From the Moderator
One of the biggest privileges of being moderator is being able to travel and meet people. And I have met so many wonderful people wherever I have been. Each has a story to tell. It is very easy to become despondent about some aspects of church life, but the truth is that I have yet to visit a town or a church that does not have a good news story of what God is doing with people. One of my great joys is taking your stories and telling them to others. As the writer to Hebrews says, “let us encourage one another”.
There are three or four things that stand out to me from this experience in encouraging and supporting the mission of the church.
Building networks. We will always achieve more together than we will ever do on our own. We will always see a much bigger picture of what God is doing in kingdom ministry when we share with and listen to others. I have the privilege of building networks regionally, nationally and internationally, but we can all build networks locally between churches and between church and community.
I was listening to a conversation this week between some rugby fanatics. Some were Chiefs supporters and others were Crusaders supporters. The Chiefs had just beaten the Crusaders! “I can't understand it”, the forlorn Crusaders supporter lamented, “man-for-man the Crusaders side is much better. We should have won”. I quietly reminded him of the wisdom of a great Crusaders rugby coach, Robbie Deans, "A champion team will always beat a team of champions".
Secondly, hospitality. Never under estimate the power of hospitality in mission. I have been overwhelmed by the hospitality I have received wherever I have gone. Simple, genuine hospitality speaks volumes. Time after time I have heard myself say, “I would love to come back to this place”. Why? Because I sensed a genuine love and respect for me as a person. But, as churches let us practice hospitality all the time – not just between 9.00 am and 12 noon on Sundays.
Thirdly, generosity. I have noted this especially when I have travelled overseas. I have been astounded by the generosity of my hosts in providing for my needs.
I have often been the recipient of grace given with great joy. But I would want to add two things about generosity – a warning and an encouragement.
The warning. You can only be generous with what is yours. You can only be generous with what you have after you have met your prime responsibilities! You can't be generous with borrowed money – that belongs to someone else. And you can't be generous with money that should be used to care for your own family needs.
An encouragement to churches. As I travel and listen to people I am becoming aware that many churches function out of a poverty mind-set. They are actually well endowed, but they think they are poor. They have an attitude of “we are saving for the rainy day”. That does not speak to me of moving in faith. Sure, be wise, but also look to be generous.
Putting all these things together speaks to me of LIFE. The most wonderful gift that the church can give people is a real sense of life. Life with hope and a future. Life with joy and peace. Life with meaning and purpose.
As I look at the resurrection appearances of Jesus it seems to me that all of these aspects are present in the encounters he has with people. A church like this is a church living with a resurrection mind-set that will naturally revive the flame.
God bless you
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear Friends and Colleagues
It really is fascinating that every minister and elder, at his or her ordination, is asked to acknowledge that the Presbyterian government of this Church be agreeable to the Word of God – and promises to submit to it.
To believe that the way we organise ourselves bears some testimony to God’s intention for humanity. That the Church government embodied in the Assembly, presbyteries, and church councils are consistent with God’s Word.
The people who came to the meeting I detail below really want to try to get this right. There is a big idea here. That somehow we can put in place ways of doing things and making decisions that upholds the values and teaching of our Scriptures.
Discussions around these ideas move us away from a simple pragmatism or notions of efficiency, and ask deeper questions about how our Church government leads us to regard and to treat one another and discern God’s will for us together.
Meeting of Presbyteries, Te Aka Puaho, Pacific Island Synod and the Asian Council
Last year the General Assembly decided that one or two representatives of each presbytery, Te Aka Puaho and the Pacific Island Synod should gather for a daylong meeting to discuss developments in the presbytery reform process and to fulfil requirements regarding presbyteries and the organisation of the General Assembly. This meeting was held in Wellington 15 May.
Southern, Kaimai and Northern Presbyteries have been inaugurated for some time and are working through the establishment and provision of governance and communication processes that will enable them to further develop effective ways of fulfilling the vision which focuses on the resourcing of congregations for their mission. Presbytery Central (the southern part of the North Island, but not including Wellington) was inaugurated just two weeks ago, and the presbytery which will include all the congregations north of the Waitaki River (with the working title of Alpine Presbytery) is on track to its establishment within the next year. The new Pacific Island synod is planning its inauguration for the end of July.
The Very Rev Garry Marquand articulated the driving vision for the new reformed presbyteries and led a time of sharing accounts and updates on progress as well as ideas and resources. The Rev Martin Stewart, from the Council, led the discussion on the Assembly decision that presbyteries should have a key role in informing the content of General Assembly. A focus of discussion centred on how presbyteries could process matters intended for discussion at the Assembly, and prioritise which issues should be included on the Assembly agenda.
Other suggestions included the development of resources for presbyteries via the national web site, providing an annual calendar across presbyteries which would allow the sharing of resources, speakers and a wider participation of training and support events and consideration to an annual planning day for presbytery administrators.
A fuller report of the meeting will become available.
Changes in the Marriage Act
I have sent out a note to all presbyteries providing some direction in terms of the implications of these changes. Please contact your presbytery clerk for more information.
There have been a significant number of responses to this advice, and I have now asked the Book of Order and Judicial Committee to consider the issues and whether providing some further direction may be helpful. In the meantime the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages has contacted churches and provided this link to some questions and answers. Click here to read.
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.
July 1 2013 Deadline for Responses to General Assembly Decisions and Discussion
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 be downloaded here. Booklets containing this information have also been sent out. These documents include proposed changes in our Book of Order that require support from church councils 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.
NB: One or two presbyteries and congregations have already got back to me indicating a difficulty in meeting this deadline. An early analysis of responses by the Council of Assembly enables us to continue the discussion on these matters later on this year. If you cannot make the July 1 deadline, please let me know.
Press Go Gathering for Church Leaders in October
Press Go will hold a gathering for church leaders involved in new missional ventures – whether attached to existing congregations or planting new faith communities - from 4-6 October at the Silverstream retreat in Wellington. Churches already receiving, or thinking of applying for Press Go funding are encouraged to attend. The event has been subsided by Press Go at $100 per person, and for churches north of Taupo and in the South Island there are two travel subsidies per church of $80 each. For more information contact Press Go board member the Rev Sharon Ross Ensor, 027 810 4358 and read the story on the gathering in the upcoming Winter online or print edition of Spanz magazine.
Change of Church Insurance Broker
The Insurance Work Group recently announced that following a thorough review, Crombie Lockwood (NZ) was been selected as the Church’s insurance broker. Parishes have been sent information. If your parish has any questions please see contact details here.
Churches are invited to participate in the National Church census. The survey can be completed online and will take about 20 minutes.
Save the Date: General Assembly 2014
Friday 3rd to Tuesday 7th October 2014 - Auckland
Imagine an Assembly that is inspiring and resourceful.
Imagine an Assembly that had a number of “streams” flowing and not just business sessions.
Imagine belonging to a movement and being in community.
Imagine hospitality, creativity, playfulness and spiritual nourishment.
Imagine a working conference for old and young, Maori, Pacific people, Asian and Pakeha
General Assembly 2012 asked that the next General Assembly (2014) be far more than a business meeting, focused on resourcing and inspiring the church in the midst of significant change and opportunity.
This is an Assembly you will not want to miss – book the dates now and look out for more exciting details.
Expressions of interest are open in the following areas:
1) “Streams” - Networks that would like to work together on are area of ministry or mission. eg church schools, youth, creative ( musicians, artists, poets), business leadership . . .
2) Resources – Fresh expressions of doing church, preaching, spiritual growth . . .
3) Inspiring New Zealand speakers
4) Story tellers - stories of churches making a difference in our society.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your expressions of interest.
Thanks again for all you do to support our Church and mission.
Congratulations to Rowan Cant and Angela Norton, who have been appointed on a short-term contract beginning in June as coordinators for the Council for World Mission Training in Mission programme (TIM).
This will involve nine young adults from a range of CWM member countries spending time in New Zealand from July until November, studying mission at Laidlaw College and observing and participating in the life of the church. Many members from Presbyterian Church have been participants on Training Mission programmes in the past, and this is the first time it has been hosted in New Zealand. The participants will arrive in July after having spent the first half of the year in India, so the first item in their cultural awareness programme will probably be to go and buy some winter clothing. Petra Malcolm from St John’s in Wellington is on the programme and is writing a blog on her experiences which you can read here.
I have just returned from a week-long visit to Vanuatu with a small team from the Hibiscus Coast parish (Stanmore Bay and Orewa). We are establishing a new relationship between their parish and the PWMU (Presbyterian Women) who have a project in Port Vila.
We also met with the staff at the Assembly office and several ministers and elders from around Port Vila. Their churches are facing a crisis of change as modern culture impacts heavily on their traditional way of life, and they are eager to pursue partnerships with Presbyterian congregations to help resource them as they adjust to these changes.
I can see potential here for us to deepen our commitment to the PCV and the people of Vanuatu in this way, and I would love to hear from any churches willing to consider investing in a long-term mission partnership. In particular it would be good to find congregations who have strong youth and young adult ministries, and who have experienced the journey from traditional worship to a more contemporary format. It would be even better if at least some of these churches were in areas where seasonal RSE workers from Vanuatu were living and working. I hope that over the next few years we can establish several new mission partnerships that will be of mutual benefit to both parties. Please phone or email me if you would like to have an initial discussion about this; 04 3818294,
Global Mission Coordinator
Kid’s Friendly in Spirit
We stress to churches who achieve “Kids Friendly status” that being child friendly is a practice that requires ongoing intent and review. The Kids Friendly review process is designed to facilitate honest discussion about the church’s ministry with children and families and the work cannot and does not stop once a church is “assessed” Kids Friendly. Churches display the Kids Friendly statement of intent in their buildings not just to inform others of their Kids Friendly-ness but to invite challenge should their practises not deliver. Our hope is that if anyone feels that the practise does not reflect the statements, that he/she will challenge the leadership. I received an email from one such parishioner recently.
“One Sunday morning my wife and I arrived at church with our 23-month old daughter, to find the ‘children’s area’ had disappeared. This area was well stocked with child friendly activities that entertained her quietly during the service. As there was no forewarning of the removal of this, we had come unprepared. When I enquired where the toys had gone, I was told there was a small box of toys in the church foyer.
We didn’t want to have church in the foyer, because it was cold and we felt separated from everybody else, so took a couple of toys back into the church, but struggled to keep our daughter quietly entertained throughout the service.
We felt annoyed that the church had not consulted us as regularly-attending and long-time members, and had not considered us how their actions would impact on us and other young families.
The episode gave us a feeling that we could only be at church if our child was quiet. This made going to church stressful. We found ourselves constantly removing our daughter to the foyer, which meant we could not easily participate in church. Church became a problem for us. We attended less, because going there was exhausting.
It’s a hard thing when the church you thought would support you and your family no longer does so. Our church had made promises at our daughter’s baptism, which we felt were no longer being honoured and it had Kids Friendly “status”, which it was not honouring either.
Our family has left that congregation to look for a new “Kids Friendly” church that will delight in our daughter. It seems to me that it’s one thing to have Kids Friendly status and quite another thing to implement it in spirit. The challenge I give to churches is this: Are you being friendly to kids (and their families) in spirit? Are you showing grace to children who may be a little bit noisy? Are you communicating and consulting with parents and children? Are you aware of their needs? When families approach you with concerns, are you listening? Do you really want children in your congregation, or are they too much of a problem?”
And a question I’d like to add to our writer’s is: “Are you seeking to design the time that children are in worship with adults to include and engage them?” If you’d like help with this please speak to us about our resource “A Kids Friendly Sunday”.
Kids Friendly Coach
At the National Business Meeting of the Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand held at St John’s in the City, Wellington, Saturday 25 May 2013, the following officers were elected:
National Convenor – Lafulafu Ekenasio
Deputy National Convenor – Le’autuli’ilagi Sauvao
National Secretary – Rev Shona Bettany, email: email@example.com
The other National Coordinating Group members remain the same:
Treasurer – Ngaire Pearce
Communications Convenor – Faatali Leiua
Missions Convenor – Joan Roberts
Resources Convenor – Bev Quigley
Pacific Island Representative – Faaolataga Leasi
United Nations Convenor – Rev Pamela Tankersley (until we appoint a replacement)
Editor – Braided River of Faith – Rev Judy Bedford
Gleanings Editor – Rae Simpson
Global Mission Coordinator – Rev Phil King
Our guest speaker was Lesley Picking, Strategic Relationship Manager from Women’s Refuge. We also watched a DVD “What is happening inside babies' brains in the first critical years, and how this impacts on adult”. It was very informative and enlightening.
On Friday, 24 May we received sad news of Mary McIntyre’s passing. Mary was a former National Convenor of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand (formerly APW) and former United Nations Convenor. Mary was passionate and committed to gender equality and empowering women. We will miss her.
Calling Presbyterian Women
Exciting times are ahead for Presbyterian Women. God is leading us somewhere. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio
Presbyterian Foundation Grants
Application for the 2013 round of Presbyterian Foundation grants are now invited, application forms can be downloaded from the Church website.
The Presbyterian Foundation is a trust fund, the interest of which is distributed to support the mission of the Church – particularly innovative mission at the local and regional church level.
Applications close on 15 September.
Toolbox Parenting Course in Wellington in June
Toolbox Parenting Course for parents and carers of children 0-6 years. The course is for six Mondays, from 7.30-9.30 pm from 10 June at Island Bay Community Centre, Wellington. For more info, please phone Liz (04) 383 5114.
Free Elder’s Training Resource from Synod of Otago and Southland
The Synod of Otago and Southland has produced a training resource for elders called By Word and By Spirit. The resource features a DVD presented by Mission Advisor, Bruce Fraser, and a CD of written chapters that can be used as a one-day seminar, and can also be used alongside the KCML Elder’s Handbook resource. If you would like a free copy, email Bruce Fraser or phone (03) 477 7362.
Presbyterian Research Centre
Looking for library resources? The Hewitson Library in Dunedin is part of the Presbyterian Research Centre. It’s based up at Knox College for those who can visit, and also runs a remote access service.
For the most part, material can be issued to you (some collections can only be used in the library), and if you live outside Dunedin we will send them to you, plus scan and email journal articles. Items can also be requested from other libraries within New Zealand. We can assist with literature searches, and advise on resources and holdings of other institutions.
There is no charge to use this service, apart from payment of return postage for books sent to you.
Volunteers Needed in Manawatu
Women’s Refuge Manawatu is asking for volunteers to assist with collections for their annual appeal in July. If your congregation would like to help in any way, please contact Karen McIntyre, Palmerston North Women's Refuge Fundraising Coordinator, for more details.
Collection days will be:
- Feilding – Friday, 19 July
- Dannevirke – Thursday, 18 July
- Levin – Thursday, 11 July
- Palmerston North – Saturday, 20 and Sunday,21 July
Levin Uniting parish councillor, lay preacher and Blind Foundation member, Allen Little, has been commissioned as leader of Torch Fellowship for blind people throughout New Zealand. This non-denominational ministry is associated with Elevate Christian Disability Trust and provides Christian resources and activities for blind or partially sighted people.
Allen believes in a full, active life in Church and community where blind people are genuinely included and hopes to encourage this sense of community in his new role. Email Allen for more information about the Torch Fellowship, call 06 367 5900 or SKYPE him at Kiwilittle.
Glen Innis Vacancies
24 Jun – 1 July Homestead/Cottage
1 – 8 July Homestead
8 – 15 July Cottage
15 – 22 July Homestead/Cottage
22 – 29 July Homestead/Cottage
A plea for support from New Zealand has come from the Bangladeshi garment workers union involved with the recent disastrous factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh.
CWS has launched an appeal to answer this call for help.
The death of over 1100 workers after safety warnings were ignored drew international shock, outrage and media attention.
It led to a rush of legislation and factory closures from the Bangladesh Government and some tough days of bad publicity for Western corporates using cheap Bangladesh labour.
Then inevitably the media spotlight shifted and the issue of near slave labour conditions and pay rates in Bangladesh subsided globally.
Christian World Service has partnered with the Bangladesh National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) for many years, both in solidarity and moral support, and sometimes financially.
It was this reason that led the union head, Amural Amin, to write to CWS asking for help with their attempts to get justice for the dead, the injured and the workers made jobless by the factory collapse.
“If we can get some direct support for this then it gets easier for us to do other things as well,” Mr Amin said.
One of the “other things” is to try and get support for the other workers in the 22 factories that were abruptly closed by the Bangladesh Government in response to the international outcry after the building collapse.
They have also raised the minimum wage and made it easier for workers to form unions.
The Bangladesh National Garment Workers Federation is a well established and respected advocate for better working conditions in Bangladesh.
To help the Bangladesh Workers Appeal go on line at www.cws.org.nz/donate , or send it to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140, or by calling 0800 74 73 72.
Mr Rob Pettersen, Intern, Northern Presbytery, to Licentiate, Northern Presbytery, 5 December 2012.
Receptions to the Roll:
Rev Meekyung Choi, received from Presbyterian Church in Korea, 19 March 2013.
Ordination and Inductions:
Rev Andrew Nicol, Licentiate, Southern Presbytery, to Minister, Bishopdale – St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church, Presbytery of Christchurch, 19 May 2013.
Rev Rob Pettersen, Licentiate, Northern Presbytery, to Minister, Blockhouse Bay – Iona Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, 12 December 2012.
Changes in Status:
Rev William John MacDonald, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, to Minister, Auckland Central - Quay Street St James' Church and Community, Northern Presbytery, 7 April 2013.
Rev Dr Frank Glen, Minister Emeritus, Presbytery of Christchurch, to Southern Presbytery, 29 April 2013.
Rev William John MacDonald, Other Recognised Minister, Kaimai Presbytery, to Northern Presbytery, 26 February 2013.
Rev Andrew Nichol, Licentiate, Southern Presbytery, to Presbytery of Christchurch, 19 May 2013.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries:
Rev Indrea Alexander, Anglican, has been appointed as Vicar of Waimate District Co-operating Venture, South Canterbury Presbytery, 1 March 2013.
Rev Gary Husband, Anglican, has completed his term as Minister at Piopio Aria Mokau Co-operating Church, 17 April 2013.
Rev Nio Daniela, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, completed his term as part-time (50%) stated supply at The Cook Islands Presbyterian Church, Wellington Presbytery, on 31 March 2013.
Rev Barry Tetley, Minister Emeritus, Northern Presbytery, completed his term as part-time (50%0 stated supply at Onehai – St James Church, 31 January 2013.
Waimate District Co-operating Venture, South Canterbury Presbytery, is under Anglican oversight, 1 March 2013.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.