From the Moderator
As I travel the country, many people ask me what I see my main task of Moderator as being. My simple one line answer is, “To help the Church keep its eye on the ball”. As the rugby season is getting underway, we are seeing that the team that does best is the one that keeps its eye on the ball. They keep focused on their central purpose. For me, in the Christian context, this is all about Jesus. Wherever I go, and whatever I do, I try above all to talk about Jesus. There are many things that have become urgent in our church life: insurance, earthquake repairs, buildings, money, tax on people living in church houses, risk … this list seems endless. But there is one thing that is more important than all these urgent matters – proclaiming Jesus!
When Jesus visited this planet years ago, he created quite a stir. Everyone was talking about him.
“Who is he?”
“Where did he come from?”
“How does he heal the sick and raise people from the dead?”
“Where does he get his wisdom?”
So who is Jesus? Here are some witty answers you may have read before. Some say that Jesus was Jewish. There are compelling arguments for that:
1) He went into his father's business.
2) He lived at home until he was 33.
3) He was sure his mother was a virgin and his mother was sure he was God.
Yet there are equally compelling arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1) He talked with his hands.
2) He had wine at every meal.
3) He used olive oil.
However, other evidence suggests that Jesus was a Californian:
1) He never cut his hair.
2) He walked around barefoot all the time.
3) He started a new religion.
Others are emphatic that Jesus was Irish:
1) He never got married.
2) He was always telling stories.
3) He loved green pastures.
The most compelling evidence of all suggests that Jesus may have been a woman:
1) He had to feed a crowd at a moment's notice, when there was no food.
2) He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it.
3) Even when he was dead, he had to get up because there was more work to do.
There was a time when Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" He wanted to know what people and pundits were saying about him. The disciples said to him, "Some say you are John the Baptist, some say Elijah, others say you are one of the prophets”. Everyone had a different opinion about Jesus. Everyone was making Jesus into their own image.
Jesus then asked his disciples, "But who do YOU say that I am?" In effect, he was saying, you disciples have walked with me, talked with me, eaten with me, ministered with me, watched me, learned from me and travelled with me. You have a two-way relationship with me and so should have a more accurate assessment than those who have just heard about me. By now, you should have grown past being influenced by others unqualified to assess who I am, because of lack of relationship or competing agendas.
All of a sudden Peter connected heaven and earth and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. Peter and many others after him to this day got it right. Jesus was sent to earth by God, to embrace the mess that humankind was in.
During February and March, I have been privileged to open and dedicate three new or renovated churches. They expanded because they are growing and need more space for worshippers and also for the community. They are all 'Christ-centred and community facing'. They cost between $1m and $2.5m and all were opened debt free! As I visited each of these churches, what struck me was that people talked to me far more about Jesus than about their new building. They were excited by Jesus. I heard stories of people’s lives being changed by Jesus. These were churches with their eye on the ball. My role was simply to stand with them and celebrate Jesus.
God bless you,
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Southern hemisphere Easters, perhaps like a Southern Hemisphere Pope, represent opportunities for us in the way we speak about our faith. It is a positive and creative thing to find analogies in nature for the new life which springs forth in the proclamation that ‘Christ has risen’. No one quite knows what message this Pope, the first born under the Southern Cross, is going to bring for the Church, but where do we direct attention towards the new things testifying to the resurrection of Jesus?
Perhaps the most overused word in the advertiser’s lexicon is the word ‘new’. While a cell phone or washing powder might be described as new, they are only the developments or improvements of things, ideas and technologies that already exist. They are not new in the way that the Bible talks about new. I remember reading a wonderful reflection on the nature of Gospel newness, written by Paul Tillich. He reminds us that when the Gospel talks about a new thing happening - it is a new creation. It is an event not dependent on past contingencies. What a unique challenge during this Easter season, to speak of things that can happen that are not dependent on the old, death dealing narratives. Personally, structurally as a Church, it is all too easy to listen to the same old stories. There may even be a kind of comfort in that. But to speak about the radical newness of being a resurrected people requires a hope-filled, creative freedom that sits at the heart of the Easter story.
Council of Assembly
The Council of Assembly met at the Mary McKillop Centre, Mission Bay in Auckland on 15-16 March. The Council News can be downloaded here.
Assembly Office closed for Easter
The office will be closed from Friday 28 March and will reopen on Wednesday 3 April. For any urgent matters over this time, please email me or call me on 027445251 or 09 4290279.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year, six people will complete their training as interns. They are a terrific group of people and represent a range of backgrounds and experience. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each are available from the Rev Allister Lane, who coordinates introductions and discussions between final year interns and Ministry Settlement Boards. For more information, please contact Allister.
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. A minister will not be in Good Standing if they do not have a review that is less than three 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.
If you have not completed a review, or your review is more than three years out of date as of October this year, you will no longer be able to conduct weddings nor will you be able to be called to another congregation. Full details here.
Certificates of Good Standing are valid for six years with a review needed to be undertaken every three years. Please note that the guidelines have been updated to take account of ministers serving overseas and active ministers who are not currently serving in parish or chaplaincy positions.
Matters for consideration by presbyteries and church councils
All Assembly Minutes have been posted online. Other matters for consideration, and changes in our Book of Order for consideration by presbyteries, Synod and Te Aka Puaho can now been downloaded here. If you would like this booklet photocopied and mailed to you please email firstname.lastname@example.org
These documents include proposed changes in our Book of Order that require support from church council’s and presbyteries, as well as discussion documents concerning the role of the Moderator, and decisions about the relationship between property and mission. The deadline for responding to these documents is 1 July 2013. This deadline enables us to respond to issues and questions raised in the documents and to engage in further consultation later this year.
PSDS Ministry and Mission Innovation Award
The Presbyterian Savings and Development Society have set aside up to $10,000 to be awarded to help turn a new idea or project, into reality. The idea needs to be: innovative and original (applying a new idea to a particular issue or need); expressive of the mission of the Church; practical and measurable; a completely separate initiative not part of an existing or previous programme; able to be replicated in other churches.
There is no formal application process – just write to: PSDS, PO Box 26-210, Epsom, Auckland, explaining the objective of your project, what your innovation is, how it expresses the mission of the Church, and what your budget requirements are. Applications will be accepted until 30 April.
Thanks again for all you do to support our Church and mission.
I have just arrived home after three weeks in Myanmar and India so it is taking me a while to find my feet again.
The trip was extremely positive and I came home feeling confident about the future of our partnerships with the churches in both countries. If we dwelt on the challenges it would soon become overwhelming. But by looking at the positives, I believe we have ongoing opportunities to be a valued and effective partner in mission well into the future.
It was a privilege to be invited to speak at the Tahan Theological College Graduation Dinner in Myanmar, which I attended with Robert Stewart from Christchurch Presbytery. When I accepted the invitation, I had thought it was only going to be a small event. On the day itself, I discovered there would be more than 700 people present. In the end it worked out well but I was grateful that I had at least been given a few hours warning to prepare for the size of the gathering.
Then in Jagadhri at Christian Hospital, where I was accompanied by Heather Laxon and Brian Rowley from Somervell Church in Auckland, we were honoured guests at the School of Nursing Lamp Lighting Ceremony for first year students. This was a huge honour where we were feted with traditional drums and dancing in a colourful and exuberant welcome. The entire evening was a very impressive and well organised.
My time in India gave me an appreciation of how highly the work of the PCANZ is regarded in Jagadhri, and what an impact it has had on so many lives. It is truly humbling to follow in the footsteps of those who have served so long and so sacrificially in India, and I was deeply conscious of how important it is that we continue to honour this legacy and build on it. I believe our visit there was an encouragement, and I hope that it will also enable us to begin supporting a new venture being run by the Church of North India - more on this later.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing of all for me was that while I was away I received several emails from a range of individuals and congregations within the PCANZ offering to help in Global Mission, including offers of service and financial support. It gave me a feeling that momentum is starting to build and I am encouraged by the prospect of new possibilities emerging. There is much more to say and you can read more on my blog, http://globalmissionpcanz.blogspot.co.nz.
Global Mission Coordinator
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
As you read this I am on paternity/annual leave enjoying the arrival of my little girl, Holly Grace.
It is a busy time of the year for youth ministries, with young people throughout the country heading towards Easter camps for the weekend. If you have young people attending a camp, please encourage your congregation to pray for them. Also create a space for them to share their experience with your congregation upon their return.
Kiwieaster: remember all you need to do to sign up is text ‘follow kiwieaster’ to 8987.
Youth Week is from 4-12 May and the theme is “Live like a Legend”. I want to highlight this now because the Very Rev Dr Graham Redding has created a liturgy to be used in a service on the Sunday of youth week (May 12). It would be fantastic if you used this in your service to celebrate youth week. You can download the liturgy here. Gordon has also created some resources that youth groups can use exploring this theme, these can be downloaded here.
Andrew Root in his recent book Taking Theology to Youth Ministry (which will soon be available in our PYM library held at Hewitson) contends that at its core, youth ministry is about participating in God’s own action.
He says, “Youth ministry is no different from any other ministry in finding its very centre in God’s own act; where it is distinctive only in its cultural location. Youth ministry could be defined as the ministry of the church that seeks to participate in God’s action with and for a culturally identified group called adolescents. What this means in the end is that youth ministry, because its core isn’t games and skits, but the action of God. What makes it distinct from other ministries is its particular focus on the actions of God with and for young people.” (2012, 39).
How is your congregation participating in God’s action with and for young people?
Youth Ministry Development leader
Child friendly churches are non-negotiable
Last month I attended a Council for World Mission regional roundtable meeting of the Churches of Jamaica, Guyana and Cayman Islands. I was invited to represent the Pacific region because five years ago, their churches adopted and adapted Kids Friendly after one of their people heard me share at a “mission with children” conference. They wanted me to advise them on their child friendly journey, offer training and observe, contribute and challenge their meeting content and process.
Becoming a missional church was the meeting’s key agenda, and participants discussed processes for transforming churches into mission stations. I reminded them that in order for change to happen in an organisation, there needs to be dissatisfaction with the status quo. As long as we believe we are doing okay, there will be no impetus for change. It’s often the churches that have 20 plus children worshipping on a Sunday, who put off reviewing their ministry with children or becoming Kids Friendly.
“Why do we need to become Kids Friendly?” one elder recently asked, “Why can’t we just do our own thing?” You can do your own thing if it’s working, but too often it isn’t. Kids Friendly provides a resource and a process for churches to review their ministry and mission with children and develop an intentional plan. It’s tried and tested and regularly updated in response to feedback from our churches.
In sharing his church’s strategy, general secretary Rev Norbert Stephen’s (Church of Jamaica and Cayman Islands) said: “Being child friendly is one of our non-negotiables. We say to our churches, ‘If you are struggling to achieve this we will help you, but creating a space and place for every child to know Christ and minister to us, is non negotiable’”.
Kids Friendly Coach
Our successful consultative workshop at St Christopher’s Church in Wellington last month showed there is room for women’s fellowship to grow, in the wider-Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Following the workshop, our national Treasurer and Secretary came up with a solution to streamline our process for reporting and paying membership fees ($8), as well as national giving for projects and Global Mission. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ngaire Pearce or Valerie Anderson.
Our UN representation in New York included a special workshop with an emphasis on violence against women in the Pacific. Ola Leasi, our Pacific Islands representative enjoyed the opportunity to represent our organisation, meet ecumenical women from around the world, and experience snow in New York!
Many groups around the country are now preparing ways, if they have not done so already, to fundraise for our two projects for 2012-2013: “Disability and Development”. The national project is to assist those disabled within the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, and the international project is to assist the women of Tonga towards a sustainable future.
The most important item for our executive this month is preparing for our national business meeting, which will be held on 25 May, at St John’s in the City, Wellington. A new executive committee will be chosen at this meeting. We are seeking interest from those able to take on the task and encourage young women to put their names forward.
We wish you love, peace and hope this Easter.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at five percent. This rate became effective from 1 February 2012. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer Kos van Lier.
Glen Innis vacancies
April 8 - 15 Cottage
April 15 - 22 Homestead
April 22 - 29 Cottage
April 29 - May 6 Homestead/Cottage
May 6 - 13 Cottage
Going Global 2013 - Youth Mission Trip to Myanmar
A final reminder about Going Global. Participants will need to be aged between 18-30 and available to travel from November 27th – December 13th. For more information about how to be a part of this amazing experience, email Phil King, or phone him on 04 3818294. The information pack can also be downloaded from the Global Mission and Presbyterian Youth Ministry websites.
New Zealand’s own Anzac Hymn (English words by Shirley Erena Murray and music by Colin Gibson) is available from the NZ Hymnbook Trust. Sheet Music Format for 4 part setting (SATB), A4 format, staple bound, words in both English and Te Reo Maori. Full colour cover $3 per copy, plus p&p. To order email NZ Hymnbook Trust Info@hymns.org.nz or phone 06 3569681.
PCANZ Yearbook 2013
The Church’s 2013 Yearbook will be on the Church website within the next week. Each minister, presbytery, clerk and parish will be sent a user name and password to download it. Each month, from May 2013, you will also find here information updated to include recent changes to contact details.
World Autism Awareness Day April 2
Every year, autism organisations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. How will you celebrate? To share your events, please "Like" the World Autism Awareness Day page on Facebook and submit your events by posting information on the wall.
Emails to parish Treasurers
The Church’s finance department has recently had some Treasurer’s newsletters returned. If your email address has changed recently please email it to email@example.com. Please also add this email address to your contacts to avoid the newsletter going into your spam folder.
South Island Ministry Conference
This year’s conference will be held at East Taieri Church in Otago from 14 – 16 May. The conference theme is “a story worth telling” and the keynote speaker is Rob Harley. You can register here http://www.etchurch.co.nz/ministry-conference/conf-rego
Early Years toolbox parenting course
For carers of 0-6 year olds, at Island Bay Community Centre from 13 May for six Monday nights. It will be held from 7.30 to 9.30pm. Cost - double $90, single $67.50. For more information call Liz on 04 3835114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazing opportunity to travel on the Peace Train
The 10th World Council of Churches General Assembly will be held in Korea this year, and inevitably much attention will be drawn to the ongoing division between North and South Korea. Unification of the Korean Peninsula is always on the minds of the Korean people. Prior to the WCC event, a Peace Train, travelling with a message of reconciliation, will depart Berlin on 6 October and travel through Russia and China before arriving in Korea on 28 October. This is being organised by the National Council of Churches in Korea. Information and registration material for the Peace Train can be found at www.peacetrain2013.org
Gardening volunteers wanted
Eighty-two year old Avis Leeson from St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Hamilton has helped teach children in over 40 schools in Hamilton how to grow their own gardens. She featured in the Summer 2012 issue of Spanz and has won a Civic Award Avis cannot do as much as she could because of her age and is looking for volunteers to help her teach the gift of gardening. If you’re interested, give her a call on 07 8525783.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership Theology Study Grants
The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is once again delighted to be able to offer a limited number of scholarships in 2013, to Presbyterians doing part-time or full-time theological studies through Otago University, Auckland University, Laidlaw College, Carey Baptist College and the Ecumenical Institute of Distance Theological Studies. If you know of anyone who might benefit from such a grant, please encourage them to apply. They should send a letter of application detailing their course (and costs) of study, and what church they’re involved in. They should also include a brief letter of support from someone in their church (preferably their minister so we can discuss their church’s involvement and the course of study). The deadline for applications is 31 March 2013. Letters should be sent to the Principal, the Very Rev Dr Graham Redding, at Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Knox College, Arden Street, Opoho, Dunedin 9010 or emailed to email@example.com
Health Care Tutor – Korvan Health Centre, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Are you a qualified nurse or medical professional interested in teaching health care skills overseas? The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu runs a Health Skills Centre in Port Vila, Vanuatu, and is looking for someone qualified to teach basic health care. The period of time involved could be as short as a few weeks or longer depending on your availability. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Global Mission Coordinator Phil King.
St Andrew’s New Plymouth 150th Jubilee
St Andrews Presbyterian Church in New Plymouth will be celebrating 150 years of Ministry from 26-28 April. Registration is by donation and the Jubilee dinner is $55 per person. For more information email Jubilee Coordinator, Alan Wilkinson or phone 06 7533411.
Go to www.irca.net.nz for information about events and activities of the International Rural Churches Association and of rural churches around the world. Click on IRCA-Oceania for news, events, and links of interest in our part of the world.
Colin Gibson Southern Tour, 10 – 12 May
These Hills Workshops are pleased to present Colin Gibson, well-known NZ hymn writer/ composer at three workshops - in Invercargill, Gore and Owaka. Colin will share his passion for NZ hymns, teach several and tell their stories. Registration $10 per person. For more information email Gaynor McCartney or call 0211678171.
Asia Sunday 12 May
Traditionally, Asia Sunday is celebrated every year a week before Pentecost to commemorate the birth of the Christian Conference of Asia, which PCANZ is a member of. This is an opportunity to specially connect, remember and pray for each other as a fellowship of churches linked through CCA in spiritual solidarity. For 2013, the celebration of Asia Sunday falls on 12 May 2013, but local congregations are free to choose any other date suitable to their schedule.
Eltham Presbyterian Camp Golden Jubilee
Will be held at the camp at 2pm on Saturday 15 June. Many of you have enjoyed the camp over the years and have many stories to tell. Please share with others the coming celebrations. We hope you can attend. For enquiries and registration contact Robyn Barnfather on 06 7657739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Justice conference 18-19 September
We know that God asks us to do what is fair and just to our neighbours, and to be compassionate in love. But what does this look like in your ministry and workplace? What does it look like for each individual you deal with on a daily basis? What does it look like for you? The Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit are convinced that social justice can be more than a tired catch phrase and be instead a living reality and a way of being for those of us following Jesus. The venue is the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, in Manukau. Speakers - internationally renowned Shane Claiborne and Dr John M Perkins. Both have a wealth of experience. Register at www.salvationarmy.org.nz/justaction
Study Leave Reports needed – now!
Have you undertaken study leave at any time during the past 10 years? Do you have a study leave report languishing on your desk or filed in your study, or almost completed on your computer? If so, NOW is the time to share it with the rest of the Church. Please find it, dust it off, give it last finishing touches if required and send it to us – we will be happy to accept them in whatever format you have them - paper copies or electronic versions. The reports can then be made available online, and will be a wonderful resource for many. We will also be interested to receive copies of relevant dissertations, theses and doctoral research. As is the current procedure, hard copies will continue to be filed with the Presbyterian Archives Research Centre. Study leave reports already filed with the Archives are listed here. The postal address is The Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Knox College, Arden Street, Opoho, Dunedin 9010. Email: email@example.com
Free Hymn books
Fairfield Presbyterian Parish in Hamilton has old hymnbooks to give away. They are: “The Psalms and Church Hymnary, Revised Edition” and “Songs of Praise/Songs of the Kingdom” books. Contact Val on 07 8552411 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyclone Evan Appeal
Samoa and Fiji are still trying to recover from Cyclone Evan which tore through the Pacific in December. As a result the Christian World Service Pacific Cyclone Appeal is still open as reports of intense levels of damage and need continue.
CWS has been working with the Family Centre with on-going relief efforts for Samoa. A recent report from the Centre’s Tafaoimalo Loudeen Parsons, stated that after a field trip to Samoa she was shocked by the high level of devastation to buildings and crops. “So many large trees have fallen and have caused so much damage alongside the damage caused by flooding and high velocity winds,” she said.
Away from the main areas she reported that “many families are still doing their best to repair their damaged housing and there are still many families sheltering in makeshift buildings created out of recovered materials”.
In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Evan in December/January, Family Centre staff responded to the many requests for chainsaw teams to help with the removal of fallen trees. This kind of help is still needed on the southern coast where families are asking for similar support. Chainsaws are a rare commodity and expensive to run and maintain for more vulnerable households.
Many farmers lost their crops in the cyclone which also coincided with the closure of the central agricultural market in Apia, causing many farmers to suffer a huge drop in income.
Urban area dwellers face other problems with the rainy season prolonging wet and muddy conditions. While water tanks are supplying some safe water there is still a need for more tanks.
Some temporary housing has been built, including a home that uses roofing iron recycled from school buildings that were demolished. These homes provide families with safe housing until they are able to rebuild their own homes.
Changes in Status:
Rev Si’itia Si’itia-Asi, part time Minister,Glenfield PIC, Northern Presbytery, 20 February 2013. Rev Iona Su’a, part time Minister,Orakei Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery 27 February 2013.
Rev Fei Taule’ale’ausumai, Pacific Regional Secretary, Council for World Mission, Northern Presbytery-9 August 2012.
Rev Carol Grant, Minister Otaki Waikanae, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emeritae, Southern Presbytery-31 October 2013.
Rev Makesi Alatimu, Owairaki Pacific Island, Northern, to St Paul’s Trinity Pacific, Christchurch Presbytery 14 February 2013.
Rev Sa Si’itia-Asi, Minister,Wellington Presbytery – Northern, Minister, Mt Roskill St Giles 13 February 2013.
Rev Malcolm Gordon,Kaimai Presbytery started his term as stated supply St Peter’s Tauranga 21 January 2013.
Rev Chris Bedford, Kaimai Presbytery started his term as stated supply Te Aroha Co-Operating 3 February 2013.
Lay Ministry Team of William Penno and Alistair Young, Waihao Co-operating Parish, South Canterbury, have completed their terms, 30 September 2012.
Rev Alan Herron,Minister Emeritai, Presbytery of Christchurch, died on 12 March 2013. Rev Isobel Probert, Minister Retired, Dunedin Presbytery, died 9 March 2013.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.