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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
From the Moderator
The church of Pentecost: astonishing!
It is astonishing when old men dream dreams once again and young men can see beyond today with visions. It’s all the more astonishing when they dream and vision together!
It is astonishing how men and women, young and old all get to share equally of God’s spirit and gifts!
It is astonishing when different people groups with different languages can come together in one place and all understand each other!
It is astonishing when the rich become givers to feed the hungry; the wounded become the healers and the blind can see with clarity!
It is astonishing when the year of jubilee comes; all debts are forgiven and everything and everyone is returned to the original!
The church of Pentecost is astonishing.
If a church is not astonishing, it is not a church, it is just a club.
Coming up this month
1 June - Retirement function for the Very Rev Ray Coster; Tauranga. Ray has given outstanding service to the Church and is a very good friend.
2-6 June - Greymouth Uniting Church. This weekend Greymouth Uniting is hosting New Brighton Union Parish, and together they are sharing art and poetry to reflect on chaos and disaster. I’ve been given four speaking engagements.
7 June – I will be in Dunedin, assisting the Moderator-designate, Richard Dawson in his preparations as Moderator.
10-11 June - Council of Assembly meeting
June and July - I’ll be on study leave. I’ve been asked to take all my study leave accrued during my term as moderator, within my term. I plan on using most of the time to write, and hopefully produce another book of poetry. My Working title is “Painting with light”. Can’t wait to see what emerges on the page.
Nga mihi nui
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues
Preparing for the upcoming Council for World Mission Assembly, I am reminded that mission is “from anywhere to everywhere”. The invitation is to join God in mission. I have read some stories of our congregations and individuals who took up the challenge to do just that on Neighbours Day – this is the “be with factor”. As I chat with folk, I hear of congregations that are on the journey to joining in God’s mission as their way of life. They have done an event here or there – and are moving to an understanding that this will be their way of being, which in turn informs their doing.
Maybe, like me, you read reports that show the growth of folks identifying “no religion” in various surveys. In New Zealand, 42 percent say they have no religion according to the 2013 census. Five out of 10 in Wellington say they have no religion. Fifty-five percent of Kiwis identify with a religion, down five percent from 2006. Looking a little closer, it appears that New Zealand Europeans are the main ones not identifying with religion. Mission is “from anywhere to everywhere”.
These challenges are wonderful opportunities – and in the season of Pentecost, invite us all to hear what the Spirit is saying – and join God in God’s mission…
Commissioners to Assembly
There are changes in the way Commissioners will be commissioned this year.
Pursuant to Book of Order 8.17 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery.
We will be using the statistics provided as at June 2015 to determine the number of commissioners. The very slow and in some cases non-return of these forms will impact on the determination.
Presbytery clerks and administrators are currently working to determine this new process, and a guideline was provided in November last year to assist in this matter.
On 15-19 November, General Assembly will be held in Dunedin at the University of Otago. Assembly is an opportunity for everyone in our Church to learn, grow and celebrate our life and mission. Full details about the event, including the ministers’ training day on Tuesday, 15 November, will be available on the dedicated Assembly website in June. In the meantime, broad information about Assembly can be found on the General Assembly page of the Church website.
Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly
Following consultation with the assembly business work group, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by General Assembly. All material must be received by 1 July 2016.
Consultation with presbyteries
In 2012 the Assembly decided that presbyteries should be consulted about matters being discussed at the General Assembly. Reports and proposals, when available, will be sent to all presbyteries, the Pacific Islands Synod and Te Aka Puaho. They will use this information to provide some feedback about the content of these reports and the priority that the Church should give them in terms of Assembly’s agenda. These groups will be able to provide feedback to the Assembly Business Workgroup at the presbytery leaders and administrators meeting in August, in Wellington.
Voting for the moderator-elect, 2018: Stage 2
In this stage in the election process, each congregation is being asked to vote for the Moderator-designate. Voting forms have been sent to all congregations. If you have not received your voting papers, please get in touch with me as soon as possible. Please return all completed voting forms to Assembly Office by Friday, 30 June.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year six people will complete their training as interns. They represent a range of backgrounds and experiences. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each of them will shortly be available from the Rev Allister Lane, who coordinates introductions and discussions between final year interns and Ministry Settlement Boards. Contact Allister for more information.
Thank you for your partnership in God’s mission.
Praying for and with children
This week (Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support) are inviting all churches to pray for children at risk. We have created resources for you to do this including a PowerPoint prayer, a song by Malcolm Gordon and children’s talks and lessons (see links below). We’d love you to include this in your worship this Sunday or a Sunday in the near future. Of course we’d like to believe that every week in every church there are prayers for children – those who are present and those who are not; and prayers for the people who work with children and parent children.
For Children’s Day this year, we promoted a campaign called “Pray for Me” and invited churches across NZ to partner every child in their congregation with an adult. My church, St Heliers Presbyterian, rose to the challenge and on Children’s Day, adults and children signed up to be assigned a prayer buddy.
On a recent Sunday I was invited to have morning tea with Jack, my prayer buddy, after church. In our short time together I found out quite a bit about Jack – his likes, his dreams and his prayer wishes. I heard about his family, his school and his best friend. He learnt a bit about me too and is looking forward to meeting my Boxer dog Dusty! Jack committed to pray for me too. I had a photo taken of Jack and I. I laminated two of this photo and placed magnets on the back. Now Jack and I each have it on our fridges to remind us of our commitment to prayer for each other.
Before Jack was just a cute boy at my church. I had no way of “knowing him” or more importantly “making Jesus Christ known to him”. I now know when Jack’s birthday is and a little about him. We are in a relationship and we’re praying for each other. Who knows what could happen? Maybe I can be one person in Jack’s life who helps him meet Jesus.
How are you tapping into and promoting the power of prayer for and with the children of your church and community?
Kids Friendly Coach
Kids Friendly Coach
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Children and Youth Leaders’ Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
We strongly recommend that every church puts their leaders who work with children and young people through the WOF once every three years. To gain the WOF certificate, ministry leaders need to spend just one day at our Sticky Situations and Eventful Events training, which covers important training on ethical and safe practice, in conjunction with a police check.
We kicked off this month with our first training day in Auckland. We had a blast and the participants were pleasantly surprised by how interactive the training was. Here are a few of their comments.
- “This was so much more enjoyable than I ever thought health and safety training could be!”
- “This makes all the health and safety law changes a whole lot less daunting! Thanks for making it easier to understand and apply.”
- “Good clear forms and procedures.” “Great booklet.”
We are planning to run this training in each presbytery at least once a year. For upcoming training check out our website: http://pym.org.nz/wof/
Connect 2016, 15-17 July, Waikanae
We are really excited about the Connect theme this year: Whanau. Please encourage your youth leaders to attend this excellent training event. We would also encourage you to consider attending some or all of the conference yourself as it is an excellent way to encourage and bond with your youth leadership team. More about Connect
Youth Commissioners at GA16
The PYM team are very keen to support youth commissioners at General Assembly.
Orientation - For official youth commissioners at General Assembly, we are running a youth orientation day commencing at 1:30pm on Tuesday, 15 November. This will be a valuable time for youth commissioners to get their heads around the workings of General Assembly and give some thought to the upcoming debates.
GA Week - Throughout the week there will be a number of opportunities for youth commissioners to meet together: a dinner with the Moderator, a social evening and of course, just hanging out.
Accommodation - Youth commissioners who are sleeping onsite will all be located on the same floor.
National Youth Manager
Are you a member?
When I was young we played a word game where you recounted the place of your birth, then town, country, completing your turn with “the universe”. This was to engender a sense of belonging in the children participating and provide some answers to that question – who am I? Since many of my classmates were immigrants from distant countries, it was reassuring that we were all God’s children i.e. part of “the universe”.
On Pentecost morning, our junior Sunday School invited elders to their class in order to provide answers to the children’s questions, one of which was: “Why do you come to church”? Again, the child’s enquiry provoked the response that it is part of where we belong. We are part of a community, which ensures that the members of our community have their individual needs met. It is so much easier to do this when we are part of a group.
This too, is why we have a group called Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand (PWANZ). Meeting regularly, we are able to fulfil our aim which is “to unite in prayer, study, fellowship and service, to make a Christian witness in home, church and community, and to support the work of partner churches in worldwide mission and evangelism”.
Members gather across New Zealand in parish groups for companionship and to support mission projects with their fundraising. In 2016, gifts made include the Rice Bowl appeal, North Otago Tongan Engagement and refugee resettlement in Wellington and Dunedin. Another project we support is Operation Refugee which challenges you to live on the same rations as a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon or Jordan. CWS supply the rations and you sign up family and friends as sponsors. Your efforts will make a difference for families who have nowhere else to turn. http://www.cwsoperationrefugee.nz/
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
In the coming month our major event will be conducting the Winter block course in Silverstream (Upper Hutt) from 20-29 June. This will be the first time a ministry intern block course has been held outside of Dunedin or Auckland. We are really looking forward to engaging with presbytery members as part of our time there. In the lead-up to the block course, Steve Taylor (KCML principal) is in Auckland (2 June) to attend the Northern Presbytery council and, with Mark Johnston, contribute to “Mission Possible” with the Korean churches. On 9-10 June, Steve will be speaking with Phil King at “Woven Together Christianity and Development between New Zealand and the Pacific” in Wellington. Then on 14 June, Steve will be with Kaimai Presbytery before returning to Dunedin for a Presbyterian Research Centre event on 16 June.
Malcolm Gordon (Worship and Music Enabler) is putting the finishing touches on a collection of congregational music for small churches called, “Songs for the Saints”. He is preparing a team to lead worship at Connect through music, visual art and dance. His next trip away is to the Hawkes Bay for a weekend of workshops before the winter block course and a day of training with young people from Northern Presbytery in Auckland.
I have been working on creating a national gathering for Local Ordained Ministers. Read more about the event for LOMs.
Dean of Studies
In May, the Rev Dugald Wilson and his wife Janet Dunn represented our Church at the 50th Jubilee of St. Thomas School in Jagadhri, India. This was a significant milestone in the life of the school, and of the Christian community in Jagadhri and the surrounding district. The legacy of our mission in this part of India, in evangelism, health and education is impressive, and is greatly valued and appreciated by the church there. The celebrations took place in the first week of May.
It’s encouraging to see the numbers of teams and individuals who are taking advantage of the travel subsidy that is available this year to support mission projects with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu. The subsidy makes a significant difference to the cost of travel so let me know if this is something you are interested in taking advantage of – you can read about it here.
The Myanmar Oversight Group, which helps identify and prioritise possible mission projects that our Church can become involved with, has recently approved a number of projects supporting the mission of the Presbyterian Church in Myanmar. These included a nursing scholarship, Christian education resource books, a leaders’ refresher course and hymn books for the Victoria Synod, one of the lowest socio-economic synods in their church. Global Mission provides a grant to supplement donations to the Ricebowl Fund.
Applications for I Love Taiwan have closed, with two candidates going this year. Erana Taka from Whakatane, and Darren Koo from Auckland will participate in this programme hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan in July.
It has been a busy time getting around the country with speaking and preaching engagements lately. It is pleasing to know that the level of interest in and support for Global Mission remains high. As always, please feel free to contact me if you would like me to visit your church and share about the ways in which you and your congregation can become involved in Global Mission, firstname.lastname@example.org and have a look at the website www.globalmision.org.nz to get an overview of our work.
Global Mission Coordinator
Presbyterian Research Centre
There has been a marked interest recently in our archival material relating to China, especially the early experiences of Chinese people in New Zealand. This includes:
- The provision of photos for an exhibition in Auckland on New Zealand/China relations organised by the Otago Southland Chinese Association
- The provision of photos to Toitū Otago Settlers Museum for potential use in a documentary about Chinese settlers in Otago
- The provision of photos to New Line Films for use in a film about Chinese miners in New Zealand
- The provision of information to Otago Museum about the experiences of Professor Hewitson in China during his time as Moderator
- The provision of information to Auckland University about the early Chinese church in both Auckland and Dunedin
- The visit to the PRC (both Archives and Hewitson Library) by a Social Sciences Professor from Beijing researching Chinese people in New Zealand
An ongoing seminar series, Christianity and cultures in Asia has also been organised to encourage the use of the Rita Mayne England Asian Studies Collection held by the Hewitson Library. Read more
Christian World Service is preparing worship resources “I cry aloud to God” for Refugee Sunday which falls on 26 June this year. Prayers, children’s activities and notes on Lectionary readings will be available at www.cws.org.nz from the beginning of June. Refugee Sunday is a time that you can focus on refugees in your community, and some of the more than 60 million people worldwide who fled their homes last year. Please set aside this Sunday – the closest to World Refugee Day on 20 June – and consider having a special offering for the Syria Appeal. We ask for your prayers and support for Syrians sheltering in neighbouring countries.
Thanks to the people who are already supporting Operation Refugee from 16-20 June. Operation Refugee is a new fundraising challenge for people keen to help Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. For five days you eat the same rations as a refugee and ask everyone you know for sponsorship. CWS makes it easy by sending you the rations and giving you lots of tips to last the distance. You might like to join The Prezzies or start your own page. If you can, please donate to make sure more refugees have food, education, medical care and support.
Share the secrets of success
Your donations are giving Tongan women opportunities that they would not otherwise have. Through Ama Takiloa they are learning how to grow better gardens, improve family incomes and diets, and prepare in case of disaster. If you would like more printed copies of the Autumn Story, please contact Emma by email or telephone her on 0800 74 73 72.
Changes in Status
Rev Kevyn Harris, other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery to minister St Andrew’s New Plymouth, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu on 16 April 2016.
Rev Owen Rogers, minister Belmont St Margaret’s, Northern presbytery, to minister emeritus on 21 April 2016.
Columba Presbyterian Church Oamaru, Southern Presbytery closed 16 April 2016.
Inaugural national gathering for LOMs
On 27-29 September, Local Ordained Ministers) are gathering at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML) in Dunedin. They will engage with each other for three days of ministry development and strengthening of relationships. If you are a LOM, and haven’t already been contacted by KCML about the event, please contact dean of studies, Geoff New, for further details.
KCML theology study grants 2016
The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is offering a limited number of scholarships in 2016. Presbyterians doing part-time or full-time theological studies through Otago University, Auckland University, Laidlaw College or Carey Baptist College are eligible. If you know of anyone who might benefit from such a grant, please encourage them to apply. Read more
Calling former members of Kowai Presbyterian
Kowai Presbyterian Parish (Amberley and Sefton) North Canterbury will be celebrating its 150th anniversary on 26-27 November 2016. We want to contact former members and descendants of former members to be part of this weekend. For further information please email Nancy-Jean Whitehead or phone on 03 3148110 or 0273899860.
Invitation to Kaikorai Presbyterian sesquicentennial
On 2-3 July 2016, Kaikorai Presbyterian Church in Dunedin is celebrating its 150th anniversary. All who are interested are invited to attend. Read more
150th anniversary for St Columba’s Taradale
On 24-25 September 2016, St Columba’s Church in Taradale will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Read more
Called to Care conference
The Faith Community Nurses Association is hosting its conference on 10-11 September in Nelson. Check out their website for further details. Read more
Clinical pastoral education course
“Engage”, a national evangelism conference, is being held in Tauranga on 2-3 September. Various organisations are involved in bringing the conference together including Alpha, Willow Creek NZ and others. Find out more at: https://alltogether.co.nz/engage/
Hymns and lectionary readings
View or download the latest lectionary hymns and readings information from the New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. This document covers the period April to June 2016. Read more
Presbyterian Investment Fund rate
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 individuals. For further information, email the executive officer, Kos van Lier.
Mental health and the church seminar
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
Check out our listing of national and regional events.