From the Moderator
Two years ago when I took office as Moderator in Rotorua, 2014 seemed so far away. Now I write my last Bush Telegraph comment! I am thrilled to pass the mantle on to Andrew Norton. I have known Andrew for close on 35 years and with his skills, experience and lateral thinking he will serve the church as Moderator in an exceptional way. I encourage all people to take every opportunity they have to meet with Andrew and learn from him.
My time as moderator has passed very quickly and I have enjoyed almost every moment of it. What a joy it has been to meet so many people in every part of New Zealand. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality.
As I finish my time I want to say clearly that I am not in despair for our Church. There is a lot of negative talk about the Christian faith and the future of the Christian Church, especially in the Western World. I am not one of those voices. I am not in despair as I have seen so many fantastic signs of new life and hope as I have travelled throughout the country.
This is not to say that the Church of the future will be as it is now. It will be different. The reality is that in many places churches are facing troubled times and an uncertain future. Some expressions of church as we know it now will remain for people for whom this is precious and meaningful, but new forms of church are being birthed and will continue to be birthed in the future.
Two years ago I began by calling the church to live with a resurrection mind-set, and as I draw to a close that is still the heart of my message. I am convinced that this is the key hope for the mission of our Church. With a resurrection mind-set the Church will naturally move in mission. We who are “in Christ” must think and live knowing that the work of the cross is finished. The work of the cross is perfect. It is complete. Noone can or needs to add to it. Jesus’ final words are true – “it is finished!” The cross is a once for all sacrifice. As the writer to Hebrews says: “when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God …because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”. Hebrews 10:12-14 (NIV) In Christ we can all walk in the liberty of Jesus and share the life-giving power of God’s Kingdom.
May God bless you all and may God’s blessing remain on our Presbyterian Church.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Just five weeks before our General Assembly and I am so conscious of the enormous amount of extra work that has been undertaken to make this event not only an effective forum for our Church’s business, but also an opportunity to celebrate, learn and grow together.
While there is a danger of making great sweeping generalisations about the Church’s history, it seems to me that from the earliest times, the Christian community has seen, in gathering together, the opportunity for thanksgiving and mutual encouragement, but also a time of discernment for how God may be calling us to mission at this time and place.
Given the context of our ministry and mission, the choices for us are, in my view, quite stark. We either “circle the wagons” and seek to protect ourselves and our things from the overwhelming change that characterises our mission context, or we take a risk, and make ourselves vulnerable as we invest who we are and what we have in our engagement with our increasingly complex and diverse communities. I do hope and pray that we can, at this Assembly, be open to the call of God whose very first act was one of creation as we seek the imagination and vision that is so critical for our future as a Church.
I am delighted that the Rev Wayne Matheson has been appointed AES-designate. Details of the announcement can be found here. We thought it would be great for Wayne to start at the office prior to the General Assembly to gain experience into organising the bi annual event. Wayne begins here on 8 September on a fixed-term contract pending the ratification of his appointment by the Assembly in October. Wayne has served at Knox Lower Hutt for more than seven years and will also relinquish his role as convenor of the Council of Assembly.
Inspiring Mission enrolments open until 19 September
Assembly Week is going to be a time for everyone in our church to learn, grow and celebrate our Church’s life and mission. There is still time to register to attend any of the 24 workshops and three streams that have been confirmed (last day for enrolment is Friday 19 September). Enrolment and information details can be found here.
Assembly White Book
This year there is only one mail out of Assembly papers, and the White Book is expected to be available 10 days prior to the start of General Assembly, although those that have opted to receive electronic versions of the papers will be able to access the papers slightly earlier.
Notices of Motion for the Assembly due by 5pm Monday 13 September
The deadline for notices of motion has been set as 5pm Monday 13 September. After this date only motions arising from dialogue or debate will be accepted.
Calling a Newly Trained Minister
This year, six people will complete their training as interns. They are a terrific group of people and represent a range of backgrounds and experience. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation or in other ministry roles. Profiles for each are available from the Rev Allister Lane who coordinates introductions and discussions between final year interns and Ministry Settlement Boards. Profiles for the interns will also be included in the Spring edition of SPANZ. For more information, please contact Allister.
CWM Partner Church Visitations - We are a member of the 31-church Council for World Mission. CWM is currently coordinating small teams to visit member churches. The purpose of the visits is both to strengthen inter-church relationships but also to look at how each member church is working to develop missional congregations. If you are interested in leading or being part of a visiting team, then please let me know and I will send you more information. I will invite the Leadership Sub-committee to determine who will represent us on these teams. The visits are for one week in 2015 and 2016 and will most likely will take you to a church in Asia, Africa or the Pacific. All expenses are paid by CWM.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches – Council meeting, Germany 2017 -This is going to be a very special event as reformed churches gather to celebrate the 500th anniversary since the events that led to the Reformation. The meeting is in June 2017 culminating with church worship at Wittenberg, where, on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the castle church door. There are no details on costs yet, but let me know if you are interested in being there and I will send you information as it comes in.
Risk management, ethics and leadership workshops
It is a requirement that every minister, to retain their status of good standing, must attend one of these workshops once every three years. These workshops are provided on an “as needed” basis for usually 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.
A recent event involving a congregation publishing a poem in full covered by copyright on their church web site and the resulting legal action, reminds us all of the importance of complying with copyright laws.
If any work is covered by copyright you may not publish or reproduce it without the author and/or publisher’s permission. (Simply indicating that the work is covered by copyright or acknowledging the author is not enough.) However you may quote from the work if you are using less than a “substantial part” provided you acknowledge where the quotes came from. Read more on this here.
Details on the church website indicate how you may purchase coverage for songs, music, videos and films that you use in worship and at other times in your church life. http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/for-ministers/worship-resources/information-about-copyright
Clarity in Mission
The Council of Assembly has released another document called ‘Mission Clarity’ supporting its Strategic Directions, to help presbyteries and congregations reflect on the kind of church structures and initiatives which, in our experience and on research from here and abroad, are most likely to support the future of our Church’s mission and growth. You can download this document here and I would welcome your feedback or ideas on how we can further develop this guide. The document also refers to some extensive research conducted by the Church of England, which you might also find interesting to refer to here.
Thanks again for your prayers and your support of the people and work of the Assembly office.
Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
National Youth Gathering at Assembly Week
How do you fit into God’s story of love and redemption? How can you take the gifts, traits and skills that you have been wired with to be a blessing to the people around you?
These are just some of the questions being asked at PYM’s inaugural National Youth Gathering. The heart of the Gathering will be expressed in the morning through spiritual formation, teaching and workshops. Confirmed workshops include:
- The thinking and the doing behind great worship ministry - Malcolm Gordon, Darryl Tempero & Hemi Lesatele
- Spoken word - The South Auckland Poets Collective
- The art of invitation - Jonathan Hesp
- Finding and using your spiritual gifts - Christopher Defibaugh
- Finding yourself in God’s story - Matt Chamberlin
- Transforming your back yard - Anne Overton
In addition young people will get involved in servant projects. PYM will host a national sports competition, talent quest, and young people will join the rest of Assembly Week goers in the evening at the Inspired events.
For youth groups to attend the 4 days, including meals, participants only need to pay $49. Registration closes 19 Sept. More info
As an alternative, Auckland youth groups are welcome to sign up for individual day passes, which includes the afternoon session, dinner and the evening Inspired event. Such passes cost $10.
Youth Commissioners at GA – 3 Oct
For official Youth Commissioners at General Assembly, we will be running a youth orientation day commencing at 2pm on Friday, 3 October. This 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. More info
Going Further Discipleship Camp
On 8-13 Feb 2015, PYM’s annual discipleship camp for young adults (ages 18-30) is returning to Great Barrier. Kendra Green from California will be the keynote speaker, and we are stoked that we have been able to reduce the price of the camp this year to $405, which includes the ferry out to Great Barrier Island. We continue to hear how this camp has sparked a new impetus of faith in young adults who have previously attended. Please consider financially supporting a young adult from your congregation to attend. More info
National Youth Co-ordinator
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Ministers’ Study Grants
Are you a Presbyterian minister planning on further study? Do you know that you can apply for a study grant from the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership?
What are the rules?
- The proposed course of study will aid the applicant's professional development.
- There is a potential benefit to the Church and the probability of significant service to the Church.
- Parish and presbytery approval has been obtained for the study, where appropriate.
Priority is normally given to assisting with the payment of academic or course fees for an approved course of study. Other costs associated with undertaking certain courses of study are considered on a case by case basis, but do not include the purchase of books or equipment. Where overseas travel is involved, applicants should first apply to the Best Travel Fund.
Under normal circumstances, grants do not exceed one-third of the study costs involved and may be held in conjunction with other scholarships and grants other than the Postgraduate Scholarship. Grants are not made retrospectively and relate only to costs to be incurred by the scholarship holder themselves.
Please note: successful applicants who move to ministries or other positions outside of the Presbyterian Church within two years of receiving a grant may be required to repay up to 50% of the grant received.
How do I apply?
Applicants are asked to address the criteria and set out their expected costs including conference fees, tuition fees, basic accommodation and travel, and to supply any other information that may be relevant.
Enquiries to: The Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership, Knox College, Arden Street Opoho, Dunedin. firstname.lastname@example.org or ph 03 473 0783.
The closing date for the next round of applications is 30 September 2014.
Catherine van Dorp
Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Are you working in a parish and looking for resources to help you manage the paperwork?
The Archives website has a variety of guides listed under the “Parish Resources” section. From here click on the “Parish Handbook” button, and all of the resources listed here are available:
- What is a record – the records the parish produces and has to manage - e.g. minute books, correspondence, newsletters, etc. http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/recordsmanagement3.pdf
- Organising records – how to manage them.
- Retention Schedules – which records must be retained, and which can be disposed of (and when) e.g. financial records. This guide has just been updated, and includes guidelines for starting to manage electronic records.
- Privacy Act – what to take into consideration when you record personal information.
- Care of photographs – keeping them safe from damage.
Archives staff are always happy to give advice if you are unsure. Contact us by email at email@example.com or call (03) 473 0777.
Presbyterian Research Centre Director
Communication – Better When it Works!
Communication – or the lack thereof – is one of the most frequently raised concerns in congregations.
Let me first say that the most effective communication is face-to-face between two people. However, for most church communications there are multiple recipients, all of whom have other things on their mind, when a message is received. To use a Biblical allusion, the message broadcast is not necessarily going into fertile soil!
Despite increased internet access and the fact that around 35 percent of us use smartphones, church communication is often paper-based or oral. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to suggest we abandon live services for podcasts! But we do need to think about the way we communicate with people – those who are in church and those who are not.
Communication is more than the content of our message. Communication is also not a one-way process. For a variety of reasons, the people involved in the communication don’t always get the same picture.
Sometimes the problem is the way the message is sent. If your potential volunteers weren’t in the service when the notice was handed out, they’ll never know you need help. We need to use as many media as possible to communicate: the parish website, Facebook, email and text messages. Make it easy to respond so you will know who has received the message, understood it and is going to act on it. These are simple things that will go a long way to improving internal communication.
The final point is that while you do the above, there is still a need for the other traditional means of communication to continue. Maybe I can paraphrase Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22 and suggest we use all possible means to communicate with people so that some may understand!
PressGo aims to help churches succeed in mission and one of the ways we can do this is to build the congregation’s capacity to respond to missional opportunities. If you would like to discuss a potential initiative or the ways PressGo might assist please call me on 027 4455 723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Also, you can read the full version of this article on my blog.)
Press Go Catalyst
The Rev Geoff Skilton of Highgate Church, Dunedin and I recently visited Vanuatu, where we attended the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) General Assembly. We were also there to establish a new school connection for Columba College where Geoff is chaplain.
Despite some challenges the natural beauty of Vanuatu combined with the warmth of the people makes it a very enjoyable place to share in mission. Our work with the PCV is growing and there are further opportunities for individuals and parishes to contribute in a variety of ways, so please contact me if you would like to discuss this.
We currently have a PCV pastor, Jackson Talivo, and his wife Jenny here for three months, based in Blenheim, observing and offering pastoral ministry to the Ni-Van seasonal workers in the region. He will also be visiting Central Otago and the Bay of Plenty where other seasonal workers are based. So far this pilot scheme is going very well, and thanks are due to members of the Wairau Presbyterian Parish in Blenheim – in particular the Rev Brendan O’Hagan, and Neville and Gloria Jones - for hosting them, and enabling them to have such a valuable experience. Jackson and Jenny will be at the Global Mission stream at General Assembly along with other international guests before flying home to Vanuatu.
The Training in Mission team (12 young adults from Council for World Mission member countries) will arrive in New Zealand on 1 September for the New Zealand leg of their year-long mission training programme. They will be hosted by Te Aka Puaho, Laidlaw College, and BGI in Wellington, and will also attend the General Assembly.
Applications for the vacant position of Ricebowl Mission coordinator for our Myanmar partnership have closed and we hope to make an appointment in the near future.
As always, please contact me if you would like to discuss your involvement in our Global Mission, email@example.com
Global Mission Coordinator
Not Just Playing Around
Whether it’s music, food, playtime, gymnastics, coffee (or all of the above), playgroups generally have the following in common: caregivers gathering together with their (usually) preschool-aged children. Caring for small children can be a lonely and isolating experience. Playgroups provide a regularly scheduled time for children and their adults to socialise and feel a part of the community around them.
More and more of our churches are ministering with their community’s families in this way. It’s a great way to meet a very real community need and form relationships with people who may not otherwise set foot inside the church walls. Many of my playgroup attendees (past and present) say that when their little one passes our church they call out, “There’s MY church!”
The benefits of playgroups are evident, but what about the costs (financial and other) of running or starting a playgroup.
A successful playgroup has a consistent face or faces to greet members old and new and assist them in feeling connected to the others. In our busy age, time is an invaluable commodity. Volunteers seem to be in short supply and often a paid playgroup coordinator is the only way to go.
And even if you run the most basic playgroup, you still need toys, coffee, tea, biscuits and possibly rent.
But as our incoming Moderator, the Rev Andrew Norton says: “There’s no such thing as no money when you have a vision”. The Ministry of Education is very willing to fund playgroups including “Special Interest” (Christian) playgroups. The funding may be used to purchase new toys, pay rent and pay your coordinator. Playgroups can even apply for a special grant for start-up costs.
Information on applying for funding can be found on the MOE website.
And if you’re thinking of starting a playgroup ministry, contact us for a copy of the Kids Friendly resource “Establishing a ministry with pre-schoolers and their families”. It’s full of practical advice and stories from Clevedon Presbyterian who has an amazing ministry with families in their community.
Kids Friendly trainee coach
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV)
Special Projects 2014/2015: In partnership with Methodist Women’s Fellowship our special projects this year 2014/2015 are:
(1) Diabetes Youth New Zealand’s (DNZ) vision is to inspire local organisations to create well structured teenage camps. With the funds raised by New Zealand Methodist Women’s Fellowship and Presbyterian Women of Aotearoa New Zealand. DNZ advocates, provides opportunities, educates and connects families.
(2) Neythal, Tamil Nadu, South India Neythal works with fisher communities and other coastal groups to protect the threatened ecology of coastal Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry states, and with women.
Presbyterian Women are proud to support projects for the health and wellbeing of our children and young people as well as preserving our environment.
Treasurer needed now: 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.
Study Grant: We are pleased to offer a grant to women in our Church seeking Christian training in 2014 to help course costs. Do you know women seeking training? Application forms are obtainable from National Secretary, Rev Shona Bettany. Please note the new closing date: 30 September 2014.
50th Celebrations continue: May God bless all your celebrations and please remember to send a report to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012/2013 Annual Report: This has been emailed to all groups. Please contact Rev Shona Bettany for a copy.
Gleanings is now available online. Download here. Please send your contact details to Secretary, Rev Shona Bettany, if you would like to be on the mailing list. Please send your news and articles for Gleanings to Rae Simpson.
Ladies, not long to go until the end of the year, so keep going. God is with us always.
Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio
CWS congratulates St John’s in the City and St Andrew’s on the Terrace who made music for 24 hours before worshipping together on 10 August. The musicathon involved people of all ages and ranged widely in style. Together the congregations raised over $17,000 to provide water for the West Bank. The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees builds water tanks and community water supply systems for families. The project is featured in the Direct Partners fundraising scheme. Contact CWS for more information.
CWS gives thanks for the ceasefire in Gaza and asks for your continued prayers. Over 100,000 people have lost their homes and everything is in short supply. DSPR’s three medical clinics are busy. Its emergency relief and psychosocial programmes will help. Please support the Gaza Appeal so the brave staff can help more people.
CWS is asking for support for over 1.5 million Iraqis who have fled the Islamic State forces. Churches and communities are providing shelter. ACT Alliance members and local partners are providing life-saving relief in Sinjar, Dohuk, Kirkuk, Karbala and Sulaimaniyah. They are also distributing food, water, non-food items, hygiene kits and protection measures. Please pray for the Iraqis and those struggling to meet their needs. Donations can be made here or sent to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140 or by calling 0800 74 73 72.
Live Below the Line
Poverty won’t go away unless we do something about it. You can help some of the 1.2 billion people living with extreme poverty. Join this year’s Live Below the Line challenge from 6-10 October with CWS and help Filipinos recover livelihoods lost in last year’s typhoon. Take up the challenge or sponsor someone who is. Please promote this challenge in your congregation. Contact Grace for information.
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 email@example.com
International Rural Churches Association statement
Last month the International Rural Churches Association met in Lilongwe, Malawi. They have released a Voice to the Voiceless statement that seeks to bring to our Church and others around the world the challenges facing smaller and rural churches.
Contact Robyn McPhail at firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 4017554. Robyn will be at General Assembly and keen to discuss this further with those interested; also to talk about working with churches and presbyteries with a view to a revival of spirit and purpose in small and rural churches.
Apply for a Presbyterian Foundation grant
Applications for the 2014 round of Presbyterian Foundation grants are now invited, and application forms can be downloaded from the Church website. The Presbyterian Foundation is a trust fund, the interest of which is distributed to support the mission of the Church, particularly innovative mission at the local and regional church level. Applications close on 15 September.
Fresh Expressions Seminar
Fresh Expressions Aotearoa are hosting a one-day seminar at St John’s the Evangelist Theological College, Auckland on Saturday, 8 November. The guest speaker will be Canon Phil Potter, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury’s Missioner and leader of Fresh Expressions team in the UK. For further info, contact Bobfranklyn57@yahoo.co.nz
Wellington Parenting Course
Island Bay Presbyterian are running the Early Years Toolbox Parenting Course.The course starts on Monday, 3 November and runs for six Monday nights from 7.30 to 9.30pm in Island Bay Community Centre. Register at www.theparentingplace.com using the Toolbox link.
Kiwimade Preaching Course - November
Kiwimade Preaching will be running Langham Partnership NZ Level 1 (intensive – 14th-17th Nov) and Level 2 (17th-21st Nov) seminars. Hosted at Laidlaw College, the Level 1 will expose you to the skills to preach sermons that are clear, relevant and faithful to the text. Level 2 drills down with those skills and focuses on how to preach from the different parts of the New Testament. For more info contact email@example.com or visit http://kiwimadepreaching.com/
Faith Nursing Conference
The annual conference will be held in Wellington on 11-13 September. For more details see www.faithnursing.co.nz
Presbyterian Church Property Trustees AGM
The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees will be held at 4pm Thursday, 25 September 2014 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 available from 3.40pm. For catering purposes, please RSVP to Pat Griffin or phone (04) 381 8290.
Knox Waitara Centenary
During Labour Weekend 2014 Knox Church Waitara will be celebrating 100 years of ministry. All past members are very welcome to join us. Please contact Lisa on 06 754 4356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wesley College celebrating 170 years
A reunion is planned for 12-14 September 2014. Staff, former students, auxiliary staff are all welcome. Further details are on the Wesley College website
The Challenge of Jesus series
The Community of St Luke (Remuera, Auckland) are hosting a video based programme stimulating discussion and discovery. The sessions are free of charge, and run on Sundays at 11:15am from 13 July to 21 September. For more info or to register, click here.
Faith and Light
On 3-6 October, the Southern Cross province of Faith and Light (an ecumenical organisation that supports the spiritual needs of the Intellectual disabled and their families) is having their provincial Assembly in Wellington. Parishes are invited to consider the work of Faith and Light in their prayers as they go into their Assembly.
St Andrew’s Birkenhead centenary
On 26-28 September this year, St Andrew’s Birkenhead will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. Those who’ve been part of the parish’s life and mission are invited to join the celebrations. For more information, phone 09 480 7229 or email: email@example.com
Whakatane Presbyterian 100 year anniversary
The parish would like to invite interested people to join their 100th anniversary celebrations on 24-26 October 2014. For more info call 07 3084268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Glen Innis vacancies
For vacancies during September and October check out the Glen Innis section of our website.
The Church Directory, which replaces the annual yearbook, is now available. For reasons of privacy, the Directory may only be accessed using a username and password which has been sent out in April to parish clerks, presbyteries, synods and others. More about the Church Directory
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Brenda Marshall, local ordained minister St James, Woodville & St Pauls Pahiatua and Woodville St James, 75% equal share, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery 1 August 2014.
Rev Gene Lawrence, minister St David’s Palmerston North, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery 20 July 2014.
Changes in Status
Rev Barry Ayers, minister Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery to executive officer, Alpine Presbytery.7 July 2014.
Rev John Volney Rush, other recognised ministry to minister Tirau Presbyterian Parish, Kaimai Presbytery 31 July 2014.
Rev David Anderson, minister Knox Presbyterian Church , Fitzroy, New Plymouth, Taranaki Presbytery, to other recognised ministry, Southern Presbytery 1 July 2014.
Rev Leanne Munro, stated supply minister Wadestown Presbyterian Church, Wellington Presbytery, completed her term on 30 June 2014.
Rev Evan Stenlake, Uniting Church of Australia, completed his stated supply position at Trinity Temuka Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery 31 July 2014. He returned to Australia.
Rev Monika Redmond, minister Karori St Ninians resigned and removed from the roll 8 July 2014.
Rev Peter Norman Davies, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery died 1 August 2014.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.