From the Moderator
As the end of year comes with its sudden rush and deadlines (I hate that word with a passion!), remember God throws you a lifeline. As far as you are able, take care of yourself because if you don’t who will?
It’s so easy to buy into all the voices that would demand of your time, energy and presence. It’s easy to become exhausted. While you are so looking forward to a Christmas break, remember the antidote for being exhausted is not rest, it is whole heartedness. A whole-hearted life is self renewing. For too many days and in too many ways we are living and giving from a divided heart and soul.
This Christmas God is throwing you a lifeline. Grab it and hold onto it with all your might and even if you can’t, may God grab hold of you!
May God bless you in your preparation and leading of Christmas services this year.
Check out the Assembly Week web page for further resources from Assembly, including videos of key note addresses and much more.
Check out the my Moderator’s web page for resource links and blog.
Check out the bicentennial web page for resources for Christmas this year.
I’ll be taking part in the bicentennial service on Christmas day. This will be televised live on TV One.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
What are you doing for Christmas? Heard that question? I wonder if we might ask, what are you not doing for Christmas? Our lives get so full with more and more and more at this time of year. We associate this time of year with even more noise, end-of-year events and parties, busyness and the like… I wonder if we miss one of gifts? At the first Christmas, the present was a gift of silence.
I have been reading about Zechariah. He is educated, mature, a priest. He knew Torah. He served in the temple. Zechariah said to the angel, “No, it's not possible. It couldn't happen. God could not do this.” Zechariah is quick to say what he does believe and what he does not believe. You know the story. A thought…God is present with Zechariah in silence, in a way that God could not break through to Zechariah in words. This is the strange gift of silence. As you are preparing to bring tidings of great joy to your communities…may you create space for silence and God to break in…
On 25 December 2014, the bicentenary of the Christian gospel arriving in Aotearoa New Zealand will be celebrated. This is date which officially marks when the Rev Samuel Marsden preached his first sermon at Oihi Bay in the Bay of Islands in 1814, supported by Ruatara, Hongi Hika and Korokoro.
A commemoration will take place on Sunday, 21 December with a pōwhiri at 10am.The Governor-General will open Rangihoua Heritage Park, including new building, Rore Kāhu, at the entrance to the valley and the new pilgrimage pathway, which leads down to the Marsden Cross.
The development work also includes panels along the pathway that tell the history of the land and the people being remembered in the bicentennial commemorations.
And on Christmas Day, a service starting at 11am at the Marsden Cross site, will be Anglican-led and include church leaders from across the country. The service will remember the gift of two hundred years ago and those who enabled it on that site, as well as celebrate the ongoing work of the gospel.
Changes to Charities Act and Financial Reporting Standards
As a result of changes in the regulatory environment, there are two big changes – to charity status and requirements for financial reporting – that churches are being asked to implement next year. Given the importance of the changes, training is being offered by the financial services department, and you are asked to give this your support and attention over coming months. More information will be available on dates and locations of training shortly.
General Assembly evaluation
Thank you to all of you who completed evaluations on our recent Assembly Week. A report summarising this feedback will be in the next edition of Bush Telegraph.
General Assembly minutes and other matters
All Assembly minutes will be posted online soon. Other matters for consideration will be sent out over the coming months.
Update from Council of Assembly
The Council met in November and the Council News is now available online.
Council for World Mission
I have received Information from CWM about their Special Academic Accompaniment Programme for the 2015-16 academic year. They are offering funding support for study at Tainan Theological College in Taiwan; the Protestant Theological University in the Netherlands and University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. If you require more information, please contact me. Applications close 25 January 2015.
Around the world
Over recent months I wonder if you like me, have been saddened as we have heard news of people who have been attacked, injured and in some cases killed due to their faith. Others have had their lives turned upside down and are now refugees. At a time of the year when we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace, can I encourage you and the church you are a part not to forget to pray and work for justice for all.
Assembly Office is closed over Christmas
The Assembly Office will be closed from 5pm on Tuesday 23 December 2014 and will reopen again at 8.30am on Monday 5 January 2015. For urgent matters over this time, please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 027 569 1971.
Our thanks to you all
On behalf of the whole Assembly Office team, thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement and support during the year. We wish you a happy and Christ-centred Christmas and look forward to serving and supporting you in 2015.
Barriers to Mission: Part II
Discerning the mission God calls us to involves looking up, looking in and looking out. In each of these actions there are potential barriers to mission.
We are in a time of mission – even as interest in denominational church declines, interest in spiritual matters has never been higher. Look out – what is the nature of the community you are located in? What are the human hurts and hopes and struggles you see around you? Where do people gather? Do you know what services are available for people who need some form of help? Are there lots of older people in the area? Or young families? Or professionals who work long hours? The best way of understanding what your community is like is by being out in it! Talk to people, walk rather than drive, make time to really understand where God has placed you to begin your mission.
Look up – talk to God about what you are seeing. What are the things that really get to you? What would He have you do in this context? Who should you ask to join you? Is this a personal mission, or is it for others in your church as well? Allow your heart to be broken by what breaks God’s heart. Let compassion and a desire for action grow.
Look in – what are the unique gifts, skills, talents and connections God has given you for your mission? The largest barriers you will face come from within. Making time to be involved, spending time with God discerning what He wants you to do, risking action, focussing on the needs of your neighbours rather than your own…
Press Go can help churches and presbyteries find a way past barriers to mission. In the first instance please contact the Press Go Catalyst on email@example.com or phone 027 4455 723.
Press Go Catalyst
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Applications are invited for the position of principal at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership in Dunedin, New Zealand.
The vacancy has come about due the resignation of current principal, the Very Rev Dr Graham Redding who will be leaving in January 2015 to take up a new role as Master of Knox College.
The principal is responsible for running a two-year internship programme for people training for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, and is both an executive leader and a lecturer. As well as having requisite skills in leadership and education, candidates should be familiar with the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition, have a proven background in Christian ministry, and have either a D.Min or a PhD in Theology.
Catherine van Dorp
Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
17-19 July 2015
PYM’s flagship national youth leaders’ training event is going to be held in Ngaruawahia. The theme is Connect 3D - in which, alongside a great line up of youth ministry based training, we will help leaders to develop a holistic approach to their call to leadership with workshops around spiritual practice, a chance to access counsellors to process life’s challenges and the opportunity to seek input from spiritual directors as well. It is so important we invest in our leaders, please put Connect in your church’s calendar and budget, and send leaders.
18-25 Dec 2014
Once again we will be running our Christmas text message service. Subscribers to Kiwadvent will be able to follow the week leading up to the birth of Jesus through a series of messages delivered by text, Facebook or Twitter. To follow Kiwiadvent, subscribe by sending the word ‘TEXT’ to 8987.
Going Further Discipleship Camp
8-13 Feb 2015
PYM’s annual discipleship camp for young adults (ages 18-30) is returning to Great Barrier this summer. Kendra Green from California will be the keynote speaker. We continue to hear how this camp has sparked a new impetus of faith and commitment to local church ministry in young adults who have previously attended. Please consider shoulder tapping one or two of the young adults in you church to come along. Full info
It has been exciting to witness the PYM internship gaining traction this year as more churches become aware of the programme and as our current interns are growing theologically and practically through their training. By making theological training a priority in youth work the PYM internship is an invitation for a church and a budding youth worker to invest in the long-term effectiveness of youth ministry and in the future of our Church. We are now accepting applications for 2015. Full info
National Youth Director
National Youth Manager
The last Bush Telegraph was written while I was overseas - in October I visited Kathryn McDaniel, who has worked in prison ministry in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for many years. Kathryn originally went to Indonesia as a missionary from the Presbyterian Church 40 years ago and has followed her call to serve in mission overseas ever since. It was both challenging and inspiring to observe her ministry first-hand and meet the team she works with.
Following that I had a whirlwind visit to India where I made plans for next year’s Going Global programme. The aim of this will be to educate and inspire young adults about our Church’s mission history in India, and to encourage greater awareness about opportunities to serve in mission today, whether that be in India, New Zealand, or elsewhere. The programme will take place in the second half of November/early December next year. Details of the programme including cost estimates will be advertised soon – let me know if you would like to register your interest now. You can read about my visit in my blog http://www.globalmissionpcanz.blogspot.co.nz/
Things have suddenly got very busy with Vanuatu. Roger and Paula Levy and family are about to return home after spending several years in Vanuatu. Please pray for them as they make plans and re-adjust to life in New Zealand. Their replacements at Talua Ministry Training Centre are Shirley and Don Anton, of Titirangi Presbyterian in Auckland. Shirley will teach English, while Don will contribute in a supporting role in the Talua community. The Antons will begin in mid-January.
Two other couples will be serving in a voluntary capacity with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, beginning in February. Neville and Gloria Jones from Blenheim will be based in Port Vila for up to two years; while Graeme and Maebry Reid of Christchurch will be at Onesua College for six months. It is so encouraging to support people who are willing to serve voluntarily in this way. I am always very happy to receive phone calls and emails from church members who are exploring short-term mission opportunities.
I already have several speaking engagements lined up for the first half of 2015. Please let me know if you would like me to visit your church either to preach or speak to a group: firstname.lastname@example.org
As this is the last Bush Telegraph for 2014 I would like to finish by thanking all those who generously support our mission partners through financial and prayerful means; and wish all readers a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year filled with the love of God, made known to us in the peace and presence of Jesus Christ.
Global Mission Co-ordinator
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Church links with Guangzhou (Canton) go back to the early 1900s
The Archives is home to some 2,000 images which are part of the Church’s New Zealand Chinese Villages Mission Collection. The photographs depict life and events in Canton from the early 1900s through to the 1940s, recording everything from everyday life to street scenes depicting Canton as it was in the early twentieth century.
Several images have been displayed in a photo gallery on the Archives website for several years and were picked up by George McKibbens, South China Normal University, who interviewed the Curator of Photographs, Mychael Tymons, broadcasting this as part of the series Lingnan Voices, Radio Guangdong. The Archives subsequently provided a large number of images which formed the basis of a very successful exhibition held in the Guangzhou Library, attracting thousands of visitors, many with no knowledge of the old city, and some who remembered and were enthusiastic to share what they could recall.
Last week the Presbyterian Research Centre welcomed Mr Fang Jiazhong, Director of the Guangzhou Library, and Zhang Jiangshun, Deputy Director, Reference & Information Department, who were visiting New Zealand. The Guangzhou Library is collaborating with the Presbyterian Church’s Archives to have some 2,000 images digitised, to be sent back to Guangzhou and form an important part of the city’s documentary heritage. Both ourselves and the Guangzhou Library will have copies of these available digitally. Guangzhou Library has a team ready to assist with identifying places and forwarding this information to the Archives. This promises to be an ongoing collaboration as Guangzhou rebuilds its history and works with the Presbyterian Research Centre to also get copies of publications that relate to its early history.
Anne Jackman - Director
Presbyterian Research Centre
The Expectant Hush of Advent
Last week it was great to share at the Alpine Presbytery on two of my favourite topics: Reimagining Church and Transformers – Raising Up Young Leaders.
Our next Transformers camps will be held in Christchurch and Dunedin from 13 to 15 February so it was particularly pertinent to get a chance to share our vision for mentoring and discipling young people through the Transformers initiative. There are so many stories of hope and transformation to share from those who have participated in Transformers over the last five years. For more info, check out Transformers on our website or contact us.
And now as all our churches “rev up” for Christmas, the Kids Friendly office quietens down – a great time to plan for next year and do a bit of administrative spring cleaning. We’ve moved our offices to Somervell Presbyterian Church in Remuera, Auckland recently, so the physical spring clean has already been accomplished.
As you enter the Advent season we encourage you to consider how you will share Christmas with the children of your churches and communities. Have a “surf” of the Kids Friendly website for lots of great resources and ideas including: Advent and Christmas worship with children, Christmas pageants, “Sunday School” lessons, movie clips, ways to encourage parents to share Christmas at home with their children and some suggestions for great Christmas gift ideas at discounted prices. View or download children’s Advent resources
“Let’s approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush” (Faith Box).
Wishing you a wonderful Advent and Christmas.
From Jill, Cheryl and Kaila (your Kids Friendly Team)
2014 will be remembered as the Year of Celebration of the Association of Presbyterian Women. The wonderful gatherings recorded throughout New Zealand of our women over the last 50 years, the many mission projects and funds raised, lifelong friendships forged. The gatherings this year were a time to share stories of many young women learning about life, church and community. Fifty years later a reunion to look back, give thanks to God and reminisce. Read our Jubilee Gleanings issue.
We now begin a new chapter as “Presbyterian Women”. How can our voice continue to be heard in the new presbyteries? In church? In leadership?
Next year we will be holding a national meeting. We are currently negotiating dates and a venue to try and accommodate most people. Please let us know if you have any queries. We continue to hope and move forward keeping focus on Nola Stuart’s document as a starting point for our journey, seeking God’s direction and wisdom for our Presbyterian Women.
On 12 October 2014, our Deputy Convenor Leautuli Sauvao attended the National Council of Womens’ Conference. Read her report here.
At this time we are reminded of the importance of the White Ribbon appeal please continue to support this very worthy cause.
There are more Christmas messages in the latest Gleanings, thank you Rae Simpson.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) (NIV)
Have a wonderful Christmas break. God bless you all as you prepare for Christmas services, visitations and normal mission activities at this time.
Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio
“…He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners” Isaiah 61:1b
Build Hope for Tomorrow is the theme of the 69th Christmas Appeal featuring two young Filipinos playing after last year’s typhoon. Helping people rebuild homes and livelihoods is a vital step in recovering from war and disaster. Read how five featured partners are strengthening people and communities for an uncertain future. All materials are available on the website for each Sunday in Advent and Christmas Day. If you need envelopes, posters (in 10 languages) or service sheets, please contact Emma at 0800 74 73 72. We value your support.
Despite efforts, the Ebola virus is continuing to spread in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Churches and ACT Alliance members are at the forefront of community education efforts. They are delivering food to those affected to make sure someone does not have to break quarantine to get supplies, as well as providing pastoral care. Those most affected need correct medical information which means avoiding physical contact including with the deceased. ACT Alliance members run hospitals and medical clinics. Church members ask for us to pray with them for God’s blessing on their efforts. Please support the Ebola Response Appeal.
Making a List
Deciding what you want someone to give you for Christmas can be difficult. Why not choose something from Gifted, knowing your gift will be doubled? You get the pleasure of knowing you are giving something that will help and a CWS partner will get an animal, seeds or something else to give to a family in need. Contact Emma for a catalogue or look online. E-gifts make it easy to send overseas.
Church Property Trustees
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits will remain at 5.0% percent per annum until 31st January 2015.
From 1st February 2015 the rate will reduce to 4.50% per annum. There are two major factors behind the Trustees’ decision to reduce the interest rate.
Firstly, the interest paid on deposits has been held at 5.0% pa since February 2012. With the protracted period of current low interest rates in the market, we have been earning less than this 5.0% pa on our investments since July 2013. As a consequence, we have only been able to pay the higher rate because it has been “subsidised” from the fund's reserves. However, this has resulted in a slow fall in the reserves, which have decreased by around $550,000 between July 2013 and September 2014. We cannot allow our reserves to fall below a prudent level, and at around 5.6% of the value of the Fund, the Trustees consider that we have now reached that point. As prudent managers, we therefore have no option other than to reduce the interest rate so that the reserves do not reduce further.
The second factor is that the outlook for interest rates going forward now looks far less promising than it did earlier in the year. We had hoped that we would be able to hold the PIF interest rate until market rates rose again, but this no longer looks possible. In its latest statement, the Reserve Bank has signalled quite clearly that, as things stand, any further increase in interest rates is some way off. Markets are reacting to this signal already and, looking forward, attractive investment opportunities will become more difficult to find. As the Trustees are committed to ensure the security of the PIF investments remains high, the likelihood that current market conditions will persist means that we need to reduce the interest rate.
The Trustees are well aware that the PIF is a significant source of income for some parishes, so we wanted to give adequate notice of the change. For the same reason, we also want to indicate to you that further reductions in the interest rate paid are possible should market conditions unfold as currently anticipated.
For further information, contact me.
Kos van Lier
Executive Officer – Church Property Trustees
Videos from General Assembly
Guest speaker addresses, as well as presentations from incoming Moderator the Rt Rev Andrew Norton and more are now available for download. Check out the Assembly Week website to view or download videos: http://www.pcanzassembly.org.nz/#!videos/cehg
Scholarships for Christian tertiary students (Wellington)
Scholarships of up to $2000 are available to students/recent graduates with an interest in expressing their Christian spirituality in print, online and digital media. Rooftops is an all-ages group for Christian writers, thinkers and creatives who learn together how to engage their non-Christian peers. 2015 Deadline February 25, 12pm. Contact: Chris Beard, Rooftops Director, for enquiries or applications. Email: email@example.com Website: www.ecumenicalchaplaincy.org.nz
Otago University Study: “Caught between Cultures: NZ Presbyterian Missionary Children”
Were you a child of a Presbyterian missionary family between about 1930 and 1960? Or are you descended from someone who was a missionary child in those years? Do you have in your possession old records of the family in those years that you would be willing to be looked at for research purposes? If you answer yes to any of these questions, and are willing to participate in research then please get more info here, or contact Hugh Morrison for further details: ph 03 479 4240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Glen Innis Vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis every year. With summer coming up, now is a great time to get your holiday organised. Check out the vacancies here
Book for Sale
Published for the first time are the letters of the Rev Abraham Honore, a Danish missionary to the Maori, written during his ministry from 1848-1894 and those of his wife Elisabeth, who was willing to leave her native Denmark and travel across the world to marry a man she had never met. Cost $55. Contact Ralph Dearlove for more information. email@example.com
Choir Robes for Sale
They are the normal winey colour with white removable collars and button up in the front. They have wide 3/4 sleeves and while not labelled have been professionally made. They are in excellent condition. $30 each or buy 12 get one free. Contact E Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Wayne Matheson, Assembly Office Secretary, Wellington Presbytery, 7 November 2014.
Changes in Status
Ron Bennet, Minister, Hamilton St Andrews to Other Recognised Ministry, Kaimai Presbytery, 5 November 2014.
Rev Martin Baker, Assembly Executive Secretary, Wellington Presbytery to Other Recognised Ministry, Northern Presbytery, 7 November 2014.
Rev Wayne Matheson. Minister Knox St Columba to Assembly Executive Secretary, Presbytery Central, 22 October 2014.
Rev Don Murray, Minister Emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery transferred to Alpine Presbytery.
Rev Stephanus Wouter Van Od, Stated Supply Minister for three months St Andrews Presbyterian Church Wanganui, Presbytery Central from 27 July 2014.
Rev Sue Fenton, Stated Supply Knox St Columba Lower Hutt from 14 September 2014, Presbytery Central.
Rev Lowell Karnes, United Methodist Church USA, Stated Supply St Andrew’s Hamilton, Kaimai Presbytery, 1 October 2014.
Rev John Drylie, St Andrews Hokitika, Alpine Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, 21 September 2014.
Rev Kim Francis Minister, St Andrew’s New Plymouth, Presbytery Central died 18th October 2014.
At the General Assembly October 2014 the following presbyteries were incorporated into Presbytery Central and the parishes and ministers within the following presbyteries were transferred to Presbytery Central:
- Presbytery of Manawatu-Wanganui
- Presbytery of Wellington
- Presbytery of Gisborne-Hawkes Bay
- Taranaki Presbytery
- Wairarapa Uniting Church Council
At the General Assembly October 2014 the following presbyteries were incorporated into Alpine Presbytery and the parishes and ministers within the following presbyteries were transferred to Alpine Presbytery:
- Presbytery of Ashburton
- Christchurch Presbytery
- Presbytery of South Canterbury
- Presbytery of Nelson Marlborough
- West Coast Uniting Church Council
Check out our listing of national and regional events.