Bush Telegraph October 2013

From the Moderator

Recently I spent a week attending a gathering at the Ecumenical Centre of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. Sharing time and fellowship with people from many different countries and denominations around the world was an incredible experience. Together we were discussing the theme of the upcoming Assembly of the WCC in Busan, Korea: “God of Life, lead us to justice and peace”. At the same time some members of the Global Christian Forum were meeting in the same building. These two very large ecumenical groups represent the majority of Christians in the world. Together they signed a Memorandum of Understanding of how they can work together and support each other in the cause of Christ.

This raised the question for me: ”'What is the state of ecumenism in New Zealand?” The National Council of Churches was founded in New Zealand in 1941 by the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Churches of Christ, Congregational Union, Salvation Army, Society of Friends, Greek Orthodox, Cook Island Christian Church and the Presbyterians.

In 1988 the NCC was replaced by the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand, which included Roman Catholics. This ministry closed in 2005.

Around the same time a new ecumenical body called Vision Network NZ was formed with the subtitle “Christians Together for New Zealand”. It has now been renamed New Zealand Christian Network. This movement is a member of the Global Christian Forum. The NZ Christian Network has a real heart for social concern and for helping churches in outreach. It makes many public statements and works closely with all church leaders.

Another expression of ecumenism in New Zealand is the National Church Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand (NCLANZ). Many of the denominational leaders have been meeting together for over 20 years. In recent years the NCLANZ has grown to encompass most churches in New Zealand. Twenty-two denominational leaders meet together for a day twice a year.

The main purposes of this gathering are:

  • An expression of our unity in Jesus Christ.
  • A forum for the discussion of current theological and social issues and also sharing of key information about issues and events in the churches.
  • To develop closer working relationships between the churches of New Zealand. A catalyst for identifying key projects and causes whereby the churches might serve the people of New Zealand.
  • To be a forum to which significant guests can be invited.

Representative members of this group meet on a regular basis with government and opposition leaders to speak about issues of concern to the churches. For these meetings the national church leaders have advisors - from the social services arm of our churches. These are the people who have the knowledge, experience, skills of research to enable us as leaders to make good presentations to our political leaders.

As I see it, we are in a period of gestation of a new ecumenism. Structures may be very uncertain. But the culture of ecumenism is very much alive - maybe even more alive now than it has ever been in New Zealand.

God bless you

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I am writing to you from an especially hot day in New Delhi at the end of the monsoon season.

Every three years those who fulfil an equivalent role to mine in the 31 member churches of the Council for World Mission, meet to discuss the challenges they face and share stories about what God is doing in their respective churches.

I listen to harrowing stories of the persecution experienced by the small Christian minority in Bangladesh through to the exponential growth of churches in Zambia and southern Africa.

Membership of some of the CWM churches, like the protestant church in the Netherlands or the Presbyterian Church in Korea number in their millions while others are tiny.

For some, especially those where religious affiliation is a defining social characteristic, the idea that we can, in New Zealand, live in a society where few define their identify by their religious conviction, is almost unimaginable.

The experience of being here is both humbling and invigorating. It reminds me of the assumption we can make where we see those who do not express an affiliation with any particular religion or denomination as having an absence of faith or belief. Most of my colleagues here affirm quite strongly that everyone believes in something, has a faith and convictions that define their identity and self-understanding. What this means in a more secular society is an interesting challenge. But from my colleagues’ points of view, sharing our faith is about carful listening and faithful speaking.

Stage 1 Voting on the Moderator-elect 2016: Deadline is Fri, 7 February 2014
As the first stage in the election process, all presbyteries, the Pacific Islands Synod and Te Aka Puaho are asked to nominate one person each to enter the voting process coordinated by the Nominating Committee.

This person will become the Moderator at the 2016 General Assembly. The outcome of this voting process will be announced at the 2014 General Assembly.

Church councils may suggest names for consideration by a meeting of their presbytery, Synod or Te Aka Puaho .Each presbytery, Synod and Te Aka Puaho should send one name to the convenor of the Nominating Committee, the Rev Mary Jane Konings, 347 Wai iti Road, Timaru 7910 or by email: mary-jane@timarupres.org.nz

The nomination needs to be with Mary-Jane by Friday, 7 February 2014.

Please note that the presbyteries eligible to nominate a person, are those presbyteries and UDCs that existed at the conclusion of our last General Assembly in October 2012.

Deadline for Reports, Proposals and Recommendations to the 2014 General Assembly
After consultation with presbyteries and the Assembly Business Work Group, it was decided to set the deadline for all reports and proposals for next year’s General Assembly as 31 March, 2014.

This will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to the Assembly in order for us to fulfil the 2012 Assembly’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.

Use of Buildings and the Human Rights Act
Thank you to all those who raised questions about a congregation’s discretion to determine who may or may not use their facilities.

The Book of Order and Advisory Group have drafted a letter which I have now sent to the Human Rights Commission. The letter seeks clarification on the issues which a number of church councils have written to me about. As soon as I hear back from the Commission I will forward their response to presbyteries and congregations.

Calling a Newly Trained Minister
This year, six people will complete their training as interns. They are a terrific group 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. a.lane@stjohnsinthecity.org.nz.

Ministry Development Programme: October Deadline to Book Your Review
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 booked or 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.


Global Mission

It has been good to sign off on two new Global Mission partnerships this month. After lots of consultation, exploratory visits overseas, and yet more consultation, two parishes have made commitments to join in mission with our global partners. Somervell Church in Auckland will be supporting Avalon Girls School in India, a school run by the Church of North India(CNI); and Hibiscus Coast church (Stanmore Bay and Orewa) will be working with the PWMU in Vanuatu.

Here’s what the Bishop of Chandigarh, Younis Massey has to say about the Avalon Hostel Project: “Through this project we will be able to support the girls from poor backgrounds and those who belong to rural areas whose parents are not capable to support their children for higher education and professional training. Therefore this hostel project is very helpful and supportive to make the better future for our children.”

The CNI aims to develop their hostel projects to include more schools and is seeking help from overseas partners for this. I am pleased that we are able to meet their request for help and build on the Presbyterian Church’s long tradition of educational and health-based mission in India.

The Hibiscus Coast project is recorded in an article in the spring edition of Spanz although at the time of that article going to print, there were still some details to iron out. I am pleased to report that everything is now agreed to and the project has the full support of the parish. It has been a good journey working with their leadership, and gaining the buy-in of the whole church to this project. It is great to have two new congregations on board with our global mission work.

As well as this, Shirley Anton from Titirangi church in Auckland is going to Talua Theological College to develop the English teaching curriculum for their Bachelor of Ministry students this month. Some time ago Shirley approached me and asked if there was anywhere she could use her skills in mission, and this is the result. Please pray for her as she spends two weeks meeting the staff and students at Talua and learning how to put her skills to good use on site at the college.

Please pray also for Roger and Paula Levy, our staff there. It has been a challenging time in the past month with a female student suffering the death of her new born baby. Roger and Paul have been involved in the pastoral care of staff and students and it has been a demanding time for them. They will appreciate knowing that their supporters in New Zealand are upholding them and the College community in prayer.

If you would like to explore ways in which you or your congregation can be involved supporting for our global partners, please get in touch with me, phil@presbyterian.org.nz

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Kids Friendly

Last week I coordinated a meeting between Karen Steward (Faith@Home NZ Director) and children’s leaders from three large churches (one Presbyterian) in Dunedin that could all be described as “successful” in terms of their growth in children’s ministry. It was a fascinating and animated conversation as we agreed that even the BEST children’s programme with all the bells and whistles was NOT the key to developing a life-long faith in children.

We shared stories and tossed around our combined experience and research that shows that life-long faith grows best in an environment where it can be modelled and practiced regularly.

“The act of becoming a Christian is the actual practicing of being Christian over and over again,” says Ivy Beckwith.

This can happen to some extent at church in a weekly “feast”, but is far more effective when practised in homes, every day of the week (daily bread).

We acknowledged that the Christian education model of “send your children to our fantastic children’s programme and all will be well” has unintentionally disempowered parents from their role as the primary nurturers of their children’s faith. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Statistics from the Search Institute show that parents are by far the most influential factor in developing children’s faith. Data also reveals that only a small percentage of families who regularly attend church pray together (other than mealtime grace), read the Bible or share faith conversations at home.

So do we throw out everything we’ve been doing and start again? No! Karen is working with Willow Creek to promote the Faith@Home movement in New Zealand, which aims to “help churches build faith-filled homes 24/7”.

Of course this is relevant to more than just the children’s ministry. It’s about continually shaping all our church ministries so that we are increasingly “home-centred and church–assisted” instead of “church-centred and home-assisted”.

The Faith@Home message is a breath of fresh air that is devoid of “must-do” and instead full of “could do”.

Kids Friendly advocates ministries that encourage families learning and growing in faith together. We have developed a “Partnering with Parents” page on our website. Please share your resources and successes with us so we can learn from each other.

Cheryl Harray
Kids Friendly Advisor Synod of Otago and Southland

Presbyterian Women

Serving God Locally and Globally with Love
We continue the process of searching for a United Nations Convenor; presbyterials and parishes please send through your recommendation to Shona at revsbettany@xtra.co.nz.

We are currently looking at Presbyterian Women’s constitutional documents including our terms of reference, and a new logo - we will keep you updated on progress with these projects. With regard to the Future/Explorer role, we are looking at surveys and a job description. I have also had meetings with Jose Reader at the Church’s communication office to look at different ways of communicating online such as a Facebook page.

I was pleased to attend the opening of the New Zealand Methodist Women’s Fellowship Council meeting held at El Rancho, Waikanae on 6 September. Marie Smith is the President. They also presented their project monies to the Disability, Spirituality & Faith Network and Christian World Service.

I attended the National Council of Women of New Zealand Conference 5-7 October “Women and Work: No Barriers”. They take action in support of New Zealand women and help shape policy that affects women. Refer www.ncwnz.org.nz

As we work collaboratively and in partnership to move our groups forward, our common focus is that change is inevitable. This is because of our ageing membership and trying to encourage younger women to come on board. We ask for your continued prayers as we seek God’s guidance and direction in these exciting and challenging times. Young women come and join in; changes come when you put your hand up, participate and be involved. Any comments - I would love to hear from you email me at lafulafu@xtra.co.nz.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio
National Convenor

CWS Notices

Myanmar Appeal
CWS has launched an appeal to help people in the Kayin and Mon states of Myanmar (Burma) recovering from heavy monsoons and flash flooding. Church World Service Asia Pacific is working with local community leaders to distribute food, seeds and other support in areas where the tensions between government forces and rebels are high. Already impoverished, the people will struggle to replant crops and survive until harvest in October/November. Please give generously to the Myanmar Appeal.

Live Below the Line
CWS is grateful for those who joined or supported the Live Below the Line challenge from 23-27 September. If you missed out, you can still have a go or make a donation before the end of October. CWS is raising funds for the Women’s Development Resource Centre working with Tribal, Dalit and Gypsy people in Tamil Nadu, India to help them out of poverty. See what’s happening here.

Christmas Appeal
“And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.” Revelation 22:17

Share Water, Share Life is the theme for the 2013 Christmas Appeal. Water is one of the most powerful symbols of the Christian faith and a constant throughout the Scriptures. It is a gift of God that sustains the whole of creation. But the water is running low and the costs of buying it rising. This year’s Appeal highlights the vital work CWS partners are doing to try to ensure the poorest people have access to safe water, even when large interests are trying to keep it for themselves.

Finding a simple Gift with no fuss is easy. There are the popular bees, now for Sri Lanka, compost bins for Tonga or vocational training for Palestinian Refugees. Contact CWS for a catalogue.


Christian Resources Needed for Niue
The Ekalesia Kerisiano Niue (Congregational Christian Church of Niue) is currently establishing a library at their Millennium Centre in Alofi. They are seeking donations of Christian educational resources for children, youth and adults including Sunday School materials, youth lessons, hymns and songs of praise for children, and bible study and theological resources for young people and adults.

Resources can be sent c/o Greg Hughson, 10 Corstorphine Rd, Dunedin. Or for those outside Dunedin, post to: Mr Ernest Nemaia, Shopexports and Freight Ltd, Bay 40 – 41, Cargo Central, Corner of Tom Pearce Drive and George Bolt Memorial Dive, Auckland Airport. Phone Ernest on 09 257 0034.

Presbyterian Support Northern: Connecting with Community
Presbyterian Support Northern has collated a range of resources for ideas to help Presbyterian churches throughout the region identify and respond to the needs in their communities. Download resources for “Buddy Day” (15 Nov) and more at Presbyterian Support Northern’s Connecting with Community website.

St James Spreydon: 50th Anniversary of Church Building
St James Presbyterian Church Spreydon in Christchurch will be celebrating this milestone on Sunday, 8 December 2013. The event will be marked with a church service at 10am followed by a time to swap stories over a cup of tea. All those with ties to the parish and building are warmly invited to join the celebrations. RSVP by Monday, 11 November to gr.allen@xtra.co.nz or ph 03-337 0611.

Ripples of Justice Conference
On 4-5 October, the Ripples of Justice Conference will be hosted in Auckland. A variety of keynote speakers examine justice from a faith perspective. For more information including speakers, costs and registration, click here.

Book on Beryl Howie Available
In 1958, New Zealand obstetrician and gynecologist Beryl Howie arrived in India. The high standard of her training over 31 years convinced many young doctors to work among Indian women instead of going overseas for post-graduate training and well-paid jobs. Were you one of the NZers who helped her raise $1.25 million to build a well-equipped women’s hospital? To buy a copy of this book about this well-known and loved New Zealand Presbyterian missionary, email author Bartha Hill.

Spirituality in Health Care Seminar
On Tuesday, 8 October, join a one-day seminar that examines spirituality in healthcare presented by Professor Christina Puchalski from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at Auckland University. To register or for more information, click here.

Two shorter sessions – Spirtuality in palliative care, and Spirituality in in health care – also led by Professor Christina Puchalski are also available on 9 October 2013. Contact Selwyn Care for more info.

Bi-lingual Orders of Service
Download four Bilingual Orders of Service for Holy Communion compiled by the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, Moderator of Te Aka Puaho.


Middle Years Parenting Tool Box
For parents of children aged 6-9 years, a parenting toolbox course will start on 21 October for six Mondays from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. The venue is Island Bay Community Centre in Wellington, and the cost is $90 couple or $67.50 for a single person. A subsidy available.

Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 5.0 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.

Presbyterian Church Property Trustees AGM
The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees will be held at 4pm, Thursday 3rd October 2013 in the Conference Centre at St John’s in the City Presbyterian Church, Wellington.

Friends and associates are invited to attend. Presbyteries are welcome to send representatives. Afternoon tea is available from 3.40pm. For catering purposes, please RSVP to Kos van Lier or phone (04) 381 8296.

Glen Innis Vacancies

Oct 7 - 14 Maud Hooper House
Oct 21 - 28 Maud Hooper House
Oct 28 – 4 Nov James McNutt House / Maud Hooper House
Nov 4 - 11 James McNutt House / Maud Hooper House
Nov 11 - 18 James McNutt House / Maud Hooper House

Presbyterian Church Yearbook 2013
The Church’s 2013 Yearbook information has been updated to include recent changes to contact details. Please download changes up to September here using the username and password emailed to you in April 2013.

Church Register

Ordination and Inductions
Rev Micah Chu Hang Tang, Minister Auckland Chinese Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery 18 September 2013.

Changes in Status
Rev Neil Cowie, Pukakai Co-Operating Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery, Enabler 21July 2013.
Rev John Turton, Hutt City Uniting Churches, Wellington Presbytery to Minister Emeriti, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery,31 July 2013
Rev Joshua Seo, Minister (part time) St Andrews Hanshin Presbyterian Church Manurewa to Other Recognised Ministry.
Rev Roger Wiig, Otaki Waikanae Presbyterian Parish , Wellington Presbytery, Minister stated supply from 1June 2013.
Rev Leanne Munro, Wadestown Presbyterian Parish, Wellington Presbytery, Minister stated supply from 27 May 2013.
Rev Barbara Curteis, Northern Presbytery, from Other Recognised Minister to Minister Emeritus 10 September 2013.
Rev Hai Chang Jung, Minister part-time, Logos Church, Northern Presbytery to Other recognised Ministry 9 June 2013.

Rev Helen Wallis, Minister Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery to Southern Presbytery 3 September 2013.
Rev Carlson Taitua, Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery to Other recognised Ministry, Presbytery Pacific Islands Synod.

Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries
Rev Andrew McDonald, Anglican, has been appointed as Vicar of Mackenzie Co-Operating Venture, South Canterbury Presbytery, 30 April 2013.
Rev Bruce Albiston, Baptist has been appointed as Enabler Waimate District Co-operating Venture, South Canterbury Presbytery, 28 February 2013.

Rev Richard Lawrence, Other Recognised Minister, Kaimai Presbytery
The Very Rev Gary Marquand, minister Fairfield Presbyterian Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, Minister Emeritus, 31 August 2013

Removals from Roll (inactive in ordained ministry within the Presbyterian Church)
Rev Ock Youn Jang (David), removed from the Ministerial Roll of the Presbyterian Church 6th September 2013 (section 561 old Book of Order)

Rev Ailsa Fletcher, Minister Emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died on 11 September 2013.
Rev Keith Sellar, Minister Emeritus, Central Presbytery, died 3 September 2013.
Rev John McKinlay Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 7 September 2013.

Parish Register
Logos Church, Northern Presbytery was dissolved 9 June 2013
North East valley-St David’s Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, changed its name to The Blue Lagoon.


Check out our listing of national and regional events.


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