From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
From the Council of Assembly
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Hope and Politics
It will be a particularly political year this year – a general election will guarantee this. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, politicians of every stripe want your attention; again, this is only natural. Unfortunately, what goes along with this are the bad news stories. The logic behind the propagation of bad news is that if the electorate can be convinced that the competition is responsible for the bad stuff, then the vote will go the propagator’s way. The problem with this is that blame becomes the only game in town and when that occurs, everyone loses. They do so because when we live in an atmosphere charged by bad news, hope disappears.
In the Church I notice a corollary. Blame is a cheap fuel. It burns easily and it sets good things on fire. And when used it is very hard to control the results. It tends to spread quickly - burning not just the intended target but everything else in the vicinity. A church, parish or community within which blame is cast loses morale and momentum quickly as the fires of blame take hold. That is why we need to give up using blame as a tool of control and take a much more positive view when dealing with conflict.
Conflict isn’t solved by assigning blame. It is only solved by letting go of blame. My experience is, however, that only through a work of the Holy Spirit can we truly forgive and forget. You see blame is a kind of revenge taken within our consciousness on those we hold responsible for our pain. While we hold on to this we will never find true peace and the strength to move on. Only as we give our heart up to God will we find the strength and ability to let go of blame. Don’t let blame become your currency this year.
Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand
Dear Colleagues and friends
As we journey through Lent – we are reminded life, too, is a journey. We can certainly have a studied and practiced approach to life, but most times it is an unplanned adventure. How is your adventure going?
As we celebrate Easter, we will dwell on the Thursday evening and live through the challenges of the suffering Christ on Good Friday. We will wait on Easter Saturday and celebrate the risen Christ on Easter Sunday.
This provides us the opportunity to be, to experience, and to talk about what really matters to people, and also to address our deepest fears and greatest longing. To speak the Gospel words – full of compassion and empathy and hope – is a wonderful thing to bring to those who long to hear the good news.
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. Please pass on any changes to Lynne from our office, so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.
Assembly minutes and matters for consideration by presbyteries and church councils
Assembly minutes have been posted online. Read or download Assembly minutes here. Other matters for consideration have been sent out to church councils and presbyteries for consideration, including proposed changes to our Book of Order.
Council of Assembly
The Council of Assembly met at the Mary McKillop Centre, Mission Bay in Auckland on 2-4 March. Read Council News here.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year five 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. For more information, please contact Allister.
Assembly Office closed for Easter
The office will be closed from Friday, 14 April and will re-open on Wednesday, 19 April.
Thanks for your engagement in God’s mission.
Assembly and social media
The Council of Assembly received a letter from the Book of Order Advisory Committee, giving the committee’s opinion on issues raised about social media, confidentiality and undue influence at General Assembly. The committee advised that:
(a) Banning social media exchanges at Assembly would be impossible to police, and commissioners are free to listen to viewpoints that are expressed (including through social media) and then to make their own decisions.
(b) There is insufficient reason to justify further action on the point of order raised by the Rev Andrew Howley as the committee is of the view that the nature of the use of social media during the 2016 Assembly does not meet the threshold of seriousness as to require a formal process, for example by the appointment of a commission to consider whether the Assembly decision was safe.
Assembly minutes change
After the 2016 General Assembly minutes were agreed to and shared online by the Council of Assembly, Council were advised of a small error in the minutes.
Council reviewed the matter, agreed to a correction, and voted to amend the minutes.
The Council notify the wider Church of the following change:
[16.047] “That General Assembly re-affirm the principle that membership of church courts, committees and other formal groups reflect gender equality balance within the Church."
Cultivating Kids Friendly churches
I was recently invited to share at two Australian conferences on culture change. We talk about “cultivating” Kids Friendly churches because we know from experience that for a church to be truly welcoming to and inclusive of children often requires a change of culture.
Feedback from Kids Friendly churches confirms this: “When we at St Aidan's made an intentional decision to become a Kids Friendly church, we didn't realise the ripple effect this would have on the whole of our faith community. Becoming a Kids Friendly church has resulted in every aspect of our communal life experiencing renewal and creative energy for new mission initiatives,” said Rev Alf Taylor, St Aidan’s Birkenhead. And from Rev Nathan Parry, Island Bay Presbyterian: “Becoming Kids Friendly changed the spirit of our congregation to one of openness, joy and energy. New people from the community now come and check us out and many stay – this didn’t used to happen”.
This month I was privileged and honoured to be invited to preach at Mo Morgan’s ordination service in Whanganui. Mo expressed a desire to have an ordination service that was inclusive of children and those new to the Presbyterian denomination or even to church-going. We worked together with Rev Jordan Redding who officiated, to ensure Mo’s ordination service was Kids Friendly. This did not mean “dumbing down” things – it did mean using slightly less formal language, including images for the scripture reading, inviting children to lead a prayer of thanksgiving and to participate in the scripture reading. It also meant creating a space up front for children and families so that they could see what was happening and be addressed. And we created children’s welcome packs with quiet activities for them and a child-friendly explanation of the proceedings.
As I sat and watched the children I felt truly humbled and grateful. For me this was amazing evidence of the change of culture in our denomination. No longer do we ask “why should children be included?” Instead more and more churches ask: “how can we truly let the children come?”
Kids Friendly Coach
At the time of writing this I am in Myanmar with two members of our church, Wayne and the Rev Helen Harray. We are assessing whether it will be possible for the Harrays to have a role with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar at Tahan Theological College. It is progressing well so far, but there are a lot of factors to work through so your penayrayers will be appreciated as we negotiate this new territory.
We are being hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) who are deeply appreciative of the significant support our Church has given them over many years through the Ricebowl Mission. It is difficult to describe the level of warmth and gratitude that is expressed. This is the first time we have been able to travel to the formerly closed Chin State to see projects that have been supported here, so it has been a particularly valuable and informative time. While Myanmar is changing and becoming more open, there are still many deep and significant challenges facing the country, and of course the Church.
This is a good time to remind you of the opportunities that exist to travel to Myanmar to support our partnership here. Young adults can apply for Going Global which will take place in December this year. More about Going Global If you don't fit the young adult category, you are welcome to enquire whether there is space on this programme as a support person; or express interest in an exposure trip sometime next year. The PCM is one of our key partners, so if you are interested in cross-cultural mission, I encourage you to take the next step.
Finally please pray for our two couples in Vanuatu – Neville and Gloria Jones, and Martyn and Annette Vincent. They are getting settled into their roles for 2017 in the midst of hot and humid temperatures, so will value your prayerful support for them and their work.
Please contact me if you would like to follow up anything to do with our Global Mission partnerships and opportunities, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Mission Coordinator
“Lent is a time to receive God’s breath of life, a breath that saves humanity from suffocating
under the weight of selfishness, indifference and piety devoid of sincerity” - Pope Francis
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.
Vulnerable children: In March the government responded to pressure from Māori and the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) to reword legislation relating to children in state care. The NZCCSS joined with its alliance partner, Te Kahui Atawhai O Te Motu (TKAM), in a joint parliamentary select committee submission on the Children, Young Persons and their Families bill. The bill seeks to change current CYFS legislation and the direction of the Ministry of Vulnerable Children (Oranga Tamariki), which will come into being in next month. Our submission highlighted these issues:
- the absence of authentic consultation with Maori in writing the bill,
- the need to:
- preserve the “whanau first” principle at the heart 1989 Act.
- increase support for whanau to care for tamariki and rangatahi, and
- stress the link between poverty, inequality and child neglect.
Support for victims of domestic abuse: Parliament has backed MP Jan Logie's Member’s Bill to enable victims of domestic abuse to receive 10 days paid leave from employers to help them move house, attend court hearings and consult with lawyers. This is a great step forward and demonstrates increased societal awareness of the harm done by domestic abuse and the need to support victims to make change.
Older people and housing: Christian social services are taking action to respond to the growing need for affordable housing for older people. HBH Senior Living (formerly called Howick Baptist Healthcare) has purchased Stevenson Village, a 36-unit complex providing low cost housing for older people. The village opened in 1975 as a charitable joint venture between the Howick RSA and Sir William and Lady Stevenson.
NZCCSS works to support Christian social services and lobby government for policies to increase the wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable. Access NZCCSS’ free Policy Watch newsletter or visit the NZCCSS website to find out more about the work of the Council and to access other publications and reports.
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
Connect, our flagship youth ministry conference, starts at 2pm Friday, 21 July and will finish at 2pm Sunday, 23 July. It will be held at El Rancho, Waikanae.
Promotion material for Connect, which continues to be an excellent event for developing youth leaders in your church, went out this week. The early bird registration deadline is Tuesday, 2 May, and represents a savings of $20 per person.
Going Global Myanmar, 28 Nov - 12 Dec 2017
Applications are invited for the Going Global programme to Myanmar in November/December 2017. Co-hosted with Global Mission, this is a two-week, cross-cultural exchange hosted by our partner church, the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM). We have sent several teams to Myanmar over the past few years, establishing a healthy relationship between our two churches. This visit will focus on developing that relationship, learning about the mission context of the church in Myanmar with a focus on young adults, and also learning about the ways that our Church has supported the PCM through the Ricebowl Mission. Download Going Global application
Regional youth ministry training
We are delighted with some of the training available through our regional youth enablers at the moment. Last month over 120 youth leaders attended the Regen training event in Gore, where both myself and Matt Chamberlin were keynote speakers. And next month the PYM national team will be providing workshops at The Youth Ministry Expo on the 13 May in Auckland.
Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
We strongly recommend that every church put their leaders who work with children and young people through our Safety WOF training. Upcoming training dates are:
● 1 April 2017 – Hamilton
● 12 Aug – Oamaru (Weston Community Church)
● 16 Sept – Auckland (Ranui PIC)
National Youth Manager
Steve Taylor will be attending the graduation of Te Aka Puaho Amorangi ministers at the Ohope marae on 7-8 April. I will be there also conducting preaching training.
Steve will be delivering two keynote addresses at the Sydney College of Divinity Learning and Teaching Conference (28 – 29 April) addressing theological educators from the Pacific about research-led teaching.
I will be in Sydney at the Australasian Academy of Homiletics conference (19 – 21 April) presenting a paper entitled “Lost for Words”. The paper is an exploration of the effect of screens, search engines and smart phones on our engagement and experience of Scripture and preaching.
My latest book (Live, Listen, Tell: The Art of Preaching) has just been published. It is a small book but a big read. Cost is $10 (plus postage). Orders can be placed by emailing email@example.com.
Malcolm is in the recording studio creating another wonderful album to strengthen the soul.
Steve and Kevin Ward will be attending the annual Otago and Southland Synod meeting in Invercargill (21 – 22 April).
Our beloved registrar, Catherine van Dorp, leaves us at Easter time after 8 ½ years of wonderful service. We realise that many in the Church around the country have benefited deeply by her generosity of spirit, care of others, superb skill and expertise in a multi-faceted role, and life-giving sense of humour. “The peace of Christ be with you Catherine and arohanui.”
Dean of Studies
Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand “just” raises money for development, community and mission, doesn’t it?
Yes we do, but it’s more than that. We believe a just society is one where all people have equal rights and responsibilities; where women and girls can access health care including safe maternal health services; where they can receive an education, participate in democratic processes, work for equal wages, not go about their daily lives in fear, and raise their children to expect the same.
We do raise money, and this year we are focusing on two projects in particular.
In Nicaragua, Christian World Service and their partner CEPAD (Consejo de Inglesias Evangelicas Pro-Alianza Denominacional or Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua) work in poor rural communities and are a source of hope. They fill the gaps created by poverty and conflict by:
- Forming local committees to foster stronger and healthy communities
- Training peace mentors to run psychosocial care programmes in their communities
- Equipping rural small farmers to improve family incomes
- Supporting women setting up small businesses.
The part of CEPAD efforts that we are supporting is funding more training programmes so that young people and families can tackle the violence that is damaging their lives.
The New Zealand project works with families affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) (this describes the adverse development that can occur when a person is exposed to alcohol while in the womb). The organisation FASD-CAN plans to develop respite care options for families.
For more information go to the web pages: http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/national-ministries/presbyterian-women-aotearoa-new-zealand/special-project
To make a donation: email Sandra Waldrom on firstname.lastname@example.org
Presbyterian Women are proud to be working towards the vision of a just and equitable society for all people in all parts of the world.
We are delighted to announce that Rachel Hurd has been appointed as Archivist at the Presbyterian Research Centre (PRC). Rachel has been associated with the PRC for several years, both in volunteer and contract roles. Her enthusiasm, knowledge and skills are a fantastic addition to our permanent team.
March has been a busy month for collaboration and marketing of our collections. We, along with a couple of other organisations, were invited to present to history honours students at the University of Otago outlining our collections and offering potential research topics.
I was also part of the team organising “Seeing Silence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives Symposium” at the University of Otago; this is part of the “Christianity and Cultures in Asia” programme sponsored by the PRC, KCML and the University of Otago Department of Theology and Religion. This programme is now in its second year, and was initially set up to promote the use of the Rita Mayne England (RME) Collection held in the Hewitson Library. We took a selection of relevant books from the RME Collection to display, as well as items about Christianity and film from the Chrysalis Seed Art & Christianity Collection which all generated interest among participants. The inclusion of books from the Chrysalis Seed Collection was also a chance to promote the upcoming Presbyterian Research Network lecture on 6 April showcasing this interesting and diverse collection.
The Press Go Board met in Auckland on 22 February and workshopped some of the wider issues related to the trends we are observing. These were reported to the Council of Assembly and we hope to contribute to work that is now being done on reviewing our Church’s strategic directions and planning documents.
The Catalyst has produced a draft Christian Giving resource in response to numerous requests from churches. It covers the principles of Christian giving (stewardship) and the process of developing a programme to focus on this aspect of the church’s life. It is intended that this resource will be added to over time and provide a complete a comprehensive “kit” for congregations. If you are interested in piloting this material in your church and providing feedback to improve the final resource, please contact the Press Go Catalyst, Lisa Wells.
Following the decision made at GA16, PressGo now administers funds held in the name of the Presbyterian Foundation. Criteria, application forms, guidelines and an assessment process is being developed to provide small grants (under $10,000) from this source. We are aiming to have more than one funding round each year and application forms are likely to be available from 1 July 2017. Watch this space for further news.
Very Rev Andrew Norton has taken leave as Press Go chairperson and deputy chair, Simon Bilton, will serve as acting chairperson until Andrew’s return. Enquiries about Press Go’s work or other matters can be made in the first instance through the Press Go Catalyst, Lisa Wells.
Rev Christine Harding, Northern Presbytery, 1 December 2016.
Rev Craig Allen, supply minister Te Anau Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 1 December 2016.
Ordination and inductions
Rev Morag Morgan, minister St James Wanganui, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu , 10 March 2017
Rev Martin Redhead, licentiate to minister Trinity Presbyterian Temuka, Alpine Presbytery, 5 February 2017.
Changes in status
Rev Caleb Hardie, minister Mairangi and Castor Bays to other recognised ministry, Northern Presbytery, 3 November 2016.
Rev Tau Ju Ham, stated supply minister St Andrew’s Hamilton, to minister (team ministry) St Andrews Hamilton, Kaimai Presbytery, 7 December 2017.
Rev Chong Woo Kim, minister St John’s Mt Roskill, to other recognised ministry, Northern Presbytery, 21 December 2016.
Rev Christopher Konings, minister Trinity Presbyterian Temuka to other recognised ministry, 25 February 2017.
Rev Heather Kennedy, local ordained minster, First Church Invercargill, Southern Presbytery to transitional minister (Methodist appointment) Ellesmere Co-operating Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 17 March 2017.
Rev Helen Martin, minister Mosgiel North Taieri Presbyterian Church to minister stated supply, St Andrews Presbyterian Church Gore, Southern Presbytery, 17 May 2017.
Rev Johannes Suwantika, minister (50%) Massey Riverhead to minister full-time St Andrew’s First Church, Symonds Street, Auckland, Northern Presbytery, 21 March 2016.
Rev Arii Taimataora, minister Hoon Hay Presbyterian to Plains Presbyterian Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 26 January 2017.
Jordan Redding, other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery to other recognised minister Southern Presbytery, 1 March 2017
Rev Garry Marquand, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery to transition minister, St Andrews Mt Maunganui, Kaimai Presbytery, 12 February 2017.
Rev Roger Gillies, minister St Columba’s Havelock North, retired 31 August 2016. Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu.
Rev Peter Marshall, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 4 March 2017.
For the Treasurer
Some congregations may be holding donations for the Christmas or other appeals. Please send them to CWS or bank them before 31 March so we can send receipts in the current financial year.
Yes, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Christmas Appeal today! It’s the best way of supporting people in need.
Seven weeks for water
CWS is reflecting on water, both here and overseas. See the Ecumenical Water Network reflections on water justice issues prepared by African writers for Lent and focus on water for World Water Day (22 March). Read We have Plans to find out how families of HIV and AIDS orphans are finding a new rainwater tank as the beginning of a better future in southern Uganda. Please contact Emma if you would like more copies.
Presbyterian and Methodist women do a wonderful job of raising funds for each year’s Special Project. Under the theme Let God’s Light Shine funds raised this year will enable the Council of Protestant Churches in Nicaragua (CEPAD) to run workshops and psychosocial groups aimed at stopping gender violence in rural communities. Please support them.
South Sudan appeal
Drought and famine are spreading in East Africa. ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) is already providing water, food, hygiene and sanitation, livestock and health care in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. CWS is monitoring the situations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia where 14 million people are on the brink of starvation. CWS is appealing for funds now for South Sudan where nearly 5 million people urgently need food. Please donate to the South Sudan Appeal so more people can get food, water and shelter. Please pray for urgent action from the international community.
The 2017 South Island Ministry Conference
The 2017 South Island Ministry Conference will be held Tuesday-Thursday 16-18 May 2017 at East Taieri Church, Mosgiel. Registrations are open now. The conference keynote speaker is the Rev Dr Geoff New, Dean of Studies at Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership, Dunedin. See the website for more information on workshops and the conference brochure. “We aim for this to be a place of real people sharing their story, both the joy & the pain. Experienced people in ministry sharing from their journey.”
Asia Sunday date set
The theme for Asia Sunday 2017 is “Journeying Together: Prophetic Witness to the Truth and Light, in Asia”, and will be held on Sunday, 15 October. This year, Asia Sunday has been chosen to coincide with the Asia Mission Conference and the commemorative celebration of the diamond jubilee of the Christian Conference of Asia which will be held from 11 to 17 October 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar. Read more
Vaughan Park scholarships
The Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre (Auckland) invites applications for their scholarships. A three-month residential scholarship is available, as are one-month scholarships for scholars, writers and artists. Scholarships include accommodation, meals and residence at the Centre for the specified length of time. Learn more about the three-month residential scholarship, or learn more about one-month artist, scholars and writers scholarship.
500th anniversary of Reformation
The World Communion of Reformed Churches is holding its General Council in Leipzig, Germany this year and will mark this significant anniversary,
The Council's theme—Living God, renew and transform us—is rich and deep, and they have a resource specially made to engage in it. Prayerful Preparation contains Bible studies and essays that explore the theme from many different perspectives, with submissions by WCRC theologians from around the world. It is suitable for use individually, in congregations or in many other contexts. It is available in six languages: English, French, German, Indonesian, Korean and Spanish. Download Prayerful Preparation here
Christian Contemplation Curriculum website launched
The Presbyterian and Anglican Schools’ offices have collaborated on the development of a Christian Contemplation Curriculum website. The site contains many useful references and those working alongside school age children in faith communities may find the resources useful as well teachers. Check out the site here: https://sites.google.com/site/contemplationcurriculum/
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.00% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 January 2017. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Kos van Lier.
Glen Innis vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis every year. Check out vacancies over the next couple of months here
Check out the latest events from around our Church and from Christian organisations and partners. Read more