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 New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
White space conversations
White space is the gap between words and lines. It is the silent partner to the text; a voice not shouting to be heard. White space conversations are an invitation to conversations that go between the words and beyond the lines of the noisy centre.
White space conversations are a series of short papers addressing issues of life, faith, order and imagination inviting generous, open, grace-filled and robust conversations within our Church. I have already published two white space conversations. To read them, use the links:
Yet to come are: #3 Speaking the truth to power; #4 From planning to design; #5 The fourth draw: naming bad behaviour; #6 The present future church.
August is a busy month, and this is what I will be doing:
- 2 Aug - Presbyteries meeting, Wellington
- 3-5 Aug - Presbyterian Church Schools Conference, Havelock North
- 7 Aug - Mairangi Bay Church redevelopment, Auckland
- 11 Aug - Council of Assembly, Ohope
- 12 Aug - Hui on diversity, Ohope
- 13-14 Aug - St Andrew's Whangarei
- 21 Aug - Maori King coronation, Turangawaewae Marae
- 22 Aug - The Poet and Photographer, Auckland
- 28 Aug - Founders Day for Scots College, Wellington
Nga mihi nui
Dear friends and colleagues
I really enjoyed being able to spend some time at PYM Connect last month and also had the opportunity to share with PYM interns on their recent block course. The leadership being modelled by and through these two gatherings was fantastic. They empowered women and men, across cultures, demonstrate the kind of leadership committed to intentionally embodying Jesus’ call to discipleship and God’s radical grace and hospitality.
Whether large or small, and irrespective of it’s setting, congregations of our Church are called to join in God’s mission; to move beyond our own walls and be bearers of God’s good news. Where the kind of leadership I experienced above is evident, there is commitment to that mission. Churches in those places are engaged in meaningful ways with both individuals and communities. While not wanting to downplay the struggles and challenges many congregations face, we need to also find time and space to pause – and give thanks and celebrate those churches whose faithful and generous commitment to God are making a real difference in the lives of people.
As we make our way through the year, we move closer to our General Assembly gathering. The Assembly website is up and running and preparations are well underway. Please watch out for updates and information about this over the coming weeks. I know those involved deeply value our prayerful support – and I would encourage us, in both or corporate worship and our private devotional life, to pray for all aspects of this important gathering in our life together.
Update your office bearer contacts
We use electronic communication to share information; update on important matters and pass on other news. Our office’s ability to do this is dependent on church councils advising updates to key contact people, changes in email etc. As many of these changes are often linked to AGMs, please pass on any changes to Lynne from our office, so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.
Discount card is available
Some time ago the Church secured a discount card for our members, through All Churches Services. The card offers discounts from retailers like Noel Leeming, Office Max, Repco, Thrifty rental cars and others. These cards are free and are available to all folk who are part of the life of the Church. If you would like some for your congregation – please let me know.
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.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership.
Do you have hidden treasure in your church?
Sorry, this is not the kind of treasure we balanced out at the end of the financial year. This is the one you store up for heaven. I’m talking about your children’s ministry. At Kids Friendly, we advocate a great deal for people who are too short to ride a roller coaster. But today I want to challenge you to think about the angels and saints who dwell amongst those small people. I want you to take a moment, right now, and pray for your children’s leaders.
I’ll just wait right here while you do that...
...Now for challenge #2: How can you support and advocate for your children’s workers? Some people think that children’s ministry is akin to babysitting. I once asked someone what the procedure was for hiring a children’s ministry leader in their church. The response: “They need to be breathing”. I know this person was offering dark humour to cover the frustration of finding someone to “fill that role”, but we tend to think of our children’s leader roles in this way too often.
Your children’s ministry team is responsible for bringing young people into a relationship with Jesus. What greater honour is there? Deuteronomy is filled with encouragements and admonitions about teaching our children God’s ways.
But children’s ministry is not a task for the weak. Have you ever tried keeping marbles together on a slanted surface? Now imagine doing it while shining with the love of Christ. Please, please... consider how you may honour your children’s workers. Offer them spiritual refreshment by way of sponsoring them to go to conferences and workshops where they can refresh their strategies and their souls while networking with others.
Then bring out and admire your treasure as it glitters and multiplies!
Kids Friendly Coach
NB: I am a part-time Kids Friendly coach based in Auckland. I will be presenting two workshops for children’s workers and ministers at the Presbytery Central gathering, Saturday, 20 August, in Palmerston North and would love to meet your children’s ministry leaders!
We have just wrapped up our annual Connect training event, and what an awesome gathering! It was great to see so many youth leaders from around the country encouraging each other, worshiping together, supporting each other and learning together.
Our numbers were up this year, and one of the reasons for this was the good number of ministers who decided to attend. Many attended to show support for their youth leaders, and we were encouraged to hear from many how they appreciated corporate worship and some of the workshops.
A big thank you goes out to all the national and regional staff who made this event possible, our sponsors, and so many youth workers from Presbytery Central who served at the event.
Going Further - an urban pilgrimage
Next year we are turning a major aspect of Going Further on it’s head; usually this camp is set in remote places where we can celebrate the beauty of God’s creation and enjoy the gift of solitude. This coming year – on 7-12 February – we will be located in a youth hostel in the heart of Christchurch’s central business district. This change of location will challenge our participants to find God in the hustle and bustle of a big city and allows us to tap into the rebuild narrative of post-earthquake Christchurch.
During the week we will reflect on how to follow the risen Jesus personally and be part of his Church. We will also explore spiritual practices in the midst of the distraction of normal life. In the backdrop of the recent events in Christchurch we will ask questions like “how do we discern the action of God?”.
A real highlight of the week for many people will be our international speakers Andrew and Kara Root. Andrew is the associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary, and Kara is the minister at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church and trained spiritual director.
Full information can be found here. As always, we greatly appreciate you personally inviting young adults in your congregation to consider attending. Please share this web link with your young adults.
Gordon Fitch Matt Chamberlin
National Youth Manager National Youth Director
Guidelines and application forms available
Press Go has new guidelines and an application form for grants from mission funds, including the Mission Enterprise Fund, which we administer on behalf of the Church.
The resources that Press Go administers are a very small part of the resources within the Church – resources that are held by congregations and presbyteries. It is Press Go’s role to help the Church redirect its attention and resources to “pursing missional growth”. We want to support and encourage congregations who are committed to growing the Kingdom of God.
There are a number of ways Press Go can support your mission as a congregation or presbytery. Sometimes the very best ideas for a new initiative will emerge from a little spark; other times it is from a bold vision that has captured your congregation. Even congregations that are struggling to understand what the future will look like for them can find imagination and inspiration in the tension of change. Many projects will be about “experiments around the edge” – in the community where God is already active.
We are moving away from funding “business as usual” and initiatives that just “make church better” for current members. Not every project will be funded, nor can we assist in all situations.
View the new guidelines and development grant application forms on the Press Go section of the website. Small grants are available from the Presbyterian Foundation and more information about applying can be found here.
We can assist in a range of other ways too, so please contact me to discuss your mission initiative before you start filling out an application.
Press Go Catalyst
Why Presbyterian Women? It’s a question that has been asked often recently. Why meet at all? Is our time done? Is there a future? And if there is, what is God calling us to?
The transition team of PW is busy attending to the tasks at hand, but it is also in a time of discernment, reflecting on what we are about. What are our strengths and what are our weaknesses? I believe one of our strengths is fellowship, and for many of our groups this has become the focus.
In scripture, women gathered daily at the well to draw the water that they and their families needed to survive and thrive. Today we know that we lead busy lives: this busyness may cause isolation, a lack of interaction, causing us to miss connections with others that may renew purpose and refresh souls. Gathering and fellowship is a vital part of our being as women! It is of value for both young and older women alike. Fellowship provides opportunity for us to care about each other, to celebrate, and to work together to help others both locally and globally.
We are living in a time of transition, meaning that the ways we meet together may change over time. How we be in fellowship with each other may differ according to our age, where we live, the time we have, or our past experience of the Association of Presbyterian Women (as we were known until a name change a few years ago).
Our invitation today is for you to join with us in the transition journey as we grow in our fellowship as Presbyterian women.
You may have ideas of how Presbyterian Women can continue to gather, perhaps even in new ways? We would love to hear from you.
You may want to join with a PW group that already exists? We would love to connect you with your local group.
Your prayerful support for Presbyterian Women is appreciated.
Rev Erin Pendreigh
Transition Team Coordinator
Steve Taylor delivered the keynote address at PI Synod last week, and this week he is at the Presbyterian Schools Conference (4-5 August). Steve then leaves for Korea (6-17 August) where he is presenting two academic papers at International Association of Mission Studies (IAMS); both papers focus on indigenous Pacific Rim Christologies. While in Korea, Steve will also meet with representatives from Presbyterian University Theological Seminary, the seminary of Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), the urban mission program of Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK), and the assembly office of PCK and PROK. He is being interviewed by Christian Broadcasting media and meeting two groups of ministers who have read the Korean translation of his “Out of Bounds Church?” book.
Mark Johnston is negotiating new internship placements in the Northern and Kaimai presbyteries. He is also running online mission and church tutorials, supervising an ecclesiology reading plan for several pre-interns, and working on worship paper assessments and intern colloquiums.
Malcolm Gordon is running a worship workshop with Northern Presbytery youth and sharing resources for creative worship at the upcoming Presbyterian Schools conference; including launching a new song (Pioneers of Hope) written especially for the occasion. He is also facilitating songwriting/creative writing weekends in Christchurch and Timaru.
Kevin Ward is involved in a Presbyterian/Anglican dialogue. He is in Korea and Taiwan until mid-September on study leave. He will be attending the IAMS conference and teach a summer intensive at Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary for international postgraduate students on the missional church. He will also visit the three Presbyterian seminaries in Taiwan.
I am conducting pastoral care training at Knox Presbyterian church (Lower Hutt), and will also be conducting an elders’ training day in Lumsden with Deborah Bower (Church Leadership Support Advisor) on 20 August. I will also be speaking at a camp for tertiary students Christian fellowship at the end of the month. Preparations are also continuing for the LOM national gathering in September and I am beginning to write a chapter for an edited book on preaching (a project being facilitated by Carey Baptist College’s School of Preaching).
Dean of Studies
In June I was privileged to be one of five delegates from our Church to the Council for World Mission Assembly in Jeju Island, South Korea. This was an amazing gathering of members from 32 churches around the world. The main purpose of the assembly was to elect new members to the CWM board of directors, (congratulations to Jenny Flett from our Church who was elected). There was immense value in meeting and sharing with the delegates whose lives and ministry contexts are very different from our own. It was both an inspiring and challenging time.
CWM offers a range of programmes for church leaders and members, which can be viewed on their website, www.cwmission.org. One of these is Training in Mission, for young adults aged between 18-30. This is a great opportunity for those interested in cross-cultural mission, and is fully funded. Applications for TIM 2017 are now open and can be found here.
One of the member churches of CWM is the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar with whom we have a mission partnership. It was great to share the assembly with their delegates and learn some more about their life and ministry. Their General Secretary the Rev Ling Zaw was very grateful for the support they have been receiving from us through the Ricebowl Fund. More information about this can be viewed on the Global Mission website, and Facebook Page.
The Presbyterian Church’s Onesua College recently celebrated the opening of new classrooms and staff houses following the devastation of Cyclone Pam. This project was significantly funded by our Church and managed by Global Mission’s Neville Jones. Moderator-Designate the Rev Richard Dawson attended on our behalf. This was a great occasion – congratulations are due to Neville Jones for his great work on this project. Photos are on our Facebook page.
It’s been a good season for cross-cultural youth programmes; East Taieri youth have just returned from a Going Global programme to Lenakel College on Tanna Island, Vanuatu; and two members of our Church attended the I Love Taiwan programme hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan in July. Check out the Global Mission website for further news about similar opportunities for you or your young adults.
Please feel free to contact me for further information about any of our programmes or availability to visit your church.
Global Mission Coordinator
The Chrysalis Seed Art and Faith Collection has been moved to a more prominent location in the Hewitson Library, replacing the now largely unused Reference Book Collection next to the Library office. Most reference books have been relocated into the Library basement and are still available if required. The Chrysalis Seed Collection is all available to be borrowed and includes a variety of non-fiction and fiction art and literature titles.
The Archives staff continue to be busy with a recent interest in parish and church school buildings, the recent sale of the last copy of the rare book “I was in Prison” by Annie James (to a family member) and other enquiries, including a request for a clear copy of the Presbyterian logo (this is available via the Church’s communications team).
As well as the archives assistant and curator of photographs and audio-visual materials, we continue to employ two part-time, temporary staff to cover the currently-vacant archivist role. The archives world is evolving quickly, so we are currently reviewing this role description to ensure it will meet our currently and future needs.
The Ministers’ Register on the Archives website is constantly being updated: ministers, please check that your details are current and accurate, and let us know if anything needs to be amended (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 473 0771).
As reported last month, in June the NZCCSS made national headlines with its Vulnerability Report. The Council and church leaders are making an impact on government policy in relation to child poverty, affordable housing and refugees.
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on the Council with Baptist, Catholic, Anglican, Salvation Army and Methodists. To ensure Government knows the size and scope of Christian social services in Aotearoa New Zealand, the NZCCSS has just completed the development of a new database. Currently NZCCSS networks are made up of 213 separate providers, who deliver a range of 37 general types of services via 1024 specific programmes, located in 55 towns and cities throughout New Zealand.
Quite apart from the huge contribution made by our churches and congregations, collectively NZCCSS members generate $671,051,000 in income. Of this approximately $426,946,000 is from government sources via fees for service and operational grants. $15,692,000 is from philanthropic sources and $228,413.000 from NZCCSS members’ own resources and trading activities. NZCCSS members employ 4,923 full time staff, 6,735 part-time staff and co-ordinate 15,862 volunteers.
When identifying organisations within the NZCCSS network, we focused on larger charitable structures that actively carry out structured social work in NZCCSS three policy areas – child and family, services for older people, and impacts of poverty and exclusion.
Through our membership in the NZCCSS, the Presbyterian Church is once again exercising its prophetic voice – speaking the truth to power and advocating for the most vulnerable to bring about more compassionate government policies.
Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
Operation Refugee a Success
Top Team in last month’s Operation Refugee challenge went to The Prezzies who together raised $4,587.23 to help Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. Well done Andrea, Brett, Gordon, Sharon and Sonia! The New Zealand Government will match donations for Syrian refugees made on or before 1 August. You can help by making a donation to the Syria Appeal.
CWS is preparing lectionary based resources for Peace Sunday on Sunday, 7 August that will be available shortly. On the closest Sunday to Hiroshima Day, “Blessed are the Peacemakers” will help congregations reflect on the damage done by nuclear weapons and testing in Japan and Mororua, and the peacemaking efforts of churches especially in South Sudan. Please join us to pray and act for peace.
South Sudan Appeal
Refugees are continuing to arrive in Uganda in the thousands. Fighting between government and opposition troops in Juba has set off a stream of attacks forcing many more to flee. ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) is managing the Elegu border crossing and providing food, sanitation, protection and shelter in the network of camps at Adjumani. Continuing conflict has left 4.8 million people short of food. Please support the South Sudan Crisis Appeal and pray for peace and safety for its people.
The Long Road Home
In Sri Lanka CWS partners are making peace in a country deeply divided by racism and war. The Winter Story tells of Devasarana providing practical help to refugees returning to the north. They are working to foster peace and understanding between Tamils and Sinhala. Read our Winter Story to find out the importance of support to refugees returning home and Sonia’s experience of Operation Refugee. Printed copies are available from Emma.
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Kevyn Harris, other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery to minister St Andrew’s New Plymouth, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 16 April 2016.
Rev John Schoneveld, minister, Waiareka-Weston Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 8 June 2016.
Rev Nigel Crocombe, minister at Waiau Valley Presbyterian Church to minister Palmerston Dunback, 23 June 2016.
Rev Owen Rogers, minister at Belmont St Margaret’s Northern Presbytery, to minister emeritus, 21 April 2016.
Columba Presbyterian Church Oamaru, Southern Presbytery closed 16 April 2016.
Apply for a Presbyterian Foundation grant
Applications for the 2016 round of Presbyterian Foundation grants are now invited, and application forms can be downloaded from the Church website. Download application form here. This year, all applications are to be made directly to the Presbyterian Foundation. Applicant groups must belong directly to the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa Zealand. Congregations and presbyteries may apply. Individuals, overseas or non-Presbyterian parishes are not eligible. Stand-alone trusts associated with parishes may not apply directly. 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.
Pastoral care of ageing people
The Selwyn Foundation is running a course on the pastoral care of ageing people. The two-part course will be held in Auckland on 4, 5 and 18, 19 November. Read more
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.25% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 May 2016. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, please contact executive officer, Kos van Lier.
Training in Mission applications open now
The Training in Mission programme is a youth leadership development programme run by the Council for World Mission (CWM). TIM will take place for seven months in 2017 in Taiwan, Kiribati, Fiji and New Zealand. To apply or for more information, click here
Living wisdom course
Over a period of 18 weeks, starting on Monday, 8th of August 2016, a living wisdom course, facilitated by Rene Aish, is available in Auckland. For more information, see this Facebook page.
Several parishes are celebrating anniversaries later in 2016, including St Columba’s Taradale and Kowai Presbyterian. Read more about these and other activities on the listing of national and regional events.