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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
The living word
How life-giving are our words? The status of the Word in the New Testament is unquestionable. Christ comes as both “the Word” and the “living Word”. In some special way Christ comes alive through the words of the Bible and, indeed, in our words as we recall and give witness to those words. I suspect we forget just how important our words are and how both life-giving and, alternatively, destructive they can be. James makes this point strongly in his epistle when he says…
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (Jas 3:9–12)
Hope flows from tongues which are tamed by the mercy of Christ, for such mercy brings with it the knowledge of God’s love. In light of this understanding, I beg us all to make sure our tongues (or what we write) do not betray that mercy, by straying into the territory of condemnation and cursing.
We do not have to swear to curse. We can simply imply that the holding of a certain opinion is a cursed thing (stupid, ignorant, dumb or foolish). When we do this, we not only curse other people, but we show ourselves to be intolerant and angry – and as such, people not to be trusted.
By the time this is published, we will have voted on who we wish to be the elected leaders of our country, but what I found in the lead-up to this general election was a plethora of commentary on social media and elsewhere that focused not on the issues, but on the character and mentality of people who hold opposite views to ourselves. This should not be, especially amongst and within the Christian community.
We are better than this! We can conduct ourselves in a manner which takes the humanity of every person seriously whether they agree with us or not.
Jesus never scored points in this way. He took every person’s humanity as a sacred creation to be respected at all times. This should be our witness as well.
Dear Colleagues and friends
At the end of October we mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg. This act sparked the Protestant Reformation. I wonder how you are planning to mark this? The Reformation is a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of Christian faith and therefore provides a witness for all Christians in all churches. The Reformation also stimulated changes to thinking across Europe in the 16th century, which shaped massive social and political developments in the Western world and beyond. The commemoration is a time to reclaim the spiritual grounding behind many of our social institutions. I wonder if this commemoration provides a time of growing together and healing the divisions and conflicts that followed the Reformation, with the gospel of Christ as the bond that draws us closer together?
An information pack and voting paper was sent to all parish clerks by both email and hard copy last month. This included names and biographies of those who have accepted the nomination for Moderator of the Assembly 2018-20. Your discernment and participation in this is vital and I encourage church councils to set time in their agendas for this. Voting is open for a fixed period. Please ensure voting papers are returned before 13 October 2017.
Beneficiary Fund update
Read the latest Church Property Trustees' newsletter about the wind-up of the defined benefits section of the Beneficiary Fund, and take any action required. Read or download the newsletter
2017-18 lectionary and calendar is now available
The new lectionary (year B - Mark) will commence 3 December 2017. Download or view the lectionary and calendar
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
Read or download Assembly minutes, which have been posted online. Other matters for consideration have been sent out to church councils and presbyteries for consideration, including proposed changes to our Book of Order. Responses are required by 30 November 2017.
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.
Thank you for your engagement in God’s mission.
Steve Taylor will be presenting a seminar at Alpine Presbytery with Rosemary Dewerse entitled “Signs of hope - a church of lifelong learners” on 6 October, and then preaching with Rosemary that Sunday at Alpine Presbytery. From 13-15 Oct, Steve and Mark Johnston (among others) will be facilitating an event at Vaughan Park (Auckland) entitled “Lighthouse - missional innovation education process”. Currently eight teams from around the country are registered.
On 29-30 Oct, Steve will be in Hamilton speaking on "Rethinking the Reformation: Sola Scriptura in Aotearoa New Zealand".
Malcolm Gordon is working with a creative community from around New Zealand (and a few from further afield) to gather content for the upcoming Mark: Illustrated Gospel project.
I am in Auckland in early October meeting with Local Ordained Ministry probationers and presbytery representatives to discuss how best to resource LOM Training. Rev Dr Tokerau Joseph and Steve will also be part of those discussions. Throughout the month there are various trips to engage with ministry interns and at the end of October I will be in Presbytery Central conducting a preaching workshop and then in Napier as part of the Local Ministry Team review.
Dean of Studies
New online religion book collection now available
Exciting news! We have now enabled access to a large collection of religion ebooks from JSTOR. Click on this link to browse titles on their website: https://www.jstor.org/subject/religion. (Don’t forget to click on the “Books” tab). Titles cover the history of religious groups, religious education, religion and science, comparative religion, and more from publishers like the Catholic University of America Press, Georgetown University Press, Fortress Press and the Society of Biblical Literature.
To read or download books in the collection, you will need login credentials, so please contact us for details.
Once we are familiar with the collection and how it is being used we will be able to remove or add titles to reflect reader needs and keep it updated. (We will receive regular reports on which titles are being read or downloaded from JSTOR so won’t ever remove anything that has or is being used.)
These are not a replacement for print books, but are intended to supplement our collections and be of use to people who are not in Dunedin.
Key leader retreat
The deadline to register for this event (held in Queenstown 27-29 November) is coming up quickly. There are a limited number of spots left, so please encourage your key leader to register before the 23 October deadline.
PYM is inviting one key youth leader per church, who attended Connect 2017 or agrees to attend Connect 2018 to attend the Key Leaders Retreat in Queenstown for free. Additional key youth leaders can still attend the retreat for $149.
Going Further discipleship camp
We are really excited to announce that the speaker for Going Further 2018 is Darryl Tempero: church planter, musician, sports lover, film buff, minister at Kiwi Church and resource minister at Alpine Presbytery.
The camp is open to young adults aged between 17 and 30, and will be held 6-12 Feb 2018 at stunning Ponui Island, which is situated just south of Waiheke Island.
The number one reason given by past-participants for attending Going Further was an invitation from a parish minister. We want to thank you, and ask for your help again. If you can think of a young adult who would benefit from taking a week out from life, career, study to explore where God fits in their life, please invite them.
Full information can be found at http://goingfurther.org.nz/
National Youth Manager
At the time of writing there is concern over increasing volcanic activity on Ambae in Vanuatu, with thousands of people being evacuated to other parts of the island. Interestingly, this is not an area where the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu has any congregations, so we do not have any contacts there; but we share in the concerns for the local population. Many villages have been evacuated and residents may not be able to return for weeks, if not months. This is a reminder of the challenges of life in the Pacific and Melanesian environment.
English teacher needed for Talua
An English teacher with a qualification in language teaching is required for Talua Theological Training Institute next year. At this stage we are looking to find someone to teach for the first semester, or part thereof – a month would be acceptable. This would be a voluntary role, but flights and accommodation will be covered. Read about our previous teachers in the Global Mission Update which was distributed with the spring edition of Spanz. The latest edition of Vanuatu newsletter, Nambawan! is also available online. Please contact me if you are interested in the teaching role or serving in Vanuatu in another capacity.
Training in mission
It’s the time of year when school leavers or university students might be thinking about a gap year. The Council for World Mission offers a Training in Mission programme for seven months – with the bonus of being fully funded. Young adults between the ages of 18-30 who are interested can find out more here.
The Going Global Myanmar team (young adults from Forrest Hill and St Columba at Botany congregations) have had their training day and are eagerly looking forward to their programme in Myanmar in December. There are hopes of taking another team for a partnership visit to the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar in February. Further enquiries welcome.
You can follow the Global Mission news on our website – and please contact me if you would like me to speak at your church or mission group.
Global Mission Co-ordinator
PressGo is now coming up to its last meeting of the year in November; so if you want to apply for a small grant or a development grant, then now is the time to make contact with the PressGo Catalyst. Read more about grant criteria, guidelines and closing dates
At its August meeting, the Board approved a small grant of $10,000 to Mahurangi Presbyterian Church (Northern) to assist with their 24/7 Youthwork. A development grant of $18,000 was approved for the Village Presbyterian Church (Alpine), which will go towards their Village Well initiative. Two other grants were provisionally approved and are currently under discussion with the applicants.
At the August Board meeting, I reported on my presentation and attendance at the AAMS Conference in Melbourne and visits to Baptist Union of Victoria and Uniting Church in Victoria-Tasmania Synod mission teams. I have more recently been the keynote speaker and main facilitator of the Uniting Church in NSW-ACT Rural Church Field Days in Dubbo, NSW and had the opportunity to meet the mission team there, too.
There are many issues and opportunities the churches face in common and as a result PressGo is considering an Inspiring Mission event for presbyteries, to be run early in 2018, to share learnings and look at ways we can do things better.
We recently hosted our 13th Transformers – Raising Up Young Leaders (RUYL) camp in Ngaruawahia. Sixty young people aged 10-13 attended with mentors from their churches. They enjoyed a weekend of fun, learning and creativity under the leadership of amazing teenage leaders, many who participated in Transformers RUYL when they were younger.
At Transformers we explore what it means to follow and live like the greatest servant leader ever – Jesus. Children explore five Jesus stories in engaging, interactive and creative ways to learn their Transformers code that informs their leadership and life.
Transformers was created in response to a conversation with a church in Christchurch nine years ago. They were lamenting a lack of leaders for their community Kids Club. I asked the church leaders why they didn’t train children who had out grown Kids Club to be leaders. They said they didn’t know how to do that and could I teach them.
I had been inspired by Jennie McCullough’s approach to this. She was the children, youth and families’ ministry leader at Knox Presbyterian Church in Waitara for 10 years and over that time mentored and raised many servant-hearted leaders. So I spent a few days with her brainstorming Transformers – Raising Up Young Leaders and piloted our first camp in Oxford in 2009. Jennie and her leaders have been key to the success of these camps.
This was my last Transformers camp as I will be finishing my role as Kids Friendly coach at the end of this year. The 100 participants paid tribute to me after Transformers worship on Sunday morning by singing “He Honore” and then the boys all performed the haka. It was a moving experience that I will never forget. (Editor’s note – you can view a video of the moving farewell to Jill here) I’ll miss Transformers camps, but hope they’ll have me back as a future mentor with Auckland city kids!
Kids Friendly Coach
Changes in status
Rev William Kang, assistant minister Korean fellowship, St George’s Takapuna, to other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 30 June 2017.
Rev Yvonne Smith, other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, to minister, St Ninian’s Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, 16 July 2017.
Rev Dugald Wilson, stated supply minister, St Martin’s Presbyterian Church to minister part-time 66 percent, St Martin’s Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, 12 August 2017.
Rev Mary Petersen, acting Northern Presbytery clerk, Northern Presbytery, to transition minister, Gisborne Presbyterian Church and Gisborne St David’s Presbyterian Church, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 1 September 2017.
Rev Graeme Turnbull, minister St Paul’s Presbyterian Church Feilding to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 30 September 2017.
Rev Richard Scott Gray, other recognised minister to minister emeritus Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 31 August 2017.
Rev Lionel Nunns, minister Ngaio Union Church to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 30 September 2017.
Rev James Young, other recognised minister to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 12 September 2017.
Rev Les Gosling, minister Albury Mt Pleasant, to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 30 July 2017.
Rev Lance Thomas, minister Rotorua District Presbyterian Church to minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, 10 September 2017.
St Paul’s Oamaru, changed its name to St Paul’s Maheno Otepoto, Southern Presbytery, 1 August 2017.
Make Hope My Story is the theme of the 2017 Christmas appeal. Appeal kits, including an order form, posters and other sample materials have been mailed to congregations. If you missed out, please contact Pam and she will send one to you. You can order online. Resources are being added to the site in coming weeks.
CWS invites supporters to its annual council on Friday, 6 October at Christchurch North Methodist Church from 6-8 pm. CWS will report on the year’s work. Jo Spratt, a researcher on aid and foreign policy, and Professor David Fielding from Otago University will discuss the New Zealand aid programme. Supporters are welcome to observe the AGM the following morning. RSVP to Pam for catering purposes.
We will not Lose Hope is the story of partners working for people displaced by war and hunger in South Sudan. CWS is asking for your prayers and financial support, so we can help many more people survive terrible times.
South Asian flood appeal
CWS launched an appeal for the South Asian floods, which have caused extensive damage in Bangladesh, Nepal and India. In Bangladesh, donations will go to the humanitarian fund of our partner the National Garment Workers Federation to help workers whose families have lost everything. In India and Nepal, funds will enable ACT Alliance to get food, water, tarpaulins, hygiene kits and more to those in need.
Rohingya refugee appeal
CWS is appealing for donations for Rohingya people sheltering in Bangladesh and at home in Myanmar. More than 420,000 people have arrived from Myanmar. ACT Alliance is distributing food, water, sanitation and shelter. If you can, please support the Rohingya Appeal – and continue to pray for all those affected by humanitarian disasters.
2017/18 lectionary and calendar available
The new lectionary (Year B - Mark) will commence 3 December 2017. Download lectionary and calendar for 2017-2018
Empowerment and success conference
On 26-27 October, the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services and Community Networks Aotearoa, are hosting this conference. The event aims to support NGOs and community organisations to be better informed and more able to promote their own value, to better understand the wide range of changes occurring in the operating environment and to better plan the way forward. More info including costs and how to register are available here
Read about the religious and social history of New Zealand
Historian Peter Lineham’s latest book - Sunday Best : How Religion Shaped New Zealand and How New Zealand Shaped Religion – is now available. The book examines Christianity in New Zealand through the lens of cultural development. Copies are available from all good bookstores or www.masseypress.ac.nz
Become a sports chaplain
Sports Chaplaincy NZ provide chaplaincy services for athletes and sports clubs in New Zealand. Discover more about becoming a sports chaplain, and training to become a sports chaplain here: http://www.ignitesport.org.nz/
Vaughan Park retreats
In the later half of 2017, Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre (Auckland) is offering a variety of retreats, lectures and other activities that may be of interest. Check out the programme here
500th anniversary of Reformation
Kids Friendly has prepared intergenerational worship resources to support parishes to engage with the younger people in their congregations about the Reformation. Download the intergenerational Reformation worship resource. View other Reformation resources
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits is 3.50% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 September 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