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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
The reason for hope
3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Roms 5vv3-5)
Wherever you look at hope in the Bible one thing becomes clear – hope is a product of something else – it is not a thing in itself, but arises from something else. Hope is a fruit of some other fact, fantasy or action. Hope requires a basis.
Of course, if it arises because of some fantasy, it may have little real basis – but people will often still be hopeful in this case, such as when they put their hope in winning Lotto despite the infinitesimally low probability of a win.
On the other hand, hope placed in a consistent work life, a dedication to serving others and a system of fair remuneration is justified. But is this enough?
The Gospel calls us to find a better basis for hope – one that is much surer and more real, not just because its basis is life beyond this life, but because it can lend hope to this world as well.
And what is the basis of this hope we proclaim? It is the love of God for us, shown once and for all in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is his life lived sacrificially for others, concerned for their real circumstances, their sickness, their infirmity, their weakness, their foolishness and their poverty. It is his death, the height of his identification with our hopelessness. It is his resurrection – perhaps the best attested event in ancient history given all the attempts to disprove and deny it.
And this is the great hope promised to us in the Bible – that, indeed, all things, including ourselves, will be made new again. That this new creation will be free of the infirmity of this age and that death will be conquered.
The basis of this hope is, of course, Jesus Christ in his life, death and resurrection, but it is more. It is also in the lives of all those who down through the years have thrown themselves on the mercy of God – disciples, all slain for their faith; followers – chased from their homes and persecuted for hope; ministers – always contending for a hope greater than the baubles the world can offer and, Church – torn asunder by human frailty.
Despite these things, the rain is coming, a holy rain in which all may become clean and they will rejoice because the basis of their hope is both real and unshakeable.
Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand
Dear friends and colleagues
Earlier in May presbytery moderators and clerk/executive officers gathered, hosted by our Moderator, the Rt Rev Richard Dawson.
Some of the stories that came out of the day were encouraging. Some presbyteries are functioning well and see both the challenges and opportunities in their settings. Other presbyteries spoke about the struggles they face and were seeking ideas and support.
I am reminded that we are better together – as we seek to respond to God’s call to be sharers and bearers of the Good News.
This month I have the huge privilege of attending the World Communion of Reformed Churches general council meeting in Leipzig, Germany. This happens once every seven years and this year it also coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Events like this remind us we are part of the worldwide church.
Both before and after this event, I will be taking leave. I am grateful to the Council of Assembly for providing cover while I am away.
Acting Assembly Executive Secretary
The Council of Assembly has appointed the Rev Sharon Ross Ensor as the acting AES from today, 1 June, until 29 July. Sharon is contactable via my phone number (04) 381 8285 and will also be responding to my emails.
Moderator-Designate stepping down
I have written to all parishes, presbyteries, synods and ministers this week advising of the regrettable news that the Very Rev Andrew Norton has tendered his resignation as Moderator-designate of our General Assembly.
As you will probably be aware, Andrew was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March this year, has undergone surgery, and has now commenced ongoing treatment.
He is expected to make a full recovery and return to ministry.
Andrew says that his resignation has been a very difficult decision. He allowed his name to go forward for election as Moderator with the encouragement of presbyteries and congregations throughout New Zealand and with a clear sense of God’s calling that he had much more to offer in leadership to the national Church. He has a deep love for the Church and commitment to its ongoing reformation, a Church he acknowledges as having at times not been united. In particular he mourns the politics, posturing and processes of General Assembly which have wounded so many people over the years, including himself. For many the price has been very high.
Andrew’s health journey has understandably caused him to reconsider his priorities, how he exercises his ministry, and to make significant changes to his lifestyle.
He is now looking forward to the new opportunities this decision will open to him and his family.
We are grateful to Andrew for the significant contribution he has made to our Church, particularly during his time as Moderator, and for his continued leadership.
We wish Andrew a full and swift recovery. I know you will join me in prayers for Andrew and his family, friends and parish.
Some of you may be anxious to know who will be our next Moderator.
The Book of Order Advisory Committee has considered this matter and the Council of Assembly will be appointing a Commission of Assembly to formally receive Andrew’s resignation and to bring to the 2018 Assembly the name of a nominee for Moderator of the Assembly 2018-2020.
Resources for congregations for the upcoming election
As you reflect on issues for the upcoming general election, a reminder of the “We say Yes” statement, which is available on our website. Download or view the “We Say Yes” statement
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.
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.
Thanks for your engagement in God’s mission.
The Kids Friendly journey
Ten years ago I visited a congregation to share the Kids Friendly vision with their leaders and encourage them to work toward become a Kids Friendly church. This includes the church session or parish council signing a pledge to form a Dream Team to review their ministry with children and families and set Kids Friendly goals.
Over the past decade I have resourced this church, encouraged their leaders, preached and run training workshops. This has all been part of their Kids Friendly journey. Last month I was thrilled to receive their Kids Friendly self-review and be able to “assess” them as a “Kids Friendly church” or as I like to emphasise a church “on the Kids Friendly journey!”
Whether it takes 10 years or 10 months, when “Kids Friendly” is embraced as an ethos and core value of a church it can have a positive impact.
“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,” said one minister.
This week I met with a minister to discuss their self-review; this church had participated in the Kids Friendly pilot 14 years ago. The minister said: “Kids Friendly is part of our DNA. We ‘get it’, but I still think it’s worth reminding ourselves of the ideals every three years. I’m challenging our elders to learn the names of all the kids.”
And this from a minister who has just led his church’s Kids Friendly Dream Team through their three yearly self-review: “We have learnt a lot as we engaged the parents and congregation members in seeking to explore how we are doing on this Kids Friendly journey. The process continues to be enriching and I’m glad as a minister that we are growing to be an intergenerational congregation committed to serving the children and families of our church and community.”
It’s never too late to embark on the Kids Friendly journey. Contact me or Cheryl (Southern Presbytery) if you’d like to know more.
Kids Friendly Coach
Pope Francis’ TED talk
Worthy of note – and watching if you haven’t seen it – is Pope Francis’ TED talk titled: Why the only future worth building includes everyone, which delivers encouragement about the future, and a plea for the tech-savvy audience to care more for each other and themselves than things. (Bush Telegraph editor's note: TED, for those who are unfamiliar, is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.)
Budget 2017 will see an extra $68.6 million over four years to support vulnerable children and their families including:
- $28.1 million to increase Family Start, an intensive home visiting programme
- $34.7 million to support more children with behavioural issues (funding targeted at children aged 8 years and under)
- $6.0 million to help children with communication issues.
Three of ten new Better Public Sector targets speak directly to children:
- 90 per cent of pregnant women register with a Lead Maternity Carer in their first trimester
- Reduce hospitalisations for children aged 12 and under with preventable conditions
- Higher achievements in literacy and numeracy for year 8 children.
People’s Mental Health Report
This report is based on five hundred stories from mental health professionals and those with personal or family experience of the system. The report offers unique insight into issues facing the mental health system in New Zealand from inadequate funding; staff shortages and burnout; the lack of an body tasked with independent oversight; and the lack of early intervention and culturally appropriate services, especially for children and young people. NZCCSS members serve many in the community with mental health issues – this unique piece of work is a must read. Read or download the People’s Mental Health Report
Resources available to support parishes
Our Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on the NZCCSS. Indepth research into issues of income inequality and the vulnerability of children and the aged equips the Council to express an informed Christian perspective on public policy to government decision makers. Congregations can use this research to strengthen their impact on their own community. Visit the NZCCSS website to find out more about the work of the Council.
The Presbyterian Church/Presbyterian Support PresCare Justice in Action study guide is also available.
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
At the time of writing there may still be time for late applications for the young adults Going Global programme to Myanmar in December. Contact me if you, or someone you know, is interested - but be quick.
Get Global Mission updates
Check the latest edition of Spanz for some good stories on Global Mission developments in Vanuatu and Myanmar. You can follow the blogs of our two couples in Vanuatu, Neville and Gloria Jones, and Martyn and Annette Vincent, for up-to date-news about their work. Read the Jones’ blog and read the Vincents' blog. You can also download the latest Ricebowl Mission (Myanmar) newsletter here.
Exchanges, events and global mission projects
Busy season is approaching with many church groups going to Vanuatu on various projects and cross-cultural encounters, and others attending events and conferences elsewhere. These include the World Communion of Reformed Churches youth gathering and 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Germany; the I Love Taiwan programme; and later on the Council for World Mission youth assembly in South Africa. Engagement with the worldwide church brings valuable learning opportunities that are often life changing for those involved. We will share some news of these encounters in future publications.
We have developed a training programme for our Going Global cross-cultural programmes which are available as a resource to the wider church. If your congregation is planning a mission trip and would like some support and training, we can offer this. Please contact me if you would like to know more.
Share in our work
Some generous donations have been received by Global Mission in the past month, which is wonderful. Keep it up, because a lot of funds have also gone out in support of our three key partners in India, Myanmar and Vanuatu. Much good work is being achieved – and you are invited to be part of it. If you want to learn more about how you or your congregation can contribute to, or share in, the work of Global Mission, contact me; and check out our website and Facebook page for ongoing information.
Global Mission co-ordinator
We are very happy to see so many people signing up for our national youth leaders’ conference, Connect. Training and upskilling for youth leaders is critical and we recommend that every church ensures their youth leaders participate in training each year. Connect is a great option for such training. Standard registration for Connect closes on 27 June. Register here
We are excited that the main keynote speaker will be Duffy Robbins. Duffy has given his life to youth ministry. He is professor of youth ministry at Eastern University, PA, USA and speaks internationally to youth, youth workers and parents.
As always Connect will have 30+ youth ministry workshops, four keynote sessions, resource sharing, networking, spiritual direction, and self-care. More about the Connect workshops This year Connect is at El Rancho in Waikanae (just north of Wellington), starts at 2pm Friday, 21 July and finishes at 2pm Sunday 23 July.
Queenstown, Key Leader Retreat - 27-29 Nov
PYM acknowledges the essential work of “key” youth leaders within the Church. These key leaders, whether paid or volunteer, head up youth ministry, develop and lead teams and set curriculum. Research shows how vital the role of key leaders is in the health and effectiveness of a youth ministry. We continue to see youth ministries thrive when a key leader has been in the role for 5 to 7 years, or more. This key leader retreat is aimed at acknowledging, gathering, refreshing and equipping key leaders from across the Church.
As a new initiative, PYM is inviting one key youth leader per church, who attended Connect 2017 to attend the Key Leaders Retreat in Queenstown for free. Key youth leaders who have not attended Connect 2017 can still attend the retreat for $149.
National Youth Manager
In March the PRC put in an expression of interest form for nomination to the UNESCO New Zealand Memory of the World register regarding our Asian collections.
We are delighted to report that the register sub-committee has advised that “our expression of interest shows that the documentary heritage we described on the form has potential for inscription on the New Zealand register”. The next step is to put in a nomination for inclusion, and at their invitation I will be attending a workshop in late June to learn more about the Memory of the World programme and work on the completion of the full nomination form. Although we are only at the nomination stage, this is a very exciting opportunity to highlight our important and unique collections.
This month sees us in Papamoa for our winter block course for national ordained ministry interns. This is the first time a block course will be held in Kaimai Presbytery. We will be engaging with presbytery ministers and leaders and also staying two nights on our national Maungarongo marae. We will also visit Hahuru Marae, Onepu.
The KCML Advisory Board meets on the Friday, 9 June.
Malcolm Gordon is recording another music album. He has also begun work on the next Illustrated Gospel project, which will focus on the Gospel of Mark.
Members of the KCML team will be meeting with representatives of the Otago University theology faculty to discuss bi-vocational learning and to see if there is any opportunity for collaboration.
Study grant applications are now being accepted
Applications for Ministers’ Life-Long Learning Grants (previously known as Ministers’ Study Grants) are invited for the next round of awards. The application form and guidelines can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close on 1 August 2017.
Dean of Studies
What a privilege it was to lead a delegation of twelve talented women to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women CSW61 held in March in New York.
This year the atmosphere was very different due to the new US immigration and exclusion policies and greatly increased security everywhere we went. We also had the added excitement of a huge snow storm which shut down the entire city and the UN for a day. These things only increased our excitement and drew all the 9,000 women attending from around the world much closer together.
Our delegation contributed to the negotiations on many levels by participating in debates, feedback loops and through our ecumenical networks. PWANZ’s Special Consultative Status at the United Nations is rare and a privilege. As an NGO we have access to not only the UN’s Economic and Social Council, but also to its subsidiary bodies, special events, the various human rights mechanisms of the UN, and its ad hoc processes. We can comment, make submissions, write shadow or alternative reports directly to the UN on any New Zealand Government report, or on any other matter concerning New Zealand society.
The overarching theme of “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” proved to be very relevant to ongoing discussions about gender equality, pay parity, obstacles to the empowerment of women and the inclusion of women in leadership and decision-making here in New Zealand. Women’s rights are human rights and we have a long way to go before we can stand proudly once again among the nations of the world who promote equal partnership of women and men at all levels of society and the church.
The Commission also focused on the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls, and on the empowerment of indigenous women.
Helen Spiers, who was among our delegates and is an editorial executive at the Otago Daily Times (ODT), wrote several articles for the ODT about her experience at the United Nations. Read the articles.
PWANZ United Nations Convenor
The following were licensed at Te Aka Puaho Presybterian Synod on 9 April 2017:
- Mrs Ida Te Pou
- Mrs Whaitiri Rangihika
- Mr Kerry Cameron
- Mr Mahaki Albert
- Mr Tokaia Nohotima
- Mr Okeroa Jack Paku
- Mrs Ngatai O Wharekura Paku
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Horiana Georgina Hayes, associate amorangi minister, Taneatua Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 29 January 2017.
Rev Tukua Tuwairua, associate amorangi minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 22 January 2017.
Rev Willie Rewi Manihera, minister in charge, Ruatahuna Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 19 February 2017.
Changes in Status
Rev Jason Goroncy, member to other recognised ministry, Southern Presbytery, May 2017.
Rev Willie Riwi Manihera, minister in charge, Auckland Maori Pastorate, to Ruatahuna Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 19 February 2017.
Rev Horiana Georgina Hayes, associate amorangi minister to associate amorangi , Taneatua Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 29 January 2017.
Rev Heather Kennedy, local ordained minister, First Church Invercargill, Southern Presbytery, to transitional minister Ellesmere Co-operating Church (Methodist appointment) Alpine Presbytery, 7 March 2017.
Rev Mervyn Hoete, associate minister Putauaki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, resigned 26 November 2017.
Rev Judith Katipa, associate minister, Whakatane Maori pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, resigned 11 December 2016.
Rev Libya Rua, minister at large, missionary-special ministry Melbourne, Te Aka Puaho, died 12 February 2016.
Piopio Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, closed 26 November 2016.
With barely 20 days until the start of Operation Refugee 2017, there is still time to register for this award winning challenge, which involves living on refugee rations from 16-20 June. Money raised will support Syrian refugees; donate to the cause if you wish. Moderator, the Rt Rev Richard Dawson, says: “I thoroughly recommend every able bodied person participate in this wonderful fundraising effort to support refugees. People who become state-less are amongst the most vulnerable and most abused in the world and we need to open our hearts and our lives in order to help them. I will be participating in this and I challenge everyone else to give it a go.“
Global day of prayer for the holy land
The World Council of Churches invites prayer for a just peace in the Holy Land on Pentecost. Resources and a prayer wall are here.
Now 14, Pooni has spent the last 18 months working in a South Indian woollen mill. Thanks to CWS partner WDRC she has been paid and is going to school. The Autumn story, Give Girls a Fair Go, shows how local community action is changing prospects for girls. Please order printed copies from Pam.
CWS is preparing worship resources “And She Departed” for Sunday, 25 June as designated in the lectionary. They will be available early June along with a new appeal leaflet to help Syrian refugees.
Thanks to congregations who joined the global day of prayer to end famine and who supported the South Sudan Appeal. Ahead of the G7 summit involving leaders from the wealthiest countries, the WCC and All Africa Conference of Churches have highlighted the need of more than 20 million people facing starvation. Please keep them in your prayers and support the CWS South Sudan Appeal.
Council for World Mission 40th anniversary
This year marks CWM’s 40 years of journeying with member churches since its inauguration on 18 July 1977. The anniversary commemorations will be built around the theme “Healing the broken body”. The formal launch of the theme will take place at the annual members’ meeting in Singapore, in June. The CWM General Secretary Rev Dr Collin Cowan invites us to find ways to acknowledge this anniversary in our own setting.
Surplus hymn books available
St David’s Church, Palmerston North, has some surplus hymn books available including five copies of With One Voice Harmony Edition with NZ Supplement (music) and 50 copies of With One Voice Harmony Edition with NZ Supplement. Anyone interested in these can contact St David’s Church, Palmerston North (06 3583 246) or e-mail email@example.com
Apply for Tindall Foundation funding
Presbyterian Support New Zealand is a Faith Fund Manager for The Tindall Foundation, and applications are now open for the 2017-18 funding round. Presbyterian Support makes grants available under the Supporting Families and Communities criteria. Donations of up to $15,000 per project can be made. Applications for projects meeting the criteria are now open. The closing date is Friday, 23 June. Read more info about application criteria and how to apply for Tindall Foundation funding.
Compassion spiritual programmes
Sisters of compassion have a range of retreats, workshops, prayer and other events in Wellington over coming months. Check out details here
Theology distance papers
The Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago offers many opportunities for the study, both on and off campus (via its distance study programme). Semester two starts on 10 July and new enrolments are due by Sunday, 25 June. Read more about theology papers, or enrol here.
A New Face
Council for World Mission programme - A New Face - offers recently trained clergy a cross-cultural experience of mission. Held in Auckland from 8 Sept-20 Oct 2017, the six-week programme will engage with Maori and Pacific culture. For more info or to apply, click here.
Spiritual director course
Spiritual Growth Ministries (SGM) offers a well-regarded and comprehensive two-year, part-time programme, designed to inspire and form effective spiritual directors. Visit their website: www.sgm.org.nz for further details. Applications for 2018 due no later than 20 September 2017.
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 the one-month artist, scholars and writers scholarship.
500th anniversary of Reformation
Check out the Reformation anniversary section of our website for resources which include an ecumenical service prepared by the Rev Dr Kerry Enright, a reading list and Prayerful Preparation, a resource by the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
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