turakina Appeal and the staff and students at Turakina Maori Girls’ College.
For all enquiries please email Jill Little, APW Secretary
APW Study Grant
The Association of Presbyterian Women is pleased to offer a grant to help with course costs for women seeking Christian training in 2010.
Applications close 30 September 2009 and application forms are available from:
APW National Secretary
PO Box 489, Feilding.
Phone 06 323 8218 or email email@example.com
or see the APW webpage
Encounter Motocross Camps
4 – 9 October 2009
Christian based youth camp for ages year nine to13 years. Bible devotions followed dirt bike riding or alternative activities. Evening programme consists of bike maintenance, games, DVDs and an inspirational talk from a camp leader. Camp fee is $240.
For more information see www.maryperkins.com or www.encounterfmx.co.nz
Contact Mary Perkins, Encounter FMX Director, phone. 07 542 5205 or.021 627970. Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Bluff/Greenhills Co-operating Parish celebrating 50 years of their (Methodist) building
The Bluff/Greenhills Co-operating Parish 50 years celebration will be held on Sunday 15 November. All previous parishioners and ministers are invited to attend.
For further information contact: the Rev Heather Kennedy, phone 03 218 1952.
Lamap Declaration 2009
A declaration voicing deep concern over the rapid alienation of land in Vanuatu by foreign investors has been made by over 100 chiefs and members of the community present at the National Land Meeting in Vanuatu in May 2009.
Ni-Vanuatu beliefs are rooted in the land as a mother and source of life. Read the declaration.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership Minister Study Grants
Are you a Presbyterian minister planning on further study? Do you know that you can apply for a study grant from the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership?
Applications are invited 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 Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.
- The proposed course of study will aid the applicant's professional development.
- There is a potential benefit to the Church and the probability of significant service to the Church.
- 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 to apply
Applicants are asked to address the criteria, and set out their expected costs including conference fees, tuition fees, basic accommodation, travel, and to supply any other information that may be relevant.
Enquiries to: The Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership, Knox College, Arden Street Opoho, Dunedin. Email: The closing date for the next round of applications is 30September 2009.
Expressions of interest from parishes required
The Personnel Advisor is seeking expressions of interest from parishes able to offer a fixed-term placement for an ordained minister alongside their existing minister/ministry team. The purpose is for the minister to gain experience in a New Zealand congregation. If this sounds like something that interests you, please email Juliette Bowater.
Volunteer your time or old computer for eDay
This year eDay will be held 12 September, the event is the only free nationwide community recycling event for disposing of computer items and mobile phones in an environmentally sustainable way. If you would like to volunteer on the day at a drop-off area in your community, or would like to volunteer you parish as a drop-off place, sign-up online at the eDay website
International Day of Prayer for Peace 21 September
On 21 September, churches and communities throughout the world are committing to the International Day of Peace through prayer. For 2009, the World Council of Churches for the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) proposes prayers and liturgical resources related to this year's focus on the Carribbean and its theme "One Love: Building a Peaceful Caribbean".
The prayer for peace day coincides with a United Nations' initiative that encourages "global 24-hour spiritual observation for peace to demonstrate the power of prayer and other spiritual practices in promoting peace and preventing violent conflict".
Want to create a website for your church?
We’ve developed a new guide with some suggestions of how to go about it.
Become a WCC friend on Facebook
World Council of Churches (WCC) asks you to become a friend of their facebook page
Week of Prayer for World Peace
19 - 26 October 2008
A shared faith worship, a Christian initiative, that led to the Week of Prayer for World Peace in 1974. The first Chairman, the late Edward Carpenter, former Dean of Westminster, established the guiding principle of the Week in the words “The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world” and this is still the basis today.
Climate change: 10-20% is not enough
The government has announced a carbon emissions target of 10 - 20%. This cut will not avert devastating climate change.
CWS has launched a postcard petition supporting a 40 percent cut and a fair deal for developing countries at the Copenhagen conference in December. Postcards have been sent to churches. You can order more or sign up online. The CWS website includes information on climate change, theological material, partner stories and lots more. Check it out www.cws.org.nz
Contact CWS for additional supplies of the postcard or a speaker on climate change: email@example.com or phone 0800 74 73 72.
CWS has launched an environment fund to support environmental and climate change programmes of partners. These include mangrove restoration, organic farming, coastal protection, and waste management. Donate online or send a cheque to CWS Environment Fund, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8141.
CWS is seeking to fill two positions in Christchurch:
The Media Officer will develop CWS’s relationships with news media – radio, television, print and web. Journalism experience is essential. Knowledge of New Zealand church networks, development issues, and links with the New Zealand media would be an advantage.
The International Programmes Administrator (Part-time) will provide administrative and financial support as part of the team responsible for engaging with our overseas partners.
Both positions are great opportunities for people with a commitment to the ethos of CWS, and looking for an interesting job with a global perspective. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 366 9274 ext 113 for position descriptions. Closing date: 11 September 2009, 5pm.
International Day of Prayer for Peace, 21 September
Start: 21/09/2009 - 06:00
End: 21/09/2009 - 06:59
The World Council of Churches has prepared resources on One Love: Building a Peaceful Caribbean.
Ordination and Inductions:
Rev Dr Christine Sorensen, licentiate, Auckland Presbytery, to minister stated supply, St Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Ellerslie/Mt Wellington, Auckland Presbytery, 6 August 2009.
Rev Simon McLeay, minister, St Columba’s, Botany Downs, Auckland Presbytery, to minister, St Peter’s Tauranga, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, 16 July 2009.
Rev Makesi Alatimu, minister, Lawrence/Waitahuna Parish, Clutha Presbytery, to minister Owairaka Pacific Islanders, Auckland Presbytery, 9 July 2009.
Paul Rogers, lay appointee, Mangere East, Auckland Presbytery, to local ordained minister, Mangere East, Auckland Presbytery, 24 July 2009.
Mr Ian Laird, lay stated supply, Foxton/Shannon Co-operating Parish, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery, completed term 30 June 2009.
Mrs Brenda Marshall, part-time lay stated supply for initial period of 2 years, Raglan Union Parish, Waikato Presbytery, 19 April 2009.
Rev Judy Bedford, minister St James Presbyterian Wanganui, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, to minister emeritus, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 31 July 2009.