From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Hope for the future
Wherever I go in service of the Church these days I find that there is one hope that is almost universally shared, and at the same time almost universally a cause for disappointment: the hope for young people to be more involved in church life.
The desire to see young people take up both active church membership and leadership is everywhere, even if it remains unexpressed. Frankly it is a good and fair hope and one which is eminently logical. Of course, some have given up that hope and anchor their mission goals firmly in an older generation, reasoning that people will always get old and so the flow of older and retired Christians will continue.
Most others, however, long for a young generation to take up the task and to put their shoulders to the plow so that we might see the Church green before “our eyes grow too dim to perceive it”. This is a wonderful hope and one worthy of the Church, but it requires us to be realistic about young people.
For one thing, we must understand how the Church is seen by younger generations. Is it a place they can believe in? Is it a place they feel represents their aspirations and the things they care about? Do we understand what those aspirations are? Do we know how to speak their language, relate to their issues and understand their needs?
We also need to ask what voice young people might have within our parishes and other sturctures. Is there a place for young people to contribute to the shaping of our community – can we trust them with leadership? Finally, are we prepared to have our own assumptions about what is important challenged? Can we let go of some of the things we see as vital so that some new priorities might be included?
It is one thing to hope that a younger generation might take up the reins – it is quite another to move aside so that it might happen. However, if we are to encourage young people we will have to let go the reins to a certain extent and risk allowing someone else to shape our church. This is the price, if you like, of generational inclusion.
Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand
Dear Colleagues and friends
Over the past few weeks or so, I have had the privilege of being in a number of places where I have seen our life together: meetings like a review of GA16; advisory Board for the Presbyterian Research Centre, and budget meetings.
One that stands out was where I attended the final weekend training for the graduating Amorangi ministers. Existing Amorangi were also part of the weekend. Listening, eating, sharing, and talking over the weekend was a great honour, and to be present at the service on the Sunday a real highlight.
In these and other places – I am reminded of the commitment many people make as together we seek to serve and respond to the mission call of God in these days.
Thank you seems so inadequate to express the deep gratitude I feel to so many.
I am also reminded we need each other; that we are better together; and that the message and call to be resurrection people taking and being good news in the world remains.
This month I will join with two others from our Church as we come together for a meeting of the Pacific Council of World Mission member churches in Fiji. 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.
Coming up later in the month is a gathering of presbytery moderators and clerk/executive officers, hosted by our Moderator, the Rt Rev Ricahrd Dawson. At this meeting we share together the challenges and opportunities we face and learn together. In addition, I will be part of a Press Go Board meeting; an Insurance Workgroup gathering and a Book Of Order Advisory Committee meeting - all before the Council of Assembly meets at the end of the month.
And next month, it will be a huge privilege to attend the World Communion of Reformed Churches Council meeting that includes the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. But more of that next month…
Interchurch bioethics resources
The ICBC bioethics roadshows are now run under a separate Trust - the Centre for Science and Citizenship (www.nzcsc.org) – headed by Dr Deborah Stevens a member of ICBC.
In addition to the roadshows, the team is working with John Kleinsman to facilitate three professional development days for teachers in Auckland (5 May), Christchurch (3 July) and Wellington (21 July) on the topic Tough ethical questions at the beginning and end of life. In addition to teachers, this is suitable for anyone working with youth groups, or who would just like to explore the issues themselves.
Dr Deborah Stevens presented at the presbytery gathering in Palmerston North in March. Other Presbytery gatherings could benefit from her input. She can be contacted directly through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Praygrounds not playgrounds
When we share the Kids Friendly vision with leaders we invite them to walk through their facilities (metaphorically on their knees), to see them through the eyes of a child. We ask: “What do children see, feel, hear, experience in your church? What does your building and décor say to children?”
I was delighted when the minister of a church forced to move premises, contacted me to ask what he should consider to make their new worship space more inclusive of children.
Leaders of a church proudly showed me a space (playground?) they had created especially for children by removing two back pews and installing a basket of toys. I gently pointed out that children sitting in that space would be completely disconnected and disengaged from the worshipping community. They would not be able to see anything and it would be impossible for the minister to communicate with them from the front of the church.
Children learn from observing and practising. We need to create spaces in churches that promote their participation, nurture their spirits and recognise them as full and valued members of the worship community.
At an ordination service I preached at recently, the children were invited to sit upfront so that they could see everything that was happening, and so that those officiating could address them when explaining proceedings. I loved the way they joined in all the singing with great enthusiasm (the band was only a metre away from them) and some danced to the music. When proceedings failed to capture their attention, they returned to lying on their tummies on the carpet working with the material in their “welcome packs”.
Children are not only more engaged upfront, they also more attentive and better behaved. I think it’s a misnomer that parents feel more comfortable at the back with their children. If we explain how important it is for children to be included in worship, I think they’ll respond.
This trend of creating a space at the front of the sanctuary for children during worship is being coined “praygrounds”. It’s a way of offering radical hospitality to children. Give it a go.
Kids Friendly Coach
Equal pay settlement great news for carers
Every day thousands of dedicated people working in aged care, home-based support and the disability sector do challenging but rewarding work. Most of this work is funded by the Government through subsidies for the people who need this support.
That’s why April’s settlement of the equal pay case is a welcome step toward recognising the vital contribution of thousands – mainly women – working in aged care and support of those with disabilities.
“This is fantastic recognition for the work of caring,” says Presbyterian Support spokesperson Gillian Bremner.
“NZCCSS and member agencies are committed to doing all they can for the wellbeing of employees as well as the older people they support. Our networks employ thousands of carers.
‘We’re delighted Government and unions have reached an agreement on a settlement. Our agencies are all not-for-profit with a focus on the wellbeing especially of older people who need support to live well in their own homes or in residential care. We wanted to pay our staff more, but government decided how much was available. This resulted in lower wages than we think should be paid. Now following the equal pay settlement there will be equity for these carers.”
Wellbeing is the path to a life worth living. The Eden Alternative (an international organisation dedicated to creating quality of life for elders and their care partners) has identified seven primary domains of wellbeing to ensure the needs of the elderly are met:
IDENTITY—being well-known; having personhood; individuality; having a history
GROWTH—development; enrichment; expanding; evolving
AUTONOMY—liberty; self-determination; choice; freedom
SECURITY—freedom from doubt, anxiety, or fear; safety; privacy; dignity; respect
CONNECTEDNESS—belonging; involved; connected to time, place, and nature
MEANING—significance; heart; hope; value; purpose; sacredness
JOY—happiness; pleasure; delight; contentment; enjoyment
Visit the NZCCSS website to find out more about the work of the Council.
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
Going Global Myanmar
Just a final reminder, applications close on 5 May for our national Going Global mission trip to Myanmar (which will take place 28 Nov - 12 Dec 2017). Full information can be found on our website
Early bird registration closes on Tue, 2 May for our national youth leaders’ conference. This year Connect will be held at El Rancho Waikanae from 2pm, Friday 21 July until 2pm, Sunday 23 July.
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, Pennsylvania 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 will have 30+ youth ministry workshops, four keynote sessions, resource sharing, networking, spiritual direction, and self care.
Operation Refugee, June 2017
Last year Christian World Service (CWS), the Church’s aid and development agency ran a fundraising challenge for their work with refugees. In the five-day challenge participants were posted the UN food rations for a typical Syrian refugee, and that was all they were allowed to eat.
I participated last year, and not only did I get to raise a good amount of money for CWS, but because of my peculiar eating habits, I was able to discuss the issue with many people each day of the challenge. In 2017, CWS is including a two-day challenge which would be more suitable for young people. Operation Refugee would be a great youth group activity, and could be a great teaching opportunity.
National Youth Manager
On 13 May, Kevin Ward is leading an elders’ retreat in Cromwell.
Steve Taylor will attend the leadership sub-committee on 5 May. He is also speaking at a ministers’ day on 19 May before travelling to Kaimai Presbytery the next day. He will then be joining the national assessment workgroup for the assessment weekend at Long Bay, Auckland (26 – 29 May).
Mark Johnston, Rosemary Dewerse and Steve are launching “Listening in Mission practical course” to help ministers listen in their local communities. This starts with an online webinar on 3 May followed by a further session on 24 May. Read more about this course
I will be speaking at the South Island Ministry Conference (East Tairei Presbyterian Church) 16 –18 May, and my topic is the Lord’s Prayer. I will be exploring its place within Scripture, life and ministry.
Ongoing work continues in various presbyteries as Knox Centre team members convene gatherings of interns and meet with parish councils and sessions.
Dean of Studies
Our changing role as women
Since the beginning of time women have always played a secondary role to men. The story of Adam and Eve has been retold through the ages over and over again, and as long as the Bible is still alive and accepted as the word of God, we Christians will continue to recognise Eve as the first woman and mother that gave birth to the beginning of the human race.
Take a leap over the ages and arrive at today's woman. A comparison is almost impossible except perhaps the similarities in anatomy and the fact that Eve and today's woman still carries the burden of child-bearing: an eternal commitment that ensures the continuity of the human race.
Besides this curse – or blessing depending on how each woman sees her role – today's woman has grown from a simple housewife to a more sophisticated human being. Add to that a good education and a well-paid job, and yet she is often still perceived to be somewhat secondary to her male counterpart. With this added change in lifestyle she is still required to carry the next progeny of the human race, while at times struggling to make ends meet.
For some of us who are single mothers, this is not by design, but by fate. The demands for pay parity, longer parental leave, and simple recognition to be treated equally when doing exactly the same tasks as men, are just a few of the justices that women of today have been crying out for.
Mothers’ day is now celebrated worldwide. Some say it is a day that the rest of the human race honour and pay tribute to all mothers, for simply being mothers. Others say that it is a day where mothers are celebrated for the role they play in the family and in society. I would go one step further to say that Mothers’ day is a day that we should all thank the Lord for giving the human race mothers, without which the human race may never be complete.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all our mothers.
Human Rights Convenor
Amy Finiki, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 29 March 2017.
Changes in Status
Rev Nimarota Lale, minister North Dunedin Pacific Island Church, to other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, 1 June 2017.
Rev Peter Mackenzie, other recognised minister to executive officer, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 3 April 2017.
Rev Glenn Pettigrove, member to other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 29 April 2017.
Rev Hilary Beresford, minister, St Andrews Birkenhead to other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 1 June 2017.
Rev Robert Pendreigh, minister, Balclutha Presbyterian Church, 75 percent to full-time, Southern Presbytery, 10 April 2017.
Rev Anna Gilkison, minister 50 percent Johnsonville Uniting to Lower Hutt City Uniting Congregations full-time, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 9 February 2017.
Rev Sandra May Warner, minister Point Chevalier Homestead Community Church, Northern Presbytery, to Morrinsville Knox Presbyterian Church, Kaimai Presbytery, 9 February 2017.
Rev Gene Lawrence, minister St David’s Palmerston North, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, to minister Timaru Trinity, Alpine Presbytery, 14 February 2017.
Removals from roll
Rev Christine Sorenson, other recognised ministry, Northern Presbytery, resigned from Presbyterian Church as she was received onto the Uniting Churches of Australia roll, 11 December 2016.
Rev Numiaifaleupoluotofigautasi Tofi Aiona, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 5 April 2017.
Rev Jennifer Sybil Robertson, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 10 April 2017.
Maheno Otepopo Presbyterian Parish, Southern Presbytery, closed 28 May 2017.
Operation Refugee 2017 is a great opportunity to show you stand with Syrian refugees. The challenge is to live on refugee rations for five days from 16-20 June. Operation Refugee Lite is a two-day challenge for students. While you eat plain food, you raise funds so Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon can have food, education, medical care and support. The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees was set up by churches in 1949. Using decades of experience and its extensive experience, DSPR gives Syrian refugees the help they want and need. Sign up as an individual or team, or sponsor someone who is on the challenge. Talk it over with David Lawson.
Sunday, 14 May is the day to celebrate mothers. CWS has great gifts available for your mother that multiply good. Choose an ethical gift like Baby and Mother Health – you will receive a card for your mother and a refugee mother in Jordan will get postnatal care for her new baby. Send Waste Not Want Not and help a Tongan mother grow a good garden.
Global day of prayer to end famine
Famine has been declared in South Sudan and Nigeria; Somalia and Yemen are on the brink of famine. More than 20 million are facing starvation. The World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches are asking churches to set aside Sunday, 21 May as a day of prayer. CWS is asking churches to hold an offering for the South Sudan Appeal. Further resources will be available on the CWS website next week.
“May our prayers invoke the grace of God, and mobilise people to bring about peace and an end to hunger and violence!” - Rev. Dr Olav Fyske Tveit and Rev. Dr André Karamaga
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 open in early June. The closing date is Friday 23 June. Read more info about application criteria and how to apply for Tindall Foundation funding.
WCC programme executive role available
The World Council of Churches is seeking a programme executive for the Middle East. The role is based in Geneva, Switzerland. More information about the role is available here, and applications close 14 May 2017.
Theology distance papers
Otago University department of theology offers a range of distance learning papers. Enrolment for semester two papers closes on 25 June 2017. For more information about papers available, check out the theology papers section of their website.
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 2018, 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 on 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 learn more about one-month artist, scholars and writers scholarship.
500th anniversary of Reformation
For resources and ideas to mark the anniversary of the Reformation, check out the Reformation Anniversary section of our website. Resources include recommended reading and Prayerful Preparation, a World Council of Reformed Churches resource which contains Bible studies and other relevant materials. 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
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