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
NZ Christian Council of Social Services
Presbyterian Research Centre
From the Moderator
An encouraging word!
I'm told that criticism or a negative comment imprints itself immediately on the brain, but an encouraging word takes at least seven seconds to stick. That's why we have the saying "mud sticks"!
We are agents of "good news" so let's speak words of encouragement over and over again. Let it stick! Here's some encouraging words that I received this week.
"Your words echo many members' deepest unexpressed hopes. The white and green papers have been a breath of very welcome fresh air and a talking point, and (hopefully) action springboard. I have been at the church since I was young... At times I have wanted to disown the Presbyterian and national body, but your thoughtful witness, together with many dedicated clergy I have served with, are renewing that respect."
Just imagine what we would be like if we became a Philippians 2:1-8 church?
I'm more convinced than ever that we are the narratives we tell ourselves.
At times we live a narrative that is far too small, or a narrative without life. The narrative of "decline" is death giving and too small; it needs to change. I'm not saying don't tell the truth, I am saying get a life-giving narrative, one consistent with a life of good news.
Coming up this month
1 May - Combined churches services at Palmerston North
2-7 May - Trans-Tasman Moderators meeting, Melbourne
10 May - St Andrew’s Hamilton 11 May - Heads of churches (advisors) meeting, Wellington
18 -20 May - Wilderness retreat, Opito Bay
Nga mihi nui
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues
Over the past six weeks or so, I have been part of a number of gatherings where history has been an important part of those events. In March, the Council of Assembly met at Te Maungarongo Marae, Ohope as guests of Te Aka Puaho. In his welcome, the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa told the story of the birth of Te Aka Puaho and also highlighted that the refurbished marae might be a strong gathering place for all parts of the Church family.
At the recent 150th anniversary of the Synod of Otago and Southland, Synod moderator the Rev Peter Dunn shared some of the history of the settlement in the south – the early history prior to the southern and northern Presbyterian churches being united in 1901.
And also Anzac Day, where I joined a service at Petone railway station. The strong bond between New Zealand and Australian railway workers was emphasised with the Australian flag raised in New Zealand and the New Zealand flag being raised in Sydney. I noted that the specially made flagpole was made from Kauri and Australian hardwood “to symbolise the unity… in peace and war”.
In all these gatherings there was a common thread – spoken and unspoken; a strong call to hold to values dearly and to structures lightly. These and other events continue to challenge me as I am asking if we hold on to our structures dearly and our values lightly?
This month I will join with three others from our Church as we come together for a meeting of the Pacific Council of World Mission member churches. Gatherings like this are a reminder that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Along with the joy and hospitality and depth of culture and faith which our Pacific neighbours bless us with, there are very significant challenges we need to share as sisters and brothers in Christ.
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
As there were four or fewer nominations in the first round, I am currently seeking written confirmation from those nominated. Once this has been received, instructions on voting together with biographical details, short statements and a photo of for each person, will be sent to all church councils for voting for the Moderator-designate.
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.
Risk management, ethics and leadership workshops
To retain a status of good standing, it is a requirement that every minister attend one of these workshops once every three years. These workshops are provided on an “as needed” basis (usually for a minimum of ten people). If you are due to attend a workshop, please contact your presbytery clerk.
Thank you for your partnership in God’s mission.
Sharing our stories
A common theme over the last month has been storytelling. I ran a “Sharing our stories” workshop with ministers, elders and children’s leaders in Hawkes Bay recently and loved the way they all “got” how important this skill is for sharing our faith with all of God’s children no matter their age! It was wonderful to see all the participants really enter into the spirit of storytelling and try out newly learned techniques together.
Then at the recent Inspiring Mission conference in Wellington, storytelling once again emerged as a key theme for promoting mission in our churches. We all agreed that we need to find the stories of hope and share them widely and in a range of ways to inspire and encourage each other to be God’s people in mission.
On Anzac Day I attended the Raglan town celebrations. I was very moved by a story shared by the head girl of Raglan Area School of her two grandfathers’ stories of fighting in and surviving the second world wars before immigrating to New Zealand. Hearing this story from a young person made it even more poignant and reminded me that while all of us (as leaders in ministry) need to hone our storytelling skills in the interest of bringing our gospel message alive, we also need to find ways to invite our young people to share their stories.
If you’d like to learn more about storytelling and get “hands on” practise, let us know.
Kids Friendly Coach
The first Inspiring Mission network gathering was held in Wellington on 21-22 April and attended by 33 “mission catalysts”. Some exciting things were discussed, so look out for a full debrief in next month’s Bush Telegraph.
In the meantime we are still keen to hear from people who would like to be considered for membership of the Press Go Board. There are currently two vacancies and all expressions of interest need to be received by Monday, 16 May. Appointments are for a term of four years commencing June 2016. Find out more
Press Go Catalyst
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Introducing the Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
With the introduction of recent government regulations, you may be aware everyone involved in the leadership of the church is responsible for health and safety. In fact, you may have been to the recent training put on by the Inter Church Bureau?
Presbyterian Youth Ministry and Kids Friendly have teamed up to offer a Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF) for children and youth leaders. The training includes:
- Code of ethics
- Risk management
- Health and safety
- Police check
We strongly recommend that every church puts their leaders who work with children and young people through this WOF once every three years. By doing so, your leaders will be equipped and knowledgeable on how to keep your ministries safe, and your church will be compliant with the training aspect of the law.
We are committed to offering the training at least once a year in each presbytery. Learn more
Connect 2016, 15-17 July, Waikanae
We would like to make a special invitation to ministers to attend Connect. Each year we get feedback from ministers about how much they personally get out of the event, and, of course, it is a great opportunity to hang out with your youth ministry leadership team. Last year the Rev John Schoneveld described Connect as “high quality, significant, deep, and very relevant and up-to-date in terms of where the church and youth ministries are at in Aotearoa”.
While, of course, you are invited for the whole weekend, for local ministers, you are welcome to attend all day Saturday and be our guest. Please select Ministers Day on the registration form, and you can attend two keynotes and two workshops and Ted talks.
Youth commissioners at Assembly
Presbyteries may send six young adults to be youth commissioners at GA16. If you know of a young adult in your congregation that would be a good asset to General Assembly, please contact your presbytery. The orientation day for the young adult reps will be during the day on Tuesday, 15 November before the official start of Assembly on Tuesday evening.
National Youth Manager
Nominate Presbyterian Women
During a recent service at my local parish, the custodian of the “Herstory” book was joined by the newly appointed custodian for the companion “History” book which will tell of the lives of both men and women who have served in numerous roles in our church’s life.
All of these worthy men who also gave long service in roles such as Sunday school superintendent, elder, and session clerk will be recorded. The original tome “Herstory” was conceived to balance the many plaques around the church interior that acknowledge the contribution of the (mostly) men holding these voluntary offices. There is even a “Miss” on the Roll of Honour of men in the parish who served in wartime.
After more than 150 years, our parish like most others in New Zealand has lots of stories to recount of selfless service to God in the community. It is important to ensure that the voices of these women are remembered and honoured.
One way that we may recognise those tireless women who are working amongst us in our communities, is to nominate candidates for the 2017 New Year Honours. As the Ministry for Women stated in their recent newsletter: “if you know women doing great things, consider their nomination for New Year honours”. The process requires some commitment in describing what is special about a nominee’s achievements. However, the story of how they have made a difference in the community should be told.
Nominations are due to the Honours Unit, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, by 24 May 2016. Anyone can nominate a person they think is worthy of a New Zealand honour. For more information on how to increase the recognition of outstanding women in New Zealand go to www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/nominations/faq.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
This month, Steve Taylor, Malcolm Gordon and I are involved in running workshops and being resource people at the South Island Ministry Conference (East Taieri Presbyterian Church, Mosgiel).
I am also running a preaching workshop at Calvin Community Church (Gore) on 14 May (RSVP to email@example.com).
Steve is keynote speaker at Alpine Presbytery on 29-30 April and Presbytery Central on 13-14 May, and will preach at St Alban’s church that Sunday. He is also the after-dinner speaker on “innovation and learning in mission” at the Salvation Army Learning and Development Conference 9 May. On 12 May, Steve attends the leadership sub-committee meeting, and he rounds out the month at the national assessment weekend on 20-23 May in Auckland.
Mark Johnston starts the month in the Bay of Plenty running a leadership colloquium with interns, and is later in Auckland with interns in a pastoral care colloquium. At the end of the month he will be holding online tutorials. Work has begun for our winter block course (21 – 29 June) for ministry interns which will be held at Silverstream (Wellington). This is to give expression to our commitments to theological education locally and nationally (and to save costs due to the rugby test against Wales at the time of block course!).
For those engaged in theological study at Otago University, Auckland University, Laidlaw College or Carey Baptist College, we are now accepting applications for theological study grants. More about ministers’ study grants
Dean of Studies
Latest Pacific Vision newsletter
I have just produced the second edition of Nambawan! (this means “number one,” or as we might say, “awesome!” in Bislama, the language of Vanuatu). It gives information about the many ways that Global Mission is working in Vanuatu, including our Church personnel who are serving there. It’s so encouraging to see what is being achieved. You can download the newsletter here. Please let me know if you would like to be added to the email list.
Training with Going Global youth group
I’ve been getting around the country a bit lately, catching up with congregations and members who are supporting our Global Mission partnerships. I had an enjoyable time leading a training session with the East Taieri youth group who will be taking a team to Vanuatu on a Going Global programme in July.
I was impressed with their leadership and the calibre of young people in this group. I shared with them about how their visit is part of a long-established relationship with Vanuatu, and that they represent not only their local church, but the Presbyterian Church as a whole.
Their presence will be significant as they will be going to Lenakel College on Tanna Island which was severely damaged by the February cyclone and where members of the community were quite traumatised. This will be the first visit by a youth or school group since the cyclone and will be important in terms of re-establishing connections and bringing encouragement. Our Church has contributed significant funds in the rebuilding of the college, so they will see some of the results of that.
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. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Mission Coordinator
NZ Council of Christian Social Services
Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks highlights several issues from the most recent NZCCSS Policy Watch newsletter that may be of interest:
The release of the Final Report on Child Youth and Family [CYF] is all about improving the lives of New Zealand children. While the expert panel’s recommendations cannot hope to address bigger issues around structural inequality, child poverty, and ethnocentricity, they may just lead to a raising of the bar on community expectations (and support) of children in care, and in turn lift the aspirations of the children themselves.
Services for older people conference: valuing people living well Have you registered yet? It is only four weeks until the conference, so don't miss out. Join NZCCSS for two inspiring and thought-provoking days incorporating a great mix of break-out sessions, keynote speakers, panels and workshops.
Post Budget briefing 2016 - NZCCSS is hosting the 3rd annual post-budget briefing, with Finance Minister the Hon Bill English once again fronting up to discuss his thinking behind budget decisions.
UNICEF Report Card 13 "Fairness for Children” The report demonstrates that children's economic security across OECD countries has declined in the past 30 years, and that New Zealand children from poor backgrounds are more likely (21 percentage points) to achieve low educational attainment results than the average child.
Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
Presbyterian Research Centre
I have been the director of the Presbyterian Research Centre since 15 February, taking over from Anne Jackman, and we hope to begin the process of filling the archivist vacancy shortly.
The Hewitson Library and archives staff very effectively kept the Centre running in the absence of a director and archivist over the summer, and we are now able to focus on events and projects that serve to highlight our resources. The first of these was the launch of the Rita Mayne England Collection on the 17 March.
There is a series of lectures currently being planned to highlight research supported by this collection.
“….for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35
Jesus’s concern for people in need is at the heart of our faith. Operation Refugee is a great opportunity to show your concern for Syrian refugees by living on the same rations they do. From 16-20 June, Christian World Service is looking for 98 caring people to join Sharon and Gordon in the challenge to help Syrians struggling to survive in Jordan and Lebanon. CWS provides the rations and you find sponsors. The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees needs funds to provide food, education and medical care to thousands of people made homeless by war. Can you help or donate to someone doing the challenge? Find out more.
In response to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador on 16 April, CWS launched an appeal for ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) members distributing food, water, shelter, non-food items and psycho-social help. Please pray for those who lost loved ones and the 20,000 or so people in evacuation centres. If you would like to help, please donate here.
Church World Service Japan is working with the Kumamoto YMCA to provide relief and comfort to people made homeless by the magnitude 7.3 earthquake in Japan. They are providing meals and shelter in the YMCA evacuation centre. CWS is receiving donations if you want to help in this way.
Please share our report back after last year’s quake. Thanks to supporters of the Nepal Appeal.
World Humanitarian Summit
ACT Alliance members will participate in the first UN Humanitarian Summit to be held in Turkey on 23-24 May. Their first priority: to prevent and end conflict.
KCML theology study grants 2016
The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is offering a limited number of scholarships in 2016, to Presbyterians doing part-time or full-time theological studies through Otago University, Auckland University, Laidlaw College or Carey Baptist College. If you know of anyone who might benefit from such a grant, please encourage them to apply. Read more
150th anniversary for St Columba’s Taradale
On the 24th and 25th September 2016, St Columba’s Church in Taradale will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Read more
Resources for Asia Sunday
Resources for Asia Sunday (Sunday, 8 May) including full liturgy, are available on the Christian Conference of Asia website. Download here
Laidlaw open nights in May
Those interested in studying at Laidlaw College this July or in 2017, are invited to the College’s open nights in May, taking place at their Henderson, Manukau and Christchurch campuses. For more info, check out the Laidlaw College website.
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
Services for older people conference
This NZCCSS-led conference will take place in Auckland on 12–13 May. To register or for more info, click here
Progressive spirituality conference
Held 6-8 May 2016 at St Paul’s Napier, the conference features guest speakers including: Rev Dr Robin Meyer, Jo Randerson, Dr Robert Myles and Presbyterian minister and MP, the Rev David Clark. Details about how to register and other information about the conference can be found here
Beloved women’s ministry conference
St Columba at Botany (Auckland) are excited to be able to invite the women of your church - young and old – to our women's conference on 14 May 2016. See the conference website for more details: http://belovedinstcolumba.wix.com/beloved
Trans-Tasman rural ministry conference
The Trans-Tasman Ecumenical Rural Ministry Consultation 2016 is being held in Wairarapa 16-20 May 2016. For registration and other details see http://www.irca.net.nz/oceania.php.
Change to Presbyterian Investment Fund rate
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits will reduce from 3.50% to 3.25% per annum effective from 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
David Kim, Northern Presbytery
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Steve Taylor, United Church Australia to Principal Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Southern Presbytery on 15 February 2016.
Rev Nyalle Paris, minister St Andrew’s Invercargill to ministers First Church Invercargill, Southern Presbytery on 5 February 2016.
Rev Rob Pendreigh, minister Cromwell Presbyterian to Balclutha Presbyterian, Southern Presbytery on 8 March 2016.
Jin Sook Kim, intern Grant Braes Dunedin to minister Waikouaiti Church, Southern Presbytery on 11 February 2016.
Rev Carlton Johnstone, licentiate, to minister Wakatipu Community Presbyterian, Southern Presbytery on 9 February 2016.
Rev Jordan Redding, licentiate Hope Presbyterian, to minister Hope Presbyterian, on 15 January 2016.
Rev Hana Popea, minister Hutt City Uniting Congregations (Lower Hutt) to minister St Ninian’s Karori, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu on 28 February 2016.
Rev Michael Frost, licentiate to minister Papakura East Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery on 11 February 2016.
Changes in Status
Rev Robert Ferguson, minister St Ninnian’s Riccarton, Alpine Presbytery to other recognised ministry, Christchurch on 27 March 2016.
Rev Paul MacGregor, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery to Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu on 1 May 2015.
Rev Vivian Coleman, other recognised ministry, Northern Presbytery to minister emeritus 4 June 2015.
Rev Cherry Thompson, minister Central Southland, Southern Presbytery to minister emeritus on 15 February 2016.
Rev Nancy Parker, minister Waiairaki Weston to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery on 29 February 2016.
Rev Tino Scanlon, minister Uniting Church Australia to minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery on 4 February 2016.
Rev Hai Chang Jung, other recognised minister (Korean), Northern Presbytery resigned 7 March 2016.
Rev Barbara Ritchie, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery died on 3 March 2016.
Rev Thomas Hawea, minister emeritus, Te Aka Puaho Maori Synod died on 7 March 2016.
Rev Lagaua Talagi QSM, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery died on 15 March 2016.
Rev John Balchin, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery died on 25 March 2016.
Rev Bruce McNair Patterson, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery died on 17 April 2016.
Rev Ian Donald Borrie (Don), minister emeritus, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu died on 21 April 2016.
Columba Presbyterian Church Oamaru, Southern Presbytery closed on 16 April 2016.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.