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
Where are the young people?
It has become somewhat symptomatic to bemoan the lack of young people turning up for Sunday services, or indeed, involved at all in the life of our Church. However, I have just visited a small church in the South Island where around 40 young people are turning up weekly to an afternoon meeting where they are fed in both body and soul, and where their enthusiasm for the church is growing daily.
At this meeting most people are below 40, though not all. A children’s programme is provided, and a welcoming attitude adopted by those organising the meeting allows people of different faith traditions to enjoy the time as well. They also cater very much for younger minds who are not churched. So welcomed and at home do people feel at this meeting that they insist on staying to talk long into the night, and the conversations are deep and full of meaning.
Please don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing bad about a more normal service of worship, but with young people today we find ourselves in what might be called a “missional” situation. That is, we must consider them a mission target; a group who will need to be converted and discipled intentionally if they are to understand and accept the Gospel, and this will mean taking account of their culture.
Culture can act as a highway of the Gospel, or a wall. Find resonance between the culture and the Gospel and you’ve found a highway. Use methods that take no account of youth culture and you will encounter a wall which is almost impossible to breach.
Where are all the young people? Well, they’re everywhere and they just need a door or two to walk through, which is clearly signposted in a language they understand and relate to. And our language should reflect the deep love of our Saviour for them. Provide this and it is likely we will have many more young people with us.
It’s not rocket science, but it does require the ability to change and to give away a few of our prejudices about Church.
Coming up this Sunday (5 March) is national children's day. “Treasure our children” is the theme for this year's event and what greater treasure can kids have than knowing they are loved by God and us? Jill Kayser, our national Kids Friendly coach, encourages us to join the "pray for me" campaign. Read more about what's involved here.
Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand
Dear Colleagues and friends
In February I have reflected on some of the joys and huge privileges that the role of Assembly Executive Secretary offers me.
I was privileged to share in the installation of the new Moderator of Te Aka Puaho - Ms Marina Rakuraku.
It was a time of ending for Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, who has served so well in that role for six years – while also a time of beginning for Marina.
I also shared in the dawn service and later ecumenical service at Waitangi on Waitangi Day; both of which left lasting impressions and were wonderful experiences.
I have had meetings with people who offer our Church their skills, passions, experience, wisdom, insights, and professional abilities as they serve at both presbytery and national Church level.
And of course, we have staff who go more than the extra kilometre as they serve us all.
I also have the privilege of honouring and affirming and the privilege of supporting and walking with those who are facing the storms of life.
With the arrival of March comes two things: autumn (although for some we might be wondering where summer has gone as it seemed to skip us by!) and more importantly – we begin Lent.
Lent is traditionally seen as a season of the Christian year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer and fasting in order to grow closer to God.
Someone shared with me some things they were giving up for Lent, and I challenged myself with two things to engage in:
- Starting a new prayer rhythm - praying for others I see as I make my way to and from work.
- Cultivating a life and attitude of gratitude – I plan to send someone a thank you letter each week and be aware afresh of how many people have helped me along the way.
I wonder how you observe Lent and what practices you might have?
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, including proposed changes in our Book of Order that require support from church councils and presbyteries.
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.
Top Six Things One Can Learn Working for Kids Friendly
Nothing could drag me away from my “dream job” with Kids Friendly – nothing short of God’s providence.
As we Pettigroves prepare for our next adventure in Scotland, I’ve taken a few moments to reflect on my nearly three years with Kids Friendly. Below are the highlights of all that I’ve learned:
- Working with/for children is a constant reminder of God’s love for children. When one views children as fully-fledged people and vessels of the Holy Spirit, God’s grace and love reach a whole new level.
- We are ALL children in God’s sight. As an “unseen” observer at events such as General Assembly and presbytery meetings, there are many scenarios played out that have echoes of interactions I see among my playgroup and Sunday school attendees. We all have so much to offer... and so much to learn.
- There is no place for ego when working with children (see #2).
- God’s people thrive when given consistent encouragement and support. This is especially evidenced through our Transformers Leaders-In-Training camp and mentoring programme. Both adults and youth find tremendous growth through regular fellowship and participation in their churches.
- God is still present in our “failures”. (see #3) One never knows exactly why a new endeavour does or doesn’t “work”. One also cannot see all the seeds that have been sown by such an endeavour.
- Working alongside a visionary may cause:
- intense self-reflection
- inspiration and renewed enthusiasm
- boggling growth and learning.
I am grateful for my Kids Friendly colleagues: Jill Kayser (the “world famous”), Cheryl Harray, and Sonia Wyngaard.
And I am so very grateful for the churches, children’s workers and ministers who have taken on the Kids Friendly vision to welcome children into their midst as participatory members of the congregation.
“Let the children come” -- Jesus
World Communion of Reformed Churches Youth Gathering
There are two events this year which may be of interest to young adults with a passion for travel and cross-cultural mission. The first is the World Communion of Reformed Churches youth gathering in Leipzig, Germany, from 23-28 June. The Church will fund programme costs for two representatives (aged 18-26), but international travel costs will need to be met by the candidate (I’m sure your congregation will help you fundraise). Get more information about this global event, or apply to be a representative from our Church.
Going Global Myanmar 2017
The second event is a Going Global programme to Myanmar in November/December. Co-hosted with Presbyterian Youth Ministry, this is a two-week cross-cultural programme hosted by our partner church, the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar. 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 our Church has supported the PCM through the Ricebowl Mission. Download information about Going Global. While Going Global has a focus on young adults, older adults with an interest in Myanmar are welcome to express their interest in joining this programme.
The visits from two separate groups from Vanuatu in February went very well. Two staff from Talua Ministry Training College attended the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership block course in Dunedin, contributing to a stimulating learning environment with staff and students at the course. And five young adults from the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) attended Presbyterian Youth Ministry’s Going Further programme in Christchurch. It was great to see the cross-cultural learning and faith sharing that took place between the participants on these programmes. Grateful thanks to all who contributed to the success of these two events.
We have two couples leaving to serve in Vanuatu in March; Neville and Gloria Jones will be returning for another year, working in project management, dental care and education; and Martyn and Annette Vincent embark on an exciting new journey for them as they serve in new roles with the PCV. Please pray for these folk as they faithfully serve with our partner church in Vanuatu.
Please contact me if you would like to find out how you or your congregation can be involved in our mission partnerships; and I am always available to visit and speak to your church, either in a small group setting or in a worship service.
Global Mission Coordinator
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services. In the lead up to this year’s election, the Council will be actively lobbying all political parties to help create a more just and compassionate society in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Which of these issues does your session or parish council think should be addressed? Will you be hosting candidate forums for your community?
- Rapid increase of older people living in our society
- Child poverty
- The high cost of purchasing a home
- Low wages and lack of security for employment
- Older people moving into retirement without owning their own home
- Child abuse and neglect
- Low level of work and income benefits
- The lack of affordable and healthy rental homes
- Addiction issues including gambling, drugs and alcohol
- High levels of debt to third tier and other high interest lenders.
Your representative on the Council, the Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks would be interested to know your responses. Please email Diane with feedback.
Council members recommend this article on “The rising costs of running our rest homes”.
NZCCSS works to support Christian social services and lobby government for policies that will increase the wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable. You can access NZCCSS’ free Policy Watch Newsletter or visit the NZCCSS website to find out more about the work of the Council or to access other publications and reports.
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
This year Connect will be held from 2pm Friday, 21 July - 2pm Sunday 23 July, at El Rancho in Waikanae.
Early bird registration is now open for Connect, our national youth leaders conference. We are excited to announce 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, P.A. USA and speaks internationally to youth, youth workers and parents.
Many of us have been influenced by the numerous books Duffy has written and seminars he has delivered. He is an exceptional speaker and teacher, full of wisdom and humour that you will love and appreciate.
As always Connect 2017 is jam-packed with excellent workshops and TED talks. This year we will have over 30 theoretical, theological and practical workshops.
Going Further update
We are just back from an awesome discipleship week for young adults in the Christchurch CBD. Participants from across Aotearoa and from partner churches in Vanuatu and South Korea participated in a daily pilgrimage around the CBD, including teaching at Knox Presbyterian, midday communion at the Cardboard Cathedral, and spiritual practices on the streets.
The highlight for most participants was being part of a working bee restoring the white chair memorial. On Saturday, the chairs were repainted, new turf was laid, and the chairs were repositioned. It was awesome for participants to be useful in the restoration of this site which has been so significant to so many.
Going Further 2018 will be on Auckland’s Ponui Island 5-11 February. Please prayerfully consider who you could invite to attend next year’s event.
Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
We strongly recommend that every church puts their leaders who work with children and young people through our WOF. The upcoming training dates and locations are:
- Saturday, 4 Mar – Kerikeri
- Satruday, 18 March – Nelson
- Saturday, 1 Apr – Hamilton
National Youth Manager
We have just completed our summer block course which ran for a little over two weeks. The first-year interns began with an introductory week before being joined by second-year interns for combined classes. The block course also had several workshops and events opened to the wider church community. KCML staff also participated in commissioning services for first-year interns in Hamilton, Wanaka and Christchurch. More commissioning services are to follow.
During March, Steve Taylor will be attending the National Assessment Workgroup planning day in Auckland (25 Feb). He and Mark Johnston will be involved in consultations in Auckland about potential new mission seedlings (6 Mar). (New mission seedlings are initiatives that seek to innovatively engage with the mission of God is a range of settings. KCML have three first-year interns whose placements involve the exploration of such mission activity. An upcoming edition of SPANZ will provide more information about new mission seedlings.) Steve will also be involved in the KCML/Presbyterian Support Otago workgroup looking at criteria for evaluating and monitoring new mission seedlings (15 Mar).
On 17-18 March the “Seeing Silence Symposium” will be held. This involves KCML staff working with Otago University Department of Theology and Presbyterian Research Centre to jointly host a symposium around Christianity in Asia and the implications for theology, mission and ministry. On 24 March Steve will be presenting research at the University of Auckland “Resistance and Innovation: Empire and Native Christianity in the Pacific” conference. At the end of March he will be completing a chapter on theological education in Vanuatu for a Victoria University publication.
Kevin Ward will be meeting ministry interns, mentoring ministers and ministry reflection groups in Palmerston North and Malvern in early March. He will also be meeting with the Anglican Decade of Mission group followed by the Board of Anglican Mission in Havelock North on 30-31 March.
Malcolm Gordon has just completed leading worship at Going Further, a week-long urban retreat for young adults in Christchurch, exploring Christian spirituality in the midst of a rebuilding city. He has trips to Gisborne, Auckland (to work with the Pacific Island Synod) and Wanaka coming up in the next few months.
Mark Johnston is conducting an elders’ training day in Auckland on 11 March. He is also consulting with Rosemary Dewerse in her new role as Thornton Blair Research Fellow.
I am conducting a preaching workshop in Alpine Presbytery (St Luke’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch North) on 11 March and preaching at The Village on 12 March. I am also working with the Rev Sylvia Purdie on the Local Ordained Minister handbook in light of changes made to LOM regulations at the last General Assembly. I will also be in Christchurch mid-March meeting with various ministry reflection groups, mentoring ministers and supervisors for interns.
Dean of Studies
International Women’s Day will be marked on Wednesday, 8 March. At the General Assembly in November 2016, it was agreed that congregations be invited to take up a special collection on the Sunday nearest to International Women’s Day each March to support the ongoing advocacy role of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand locally, regionally, internationally, as well as at the United Nations.
In the coming months, we will have more information but if your church would like to have a collection please contact Sandra Waldrom by email.
It is an opportune time to be reminded of our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations as we farewell our twelve self-funded delegates to the Commission on the Status of Women - CWS61. "Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work" is the theme for the international gathering in New York, held from 13 to 24 March this year. For more information on the 17 sustainable goals go to: http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw61-2017
Our voice will be heard, as our representative group from throughout Aotearoa NZ are as diverse as our membership. The twelve delegates, who will participate in our mission to serve God globally and locally, vary in background, age, and community. Only twelve women journey to New York, but there are many local opportunities to contribute to the decision-making bodies of our Church and community. Promote talented and skilled women, even if you do not take the position yourself.
It was also agreed at the General Assembly 2016 that the Council of the Assembly be asked to review all current policies, regulations and decisions through a gender equality lens to ensure that the needs, aspirations and welfare of women and girls are taken into account, and to ensure the voices of women are encouraged and heard in all the courts of the church and other decision making bodies.
We look forward to hearing more from our PWANZ United Nations Convenor, of our contribution to this annual forum.
This year is shaping up to be an interesting year for the Presbyterian Research Centre.
The Hewitson Library collections continue to grow, mainly due to the generosity of collection donors. We have a focus on practical theology (to support KCML staff and students, and those working within ministry throughout New Zealand), Christianity and culture in Asia (supporting the national and international research interest shown in the Rita Mayne England Collection and supported by John England and Simon Rae) and also Christianity and art (the Chrysalis Seed Collection donated and supported by Peter and Jessica Crothall).
The Presbyterian archives continue to be enhanced by donations from individuals and records from parishes. We are expecting the arrival of a couple of significant collections – one associated with the Canton Village Missions and one with Chinese settlers in New Zealand. We are planning to partner with the University of Otago in the second half of this year to host interns from the history department to work on some of the many projects we have identified.
We are building collaborative networks with the other cultural institutions in Dunedin which hold New Zealand history collections, helping researchers to discover and access the information they need regardless of where it is held. A selection of our Canton Village Mission photographs are currently being exhibited at Toitū Early Settlers’ Museum (some of the 120 used in their new documentary “The Journey to Lan Yuan”), and we hope to collaborate with them on future exhibitions.
This will all contribute to shining a spotlight on the world-class collections we hold in the PRC.
Changes in Status
Rev Sylvia Purdie, stated supply minister, to minister Cashmere Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, 8 October 2016.
Rev Jordan Redding, assistant minister, Hope Presbyterian to other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, 11 December 2016.
Rev Stephanie Wells, stated supply minister, Plains Presbyterian Parish to Kaiapoi Co-Operating Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 1 December 2016.
Rev Dugald Wilson, other recognised minister to stated supply minister St Martins Presbyterian Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 31 July 2016.
Rev Johnvin Anugraha, minister St Andrew’s First Presbyterian Auckland, Northern Presbytery, to minister emeritus, 14 February 2016.
Rev Dr Phillipa Horrex, minister St Paul’s and St Mark’s Wanganui, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, to minister emeritus, 31 March 2016.
Rev Ian Pimm, minister St Andrews Central Hawkes Bay, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, to minister emeritus, 31 May 2016.
Rev William Thomas Woods, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 16 November 2016.
Very Rev John Murray, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, died 17 February 2017.
Topist from south Uganda is grateful that her family of six HIV and AIDS orphans is clean and healthy. Thanks to CWS donors and the Centre for Community Solidarity, she is now the proud owner of a water tank. The local group of caregivers of HIV and AIDS orphans to which she belongs has big plans to improve their income. They have already begun making the bricks and building a set of shops in the rural area. Read the Summer Story We have Plans to find out more. Please contact Emma if you would like copies to distribute.
Seven weeks for water
Each year the Ecumenical Water Network uses the Lenten period as a time to focus on water justice issues, and this time the focus is in Africa. Each week EWN will publish a new reflection focusing on water justice. Congregations might like to focus on water in their community on one Sunday around World Water Day on 22 March. Contact CWS if you would like more materials.
World Day of Prayer
You are invited to join World Day of Prayer services on Friday, 3 March in your community. This year’s liturgy was prepared by women from the Philippines on the theme “Am I Being Unfair to You?” World Day of Prayer is a global movement linking women in 170 countries through prayerful action. Services are organised by local committees.
South Sudan Appeal
This month the UN declared the first famine in six years - in South Sudan. A million people are on the brink of starvation. Three years of conflict have destroyed the economy and left 3.4 million people homeless. Malnutrition is spreading and the humanitarian situation is worsening. Please support the South Sudan Appeal so more people can get food, water and shelter.
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.
Scholarship available to write history of Turakina Maori Girls College
The Friends of Turakina Maori Girls College would like to fund a person to research and write a history of TMGC, so that its history and achievements will not be forgotten. It is intended to offer a post-graduate scholarship of $6000 to someone who could make this the basis of a master’s or doctorate degree. Notifications of interest or enquiries to Nick Thomson, 35/17A Sherwill Street, Feilding, 4702.
Pews for sale
Church pews for sale: 16 @ 2.6m long with rimu ends and seats and a further 2 pews @ 2m long, also largely rimu. To discuss offers, please telephone Barbara on 07 543 4059 or 027 438 6267 during office hours, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Pipe organ available for sale
The Anglican Parish of Avondside in Christchurch wishes to sell its undamaged 1883 pipe organ. It was rescued from the church just before the big earthquake of 2012. It is valued at $700,000. Offers? For further information, contact Rev Jill Keir on 021 212 3210 or the parish on 03 389 6948.
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