From the Moderator
Rugged up in a Kathmandu goose-down jacket, with a merino woollen scarf around my neck, warm gloves and a hat I wandered the Christmas markets in Cologne, Germany as I experienced my first Northern hemisphere Christmas. It seemed so far removed from the beaches and barbeques of New Zealand where I would have been wearing shorts, T-shirt and jandals. Maybe it was because it was so cold and dark that the Christmas lights and decorations seemed to take on greater significance. In New Zealand they almost seem irrelevant.
Traditional Christmas carols were being played, children were enjoying merry-go-rounds, families were ice-skating, choirs were singing, nativity scenes made out of chocolate, wood and various other materials spoke of the reason for the season. The stalls were doing great business – especially the many food and the mulled wine stalls – and thousands of people were simply enjoying the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The joy of the occasion was tangible.
At the end of January I represented the Presbyterian Church with Wayne Te Kaawa and Te Aka Puaho, at the birthday celebrations of one of the country’s greatest missionaries Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana. The Ratana celebrations went on for a week, and I was there for two of those days.
While the TV portrayal of this event focuses on the visit of politicians, political parties and other dignitaries, what I saw among the people was a festive celebration of something much more important to them. There was a real joy in coming together from all corners of New Zealand – and other parts of the globe – in a wonderful sense of unity. The brass bands played, the rock bands on the stage made sure we heard them, plenty of food was eaten and the happy conversation between people never ceased.
In all of this amazing celebration a warm and wonderful hospitality embraced every person who stepped onto the marae. Each person knew they were welcome and special. They were celebrating and honouring their founder T W Ratana – one of our country’s first charismatic Christians who moved in the prophetic and healing ministries following his encounter with the Holy Spirit while sitting on his front porch. But, it seemed to me, they were also celebrating their love of Jesus, the Christian faith, and things taha Maori. At one point in the proceedings Moderator Wayne leaned over to me and said, “Do you think that we of the Presbyterian Church could celebrate like this?”
The Church may like to know that Moderator Wayne was invited to give the kauhau (sermon) at the celebration church service – the culmination of the week’s festivities. This is the first time a non-Ratana minister has been invited to give the kauhau.
Throughout my term as moderator I have been invited to attend some church centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations. As in Cologne and at Ratana the joy and happiness of the people celebrating fills the atmosphere at these events.
Celebrating is an important part of being human, and we in the Christian faith have more reason than most to celebrate when we think of all that has been done for us by Jesus at the Cross, the hope that comes through the resurrection and the ever-present empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
This year for the first time we of the Presbyterian Church are having an Assembly Week. One part of the Assembly Week will be what we have known as General Assembly – but there will be much more! More time for inspiration and celebration. In response to Wayne Te Kaawa’s question, “Can we Presbyterians celebrate like this?” my answer is, “Yes, we can!” I encourage all who can to come to this Presbyterian celebration. Make it one of the key events for 2014. It begins with a ministers’ resourcing day on Friday 3 October and finishes in the afternoon of Tuesday 7 October. It is my prayer that we will celebrate with the same joy and unity that I saw of people in Cologne and at Ratana. I can assure you that you will be inspired as we celebrate our faith, the bicentenary of the gospel in this nation and of being Presbyterian together.
God bless you
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Our home on Great Barrier Island is such a blessing for us. Over the Christmas holidays, we have time to eat and drink with family, friends and neighbours. We have a very large dining table which can seat 14 or 15 people and one night as I said grace before we shared dinner with a good number of people, I realised that we had a reasonable representation of the world’s religious streams at the table: our Jewish, Muslim and Hindu friends (and a few people we really did not know) gathered with a smattering of Christians, agnostics and the totally undecided. Believing in God’s sovereignty, I celebrate the wonder of God’s presence in and for the world in all places, people and time. I am happy to talk to anyone about Jesus but I also realise that I need to also do some listening. Eating and drinking with others is the best time I know of to do this.
I wonder if our future as a Church is to be found such simple things – friends, neighbours and strangers gathered together to share food and the words that speak about the most important things. In the midst of the challenges and changes we will face over this coming year it seems to me important to come back to commit again to these times spent around a table that were so precious to Jesus in the stories we hear in the Gospels.
Voting for the Moderator-elect, 2016: Stage 1 – deadline Friday 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 Assembly Week 2014.
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: email@example.com
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. The Moderator’s appointment remains as a two-year term.
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.
CWM is also offering sponsored post-graduate theological study opportunities in seminaries in Taiwan and the Netherlands. (Study will be in English.)
CWM conference about people with disabilities. CWM is in the process of organising a conference for people from member churches who have some advocacy role for people with disabilities.
The conference is scheduled for July in Kuala Lumper and all expenses would be paid. If you, or a person in your congregation who has a ministry which includes advocacy for people with disabilities, consider applying to attend the conference.
If you are interested in applying for any of these opportunities, please contact me and I will send you the details.
PresCare – the joint initiative between us and Presbyterian Support – invites congregations to focus on our shared concern for the wellbeing of children and families with the Lent Reflections resource. The resource was mailed to parishes at the end of last year, and more copies can be requested from Assembly Office (email Sandra@presbyterian.org.nz), or simply download the Lent Reflections booklet from our website.
Through Prescare, parishes and Presbyterian Support are being invited to join together in outreach to participate in this year’s Neighbours Day (29-30 March). Thanks to a grant from the Presbyterian Foundation, financial support is available for outreach where parishes are working with Presbyterian Support. More information will be available on our website shortly about how to get involved.
World Council of Churches – consultative bodies
The World Council of Churches support a range of commissions to act as consultative bodies on all aspects of its work and mission: youth, education, mission, life and order justice etc. The WCC is currently seeking nominations from member churches to participate on one or other of these commissions. If you are interested in the work of the WCC and would like more details then please contact me.
Invitation to attend the Church of Scotland 2014 General Assembly
Each year the Church of Scotland graciously extends an invitation to our Church to send a representative. While neither we nor the Church of Scotland can make any contribution to travel or accommodation costs, if you as a minister or elder in our Church happened to be planning a trip to the UK and would like to represent us at this event, then please let me know.
The Church of Scotland 2014 General Assembly is held from 18-24 May 2014.
Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly
After consultation with presbyteries and the Assembly Business Work Group, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by General Assembly. All material must be received by 31 March 2014.
This timeframe will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to Assembly Week. In this way, we will be able to fulfil the 2012 Assembly’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.
Feedback from discussions
We have distributed to all presbyteries and church councils our second round of discussion documents seeking responses in preparation for the 2014 General Assembly. Please send your responses to our office by 31 March 2014.
Use of buildings and the Human Rights Act
Please find here the Human Rights Commission response to a letter from our Church requesting further information on the use of church buildings. If you have further queries about their response, please write to them directly and send a copy of your letter and their response to me.
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.
One of the most comprehensive studies on church growth has recently been completed by the Church of England. Not all of it is relevant to our context but I have found that it provides some very helpful, research-based conclusions. Read the research
Calling all song writers, poets and writers of prayers!
Submissions are invited for a resource of prayers for this year’s Assembly Week gathering.
Themes to be covered: collects, blessings, cries for help, truth telling, wonder, illumination, gratitude and sent.
Examples of the style of prayers can be found in the writings of John O’Donohue Benedictus; Walter Brueggmann’s Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth and Malcolm Guite’s Sounding The Seasons, Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year.
An editorial team will review all submissions and have this resource available at the next Assembly.
Submissions can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 March 2014.
Thanks again for your prayers and your support of the people and work of the Assembly office.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
There are two new appointments that I would like to make known to the church. Firstly, the Rev Malcolm Gordon has been appointed to the newly created position of Presbyterian Church Worship, Music & Arts Enabler. He takes up the three-year, Auckland-based role part-time from 1 February 2014. The position is funded from a mix of grants (Presbyterian Foundation and Press Go) and personal donations. See the summer edition of Spanz (Press Go article) for an interview with Gordon.
The Rev Sharon Ross Ensor has been appointed Director of the Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office from May 2014 and will be based in Wellington. Sharon has previously served as a chaplain at St Oran’s, and was on the Board of Governors at Queen Margaret College.
Theology Study Grant applications close 31 March
If you will be studying theology in 2014, consider applying for a Knox Centre Theology Study Grant. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2014. For more info or to apply visit the KCML website
Principal, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Happy New Year from PYM and God bless your ministry with young people in 2014. At the present time I am in Tongariro national park with at our Going Further Discipleship camp. It has been an awesome week of teaching from Tim Keel, Darryl Tempero and Carolyn Kelly. We have young adults 17-29 from every corner of the country attend this camp, and it has been great as always to work in collaboration with KCML on this project.
At this time of year we set our plan for the year, and so I have some important dates for you to put into your calendar now.
Connect, 11-13 July
If you have a ministry to young people, whether that is through paid staff or exclusively through volunteer youth workers, we’d love to see at least one representative from your church at our national youth ministry training conference, but you’re welcome to send your whole youth ministry team. Last year we had 240 youth workers at the conference and we hope to have another great turnout this year. Connect 2014 will be held at St.Andrew’s College Christchurch. Learn more about Connect
Going Global, 2-11 July
With our last trip just back from Myanmar, we are excited to announce our next mission trip to Vanuatu is set for July. Learn more about Going Global
Wellington and Southern Presbytery are doing a Going Deeper training in the first part of the year, and I encourage churches in those presbyteries to send their whole youth ministry team. Learn more about Going Deeper
Assembly Week 2014 Youth, 3-7 Oct
As always we will be hoping to have a good number of youth delegates at Assembly. In addition, this year PYM will be running a youth stream. Youth groups will be invited to attend. We are planning something special, and information will be coming soon.
Thought for the month
In this and upcoming Bush Telegraph articles, I am going to write a simple sustainable practice churches should be following as they promote best practice of youth ministry management.
Sustainable practice 1 of 7
We will pray and spiritually support:
- We believe that our youth workers need spiritual support in their work with young people.
- We promise to pray for our youth workers and make sure their spiritual lives are getting the support they need.
National Youth Co-ordinator
People on the move
The first day back at work this year saw me at a conference in Auckland run by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), entitled “People on the Move”. This was jointly hosted by the CCA, ourselves and the Methodist Church of New Zealand.
Speakers and participants from several Asian and Pacific countries explored the phenomenon of modern-day migration and its impact on our respective countries. Topics discussed included justice for migrant workers; refugees and asylum seekers; missiological challenges for the Church; and pastoral care for migrants. We heard some challenging messages, including the problem of the exploitation of migrant workers here in New Zealand. The Revs Kyoung Gyun Han and Paul Prestidge represented the Presbyterian Church alongside me. These issues will continue to provide significant missional opportunities for our churches, particularly in our larger cities where migrants tend to settle.
Going Global mission trips
In December we completed a successful Going Global mission trip to Myanmar. A team of six young adults and three leaders from the Presbyterian Church were hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM), meeting PCM members and visiting projects supported by our Ricebowl Mission. The main focus of this trip was to take part in the PCM’s Tahan Theological College (TTC) Christmas Fun Fete, which was an amazing experience. The team members all made significant contributions to the success of the programme, and learnt a lot about the challenges and joys of the church’s mission in Myanmar. You can read more about the Ricebowl mission here, and about our trip on my blog. Preparations for Going Global 2014 are well under way with a visit to Vanuatu planned for July. This is for young adults aged 18-30. This will build on the success of two previous Going Global trips to Lenakal High school on Tanna Island. An application pack can be viewed here.
Focus for 2014
A focus for this year will be our partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) and in particular, increasing pastoral support for the many seasonal workers who come from Vanuatu each year to work on orchards and vineyards. I am aiming to set up a Vanuatu Support Group, bringing together members in our churches who have strong links with Vanuatu. The aim of this is to strengthen and grow the important mission partnership we share with the PCV, in a country where there are still significant developmental challenges. A first meeting is scheduled for March, in Blenheim.
Thank you to everyone who continues to support the work of Global Mission so generously. Remember that I am available to come to your church and share about our Global Mission. You can email me at email@example.com
Global Mission Coordinator
Kids Friendly plans
One way I try to ease my way back into work after a long summer break is to create a Kids Friendly calendar to assist churches plan their children’s ministry. It’s a detailed job of cross-checking lectionary and secular calendars to ensure that we have all the pertinent festivals, holidays and other useful information listed. If you didn’t receive it via email, download the calendar from our website. Check out our latest Kids Friendly e-news too. It’s full of resources and ideas to kick start your children’s ministry year.
Cheryl (Kids Friendly Advisor for Southland and Otago) and I have just spent a few days together planning our Kids Friendly year, and next month eight Kids Friendly champions from around the country meet for two days at our “Kids Friendly Advance”, a time of strategising for the year ahead.
Dunedin’s “Transformers – Raising Up Young Leaders” camp is from 14-16 February. The camp will be led by local and Taranaki leaders. The last South Island Transformers camp was in 2010, so we are pleased to be offering this opportunity to Southern churches again. If your church is interested in participating in a Transformers camp and committing to a programme of mentoring young people please contact us. Learn more about Transformers
Some exciting news is that we have been contacted by Lucy Moore, the creator of the Messy Church movement, to ask if they can pilot our Transformers’ leadership development and mentoring programme in some Messy Churches in the UK.
It’s been heartening to hear that there are still churches out there wanting to become Kids Friendly.
The Kids Friendly self-review process and resource helps churches reflect on their children’s ministry practises and set goals to be more “Kids Friendly”. It’s our denomination’s “best practise standard” for children’s ministry that’s been evolved over 10 years. If you’re committed to ministering with children and families, we encourage you to do the self-review so we can list you as a “Kids Friendly” church on our website.
Kids Friendly Coach
Presbyterian Research Centre
The Presbyterian Research Centre’s Hewitson Library is home to the Presbyterian Youth Ministry Collection (there’s more about this on the PYM website). It’s a range of resources available for lending out – all you have to do is contact the Hewitson Library (ph 03 473 0771, or firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will tell you if we have a particular title and mail it out if we have. If it isn’t one the Library holds, all is not lost – we can check other libraries around New Zealand and request it on your behalf.
The PYM site also has some handy book reviews and the titles reviewed are all in the Library.
There are regular additions to this collection. This link will take you through to a list of resources added to the collection last year.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Anne Jackman, Director, Presbyterian Research Centre
Hoping you have all had wonderful holidays with loved ones, are well rested, re-energised and ready to work.
50th anniversary celebrations
“A campaign began to take the idea around New Zealand. By November 1963 the General Assembly ratified the PWMU and Women’s Fellowship recommendation that a merged women’s group take place”. (excerpt, Archives, Yvonne Wilkie)
This year is going to be busy with celebrations up and down the country celebrating 50+ years of womens’ ministry as Association of Presbyterian Women (APW), now Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand (PWANZ). Please send through the dates of your celebrations to National Secretary, Rev Shona Bettany email email@example.com.
Projects supported by Presbyterian Women
"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive’." (Acts 20:35)
Our 2012/2013 special projects we raised:
(1) $9,000 for the Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network (DSFN) to develop the “Welcoming Churches” resource which will be a comprehensive guide and checklist towards making churches fully accessible and welcoming to everyone.
(2) $26,235.75 for Christian World Service for Ama Takiloa programme Tongan women’s groups to help with training and support on a range of topics: family nutrition, organic vegetable gardening, disability awareness and women’s empowerment projects such as home-based piggery and poultry, income generation, budgeting, small business development, and sanitation and water supply.
Note: The total for special projects was double these amounts (above) when including Methodist Womens’ contributions.
Our donations to Global Mission were dispersed as follows:
(1) $10,000 - Global Mission projects
(2) $2,000 - Jaghardri
(3) $2,000 Rice Bowl Appeal
(4) $5,000 Vanuatu Pastoral Support Project
(1) $5000 – Avalon Girls School.
(2) $5000 – Delhi Brotherhood.
(3) $5000 – Cyclone Evan Relief in Samoa.
(4) Donation made to fund the Talua College Assistant Librarian.
World Day of Prayer “Streams in the Desert” is the theme for this year. There will be a world day of prayer service in your area. Find out where and what time of day, and plan to be there or you could always be bold and organise a service in your church – why not?
Bridgebuilders 7th International Consultation will be held Friday, 4 April – Tuesday, 8 April 2014. The theme for the event is “Strengthening the Bridge – Building our Capacity Reaffirming Our Faith” and will be held at Saint Francis Retreat Centre, 50 Hillsborough Road, Auckland. Contact Jane Prichard: ph ++64 (09) 528-3727 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or contact Rose Tauetule: ph ++64 (09) 306-7945 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are currently (from Jul 2014) seeking a new Treasurer. Ngaire Pearce will be stepping down at the end of the financial year 30 June 2014. If you would like to be considered for the position, please include “Treasurer” in the email subject line to the National Secretary, Rev Shona Bettany email@example.com or phone (06)367 2067.
Keep us in your prayers
Please keep in prayer (1) Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand women and our mission work (2) Carol Grant our United Nations Convenor attending the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10- 21 March 2014. The priority theme for the event “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”.
Seeking Presbyterian Women memories and photos
Please send me your favourite APW memories/photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also looking for a team to work on a devotion book filled with devotions from the old Harvest Field as well as any devotion you would like to contribute for inclusion. Finally, let’s all come forward, put your hand up and step up this year. Be bold, and take charge, don’t sit back and do nothing because nothing will happen! As we let our light shine, we take responsibility and become great leaders for Christ. God’s blessings upon you all.
Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio
Tonga needs help now
CWS has launched an appeal for partner Ama Takiloa (featured in last year’s Presbyterian Women’s Special Project) after a category five cyclone hit the Ha’apai island group. Your donation will help repair water systems, build community gardens as well as help with water and food supplies until they are back on their feet.
Philippines: thanks and more
“[We] could not have done all this without the help of numerous donors from around the world. Our gratitude to all who have given their support to the project and we fervently wish that our efforts have contributed to bringing a glimmer of hope to the survivors and the necessary impetus to rebuild their lives.”
- National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
In expressing thanks for your support to the Philippines Typhoon Appeal, NCCP is continuing much needed help after November’s super typhoon. Food packages and non-food items have been distributed to isolated communities despite continuous rain and poor conditions. Goods have been packed by 2,266 volunteers working from 130 church denominations/groups and will last until the end of January. They are now planning to help communities restore livelihoods.
CWS has also sent funds to Developers Foundation for roofing iron in six badly damaged villages in coastal Aklan where rain continues to fall. They have asked for funding for 2,957 roofs in 8 villages. Families are seeking help to re-establish small businesses and livelihoods. Please consider organising a fundraising event to help Filipinos rebuild their lives. Or donate to the Philippines appeal now.
World day of prayer
Friday, 7 March in your community. Join this strong and creative movement to experience truly global prayer. This year’s World Day of Prayer material “Streams in the Desert” has been prepared by the women of Egypt.
Radio frequency changes that may affect your parish sound system
Changes to the radio frequency network that come into effect in early 2015 have affected the frequencies available for radio microphones. If your parish operates radio microphones, please download this brochure for further information about steps your parish may need to take to avoid transmitting on prohibited frequencies. Read more about the changes for radio microphone users
South Island Ministry Conference
Dates for the 2014 South Island Ministry Conference are 20-22 May. Mark your diaries now, and more information will in February.
Ecumenical formation opportunities at Bossey
During 2014 the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey will be holding a number of seminars raising awareness on issues related to women’s concerns, justice and peace, ecology and Christian theology, interfaith relations and migrant churches.
The seminars, held at different times throughout the year, are open to international participants representing a wide spectrum of confessional, cultural and regional backgrounds. Each seminar will be limited to 30 participants.
Application forms are now available online. The deadline for applications is three months before the start of each seminar. Partial scholarships will be available for qualifying candidates.
Colin Gibson 2014 Hymns Tour
This year These Hills Workshops are taking Colin Gibson to the eastern side of the middle North Island, with events in Auckland (3rd and 4th May), Tokoroa (4th May), Opotiki (5th May), and Thames (11th May). For cost, registration and other details visit http://thesehillsworkshops.wordpress.com/workshops/
Suicide Ministry Workshops
Workshops in Auckland (18 March), Wellington (20 March), and Invercargill (22 March) will focus on “Suicide Ministry – Theology & Practice: Entering the World of the Suicide and the Bereaved”. Registration fee $160ea. For further info: http://astridstaley.wordpress.com/suicide-ministry-training-days/
Electric organ for sale
A Farfisa brand electric organ, assembled by Wellard Industries, is available for sale in Christchurch. The organ has two manuals and a one octave pedal board. It is in good condition and is about fourteen years old. Our church organist has played it and indicates that it is in good condition. Viewing strictly by appointment in Cromwell, and carriage would be the responsibility of the purchaser.
Offers to Tony Bishop, 13 Barry Avenue, Cromwell. Phone 03 445 4566 or cell: 021 213 3145
World Vision is hosting a Just Church event on 20-22 March 2014 in South Auckland. Through the Just Church conversation World Vision New Zealand seeks to resource the Church in New Zealand to engage holistically and sustainably with injustice both globally and locally. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.nz/justchurch.
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.
Boys Brigade ICONZ appeals for support
In order to continue, Boys Brigade including ICONZ, needs urgent prayer, practical and financial support. More information on this appeal can be found on the Church website.
Glen Innis Vacancies
For vacancies during the month of February, check out the Glen Innis section of our website.
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 December here using the username and password emailed to you in April 2013.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.