Please use these quick links to navigate to the various sections of Bush Telegraph, or simply scroll down to read the magazine from top to bottom. Happy reading!
From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
From the Moderator
Coming up in November
This is where I will be in November:
2-4 Nov Pacific Conference of Churches, Auckland
6-9 Nov Inspire Southern Presbytery, Central Otago, Dunedin & Invercargill
12-15 Nov Council of Assembly, Dunedin
17 Nov Justice and Action launch, Christchurch
24-26 Nov Writing retreat
Please continue to uphold the students and staff of Turakina Maori Girls College in your prayers, as well as Te Aka Puaho Moderator, the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa.
Please continue to pray for the farmers and community of North Canterbury as they cope with the disastrous and prolonged drought.
Thanks so much for the feedback from the White Paper. I will be processing all 150 pages of response over the next month and will report back in the New Year. It’s great to see so many churches engaged in this conversation.
Justice & Action: a study guide prepared by PresCare to equip our churches to respond to the issues of violence against women and children, and child poverty in New Zealand.
Church Facebook page: click "like" and then invite others to "like". This is a great way to get real-time news of what is happening around the church.
Moderator website: have a look here if you would like to see resources and papers I've written.
I'm putting together my schedule for 2016. I can't promise to meet every request, but you don't know if you don't ask. Get in early. Contact me about a booking on the Moderator's website
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:10)
If you were to read the bible in Greek this verse would read very differently: "For we are his poiema".
Yes, you heard right, you are a poem! This is why I've come to love poetry. I think the Bible translators got this one wrong! They read it backwards, "created to do good works therefore you are the workmanship of God". If you are a poem, a work of art, a masterpiece, a grand design then everything changes! It is not about doing (good works), it's all about being the one you were created to be. As a work of art, a poem let your life speak.
If you would like to do some research on this word, it appears in only two verses in the Bible. Let me know when you have found the other one and how this changes the way to see yourself and God.
What if God is an artist/poet and not a builder/workman?
I could (and do) talk all day on this.
Giving attention. Of all the gifts we could give, our attention is by far the greatest gift of all. When the whole world is calling for our attention, by nature we move our attention away from one and give it to the many.
I've been thinking about prayer, worship and love; just maybe we have over complicated it all?
What do you give your attention to?
Is this what it means to pray, to worship and to love?
But to do this requires a choice. I need to move my attention away from the ALL and many calling for attention and focus – attend to one alone. This kind of attentiveness requires sacrifice, a letting go of, a turning away from, to embrace the one. That's what gives it the quality of prayer, worship and love.
Nga mihi nui
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear Friends and Colleagues
There have been a number of significant staff changes. Our office administrator Sandra Homan retired on 8 October. Sandra worked in the office for 8 years and was a very valued member of the team. We wish her well for a long and happy retirement. We welcomed Lynne O’Brien as our new office administrator.
In October there was also news of two resignations from the Presbyterian Research Centre. Eva Garbutt, our archivist, accepted a role with an archaeological firm. She concluded employment on 23 October. Research Centre director Anne Jackman announced that she had accepted a job at Archives New Zealand as assistant regional archivist, managing the Dunedin office. She will finish on 20 November.
A temporary appointment has been made to cover these vacancies and we welcome back Yvonne Wilkie who has kindly agreed to help on a part-time basis until a new director is appointed. That role will be advertised shortly.
In October, we also welcomed Rev Dr Steve Taylor as the Principal of the Knox Centre. It is great to have him amongst us and we look forward to the leadership he brings.
Turakina Maori Girl’s College
The Minister of Education received responses to her call for submissions about the future of the school. She has asked for further information, and for this to be with her by 6 November. The school's Board of Trustees and Proprietors are working together on these matters. The Minister will make her final decision after this. I know the prayerful support for all involved is deeply appreciated.
First round of voting for Moderator-designate
In November, presbyteries will be sent information for the first round of voting for Moderator-designate. Papers need to be returned to me by mid-March 2016. To assist those who are being asked to prayerfully consider offering themselves for this role, a background paper will also be part of this information.
Thank you again for your support and prayers.
Partnership is the word that comes to mind when I look back over the last few months. It’s wonderful to work intentionally with other like-minded organisations and people to further the mission of sharing the good news of God’s love with young people in our nation.
It was a privilege and blessing to be invited to be a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at a recent conference for religious education teachers and chaplains strengthening those relationships and that partnership.
This term Kids Friendly is partnering with St Cuthbert’s school in Auckland to resource their chapel services. We’ve shoulder-tapped a team of talented children and youth ministry leaders to run these school chapels. This week I’m meeting with Steve Farrelly (Breakfast Club), St Kentigern School and Presbyterian Support to see how we can partner more effectively to promote mission in schools. And we’ve recently seen the culmination of another successful Kids Friendly/ Family Works (PresCare) partnership in our “Love Reaches Out” art and writing competition.
And then there’s the strong ecumenical partnerships we have. Scripture Union’s Neville Bartley joined us at our Wellington networking and training event to share his storytelling skills. We continue to run quarterly training and networking events in Auckland and Southland which are a partnership of four denominations, Scripture Union and CEC. And we’re currently planning a series of ecumenical networking and training events in Hamilton for 2016. Let us know if you’d like us to do that in your region.
And of course it was wonderful to partner with our own leaders from the national service team, KCML, Presbyterian Support and our Moderator to offer the Inspiring Mission winter resourcing workshops in Auckland.
Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM) is definitely the way to go!
Kids Friendly Coach
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Once again between 18 and 25 December, we will be running our Christmas text message service. This year the script has been written by the young people at Calvin Community Church in Gore. 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.
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 grow theologically through their training. We are now accepting applications for 2015. More about PYM internship
Going Further - in Discipleship
From 7-13 Feb 2016 will be our Going Further national discipleship camp at Great Barrier Island. In 2015 the event sold out. Because of this demand, we are offering a camping option to allow for additional participants. Costs vary from $329 to $399 depending on accommodation options. The camp is also a whole day longer this year.
We continue to hear how this camp has sparked a new impetus of faith in young adults who have attended. If you have young adults who would benefit from taking a week out from life, career, study to explore where God fits in their life, please invite them. More about Going Further
National Youth Manager
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
The big news is that our new principal, Rev Dr Steve Taylor, has now arrived. We are deeply enjoying Steve’s presence and energy. KCML has a full team again. A huge thanks to Kevin Ward and Catherine van Dorp for carrying such a heavy workload during the past year while positions were vacant.
November is an exciting time for us. At the end of the month we will be running the spring block course for ministry interns in Auckland. We aim to have at least one block course in Auckland every two years. The multi-cultural context that Auckland offers is so important in ministry training. We are unable to meet at Te Aka Puaho marae in Ohope on this occasion, and so will be spending a night at a yet-to-be-confirmed marae in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Our block course will culminate in the graduation service on Wednesday, 2 December where interns will be recognised for achieving their Diploma in Ministry. The service takes place at St Columba Presbyterian Church (Botany Downs), 7:30pm. Steve will be preaching. All are welcome as we celebrate with the graduating interns.
In the lead-up to the block course we are involved in a number of events. Steve is immersed in meeting key people and stakeholders and orientating himself with the rhythms and realities of our Church. Kevin is leading a leadership retreat in Ashburton and, as a member of the team involved with Presbyterian/Anglican dialogue, will be meeting about enhanced recognition of mutual ministry.
Mark is running a colloquium for interns in the northern region and attending to the logistics of the Auckland block course. Catherine is also heavily involved in ensuring everyone is in the right place at the right time for the block course, and that everyone is happy!
Momentum continues to build for the John Swinton course in February thanks to Catherine’s efforts. I am running a preaching worship in Geraldine and preaching in Te Anau and Dunedin. I have just put the finishing touches to the book version of my thesis (“Imaginative Preaching: praying so God can preach through you”) which will be available in a few weeks.
Dean of Studies
Training in Mission
Training in Mission is a programme for young adults aged between 18-30 years, funded by the Council for World Mission and hosted by different CWM member churches. It covers a wide range of experiences including theological study and reflection, and practical engagement in ministry placements. All this takes place within the context of life experience in different countries (currently Taiwan, Kiribati, and New Zealand) and as part of a multi-cultural team.
Our Church is co-hosting this year’s programme. The TIM team is nearing the end of their Auckland leg where they have been based at Laidlaw College, and will shortly move on to Wellington where they will spend their final month. Arthur-Joel (AJ) Key (from Arrowtown) is our Church’s member of this year’s TIM team. If you or someone you know would like to express interest in applying for next year’s programme, you can find the information here, or contact me (details below).
The Ricebowl Mission is planning to take a team to visit Myanmar early in 2016 (29 Jan-13 Feb) to further enhance our partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar. If you would like to express interest in this trip, you can find out more by contacting Joanne Wieland, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a lot happening in November:
- A youth team from Mt Maunganui will be heading to Vanuatu on a Going Global cross-cultural exchange programme
- A team of six university students from Knox College in Dunedin will be participating in a service programme at three Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu schools
- The Going Global India trip takes place 15 Nov – 2 Dec
- Jordan Grimmer, a student from Otago University, will be going to South Korea on a Global Mission internship with the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK).
It is encouraging to see so much variety and involvement with our global partners.
I have recently produced a newsletter summarising our support for Vanuatu following the cyclone, and everything else besides. You can download this here.
I am open to receiving invitations to speak at your church in 2016 – please feel free to contact me to arrange this. I encourage you to go to the Global Mission website, www.globalmission.org.nz for further information about how you can be involved in Global Mission.
Global Mission Coordinator
Talofa and greetings Presbyterian women
“Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus walking to the cross”
The new structure for our organisation is a place to strengthen our faith where women will be educated, equipped and empowered. We are calling younger women – bring your IT knowledge, gifts, talents and new ideas. Whatever your commitment, be it a big or small, God can use you.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (1 Chr 16:34)
Thank you all women and girls, keep smiling, continuing to walk to the cross of Jesus, keeping focus on our mission to serve God locally and globally in love. God has a plan for us all. Well done for a great year!
Presbyterian Women are now in a time of transition. Younger women are being challenged to develop a women’s ministry appropriate for the 21st century. A very different role is visualised under the “next generation” of women within PWANZ.
Applications for roles on the Transition Team close on Saturday, 31 October, and it is expected that the Transition Team will be announced on 30 November 2015.
Lafulafu Vanila Ekenasio Heather Tate Convener
National Convenor Advisory Team PWANZ
Presbyterian Research Centre
In October we farewelled Eva Garbutt who has been the archivist in the Presbyterian Research Centre since the end of April 2014. In her time here Eva has done much to set us on the path towards dealing with digital records, and has worked alongside parishes to help them get their heads around digital file management. Her work encouraging good and straightforward record keeping practices has provided an updated set of tools to be used in day-to-day business, and this is reflected in the new record keeping handbook on the archive’s webpages – check out the Parish resources link at www.presbyterian.org.nz/archives/
Eva is going to do archaeological consultancy work with a local heritage firm – which will be a little like dealing with archives. We thank her for her work and wish her well in her new position.
Meanwhile, as much as possible it will be business-as-usual in the Archives. Contact the team at email@example.com or phone 03 473 0777 if you have any queries.
Over the past month I have had a real focus on small churches. I had the privilege of attending and presenting two workshops at the Uniting Churches of Aotearoa New Zealand (UCANZ) Biannual Forum and I have spent time getting to know folk at Feilding Oroua, St David’s Union Church in Carterton and Kaiapoi Co-operating Parish. Yes, PressGo can work with co-operating and union churches that have Presbyterian partners!
In his book Small, Strong Congregations, Kennon Callahan says that there are three types of small congregations: “small and strong, small and weak and small and dying”. The latter is not a result of being a certain size; but it is a result of a way of thinking, planning and acting. A journey to health can be painful and slow, but is possible through the God who wants every church to become everything he designed it to be.
In my work I have also come across larger parishes which think and act like small ones and this is something that creates a range of barriers to growth, maturity and vitality. One of the things I really enjoy is the vast diversity of churches in our midst. It is true that some are really struggling, but there would not be one I have encountered which does not have at least a small spark of possibility. As a catalyst, it is my role to help the congregation to find ways to fan that spark.
The notes from my recent workshops can be found on my blog: vision2missionblog.wordpress.com
Please don’t hesitate to contact me (ph: 027 4455 723 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss how PressGo can help you in your mission.
CWS supporters (those who have made a financial contribution in the last two years) are invited to the annual Supporters’ Council including a video of Rod Oram’s talk for the 70th anniversary and opportunity to discuss the work of CWS. The meeting is on Saturday, 21 November at 10am – 1pm at St Andrew’s on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, Wellington. Lunch is provided. The Supporters’ Council can nominate persons for membership of the Board. RSVP by November 13 to Emma.
Maybe this is the year of the refugee. CWS is grateful to the many kind people who gave to the Syria Appeal. Our partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, is doing an amazing job providing food and non-food parcels/vouchers, medical care, and education for refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. It is lifesaving work for many families who have used up all their reserves long ago. Please keep them in your prayers.
At CWS we aim to make gift giving simple and good. Nothing could match a gift of water for a Ugandan family of orphans, transforming their lives from misery to hope. You can buy something for yourself. We send you a card or e-card, and your gift is a donation to our partner. Check out Gifted. Catalogues are available from Emma.
“Help Rebuild Lives” is the theme of this year’s appeal, marking 70 years of support by NZ churches. Resource kits have been mailed to churches. Please order posters (multi-language), service sheets and envelopes from Emma at 0800 74 73 72. Worship materials for each Sunday through Advent have been prepared by the Rev Dr Geoff King and are being added to the website along with YouTube messages from partners and friends in appreciation of your support.
White Ribbon Day
Wednesday, 25 November is the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women. Assembly Office has 2015 White Ribbon ribbons, posters and leaflets available free to parishes - there's 500 so get in touch soon, email email@example.com and let us know how many to send. This year the 2015 theme is respectful relationships between men and women. If your parish is planning to mark White Ribbon Day let us know, you can also share your event on the White Ribbon website
Graduation service for KCML interns
You are invited to the special service to mark the graduation of the Presbyterian Church’s newest ministers. The service will be held on Wed, 2 December at 7:30pm at St Columba Botany Downs (Auckland). All are welcome. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling Bible Class students
A Facebook group has been established for former members of Presbyterian Bible Classes from throughout New Zealand. The aim of the group, says co-ordinator Allen Little, is to invite, connect with and encourage the 'Bible Class' generation to continue their growing caring and sharing together in these different times. To join the group or for more info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BibleClassEndures/
The People’s climate march
On 28-29 November, a series of New Zealand events are planned to draw attention to the issue of climate change. Contact email@example.com to register your interest and find out more.
Children’s books: The Chronicles of Paki
The second set in series of children's books called The Chronicles of Paki - NZ's Untold Story has recently been launched. The most recent additions to the series tells the story of influence of Christianity in New Zealand from the 1830s through both Maori and Pakeha missionaries. Find out more at www.bigbookpublishing.co.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
Glen Innis vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis every year. Book early if you are interested in going during the busy summer holiday period of Dec-Feb. Check out the vacancies here
Changes in Status
Rev Des Botting, supply minister at Putaruru St Aiden’s Presbyterian Church to senior active minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 31 October 2015.
Rev Jacqui Cavit, minister emeritus, to special ministry (part time-25%) resource minister at Putaruru St Aiden’s Presbyterian Church, 1 September 2015.
Rev Kenneth Wall, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu to Kaimai Presbytery, senior active minister, 1 October 2015.
Rev Kenneth Wall, transition minister, Hamilton St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Kaimai Presbytery, 1 October 2015.
Rev Murray Talbot, minister, Hope Presbyterian Parish, Alpine Presbytery, to minister emeritus, 30 June 2015.
Rev Evan M Sherrard, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery, died 21 October 2015.
Rangitaiki St David’s, Kaimai Presbytery, dissolved 18 August 2015.
Birkenhead St Andrews & St Phillips Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery changed its name to Birkenhead-St Andrews Presbyterian Church, 1 September 2015.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.