From the Moderator
During my visit to Northland I spent a lovely afternoon at Oihi Bay where Samuel Marsden planted the gospel in this nation with the words from Luke 2:10: “I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all people”. In this bicentenary year I have been encouraging churches to reflect on this scripture and how we might apply it in 2014. The gospel of Jesus is Good News. The gospel of Jesus brings Great Joy. And it’s for All People.
As you journey through this bicentennial year, can I share two resources that you may wish to use to help think about the profound effect the gospel and Christian mission has had on this nation.
Firstly, I encourage every parish to buy a copy of the DVD Te Rongopai written and presented by Stuart Lange, one of our ministers, and church historian at Laidlaw College. It is a resource that every parish should have. The DVD tells the story of 200 years of Christianity in New Zealand. The whole purpose of the DVD is to inspire and educate, both in this 1814-2014 bicentennial year... and well beyond. The DVD is in five parts, and is suitable for individuals, churches, home groups and schools. It is hoped that it will be shown (in revised form) on TV later this year.
Secondly, with Samuel Marsden and our Christian missionaries we began a very important path on our bicultural journey as a Church. That path has many points of wonderful blessings and great joy, but it has also points of sadness and heartache.
To help the Church discuss this journey in our bicentennial year, the National Church Leaders group of which I am a part, have organised the preparation of a discussion paper. It is intended that it will be published in September 2014 as a statement to mark the bicentenary of the first recorded preaching of the Gospel in Aotearoa New Zealand on Christmas Day 1814. In the meantime, parishes are invited to download the discussion paper [insert link to bicentenary discussion paper] it and to use it as a basis for discussion and especially between Maori and Pakeha groups, and to submit comments before 31 July.
I encourage you to use both Te Rongopai and the discussion paper in your context during 2014.
God bless you
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear Friends and Colleagues
There are few events more heartening and encouraging than witnessing the outpouring of love and generosity from our Church members during a time of great need.
In February there was a serious car accident involving young people from churches in Korea and Taiwan who were visiting South Island congregations. The accident left several people badly injured and in hospital. The care and support provided by congregations in Timaru and Dunedin where the young people were taken, made all the difference in the world. The young people are now all recovering well back in their own countries, but the kindness and support they experienced have become part of their stories and those of the churches and communities they came from.
While we cannot diminish a concern for the real injury and suffering associated with such an accident, I think it is important to acknowledge that in response to such an event there is cause for thankfulness.
Our community’s response to suffering provides us with a powerful testament to the transformative hopefulness that we find in the gospel’s proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus. It is a response that transcends difference in culture and language and distance. It is great to be part of a Church that can bear witness in such a real and tangible way.
Assembly Week is going to be a time for everyone in our Church to learn, grow and celebrate our Church’s life and mission. Please come and join us from 4 to 7 October in Auckland (a special ministers’ only day is on 3 October). Registration will be available from the middle of this month.
This year Assembly Week has its own website, so you’ll be able to find all the information you need – accommodation, travel, registration, programme details, contact people – in one place. The website is expected to be up and running in mid-April.
In the meantime, please check out this information, which has answers to some of the common questions people are asking us about Assembly Week.
Presbyteries are also reminded that 27 April is the deadline for confirming commissioners and other delegates to General Assembly.
Consultation with presbyteries
In 2012 the Assembly decided that presbyteries should be consulted about matters being discussed at the General Assembly.
This month we will send to all presbyteries, the Pacific Islands Synod and Te Aka Puaho, the reports and proposals that are available to us in order for presbyteries to provide some feedback about the content of these reports and the priority the Church should give them in terms of the Assembly’s agenda.
Presbyteries will be able to provide feedback to the Assembly Business Workgroup at the presbytery leaders and administrators meeting on Wednesday, 11 June in Auckland.
Voting for the Moderator-elect, 2016: Stage 2 – deadline 15 May 2014
In the second stage in the election process, each presbytery, Synod and Te Aka Puaho should send one name from the list they have received to the Convenor of the Nominating Committee, the Rev Mary Jane Konings, 347 Wai iti Road, Timaru 7910 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Council for World Mission Opportunities
The Council for World Mission (CWM) is offering a range of opportunities for 2014.
Face the Facts provides a one-month emersion experience in the Philippines in September for a person from our Church to engage with our Biblical teachings on justice. The programme will look at issues ranging from the impact of global neo liberal economic policies, human trafficking and deforestation. All expenses are covered.
A New Faith And Culture Exposure (ANF) 2014 Programme aims to stimulate theological reflection and cross-cultural perspective to a group of 12 ordained ministers from CWM churches by introducing them to realities and an environment different than their own. For six weeks starting 1 September to 17 October 2014, ANF participants will be exposed to the experiential and interactive introduction to local faith and culture; placement and participation in local worship and ministry; and evaluation/debriefing sessions. ANF will be hosted by the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) in Jamaica.
CWM is also offering sponsored post-graduate theological study opportunities in seminaries in Taiwan and the Netherlands. (Study will be in English.)
If you are interested in applying for any of these opportunities, please contact me and I will send you the details.
Study opportunities at Bossey
The World Council of Churches at the ecumenical centre at Bossey in Switzerland are offering courses this year including : Seeking Renewal of Spirit and Fullness of Life and Evaluating Ecumenical Formation for Migrant Church Leaders. Download course information and application brochure for these and other courses.
Risk management, ethics and leadership workshops
To retain a status of good standing, it is a requirement that every minister must attend one of these workshops once every three years. These workshops are provided on an “as needed” basis (usually for a minimum of ten people). If you are due to attend a workshop, please contact your presbytery clerk. Leaders in all aspects of your congregation’s life and ministry are also welcome to attend.
Thanks again for your prayers and your support of the people and work of the Assembly office.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Knox Centre Music Scholarships 2014
Each year, the Knox Centre offers six music scholarships to encourage and equip young musicians and vocalists in the conduct of public worship. Each scholarship consists of an expenses-paid two-day workshop on music and worship at the Knox Centre, plus a cash grant. Applicants must be under 30 years of age. The next music and worship workshops will be held on Thursday 4, and Friday 5 December, to coincide with the Samstock music festival, which runs from the evening of Friday, 5 December until midday on Sunday, 7 December.
Applications for the above scholarships will close on 30 June 2014. Enquiries can be directed to the Principal of the Knox Centre. To apply for the scholarships, write a letter of application to the Principal detailing the nature of your involvement in music and worship, and include with your letter a reference from your Minister.
Dean of Studies
Applications are invited for the position of Dean of Studies and Lecturer at the Knox Centre for Ministry of Leadership. The position is available from 1 January 2015, and the closing date for applications is 16 May 2014. For more information, check out the Dean of Studies vacancy advertisement.
Catherine van Dorp
Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Each month this year, I have been sharing one of seven sustainable practices for churches with youth workers. As you will read below, this month's practice is about providing training, which nicely coincides with the promotion of Connect, our national youth leaders' conference at St.Andrew's College on the 11-13 July, Christchurch. We are currently at the early bird pricing, and it will cost $20 less to register in April than in May.
If you have an employed youth worker, I expect money would be set in your budget for your youth worker to attend Connect each year. But Connect is not just for employed youth workers! With an awesome range of workshops, Connect is fantastic whether the participant is a teenage volunteer leader, a youth worker with decades of experience, or even a minister. There is something for everyone, and now is the time to talk to your youth leaders about attending.
Youth Commissioners at General Assembly
For official Youth Commissioners at General Assembly, we will be running a youth orientation the day before Assembly starts. The programme starts at 2pm on Friday 3 Oct, and as always it will be a valuable time for youth commissioners to get their head around the workings of General Assembly and give some thought to the upcoming debates.
National Youth Gathering at Assembly Week
For the first time, PYM will be running a National Youth Gathering as part of Assembly Week. We invite churches to send a group of youth aged 15+ to the NYG. The NYG is all about inspiring mission, and participants will not just learn about mission, but actually physically participate in God's mission as they head into different communities in Auckland and serve. Watch this space for more information.
Sustainable Practice 3 of 7
We will provide ongoing training and development.
We believe that learning the skills of youth work is an ongoing process and that it's important to continually invest in professional development.
We promise to set aside time and money to provide training and development for our youth worker.
National Youth Ministry Coordinator
I recently hosted a meeting of members of Presbyterian congregations from throughout New Zealand, who are all involved in one way or another with mission in Vanuatu. Some have visited Vanuatu on church mission trips; others offer pastoral care to the many Ni-Van seasonal workers who live and work in various parts of New Zealand. It was an encouraging meeting, out of which I hope to establish an ongoing support group to help develop and strengthen our partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.
English Teacher Needed
Are you interested in serving overseas? We are currently advertising for an English teacher to join the staff at Talua Theological College, Vanuatu in 2015. Current NZ staff members Roger and Paula Levy will be returning home at the end of this year. The English teaching position will suit someone who has a passion for seeing adults trained, especially in Christian discipleship. The successful applicant and, if married, their spouse, will need to be resourceful and able to cope in an undeveloped environment. Contact me for further details about this challenging but rewarding role.
Update on Vehicle Accident
Many of you will have heard about the serious vehicle accident involving a group of Taiwanese and Korean youth in the South Island in February. We are pleased to report that all those injured are making good progress and have now returned home to South Korea and Taiwan. Stuart Vogel, who was also injured, is recuperating at home in Auckland. Please pray for continued healing for all involved. Heartfelt thanks are extended to all who offered prayerful and practical support during this time. The families of the young people concerned were all extremely grateful for the love and care their young people received. As a result, in spite of the accident, the relationships between our churches remain intact and have probably even been strengthened.
Global Mission at Assembly Week
I hope lots of Global Mission supporters will be keen to take part in the Global Mission stream at this year’s General Assembly week, “Inspiring Mission.” Make sure you read the info about Assembly Week when it comes out.
Donations for Karo Batak Protestant Church
For many years, the Presbyterian Church had a close relationship with the Karo Batak Protestant Church (GBKP) in Indonesia. A recent volcanic eruption in Northern Sumatra has caused widespread suffering, including the loss of livelihoods and several deaths from among the Christian community there. The GBKP will be significantly involved in providing material support for those who have been devastated by these events. If you would like to make a donation to assist the GBKP to with their efforts, this can be made via Global Mission, and will be added to a grant that I will send through to them. Background information on the volcanic eruption and the Church’s relationship with the GBKP can be found in this paper written by the Rev Dr Simon Rae who served in ministry in Indonesia in the 1970s.
As always, contact me if you would like me to speak to your congregation about Global Mission, email@example.com
Global Mission Coordinator
It Really Matters
The last month has been full of opportunities for the Kids Friendly team. We’ve had an inspiring two days strategising and “dreaming” the year ahead with our focus group of eight like-minded, passionate ministers with a heart for children.
We’ve had six new churches commit to work to become “Kids Friendly” and three churches become Kids Friendly.
I was thrilled to share stories of how churches are opening their doors to children and families every day of the week with Northern Presbytery this month. I asked churches in the region to send me their “opening doors” stories and loved what Mairangi Bay sent me. Children’s leader Steph Chapman interviewed her minister Caleb Hardie who said:
“Ministry is something the whole faith community participates in guided by a shared vision. It must include and involve children and young people. They must be invited to participate in all aspects of church life and worship. Their faith is deepened through participation and the wider church community gains a great deal from their unique contribution.
“What does this mean? It means what we do on a Sunday matters. It means that what we do during the week matters. It means that the doors should be open more often than they are closed, so that the Church is serving the community in whatever way it can and that there is life and activity throughout the week.
“It means building on the past, weaving the experiences and traditions of our heritage into the fabric of our future and being prepared to grow and vision together new ways of being God’s people for today.”
Recently I attended a presentation by children’s ministry legend David Goodwin on his thesis “Lost in Transition”. He reminded us that in Australasia 50 percent of children leave the church by age 14. So what we do with intermediate age children matters. So, I’m pleased to be meeting with Christchurch leaders this week to plan a Transformers – Raising Up Young Leaders camp. David also revealed that 80 percent of adults in churches today, came to faith as children and attended "Sunday School" as youngsters. Many of these also attributed much of their faith to the adults who ministered to them as children. So again we are reminded that the way we disciple the children in our midst REALLY MATTERS.
Kids Friendly Coach
Presbyterian Women Study Grant
We are pleased to offer a grant to women in our Church seeking Christian training in 2014. Do you know women seeking training? Application forms from National Secretary the Rev Shona Bettany ph 06 367 2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close 31 May 2014.
International Women's Day
On 7 March 2014, International Women's Day was hosted by the British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell. She asked attendees to help struggling women by donating time, skills and money to organisations helping women, to buy fairtrade products that benefited women's collectives where possible, and to become an advocate for women by lobbying politically for their rights.
Education for girls, ending sexual violence and increasing women in leadership roles were priorities for Ms Treadell. "It is a call to action. Where better to have the function than the country and city where women first got the right to vote?" Justice Minister Judith Collins will be representing New Zealand at a global summit to end violence against women, in London, in June. It will be co-hosted by British foreign secretary William Hague and United Nations special envoy Angelina Jolie.
Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown said there was a danger in New Zealand of complacency about women's social standing because many prominent political positions had been filled by women in the past. She was also disappointed only 24 per cent of local government candidates were women last year, but noted they had disproportionate success: 40 per cent of elected representatives were female.
Let’s do what we can here and abroad to upskill and empower women to continue moving forward.
Presbyterian Women golden jubliee celebration – Wellington region
On Saturday 17 May, at PIC Church of Christ the King, is the event: “Honouring the past”. There will be Zumba, tai chi, Pacific Island dancing and arts and crafts. The guest speaker is the Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban QSO, Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Victoria University, and devotions will be led by Rev Hana Topa-Mauigoa. More information will be sent out shortly to parishes and neighbouring regions. For more information, contact Lois Robertson email@example.com
Keep us posted with your celebrations – happy 50th.
Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio
Syrians Need Prayer and Support
Three years after peaceful protests developed into war, the outlook remains bleak for those in Syria and those who have fled the country. CWS partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), is responding with compassion to some of the 2.5 million plus refugees, especially in Lebanon and Jordan where numbers are the highest. They are running children’s programmes, vocational training and setting up women’s committees for mutual support and health training. They also provide food, blankets and other relief items but cannot keep up with demand. If you can, please support the Syria Appeal, perhaps with a special fundraising event. Please continue to pray for peace in Syria and the many people affected by this tragic situation.
Share Your Blessings in Lent
Autumn is here and the Harvest continues. It is a good time to give thanks to God for what we have and to remember those who have no Harvest. Lent is traditionally a time of almsgiving. CWS has worship and other resources available with a focus on the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
Receipts in the Mail
CWS is sending out tax receipts to regular givers at the end of the tax year. If parishes have not sent in Christmas or other donations they hold before March 31, people will not get their receipts in time. Tax credits can be claimed on an IR526 form. Please consider giving your tax credits to CWS so we can help more people in need.
Sunday 11 May is a great opportunity to remember your mother. Whether water for Ugandan orphans or compost for gardens in Tonga, Gifted is a chance to share something special with your mum and again with a family who needs help now. Contact Emma for a printed catalogue.
“Veil of Tears” Movie Available for Viewing
Gospel for Asia has made “Veil of Tears” which tells the gripping story of oppressed women in South Asia, available for viewing free of charge. View Veil of Tears here. Or Apply here to host a screening at your parish.
New Zealand Volunteer Week
On 15-21 June, celebrations and events are held across the country to recognise the invaluable contribution made by volunteers in Aotearoa. This year’s theme is: “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata” – “With your contribution and my contribution the people will live.” Check out the Volunteer New Zealand website for more information.
Preaching That Transforms Workshop
On Saturday, 10 May from 9:30am–3:30pm, Carey Baptist College is hosting a mentoring day for preachers with Dr Robert Smith Junior. The cost is $10.00 (including lunch). To register or for more information, check out the Carey Baptist website.
Book for Sale
Grant Us Your Peace by David R Grant – prayers from all of the three year Lectionary Psalms – is available for $20, plus postage. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the author, 09-425-6788.
Glenn Innis Vacancies
For the latest vacancies at Glenn Innis holiday home, please check out the Glenn Innis page on our website.
South Island Ministry Conference
Registrations are now open for the South Island Ministry Conference on 20–22 May 2014. To register or for more information, visit the East Taieri Church website. www.etchurch.co.nz
Te Rongopai DVD Available
The Rev Dr Stuart Lange’s DVD Te Rongopai, which showcases the history of Christianity in New Zealand, is now available. For more information, to see the trailer, or place an order for the DVD, visit the Christian Network website.
Wellington Parenting Course
For parents of children aged 0-6 years, a parenting toolbox course will start on 19 May and run for six Mondays from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. The venue is Island Bay Community Centre in Wellington. For more information contact Liz or Jim Bruce on 04 383 5114.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 5.0% percent per annum. 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.
Receptions to the Roll
Rev Wayne Toleafoa reinstated to the roll 20 December 2014.
Rev Waldir De Souza, Southern Presbytery, to Stated Supply Minister Lumsden Balfour King 28 February 2014.
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Catherine Burton Ordinand, Kaimai Presbytery, to Assistant Minister St Peters Tauranga 9 December 2013.
Rev Andrew Callender Ordinand, Southern Presbytery, to Minister St James New Plymouth – Taranaki Presbytery 8 December 2013.
Changes in Status
Rev Alan Judge Minister St David’s Ashburton, Ashburton Presbytery, to Other recognised Ministry and Executive Officer - Southern Presbytery 1 December 2013.
Rev Yvonne Smith Chaplain Rangi Ruru College, Christchurch Presbytery, to Member Southern Presbytery.
Rev Ewing Stevens MBE Minister Emeritus from Northern Presbytery to Minister Emeritus Southern Presbytery 10 March 2013.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries
Rev Wayne Toleafoa Anglican Church Defence Chaplain to Minister Te Atatu Union- Northern Presbytery 13 March 2014.
Rev Lorna Aberely QSM - Minister Emertus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 6 March 2014.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.