Bush Telegraph December 2011

From the Moderator

Who would have thought? A baby!

Who would have thought? God living here with us! Experiencing joy and pain and temptation and friendship? And revealing himself.

Christmas is endlessly amazing. What an extra ordinary plan!

What an extraordinary God to even want to come up with it? Love was demonstrated in a surprising mission plan.

I hope that this Christmas is a time when God surprises you again.

This week I’ve heard a number of conversations casting doubt on the survival of the Church as we know it. Many people simply are not interested in the Church even though they might be interested in faith. Other conversations questioned why God would even lead people to our churches. The suggestion was that we are not motivated or equipped to help those people find faith in Jesus or to grow them in their faith. Why would God give them to us?

I’ve been in conversations with Christian groups who seem much more innovative and aware of our mission than churches often are.

Maybe, as the people of God, we can reflect God. God is by nature missional. God is always reaching out to people; always wanting to win our love. Let’s pray that that is true of our churches as well.

Secondly, God is creative in mission. God reaches people in diverse ways – some of them a major surprise! May we too. Let’s think outside the box – not for the sake of being gimmicky but to reach people in ways that surprise and speak profoundly.

There’s room for all sorts of creativity. Let’s do whatever it takes because we too are passionate about people discovering their God.

May God bless you and others through you this Christmas.


From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I really enjoy Christmas, but I also know that for many of us it’s a kind of marker in our lives. People who are here, people who have gone. The Gospel accounts of Christmas are also packed full of memories. The longings, fears, yearnings, and the hope that right now in some obscure place, in an event, in a moment as common as human birth, something was going to happen which would change everything.

Maybe the moment does make all the difference: last week I was declined. Those few seconds you wait between putting your card into the electronic reader and it deciding whether you have the means to pay for the goods in your shopping trolley, or not. Declined or accepted? Thankfully, this time, I was declined because I’d entered the wrong pin number and not because I’d run out of money. An electronic process tells me whether I am declined or accepted, saved or lost.

If we could focus on that moment, what it means to be accepted, what it mean to feel truly welcomed. If, as a Church together, we could this Christmas express the wonderful graciousness of God in the way we extend hospitality to those who come along to our services or live in the communities we serve. If we could do this right, so many other things I think would fall into place. I suspect that quite a few in our community are going to feel or be declined this Christmas – one way or another. But that moment when people feel accepted, let’s focus on that and make it happen for the sake of the Gospel.


The decision by the insurance company Ansvar to withdraw from New Zealand and cancel all their insurance policies on 31 December 2011 has come at short notice, and, with Christmas just around the corner, at a particularly difficult time. Ansvar provides insurance cover for most of our parishes. The Presbyterian Insurance Group, which works on behalf of congregations to negotiate appropriate coverage at the most competitive price, is now waiting for our broker at AON to report on negotiations being undertaken to secure on-going insurance cover. As soon as the details are known the Insurance Group will be in contact with all parishes which took out insurance through them. The Insurance Group expect to know these details early-to-mid December. Ansvar is obligated to refund to the Insurance Group the premium in respect of the unexpiered period from 1 January to 31 July 2012. This refund will be applied to the cost of cover from 1 January. I am assured that all is being done to have cover in place as soon as possible; however we do not know what these details are, or the implications in terms of the future cost of insurance cover.

Family Violence, the Church, Presbyterian Support and Lent

The commitment by the Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Support to express our shared concerned about the well being of families in all their diversity, and to support efforts to care for children and young people who are the victims of family violence, is called PresCare.

We are inviting congregation to particularly focus on these issues over the 40 day period of Lent from February 22 to April 7, 2012. Our belief that peace and justice and the care of the most vulnerable are central to our Christian faith, lead us to prayer and practical action as well as supporting a prophetic voice that might speak to the underlying causes of such high levels of family violence in a country which is blessed in so many ways.

 Voting for the Moderator-elect, 2014. Stage 1 – deadline Friday 10 February 2012

 As the fist stage in the election process, all presbyteries, UDCs and Te Aka Puaho are asked to nominate one person each to enter the voting process coordinated by the Nominating Committee. Parish Councils etc should suggest names for consideration by a meeting of their presbytery, UDC or Te Aka Puaho. Each prebytery, UDC or Te Aka Puaho should send one name to the Convenor of the Nominating Committee, the Rev Ian Hyslop, 10 Cox Street, Geraldine 7930 - hyslops@maxnet.co.nz. The nomination needs to be with Ian by Friday 10 February, 2012.

 2012 General Assembly

 The Assembly will open at our national marae at Ohope on the morning of Thursday 4 October 2012 and continue from there to Rotorua Boy’s High School from Thursday afternoon till its conclusion on Sunday 7 October. It is not too early to start thinking about any proposals for legislation or any other matter a church council or presbytery might like to bring to the General Assembly – all such material will need to be at the Assembly Office by June 2012.

Ministry Development Programme

In order for ministers to retain their certificate of good standing, it is essential that they participate in the Ministry Development Programme and complete their first ministry review by October 2013. Many have already benefited from the review process. Ministers will not be in good standing if they do not have a review that is less than two years old as at October 2013. This does not apply to retired ministers, unless they are in, or plan to return to, some active, recognised ministry role. Full details here.

New staff member

In mid-January 2012 Assembly Office welcomes a new staff member; Jeff Bell joins our communications team as communications advisor. Jeff is an enthusiastic young man with journalism experience who previously worked in communications at Victoria University.

CWM vacancies

A number of roles are now being advertised for senior CWM positions based at their new offices in Singapore. See more information here. If you are interested in applying for any of these positions please note that applications close 31 December 2011. CWM will also shortly be advertising through the CWM Pacific churches for the Auckland-based role of Regional Secretary.

Assembly Office

The Assembly Office will be closed from 23 December 2011 till Monday 9 January 2012. For any critical issues arising over this time please email me or contact me on 09 4290279 or 027 445 2521.


On behalf of all the team at the Assembly Office I want to thank you for your support and encouragement over 2011. We wish you all a joyful and happy Christmas and a relaxing time through the holidays.


Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Following on from the production of our Eldership Handbook earlier this year, the Knox Centre is pleased to make available to the Church a Leadership Handbook. The questions at the end of each section make this a useful tool for reflecting on the theology and practice of Christian leadership in the New Zealand context. An electronic version of the handbook can be downloaded from the Knox Centre web site, and printed and bound copies can be ordered from the Knox Centre at $5 per copy. The Knox Centre is available to lead workshops based on the handbook.

Graham Redding

Global Mission

Centenary of Christian Hospital, Jagadhri

Ryhan Prasad and I represented Global Mission and the Friends of Jagadhri Trust at the celebrations at Christian Hospital and were treated with great hospitality! It was great to see the outcomes of the long relationship of love and service between New Zealand and Jagadhri. You can see some photos and read the report on the Global Mission web page.

Going Global

Last month we announced an exciting mission trip to Lenakel Cove, Tanna Island in Vanuatu, July 2012, for 17-25 year olds. As there are limited places available, we encourage you to talk to your young people now.

Opportunity for Summer Building Project on Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Together with one of their student friends from Talua Ministry Training Centre, the Levys in Vanuatu are going to Tanna Island to work on a project in the village of Maliwan Tarawai. Read more about the project, which involves finishing building a community church. If any individuals or parish group would like to take up this opportunity, please contact Roger on paula.roger@gmail.com or me on pamela@presbyterian.org.nz

Visitor from Presbyterian Church of Myanmar

Currently, Angela Norton and a team of young people from Dunedin, Wellington and Christchurch are visiting Tahan, Myanmar, on a pilgrimage of pain and hope. When they return, we are welcoming a leader from our partner church to New Zealand, Go Kan Suan. Read more in the Mingalaba newsletter  You can meet Go Kan and hear first-hand about our mission relationship here:

Monday 5 December 6.30pm
St Columba, Botany, Auckland
Contact: Dorne Barnard, 09 274 4864

Tuesday 6 December 6pm
St John's in the City, Wellington
Contact: Rev Stuart Simpson 04 385 1546

Sunday 11 December 8.30am & 10.30am (church services)
St Columba, Botany, Auckland
 Contact: Dorne Barnard 09 274 4864

Tuesday 13 December
Christchurch Presbytery dinner

Wednesday 14 December (morning tea)

St Margaret's Presbyterian, Christchurch
Contact: Rev Phil King 03 359 0149

Pamela Tankersley
Global Mission coordinator

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Going Deeper was an excellent weekend of youth ministry training held in Featherston. We explored issues of safety and RAMs forms used within youth ministry, evaluation culture, relational youth ministry, faith development, and thinking about how these various sessions applied to the specific contexts of the participants.

Safety was new to a number of youth leaders participating. Gordon has updated the manual, Safety in Youth Ministry, which is available to download on our website I would encourage you to have a read of this and to email this link to your main youth leader. It has forms for Police checks, RAMs, driving, incident reports and a few other helpful forms. These forms are also downloadable separately on our website.

The Diploma in Presbyterian Youth Ministry starts next year. This is an internship done in the context of a BMin through Laidlaw College or Carey Baptist College. It is overseen in partnership between PYM and KCML. The student will be involved in youth ministry in a local church while studying. If you have someone you think would be interested in studying youth ministry then get in touch with me for further information, carlton@presbyterian.org.nz

I would like to farewell Robyn Burnett who is finishing up as the youth coordinator for Christchurch Presbytery. She has done an amazing job of supporting youth leaders and churches and coordinating youth ministry in the region during her time in this role. Her enthusiasm is contagious and I know our youth workers have deeply valued her pastoral care, networking and resourcing which has strengthened youth ministry in Christchurch. I also want to thank Christchurch Presbytery for their strong support of Robyn and her role and youth ministry. PYM wishes you all the best Robyn, as you enter into the next chapter. You will be missed but certainly not forgotten.

Carlton Johnstone
Youth Ministry Development leader

Kids Friendly

Relevance and re-growth

I recently spent a lovely sunny Sunday with the people of St Paul’s Presbyterian Parish on beautiful Waiheke Island. I was invited to share the Kids Friendly vision and encourage them in their mission to children and families. I was inspired by their obvious commitment to minister to children and families and to share the love of Christ with their community.

Joint session clerk Alan Smith remarked that he’d been reminded of what he already knew, namely, that if a church is to grow and be healthy it needs to invest in children and families. He spoke of his days serving at a little church in Waitara called Knox Presbyterian. When he and his wife Heather first visited Waitara in 1979 there was talk of closure because of declining numbers. Despite trying to join other “more suitable” churches in Taranaki, God kept calling the Smiths back to Waitara. Their joining coincided with that of several other young couples and together they dreamt of a church that could impact the community of Waitara.

 “We bought a bus, painted it orange, and started ministering to young people,” Alan says. “Soon we started to see life creep back into our church.”

Today Knox Waitara is one of our finest Kids Friendly churches. Jennie McCullough and the ministry team, including over 50 young volunteers, minister to children and families every day of the week.

“We are a small church, but we have a big heart,” Jennie says. “We want to love and disciple the young people of Waitara so they grow up as people of faith who will impact their world.”

Hearing the story of Knox’s decline and re-growth was very encouraging to me and confirms that it is never too late to start ministering to children and families. There are so many opportunities to serve and be relevant to our communities’ families.

“A church which out of repentance, grows a new relevance to the contemporary world, may also grow in numbers and strength, because the spirit of Jesus has been released to do his work.” - Bob Jackson, Hope for the Church

Please make ministry to young people a core value of your church.

Jill Kayser
Kids Friendly national coach

Presbyterian Women

Please join us for our National Gathering, 20 to 22 April 2012 at Rangi Ruru Girls' School, Christchurch. The theme will be, "Growing into the Future". If any parish has not received a Gathering brochure, please download one from our webpage  or contact our National Secretary, Valerie Anderson, PO Box 105, Alexandra. Please get your bookings in to us by 28 February 2012. Registration is just $25 per person.

Our guest speakers at the Gathering will include: John Hunt - author on Gaelic spirituality; Gwen Neave - ONZM, JP, Turakina Old Girl, and Jan McMeeken - Youth Court Judge, Christchurch. We look forward to you seeing you in Christchurch and sharing this weekend with you.

Annual Report

The Presbyterian Women Annual Report is currently being compiled by Valerie Anderson and will be distributed in February.

Wishing you all a stress-free lead up to Christmas, and blessings for a safe, restful and happy holiday season.

Jan Harland
Incoming Convenor


Spiritual Growth Ministries 2012 programme and journal available

Copies of the newly revamped Spiritual Growth Ministries Journal Refresh, entitled "Wooed by God", and the programme of Retreats and Quiet Days for 2012, are now available from Carole Hunt, sgm@clear.net.nz

Spanz magazine February 2012

Due to a staffing shortage Spanz magazine will not be produced in December, the December edition will be rolled into the February edition. The next edition of Spanz will be in parishes and online in February 2012. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Presbyterian Investment Fund

The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund accounts will remain at 5.25 per cent for December 2011 and January 2012. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information email the Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie 

Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network poetry collection available in accessible formats

Oh Light - an anthology of writings and reflections to enrich the spirit (2008) is now available in several accessible formats including braille, DAISY audio CD and ordinary CD.

The anthology, published by the Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network, has proved a popular resource for individuals and church groups. It is anchored in the experience of disability yet is for all people who are drawn to explore the inner journey. Members of the RNZFB can loan these (and other electronic and braille versions) from the Foundation’s library. A CD is also available to the general public.

For a braille or DAISY audio CD contact: The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind on 0800 24 33 33, Auckland callers 355 6969 or library@rnzfb.org.nz

For general CD or print versions contact: The Disability Spirituality and Faith Network www.dsfnetwork.org

2011-2012 Lectionary online

You can download the Year B - Mark, Lectionary from the Church website

Commemorative service for St George’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch February 2012

Attention all folks who have ever been associated with St George’s Presbyterian Church, Linwood Avenue, Christchurch, a commemorative service will be held on 26 February at 2.30 pm, titled, “The collective memories of St George’s service in the community”. If you are sending any photos etc please remember to include your name, the event, date and details of people in the photo. Are you interested in attending the service? If so, please send us your contact details so we are able to send you an invitation - we would love to have you join us. Email office.stgeorgesiona@gmail.com

 NZ Rural Church newsletter is now online

The latest ecumenical NZ rural church newsletter can be read and downloaded here.

IRCA-OCEANIA 8th Quadrennial Trans-Tasman Rural Conference, 2 – 6 July 2012, Queensland

The theme is resilience - “Building robust communities”. Venue: Herberton, Atherton Tablelands (West of Cairns), Far North Queensland, Australia.

Conference begins with evening meal Monday 2 July and ends 3pm Friday 6 July. The proposed programme sets aside Tuesday for sharing stories and input from a keynote speaker, local mayors, and emergency services. The theme recognises that many rural regions in both countries have experienced extreme natural events. The trans-Tasman gathering is an opportunity to share wisdom gained, continuing concerns, solidarity and prayer.

Field trips on Wednesday and Thursday to Mareeba and Southern Tablelands. Wednesday evening is free time, keynote speaker Thursday evening, own reflections Friday.

Cost: NZD500-550 is projected for the conference – accommodation, two coach trips, four dinners and breakfasts, all linen, setting up and cleaning etc. The organisers are planning for volunteers to transport people up from Cairns.

See irca.net.nz and click on the trans-Tasman link under “latest IRCA news”. Register there soon. Thinking of attending? Please get in touch with Robyn McPhail robyn@chirmac.co.nz for more details and to share travel ideas.

I Saw Love Today, new spiritual anthology produced by Albury Pleasant Point Presbyterian Parish, South Canterbury

A wonderful collection of stories and poems aimed at providing inspiration and hope. Dedicated to the people of Canterbury to help them look to the future following the devastating earthquakes. $20 per copy plus $5 postage and packaging. Email Yvonne Gray, b.y.gray@xtra.co.nz Bulk order discounts available.

Free tickets to show in Christchurch

The comedy show, The Legend Returns is offering free tickets to people “who have had a bad time of it during the earthquakes”. The show is going to be in the Celebration Theatre (a marquee in Hagley Park) on December 4, 6, 7, 8. It is about a fading opera singer and her long suffering accompanist and is very lighthearted. See www.willowproductions.co.nz for more information, contact info@willowproductions.co.nz

Download a religious autobiography by the Rev Ewing Stevens

The Rev Ewing Stevens (MBE, JP, BA, DIP Theology) has recently published as an e-book, A follower of Jesus: from alpha to omega in faith. He traces his religious development and faith from childhood to his present age of 85 years. He highlights the controversy over his book JESUS, published in the 1970s, and how his faith has endured. His aim is to show through his own experience “how Christian faith changes and develops through the years as human knowledge and science impinges upon it”. Download for $4.99 here.

Dick Tripp book on caring for creation

The Biblical Mandate for Caring for Creation (150pp), is a new book by Dick Tripp, it explores all the reasons in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation as to why we should look after the planet. There are five introductory chapters giving a historical background to the issue and developments over the last 50 years from a secular and Christian perspective. The foreword is by Archbishop David Moxon, President of the New Zealand Branch of Arocha. It is published by Avery Bartlett (books@averybartlett.co.nz) but it may also be obtained from Dick for $25, phone 03 329 9752 or dick.tripp@christianity.co.nz

Global Institute of Theology, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 8 June - 1 July 2012

Are you a student of theology preparing for the Christian ministry or a pastor in your first years of ministry? Would you like an opportunity to learn and interact with other theology students/pastors from different parts of the world? The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), of which the PCANZ is a member Church, will hold its third Global Institute of Theology (GIT) in 2012. The Global Institute of Theology gives theological students and faculty from all over the world the opportunity to learn, teach, and do theology in an intercontextual and ecumenical way, situating the theological task in local, regional and world contexts. If you would like to be one of the participants for the GIT 2012, where you will be part of lectures, seminars, exposures, contextual experiences, the sharing of stories, and life of the churches in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, fill in the registration form . Note: applications close today 1 December 2011.

Prayer requests for our Mission Partnership in Myanmar

Sign up to the email newsletter Mingalaba at www.myanmar.stcolumba.org.nz to keep informed on:

What’s happening with our friends in Myanmar

Updates on project developments

Prayer requests

Information on the upcoming trips to Myanmar

Debbie Shepherd contemporary gospel album 139 released

The organisation, A Girl Called Hope, receives $5 from every CD sold. This organisation provides education and support to New Zealand women who are facing issues such as abuse, self-harm, eating disorders and depression.

Free online theological resources

The Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism (GlobeTheoLib) is a multi-lingual global digital library on theology and ecumenism that offers access to more than 200,000 texts, documents and other academic resources. GlobeTheoLib is a project of Globethics.net and the World Council of Churches, with other international partners. Register to access free resources here

Is your parish website on the Presbyterian Church website?

Does your church have its website listed here on the Presbyterian Church website? If not and if you would like your site added please email your web address to angela@presbyterian.org.nz

Have your say for vulnerable children and young people

The Government’s Green Paper for Vulnerable Children sets out some ideas on how to improve the lives of vulnerable children. Now it is asking for feedback, comments and submissions. You and your parish (including young people) can get involved, both individually and from your Session or Parish Council. You could also provide information to the community through your outreach programmes.

To find out more about the Green Paper go to www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz. Resources include discussion questions, freepost submission forms, resources for engaging children and young people

Every idea counts, no matter how big or small. Submissions close 28 February 2012 

CWS Notices

CWS shows how to feed the hungry world

Fair, affordable food is central to the 66thChristmas Appeal from Christian World Service. You can see more and donate to the appeal by going to christmasappeal.org.nz

The food theme resulted from realising that the success story that had been the food story in recent years was going backwards. While food prices and access caused chaos and misery, CWS also had solutions to offer to these problems based on practical proven programs. It is in this context that the Christmas Appeal shows both the problems but also the solutions that people here can help to support.

The Christmas Appeal also shows how helping people grow good food is also good development practice when it is done responsively with the locals. It is the sort of development CWS has done for years, a strongly Kiwi way of getting beside the poor and the powerless. The CWS-backed approach of working with small scale farmers to make the most of their resources naturally and sustainably is getting global attention. It was summed up by Sri Lankan agriculture expert and partner, Sarath Fernando of MONLAR (Sri Lankan Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform) when he spoke at the English Houses of Parliament in October: “ Sunlight does not send a bill at the end of the month, nor does the moisture in the soil.” It was a powerful summary of how natural farming systems keep costs down for peasant farmers.

The 66th Christmas Appeal takes place against a backdrop of huge change for Christchurch based CWS. The Canterbury earthquakes have meant losing national office access. Government funding policy changes have also meant that CWS has reverted to operating as a donor based organisation.

Church Register

Reception to the Roll

Rev Chung-Seung Park, received from the Presbyterian Church of Korea, 15 September 2011.

Ordination and Inductions

Rev Darryl Tempero, Other Recognised Minister, Christchurch Presbytery, to Christchurch Presbytery Resource Minister, Christchurch Presbytery, 1 September 2011.

Short-Term Appointments

Pastor Graeme Birch, of the Baptist Church of New Zealand, to Minister (Stated Supply), St Martin’s Presbyterian Church, Papatoetoe, Northern Presbytery, 16 October 2011, for a six month appointment.


Rev Murray Allan, Other Recognised Minister, Christchurch Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, 11 October 2011.

Rev Graeme Pratley, Other Recognised Minister, Christchurch Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, 30 June 2010.


Rev Beryl Palmer, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, died 3 September 2011.

Rev Thomas (Tom) Millar, Minister Emeritus, Taranaki Presbytery, died 1 November 2011.

Rev William (Bill) Earle, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, died 5 November 2011.

Removals from the Roll (inactive in ordained ministry within the Presbyterian Church)

Rev Abera Abera, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev Anthony Campbell, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev Robert Francesco, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev Clive Halliday, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev Steve Havilitama, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev Keith Sellar, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev David Williams, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.

Rev Wairata Marshall, Other Recognised Minister, Te Aka Puaho, removed from the Ministerial Roll, 21 November 2011.


The Rev John Franklin was incorrectly recorded as having resigned from the Presbyterian ministry. We apologise to John.  He has been removed from the Ministerial Roll but remains a Presbyterian minister.


Check out our listing of national and regional events.


Check out our jobs vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table.