From the Moderator
I'm just back from attending the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly in Perth.
What impressed me most was the way everyone worked together. "Uniting" is not just a name, but part of their DNA. This works its way out in everything they do – they way they show respect to one another, do their theology and worship together, and the way they listen to the minority voice among themselves.
The journey of the Uniting Church in Australia has been and is very intentional with continual reflection on what it means to be "Uniting" and the theological foundation for this.
By way of contrast, I'm forced to reflect on our journey as a Church and ask are we doing the work of theological reflection of who we are and who we are being called to be?
Andrew Dutney, the outgoing President, gave an outstanding address.
He commented that many people have asked him, "How's the Church going?" His response, "That's the wrong question! Ask not how are we are going, but what is God calling us to be?"
Here's some links that you may like to check out:
- Royal Commission on Institutional Child Abuse (presented by Justice Peter McClellan)
- This was a profoundly sad report. The Royal Commission is in the process hearing of 13,000 allegations of sexual abuse. Of these allegations 50 percent are from faith-based organisations and 3 percent from within the Uniting Church.
- While very sad, I was impressed with the UAC's response to this report. Read keynote address
- Andrew Dutney’s retiring President’s report.
- Dr Lin Manhong, speaking on being a marginal church in China. Read address
The responses are starting to come in for the white paper, “It’s a matter of faith” that I released a couple of months ago. I’m delighted that so many churches are in the process of dialogue on this paper! I look forward to getting your feedback.
This coming month
- 1-3 Aug - Inspire Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru
- 28 Jul, 4 & 11 Aug - Winter series “Every day Matters”, Auckland
- 6,7 Aug - Church Schools conference
- 14 Aug - PI Synod
- 21 Aug - Maori King coronation
Grace and Peace in Jesus
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
I enjoyed PYM Connect earlier this month. It was a great gathering of folk passionate about youth and young adult ministry. They came to learn, share, listen and take back to their settings, tools that will assist in mission and ministry. If you have folk who lead in this area – encourage them to mark the date for next year – 3-6 June 2016 and think about how they can be resourced to attend.
In March this year, the Bible Society undertook some research with Nielsen to help us understand what New Zealand children and young people know about the Bible. This research revealed more than a third of New Zealand children have never read, heard or seen the story of Jesus’ birth. Yet just under half of Kiwi parents think Bible stories are important for their children because they provide good values for life. And 40 per cent of children indicated they’d like to read, hear or see more Bible stories. (For details of the research, see the Bible Society website.) I wonder how your congregation might grapple with this we work together to make Jesus Christ known?
On a different note, the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attacked with atomic bombs on 6 and 9 August 1945. Seventy years on I read that 40 governments still rely on nuclear weapons. Nine states possess nuclear arsenals and 31 other states are willing to have the United States use nuclear weapons on their behalf. Anniversaries give us the chance to pause, and to hear the voice of “never again”; listen to the survivors and to join in prayer for peace on earth. Borrowing a few words from a U2 song: “Heaven on earth, We need it now…”
Acting Complaints Officer
Our Complaints Officer Heather McKenzie is going to be unavailable during the July-August period. Council of Assembly have approved the appointment of Zona Pearce to be to Acting Complaints Officer during that time. Zona served as Southern Presbytery Clerk and brings wide ranging skills to this role. Should you need to contact Zona, her details are: 86 Avenal St, Invercargill 9810. firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 214 941403 214 9414.
The new blog for Presbyterian Church leaders – Candour – is now available. Candour used to be a printed and online magazine and has evolved into a blog which aims to inspire and equip our leaders. Among the latest posts are the PYM offering tips for keeping hold of youth leaders, Rev Martin Stewart offering insights into the challenges of professional development for ministers, and Eva Garbutt from our Archives team offering tips for good records management. Read the blog
Copiers and Printers
A special deal for churches has been offered by Fuji Xerox for copiers. The deal includes the copier, consumables and service/support with no fixed monthly fee or lease. Fuji Xerox will also help with ending legacy contracts which your parish may have entered into. For more information, please contact Gemma Edgar – Strategic Customer Account Manager: email@example.com
Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support
Kids Friendly is partnering with Presbyterian Support again this year for the 2015 PresCare Love Reaches Out Art and Writing competition for children. Entries close 3 September, 2015. See the Kids Friendly website for entry forms and info and get creating.
Service to recognise mark fallen chaplains
A special service is being held to mark 100 years since CHAP3 William Grant (a Presbyterian chaplain) was killed at Hill 60, Gallipoli. CHAP3 Grant was the first NZ Defence Force chaplain to be killed while on active duty. The service will be held at the Cathedral of St Paul in Wellington on Friday 28, August at 1400hrs. All are welcome and past serving NZDF chaplains are asked to register their intent to attend by emailing Hamish Kirk or phone on 06 351 964706 351 9647.
Thank you for your partnership in God’s mission.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
We are just off the back of an amazing Connect. Hundreds of youth workers from every corner of the country spent the weekend of 17-19 July at Ngaruawahia. As always there was amazing worship, incredible teaching, good networking and an excellent vibe.
One of the differences this year was the inclusion of 25 spiritual directors who were on site on the Saturday offering half-hour sessions. This was a direct result of our second sustainable practice - “We will give space for reflection and rest” – which encourages youth leaders to take intentional time for their own spiritual growth and development.
Just two weeks before Connect I received an email from a youth worker, who was struggling spiritually. He said every Sunday morning he missed the teaching because he was teaching Sunday School, and he felt like wasn't growing in faith himself. The spiritual direction session at Connect was a real blessing to him. Most participants at Connect took the opportunity to sit in a session, and we received some great feedback from the participants.
It was also great to hear such positive feedback from the spiritual directors themselves, who said they were amazed by the young adults who serve in our churches.
We would like to thank all the people that made Connect 2015 happen. You can view photos from Connect, and we have also shared all the resources and opportunities we promoted on the Connect mainstage on our website. View or download resources here
National Youth Manager
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
This month is especially exciting for us as staff at KCML – we will be having our first full team meeting (24–25 Aug) when we meet with Steve Taylor (incoming principal).
Steve is in New Zealand for a few days and we will take this opportunity to begin to establish ourselves as a team. We will spend time planning for the way ahead and consulting with our colleagues from Te Aka Puaho, PI Synod and Asian congregations.
It was wonderful to formally induct Rev Malcolm Gordon into his role as worship and music enabler last week. The induction was held at St Columba (Botany Downs) given that Northern Presbytery is now “home” for Malcolm.
Kevin Ward (acting principal) is attending various meetings around the country with Press Go, Personnel Workgroup and Presbyterian Church schools; and meeting with foundation students and interns in the Alpine and Central areas.
Mark Johnston (Auckland tutor) is busy arranging intern placements for our new intake commencing in 2016. He has just led workshops at PYM Connect and will be contributing to the winter Inspiring Mission series in Northern Presbytery co-presenting with the Rev Dr Carolyn Kelly. Their series is entitled “No Home Like Place: Living as Disciples Where We Are”. Kevin and Mark will also meet with PI Synod and others for a Talanoa (from Pacifika traditions, Talanoa is a way to speak, hear, learn and build understanding) on forms of ministry.
Catherine van Dorp (our registrar) is kept busy with administration of KCML, organising a marriage enrichment weekend for ministry interns in September, and planning the logistics (travel/accommodation) for the Spring block course for interns to be held in Auckland.
I am speaking at the Inspiring Mission event (Christchurch), and taking a preaching workshop for a ministers’ cluster group in Geraldine. I’m also on a review team commissioned by the Leadership Sub-committee, to look into refreshing regulations and the shape of ministry for LOMs.
Dean of Studies
I have received positive feedback from the recent Global Mission newsletter, which is encouraging. It’s been good to share news about the work we are engaged in with our partner churches. If you haven’t seen the newsletter, you can download it here.
Progress is being made in Vanuatu as they recover from the effects of Cyclone Pam earlier in the year. As well as having staff and volunteers there, lots of church members have been visiting and contributing in various ways. Offers of assistance continue to come in and these usually end up turning into practical help. So let me know if you are interested in giving some volunteer time to help our near neighbours and partner church in Vanuatu.
New English teacher needed for Talua in 2016
On that note, I will soon be advertising for an English teacher at Talua Theological College. Our current teacher will be returning home at the end of 2015, so a replacement will be needed for 2016. Accommodation and a small remuneration package is offered. I am still working on the specific details, but if you are interested in finding out more, please contact me to discuss it.
Global Mission at Connect
I recently attended the national Presbyterian youth leader’s conference, Connect, and was joined by Ricebowl Mission Coordinator Joanne Wieland for some of the weekend. It was great to spend time with so many enthusiastic youth leaders and share about our Global Mission work. A number of youth groups are planning Going Global trips to Vanuatu in the next couple of years.
Global Mission engagements
As well as attending Connect, I have been getting around the Church with preaching engagements, and will be leading a workshop at the Moderator’s Inspire roadshow with the Alpine Presbytery on 1 August.
After that I will be off to Vanuatu to visit our staff at Talua College and mission workers in Port Vila. This will include checking progress on the rebuild at Onesua College and other projects the Moderator’s Cyclone Appeal has contributed to.
I have also been asked to lead a partner churches consultation at the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s General Assembly. This idea came about as a result of the PCV delegates’ attendance at the Global Mission stream at our Assembly last year. They were impressed with the concept and so are trying something similar at their Assembly. This will be an important General Assembly for the PCV as they regroup and assess the state of the Church and their respective island communities after Cyclone Pam.
Two young adult members from Auckland Presbytery recently attended I Love Taiwan, a programme hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. This is an exciting, multi-cultural, two-week long event that attracts young Christian people from all over the world. Enquire now if you would like information about attending I Love Taiwan in 2016.
Global Mission Coordinator
Presbyterian Research Centre
The Hewitson is our library – membership is free, and available to anyone no matter where they live in New Zealand. As well as supporting the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership teaching programme, ministers, laity, members of the wider church and others with an interest in theology are all welcome to take advantage of its resources.
We will post books out to you (you pay the return postage), scan and email journal articles, help you find resources for your work and study, and assist wherever possible. A new books bulletin is sent out electronically every few weeks to alert users to recent additions. We also have a Facebook page
There are over 60,000 books in the collection, plus thousands of mainly electronic journals that you can access from home.
You need to be a member to access the electronic journals – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will sign you up.
Any questions? Contact me by email email@example.com or phone on 03 473 077503 473 0775.
I had case to delve into the Church archives recently, looking for information on the New Life movement. In the 1950s our Church was growing rapidly, in part due to massive suburban development. In a predominantly “churched” society the Church launched “New Life” which had three components: personal evangelism, congregational stewardship campaigns and the amassing of a £500,000 fund to be used to purchase land and build churches and halls in newly developed suburbs. Each parish had a target amount to raise to contribute toward the national goal.
The concept was great – deepening faith, encouraging people to invite their neighbours to church, growing the giving, and sharing resources to extend the denomination.
As we all know, the growth bubble wasn’t sustained and a number of the churches and halls built with New Life funds are now in the wrong places relative to the households in the area.
I can contrast this with a conversation I had a few months ago when I was told that our Church should be buying up land in growing areas and planting new congregations. Now, as in the 1950s, the only way this can occur is through congregations generously sharing resources (sometimes at their own expense) to ensure that every opportunity is given for the new plants to take root and sprout. We are at our best when we share as a denomination, and we are not at our best when we are consumed with “mine” and “ours”. Growth will come when we let go of God’s resources.
Have you got a growth project in mind? The Press Go Board would love to hear about it. In the first instance, contact Press Go Catalyst, Lisa Wells on 027 4455 723027 4455 723 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pass it on!
Being truly “Kids Friendly” happens when a church sees the welcome and nurture of children and families as a core value. When we share the Kids Friendly vision with churches we remind them that Kids Friendly is not a programme, but a practise, and the more a church “practises” being Kids Friendly the likely it is to become part of their DNA.
Last Sunday I was thrilled to join the folk at Lawrence-Waitahuna Presbyterian Church to congratulate them on becoming a “Kids Friendly” church.
Minister Andrew Harrex, wife Christine, and the “dream team” have worked steadily through the Kids Friendly self-review over the past two years, implementing new practices as they went. So it was no surprise, but also extremely encouraging to see that welcoming and involving children is firmly embedded into the culture of this congregation.
Despite the fact that snow that fell overnight and it being school holidays, most regular members (about 15 children and the same number of adults) made it to the all-age celebration service. Not only were they celebrating their “Kids Friendly” progress, but as July is Bible month, they also chose to celebrate the Bible.
Children and adults were all encouraged to bring along something that helped them to read the Bible and were invited to share their favourite storybook Bibles, age appropriate bible reading notes or Bible apps. It was obvious that this congregation of all ages love to worship together as laughter and sharing flowed as naturally as the songs and prayers. Small mixed age groups created posters around selected Bible verses from Psalm 119 and shared how the Bible had been passed onto them. Children were comfortable with adults and made valuable contributions.
The offering prayer, written and led by a child is a regular feature of worship that children are keen to help with.
After worship morning tea was provided by a person having a “significant birthday” and enjoyed by all – no “cake for adults and fruit for children” mentality at this church! “It’s become a bit of a tradition to celebrate birthdays as the family of God,” says Andrew. One obviously enjoyed by all ages in this church who are intent on celebrating the word of God and passing it on intentionally.
Kids Friendly Advisor
Synod of Otago and Southland
Peace Sunday Resources
In this year’s lectionary, Peace Sunday is observed on 9 August. The 70th anniversary of the World War II bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are marked on 6 and 9 August. Remembering the first detonation of nuclear bombs, CWS also invites you to join in prayer for children suffering the effects of last year’s war in Gaza. In the worst hit areas, they are anxious and prone to such symptoms as bedwetting. Last year CWS partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, helped over 10,000 people with psychosocial support and counselling through its three clinics. Please join us in prayer for them this Peace Sunday as well as for the many other victims of war. Lectionary based resources for worship featuring the Give Gaza a Break Appeal are available.
Nepal Earthquake Appeal
Three months on and many Nepalese still need corrugated iron to protect them from the monsoon rains. Prices are rising and ACT Alliance Nepal is working hard to provide more to families in need. Your gifts will help. They reached nearly 58,000 households with food assistance alone in the first phase of their response.
CWS produces short news items in the monthly Update. They are great to use in your newsletters and keep you up to date with some of the development issues of the day. You can subscribe by asking Emma to add your name to the Update list. We have images and stories to share – please ask.
To mark 70 years since the first Christmas Appeal was launched, well-known Anglican Rod Oram will speak at the Transitional Cathedral, Christchurch at 6:30pm on 13 October, and St Matthew’s in the City, Auckland 5:30pm on 29 October. Please set aside the dates.
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.
David Gushee lecture series
St John’s in the City is hosting Professor David Gushee to give a series of public lectures around NZ on Christian memory and witness in a time of violence. Lectures are in late July and early August. Check out the programme at: http://www.stjohnsinthecity.org.nz/participate/outreach/visiting-scholar/
Chorus books free to a good home
The Upper Hutt Uniting Parish has the following chorus books to give away: “Sing a new Song”, “Songs of Praise” (first ed) and “NZ Praise” (first ed). There are no music copies. Also available are many copies of “Psalms in Today’s English Version”. We are happy to give them away in return for a donation towards postage. Email Fraser Boyd for further details.
On Saturday, 12 September, the Faith Community Nurses Association is hosting a conference in Christchurch with a focus on dementia. Registration forms, programme and other details are available at http://www.faithnursing.co.nz/latest-news/2015-conference
UCANZ event for smaller churches
UCANZ are preparing two days of learning and inspiration for smaller churches, 15-18 October 2015 in Lower Hutt. There will be practical workshops, uplifting speakers (including the Rt Rev Andrew Norton), and times of fellowship. This is open to people from any church to attend. Details are available on the UCANZ website (ucanz.org.nz) or from Robyn at email@example.com.
Activist-theologian Brian McLaren is visiting New Zealand in August 2015. For full details of his lectures, including dates, times and other details, click here.
Conversations worship resources
A new website has been launched by the Rev Sylvia Purdie that contains resources for prayer and worship for churches, small groups and for personal reflection. Sylvia says that the resources are oriented to all-age worship, using forms of speaking that 'ring true' for kiwi people. www.conversations.net.nz
Practical Theology of Disability and Mental Health course, 1-5 Feb, 2016
Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago, and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership invite you to enrol for a course on A Practical Theology of Disability and Mental Health by Professor John Swinton, 1-5 Feb, 2016. Download full details
Transitional ministry training
The New Zealand branch of the Interim Ministry Network(US) is facilitating a training event for transitional ministry in Auckland on 21-25 September. For more information or to register, download the course brochure.
Hymn lectionary resource
The Hymnbook Trust has made available a lectionary list of NZ hymns for the period July to September 2015. Download here
Send KCML and Church study leave reports
Study leave reports have the potential to benefit the whole church, but not if they’re not available to the wider church. KCML asks that all study leave reports be forwarded them for publication on the Knox Centre website. You are also invited to view the study leave reports already published there. Read reports at: http://knoxcentre.ac.nz/ministry-resources. You are also asked to send your report to the Church’s communications team so that the report can be made available on the Church website.
Presbyterian Investment Fund – interest rate paid on deposits
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits will remain at 4.25% per annum for August 2015.
Please note however, that following the cut in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by the Reserve Bank in July, the Trustees have no option but to reduce the interest rate payable from 4.25% to 4.00% pa effective from 1st September 2015.
Treasurers are urged to revisit their budgets.
The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Kos van Lier.
Update from the Hope Project
Almost 3 million gospel booklets were delivered to New Zealand homes by the Hope Project. The final media effort will take place at Easter 2016. Hope Project co-ordinators are facilitating meetings around the country to help parishes understand how they can be involved. Find out more at AllTogether.co.nz. To find a meeting near you, check out AllTogether.co.nz/vision-tour-2015
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
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Ron Bennett, other recognised ministry, Kaimai Presbytery to stated supply minister St Andrews Te Awamutu, Kaimai Presbytery, 4 May 2015.
Rev William Woongchan Kang, licentiate, Northern Presbytery, assistant minister, Korean Fellowship, St George’s Presbyterian Church Takapuna, Northern Presbytery, 2 July 2015.
Rev John Park, other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, to other recognised minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 25 May 2015.
Rev Henry Mbambo, minister, Dunedin South Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, to minister St David’s Union Church, Ashburton, Alpine Presbytery, 16 July 2015.
Rev Maxwell Garrity, other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu, 31 January 2015.
Rev Ra Koia, chaplain, Northern Presbytery, to chaplain, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu, 1 June 2015.
Rev Susan Jones, minister, Timaru Parish, Alpine Presbytery, to minister St Andrews on the Terrace, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu, 26 March 2015.
Rev Robati Mani, minister, Otara Pacific Islands Church, Pacific Islands Presbytery, to Cook Islands Presbyterian Church Newlands, Wellington, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu, 31 January 2015.
Rev Maxwell Garrity, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu, minister emeritus, January 2015.
Rev Rodney Harris, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 2 July 2015.
Rev Fergus Hume, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 21 May 2015.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.