From the Moderator
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16
For some evangelism is a dirty word. Others want to evangelise but feel inadequate and paralysed. Either way, there is little of it happening – evangelism depends on an enthusiastic few yet it is the heart of our mission.
We simply have to put evangelism back on the agenda. We must re-prioritise it. That means putting some resources into it.
Of course, converts must be discipled, but let’s focus on evangelism. Is evangelism really central to our mission? We need to be clear.
The Bible has a great deal to say about justice, poverty etc but I suspect that when we focus there, and ignore evangelism; we have lost the heart of our calling.
The Great Commission is about the proclamation of the gospel. Jesus and the apostles spent a lot more time making disciples than they did transforming society. Or, we should say they transformed society primarily by making disciples. In other words, the transformation of society and the alleviation of poverty happen as a result of people becoming followers of Jesus and therefore becoming people of compassion and challenging injustice. Mature disciples will care about justice and the environment but to try to bring those things about without people transformed by the Holy Spirit is putting the cart before the horse, or, indeed, having a cart with no horse.
We must get evangelism back on the agenda. It is what we are primarily about. Make good disciples and the rest will follow.
If we need to debate this let’s do that but if we don’t let’s just prayerfully seek God’s help to faithfully follow Jesus’ example: making fishers of people.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
One of the things my children reminded me about when they were very young was the fact that some stories are worth reading again, and again and again. It wasn’t just that they were favourite stories; it was also the act of being together, hearing, listening, and being conscious of each other’s closeness and warmth - a certain order and rhythm that gave the story significance well beyond the words on the page.
How many times have we celebrated Easter? Ministers and worship leaders have joined with artists through the centuries in seeking ways to affirm afresh the wonders of this mystery. Telling the story, proclaiming the Word, brings something new into being. It happens every time, somehow. The presence of the Spirit in the midst of this proclamation is the essence of our life together as the Church.
I hope and pray that in the busyness of this Easter you have found a time and place to be refreshed and renewed.
Earthquake Appeal Update
I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of individuals, congregations and presbyteries.
Thanks to a wonderful boost of AUS$50,000 from our friends in the Uniting Church of Australia the earthquake fund has now received over $220,000.
It is humbling and heartening to also note the other generous gifts from overseas. Even from some of our least well-off partner churches, for example, our friends in the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar and the Christian Church in Thailand. A range of individual congregations in the US and Scotland, that feel some connection here, have also held special offerings.
Funds are now being allocated through the Christchurch Presbytery to support congregations most affected by the earthquakes and also to help those at the forefront of supporting outreach and ministry.
It is good and strengthening for us to know and have affirmed in this way that we are part of this wonderfully generous and supportive household of God.
Congregations and individuals can make offerings by direct bank credit to the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, account number 02 0500 0086963 00. Please include the reference: CHQUAKE. Or please post to: Financial Services, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, PO Box 9049, Wellington 6141.
Special legislative procedure
The General Assembly decided that now all parish councils as well as presbyteries, UDC’s and Te Aka Puaho should be given the opportunity to discuss and decide on proposed changes to our Book of Order. There were a number of proposed changes and significant background information given to Commissioners explaining why some of these changes were important. All parish councils and presbyteries have now been sent this documentation and will need to set aside time to discuss and vote on the proposals. To download a copy of these documents please click here. If you are a presbytery clerk, UDC secretary, or parish council convenor and have not received these documents please contact me. The deadline for replies is 31 August 2011. This material can be downloaded here.
Please note that a fresh copy of the Kupu Whakapono and the Commentary, corrected of typos and laid out in a clearer format, are now available here. You might find it easier to use this copy in your considerations under the relevant special legislative procedure.
General Assembly 2012
The dates for next year’s General Assembly will be on or about Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 October in Rotorua. Hosted jointly by Te Aka Puaho and the Kaimai Presbytery.
Confessions of Faith
As requested by the General Assembly we now have a collection of these in both downloadable and printable forms. You can download the 1 MB file here. The document is over 300 pages long, so if you want us to print you out a version could you send us a request with $40.
Juliette Bowater, who has provided help and advice to so many congregations and ministers over more than five years, is leaving us for a new human resource role. She has been especially helpful in supporting the development of the Minister’s Development Programme, and has provided support to the Personnel Work Group and the Leadership Sub Committee of the Council. We wish Juliette God’s blessing in her new work. Juliette’s last day is Friday 6 May.
I will be working with a small committee to determine the best ways for Assembly Office to fulfil the services that Juliette has been providing.
Once again, I would like to express great thanks for your generous support, especially for the overwhelming commitment of prayers, money, time and goods which have been such a blessing for those in Christchurch.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
A new Handbook for Elders is available from the Knox Centre, and the Principal and staff are available to lead presbytery workshops on this and other aspects of ministry upon request. The Handbook for Elders covers both session and parish council contexts.
Three of our ministry students recently spent a week in Christchurch assisting the Salvation Army’s pastoral response team, going door-to-door to check on how people most affected by the quake were doing. All three students testified to a most challenging and rewarding experience.
Over the past year Simon Rae has been writing a history of the former Theological Hall and School of Ministry. The final manuscript has gone to print. We will be announcing the date of a book launch soon – most likely in June. Watch this space.
A key concept in Global Mission is “partnership” and this past and coming month will see some of our partnerships really enhanced.
Partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Korea
We welcomed many new Korean Presbyterian ministers and congregations to the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand and were blessed by the visit of the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the Rev Dr S K Cho. Our discussions with Dr Cho will lead to a strengthening of the partnership between our two churches
Partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar
It was a joy to visit Myanmar (with support from Presbyterian Women) to attend the Golden Jubilee of the Presbyterian Women of Myanmar. The partnership between our women’s groups has the potential to grow thanks to these wonderful, resilient and resourceful women. While we were there, our Myanmar partnership coordinator Angela Norton discussed with the leaders of the church their vision and priorities for our mission partnership and how we can best support them. We were much moved - we knew that they had been praying for our Church after the Christchurch earthquake, but when we left this struggling church gave us a donation for the churches most affected. This is what partnership means in the context of our common call to love one another, to support each other in our most vulnerable times.
Partnerships in the Council for World Mission
In June we are hosting in Auckland two major annual Pacific consultations, where we will talk with our nine Pacific CWM partners about how we can work together in mission and how we can enhance our own mission in New Zealand.
It is in the context of these partnerships that our relationships in Christ is grounded, so that all may have the opportunity to give and receive.
If you or a church group you belong to would like to invite someone from Global Mission to come and discuss how you can be involved in these partnerships, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Mission coordinator
God is at work as our churches discover that there is a hunger for authentic relationships, and openness to the gospel in their communities. While growth can be hard to measure in the short-term, Good News stories abound and inspire others.
Many of our churches are accessing, and appreciating, Kids Friendly resources, training and encouragement. The Kids Friendly self review process is facilitating discussion and generating ideas on how to intentionally welcome, include and celebrate children. Churches are partnering with their local schools to provide: religious education teachers, chaplains, SUPAkidz lunchtime programmes, one-to-one reading tutors, staff morning teas and more. Fun, safe, church-based kids clubs and holiday programmes are well attended. Preschool music and movement clubs flourish and facilitate relationship building. Many leaders are asking what church might look like for the families they contact and then stepping out boldly into new styles of worship - often with food, music and crafts which are more informal and appealing to these families.
Grandparents (even great-grandparents!) form a significant proportion of our volunteer teams as churches face the reality of smaller numbers of often un-churched parents, who feel “unqualified”. Many also work full-time and can’t commit to volunteer. “I’ve had my turn” is no longer a viable excuse if we are to walk through the wide open door to children and families in our communities.
Our time for ministering is never over. Our communities’ families need to be welcomed, encouraged and listened to and many faithful grandparent leaders and helpers are rising to this challenge, and along the way discovering a second childhood and fresh enthusiasm!
Let Kids Friendly help resource and encourage you as you face the missional challenges of sharing God’s Good News of welcome to children and families of the 21st century.
Kids Friendly Advisor, Synod of Otago and Southland
Property Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid to Presbyterian Investment Fund depositors will remain at 5.25 per cent for May. The Fund accepts deposits from parishes, but it is not open to individuals. For further information email the Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie.
Property Handbook translators sought
The Church Property Trustees are looking for volunteers to translate the Property Handbook into the Samoan and Korean languages. If you are able to help, please contact the Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie.
Spiritual Directors’ Formation Programme 2012-13
Are you interested in helping people grow in their relationship with God and already have people approaching you to talk about their spiritual life? Our well regarded and comprehensive two year part-time course will inspire and form you as an effective spiritual director. For details contact The Coordinator, Barbara McMillan, email@example.com or visit our website http://www.sgm.org.nz Applications are due by 20 August 2011. Late applications may be considered.
Knox Centre conference 29-30 July – “To Mend the World: A confluence of theology and the arts”
A conference and exhibition entitled “To Mend The World: A confluence of theology and the arts”, will take place at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 July. For further information and registration details, please see the website http://tomendtheworld.wordpress.com/
Rural Conference in Gore, June 2011
The Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland are supporting the Rural Conference 2011 to be held in Gore, Southland, in June. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (03) 477 7362 or 027 687 9533.
Ecumenical rural ministry newsletter
The latest New Zealand ecumenical rural ministry newsletter can now be downloaded from the Church website http://presbyterian.org.nz/national-ministries/rural-ministry/rural-network-news
New director for EIDTS
The Ecumenical Institute of Distance Theological Studies (EIDTS) announces the appointment of Linda Cowan as its new director. She replaces the Very Reverend Bruce Hansen who is retiring after 10 years. Linda was principal of Waitaki Girls' High School, Oamaru, a post she held for 13 years. Since 2009 she has been a Children and Family Worker at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Bryndwr, Christchurch. Linda describes herself as a strongly committed member of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, is a member of the New Zealand Lay Preachers’ Association and has been involved in co-operating parishes.
Two church-goers wanted to represent the Church at the Father’s Day breakfast, Wellington, 14 June
Two church-going fathers are wanted to represent the Church. Each receive a free ticket to the Father’s Day breakfast (but you need to make your own way to there). The breakfast event aims to invigorate and energise fathers about the role they play in their family and church family. If is hoped the two selected fathers will take what they learn from the event back to their parishes. Guest speakers include Judge Andrew Becroft (Principal Youth Court Judge), Gordon Tiejtens CNZM (Coach of NZ Sevens Rugby Team), Professor Sir Paul Callaghan GNZM,FRS,FRSNZ (New Zealand physicist), Parents Inc's Bruce Pilbrow (CEO and director) and Ian Grant QSO (Founder and director of Parents Inc).Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 7.10 – 8.30 am. Michael Fowler Centre, Wakefield Street, Wellington
To enter the draw for the two tickets email your name to email@example.com
Entries close 5pm on 27 May 2011.
South Island Ministry Conference 10-12 May
The South Island Ministry Conference is being held at East Taieri Church from 10 - 12 May 2011. See the Church website for full conference agenda http://presbyterian.org.nz/for-parishes/events/south-island-ministry-conference
World Council of Churches on Facebook
The World Council of Churches now has an official page on www.facebook.com/worldcouncilofchurches It is hoped that members of the WCC fellowship and friends from other churches and other religious beliefs will use the page to share prayers and concerns.
World Sunday for Peace 22 May
Sunday, 22 May 2011 churches in every corner of the world are invited to celebrate God’s gift of peace. Those who take part will be together in spirit, song and prayer with the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Jamaica, united in the hope of peace. Read more at http://www.overcomingviolence.org/en/peace-convocation/world-sunday-for-peace.html
50th Jubilee of Calvin Community Church (Presbyterian) 15 May 2011
Celebration church service on Sunday 15 May at 10.30 am, Peter Cheyne will speak. This will be followed by a shared lunch. For more information email Jennifer Longworth firstname.lastname@example.org
Lower North Island Vision Day 14 May 2011
The Lower North Island Vision Day will be held 14 May at St Marks Uniting Church, Woburn Road, Lower Hutt, Wellington, from 9.30am – 4pm. For more information or to book places please contact: Bob Franklyn, email@example.com or ph (04) 5894701.
National Volunteering Conference, Wellington, 23-24 May
The National Volunteering Conference in Wellington on 23-24 May presents an opportunity to gain up-to-the minute insights on volunteering matters and consider how these impact on the work of your church. The programme features a special focus on volunteer involvement following Canterbury's two major earthquakes. More information at http://www.volunteeringnz.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=182&Itemid=82
A worship resource guide for Asia Sunday 5 June 2011
Asia Sunday falls on 5 June 2011.The theme is, “Make Us Healers, O God”. Since 1974, Asia Sunday has been celebrated in Asia and among ecumenical organisations around the world on the Sunday before Pentecost. The observance is to commemorate the founding of the East Asia Christian Conference, renamed in 1973 as the Christian Conference of Asia. Download worship resources from “Liturgical Resources” http://www.cca.org.hk/resources/resframe.htm
CWS has launched an appeal for Japan after April’s magnitude 9 earthquake rocked the north-eastern coast, causing a massive tsunami. Over 28,000 people lost their lives and thousands more were injured. Hundreds of thousands lost homes. The situation is compounded by the bitterly cold weather and the ongoing nuclear crisis. CWS partners in ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) are providing basic support such as food, water, medical assistance, sanitation, electricity and fuel. They are focusing on vulnerable groups including the elderly, single mothers and foreign migrant workers. Please pray for the people of northern Japan and support the CWS appeal. An appeal leaflet is available from www.cws.org.nz. Donations can be sent to CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8142.
Fair Trade fortnight 7-22 May
Don’t forget to celebrate the life changing difference fair trade makes. CWS is asking more churches to sign up as “Fair Trade Churches”. If you are already a fair trade church – using only fair trade tea and coffee for morning teas - then show-off your swap. Take a photo with a “we’ve swapped to fair trade” sign and send it to CWS. Worship materials for a fair trade focus are now available at www.cws.org.nz Follow the Fair Trade Fortnight link.
Update on government funding
CWS is grateful for the many individuals who expressed concern about the impact of the changed funding scheme for overseas aid and development. Thanks in part to these, and the efforts made by the national Church leaders, some changes in the process have been made. We are waiting to see the results of this, but remain very concerned at the loss of funding to date and its detrimental impact on programmes to overcome poverty. See www.cws.org.nz for a full update.
Ms Horiana Hayes, Student Ordinand, Te Aka Puaho, to Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, 27 March 2011.
Mr Matthew Chapman, Student Ordinand, Northern Presbytery, to Licentiate, Northern Presbytery, 13 March 2011.
Ordination and inductions
Rev Horiana Hayes, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi, Whakatane Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 27 March 2011.
Rev Jangwon (Joshua) Seo, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, to Minister (with special responsibility for Korean Congregation), St Andrew’s Presbyterian Parish, Manurewa, Northern Presbytery, 19 December 2011 (part-time).
Rev Robin Palmer, Chaplain, Scots College, Wellington, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister. Browns Bay/Torbay Presbyterian, Northern Presbytery, 30 March 2011.
Rev Gillian Woodward, Other Recognised Minister, South Auckland Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 31 January 2011.
Changes in Co-operative Venture Ministries
Rev Dawn Daunauda, of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, was appointed Priest in Charge, Seddon – Awatere Christian Joint Venture Church, Nelson-Marlborough Presbytery, 1 July 2010.
Short term appointments
Rev Shirley Fergusson, Minister Emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, completed Stated Supply, St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, Kaimai Presbytery, 28 February 2011.
Rev George Heta, Minister Emeritus, Te Aka Puaho, died 3 March 2011.
Rev Rangiora Rakuraku, Minister Emeritus, Te Aka Puaho, died 14 March 2011.
Rev Blair Rodgers, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, died 17 April 2011.
In the March Bush Telegraph it was reported that the Rev Uiva Vagana retired on 22 December 2010. The correct date is 31 December 2010.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.