Use these links to navigate to any section of Bush Telegraph. Happy reading!
From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Research Centre
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
From the Moderator
It should go without saying that we must pray for our upcoming General Assembly. The meeting has been a focal point for destructive and heated conflict over many years as various sides have sought to garner institution support for their opinions. We’ve been terribly distracted from our key purpose as a Church by the way conflict has been expressed at this meeting, and by the politics around it.
The solution isn’t to ban politics (even if that were possible). Nor can we simply magic away the various opinions we have – though it would be healthy to admit we could all be wrong about almost everything. The solution is to focus intently on two things: firstly, prayer and secondly kindness. Pray for help in making this the best Assembly yet in terms of our Christian witness through community and secondly, work as hard as possible at all levels to speak kindly to and about one another.
It is by our words, says Jesus, that we will be judged. Where we use those words to denigrate one another in public and behind closed doors, we become an anathema to the gospel. It is by prayer that we will both obtain the power to be witnesses to the kingdom of God, and to resist the temptation to blame each other for the state of the Church.
Please, then, commit yourselves and your parishes to regular prayer for this year’s Assembly and for the incoming Moderator Fakaofo Kaio and let’s go from strength to strength in our work together.
God bless you all.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues
The shortest day has arrived. Somehow, I associate this with reading! One thing I have read this week is the latest copy of SPANZ.
I read these words from Dr Rosemary Dewerse, Thornton Blair Research Fellow (page 16):
“Presbyterians hold a reputation for intelligent faith and for valuing Christian education, but in the process of listening I am hearing deep concern over levels of biblical illiteracy, a lack of confidence in the Gospel, and God-knowledge that is too small.”
That should pull us up short! Surely! But to date; not one phone call; not one email; not one text.
I recalled the words of a former moderator – Rev Dr Graham Redding: “The future of the PCANZ will rely as much on our willingness to be re-evangelised with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it will on our appropriation of organisational principles and Church growth strategies.”
I wonder how willing we are to be re-evangelised? Might I suggest it appears not as willing as is needed.
Reminder about copyright
To avoid breaching copyright laws when playing music or displaying the words of songs during church services, parishes are reminded that licences are required. Full details are about the licences needed to allow the public performance of works at church-related functions or to copy the words of songs for display on overhead screens, PowerPoint presentations or printed bulletins are available on the Church website. Learn more about copyright
Commissioners to Assembly
Pursuant to Book of Order 8.16 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery.
We will be using the statistics provided as at June 2017 to determine the number of commissioners.
Guidelines have been issued to all presbyteries to assist in the process. These provide assistance in responding to issues raised at past Assemblies to assist with ensuring a wide and fair range of commissioners are chosen including a balance of lay and ordained and a gender balance. This includes encouragement to get people to attend, and also encouragement that a commissioner should not attend successive assemblies.
On 3-7 October, General Assembly will be held in Christchurch at St Andrews College. Assembly is an opportunity for everyone in our Church to learn, grow and celebrate our life and mission. Full details about the event and how to register are available on the dedicated General Assembly website. More information about the Ministers’ Training Day on will be available in July.
Voting for the moderator-designate, 2020: Stage 3
In this stage of the election process, each parish council is asked to vote for the Moderator-designate. All congregations have been sent electronic and hard copy voting forms. If you have not received your voting papers, please get in touch with me as soon as possible. Please return all completed voting forms to Assembly Office by Friday, 27 July.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year seven 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 Brendon McRae who coordinates introductions and discussions between final-year interns and ministry settlement boards. For more information, contact Brendon. Thank you for your encouragement and support.
Presbyterian Research Centre
Continuing with our focus on the “voices of women” discussed in the June Bush Telegraph, we are in the process of preparing a nomination for the Archive’s Deaconess collection to be included on the UNESCO New Zealand Memory of the World Register.
The Deaconess collection documents the life and work of 175 New Zealand women from 1901-1975. The Deaconess order is an example of the growth of active women’s leadership funded by women during the 20th century, responding to social pressures caused by issues including the Depression, both world wars and the inter-war and post-war periods. The collection shines a light on these New Zealand women, who over 70 years served many of New Zealand’s poor and vulnerable, young and old, churches and communities, yet to this day receive very limited lasting recognition.
To strengthen our nomination, we would welcome the opportunity to include more Deaconess-related material in our collection. If you have or know of any photographs, documents or personal papers relating to service and/or experience as a Deaconess, please consider sharing them with us. Contact us at email@example.com or phone 03 473 0777.
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
“Not knowing where your next meal is coming from, or ‘food insecurity’, in a country like New Zealand is not on. We are a food producing, first world nation. Yet food insecurity is a reality faced by too many of us,” says Trevor McGlinchey, executive officer NZCCSS.
“Families who struggle to put food on the table go to foodbanks, food rescue centres and other charities to try and make ends meet. Members of the NZCCSS report dramatic increases in demand for food.”
“The charitable provision of food has hidden the level of food insecurity in New Zealand. It also hides the impacts of food insecurity on wellbeing. Our strong charitable response allows for a continuation of government policies which rely on charity to disguise the persistent lack of sufficient nutritious food for many New Zealand’s citizens.
“What is really needed is structural change that will ensure New Zealanders don’t go hungry. The NZCCSS, the Auckland City Mission and the Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit have been talking about the need for structural change, and the Peter McKenzie Project has provided a small seed fund to help extend this conversation”.
Trevor McGlinchey has also recently been appointed to the Government’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group. The Government’s vision is for a welfare system that ensures people have an adequate income and standard of living, can live in dignity and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities. The Advisory Group is to provide advice to government on how that might be achieved.
The Prime Minister’s vision is for a welfare system that enables people to earn, learn, care and volunteer – it is good to be aspirational and it would be truly transformational to achieve this for all people in our country.
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support and five other church organisations on the NZCCSS. Find out more about NZCCSS on their website
Presbyterian Support New Zealand and NZCCSS Council member
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
As I sat down with the KCML interns last week, I spoke about how often in our Presbyterian context we prioritise imparting information to our young people. However, education isn't enough – if we want to see a transformation in the lives of our young people, we need to intentionally add experiences that focus on formation. I talked about the importance of family/household nurture and generation connections in providing formational experiences that help ground the faith of young people. The eight formational experiences I asked them to consider integrating into their future churches year cycles were:
- Serve in mission
- The big story of the Bible
- Encountering with Jesus
- Respond with Compassion
- Positive peer community
- Peak Experiences
- Mentors and Life coaches
- Anchors/ Rites of passages
To read more about this, check out http://here2stay.org.au
Last chance to register for Connect 2018
On 20-22 July, we will gather for Connect 2018 at El Rancho, Waikanae. The registration deadline is coming up fast on 10 July, so please encourage your youth leaders and ministers to sign up asap.
Connect is a superb opportunity for youth leaders to upskill, be inspired and network with other youth practitioners around the country. The keynotes this year are Jasmine Fidow-Maiava, Amy Page-Whiting, Sean du Toit and Steve Taylor. Check out Connect 2018 for more information about speakers and the 30 workshop options.
National Youth Manager
It’s a busy season in Global Mission.
I love Taiwan
In July three members of our Church will be attending the annual I Love Taiwan mission camp, hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. They will join with young adults from around the world, sharing in the life and mission of the church in Taiwan for two weeks, in youth and children’s outreach. Each year we support participants on this programme and we wish Grace Mamea, John Liang and Thomas Goldfinch well as they represent us in this year’s programme.
Several groups will visit Vanuatu in the next two months on a range of projects. East Taieri Church is sending a youth team to Lenakel College; St Kentigern’s Boys and Girls School will be supporting church schools in Port Vila; Bronwyn Croxford from Howick Presbyterian is exploring a potential partnership with a school on Erromango Island; and New Zealand congregations are supporting a number of building projects on several different islands. All of this work is being well managed by our Global Mission team in Vanuatu who are doing a great job liaising, hosting and supporting visitors from our Church.
On 24 June Wayne and Helen Harray were commissioned at their home church – Leith Valley in Dunedin – before leaving to serve as partners in mission at Tahan Theological College in Myanmar. This is quite a significant occasion as they will be the first members of our Church to serve in Myanmar, and marks a major step forward in our Ricebowl Mission partnership with the church there. Read more in the latest edition of Spanz. Please pray for the Harrays as they embark on this adventure; and if you would like to support them financially, donations are being received. Email Katrina Graham for details.
As always, please contact me if you would like me to speak with your congregation about the work of Global Mission.
Global Mission Coordinator
The PressGo Board met on 29 May in Auckland and made a recommendation to Council of Assembly on appointment of two new board members. As a result, Rev Martin Stewart (Alpine Presbytery) and Anne Overton (Northern) will join us at our next meeting in August.
We supported applications for Mission Enterprise funding for a community pastor from St John’s Church, Hastings and from Mahurangi Church, Warkworth for new mission activities arising from a new-build church and community centre.
The Presbyterian Foundation made three grants: Onehunga Cooperating Church for work with Pacific Island Youth; St Andrew’s, Hastings, for work with Cook Island young people and families; and Mairangi and Castor Bays Church for outreach within the Indian community. These projects, although small, all have the potential to create learnings that can be applied more widely than just one context.
We discussed a proposal to help resource presbyteries and part of that includes initiating a gathering of presbytery mission catalysts to form a learning community. It is hoped that this will encourage sharing of knowledge, resources and skills across the Church, as well as providing collegial support for this group of people who equip and support congregations. The national presbyteries meeting warmly received the proposal and we hope to run the first gathering of the group later this year.
Is your church struggling with what it means to be church in today’s context? Do you have great ideas, but lack people and money to carry them out? Or maybe you are feeling “stuck in a rut”? We can help! Contact the PressGo catalyst on 027 4455 723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly Coach
I wonder… spiritual direction for the Church?
“I wonder” are words synonymous with the storytelling method called Godly Play. These two words are used at the beginning of a series of questions to encourage the response of participants after a Godly Play story. The storyteller might ask: I wonder what part of the story you like best?, I wonder what part is the most important?, I wonder where you are in the story?, I wonder if there is any part of the story we can leave out and still have all the story we need? The words “I wonder,” in effect, seek to open up the scriptures and our engagement with them.
After recently leading an inter-generational group of worshippers in a Godly Play story, I witnessed the power of the Godly Play approach. Those gathered, both young and old, shared their responses after experiencing the Godly Play story. The responses were profound when held together as the whole family of God… as if the Spirit was directing us. This experience made me think about the power of using the words “I wonder”. These words don’t have to be confined to Godly Play story time, but can be used by pastors and leaders in our life together as the church; during Bible study, sermon time, fellowship together and even mission.
I wonder if our approach to life together, formed by a Godly Play style of leadership, could in practice be spiritual direction for the church? It’s something worth considering and giving a go!
There are two Kids Friendly events to highlight: our “Love Reaches Out” art and writing competition ending 27 July and our upcoming Transformers (Raising Up Young Leaders) Camp coming up 24-26 August in Ngaruawahia. You can find all the info you need about both events on our website: www.kidsfriendly.org.nz.
Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly Coach
Is New York calling you?
Please spread the word that Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes expressions of interest to join the delegation to the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). This gathering is held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 9-22 March 2019. Through the foresight of women of faith two decades ago, Presbyterian Women has special consultative status at the UN. This status comes with responsibility and opportunity to be represented at CSW each year, alongside representatives from all regions of the world. Through Ecumenical Women at the UN, we contribute to a strong Christian voice in this forum.
The priority theme for CSW63 is “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. As stated in our submission on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, Presbyterian Women throughout Aotearoa New Zealand are active in programmes to alleviate the effects of poverty for children and families. Many will have direct personal experience of the ways in which our society both helps and restricts women’s participation. The review theme picks up on the agreed conclusions of CSW60 in 2016 to consider “Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development”. The latter is very broad and covers all 17 global goals for sustainable development including ending hunger, reducing violence and protecting life below sea and on land.
Women of all ages a passion for social justice and the empowerment of women and girls are welcome to contact the joint UN Convenors for further information: email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The trip is self-funding and costs estimated at around $5000-$6000 per person. Congregations and individuals may like to consider how to encourage and support applications from their community.
To read about the experience of women who have attended past CSW meetings go to https://bit.ly/2KjkrUz
Joint UN Convenor
Coffee with David
David Lawson promises free coffee and an opportunity to chat to interested people. He is seeking your feedback on CWS and happy to talk about development, emergencies and faith. Contact him to arrange the time and place – he will pay for the coffee. You can meet him in or around Auckland, or arrange to meet him at General Assembly. Tel: 021 671 430.
Thank you to Operation Refugee participants and donors who raised over $30,000 for Syrian refugees.
CWS prepared worship resources for Refugee Sunday. Please let us know if you marked Refugee Sunday and/or used our resources.
Cyclone Gita update
Thank you for supporting the Cyclone Gita Appeal. CWS has received over $100,000 in donations and a matching $164,000 grant from the Government. International Programmes Coordinator Trish Murray is in Tonga visiting local partner, Tonga Community Development Trust. TCDT has undertaken to repair/replace rainwater systems and community gardens or demonstration plots. They are distributing seeds, tools and plants as well as ducks and chickens to families who have yet to receive assistance. TCDT is completing a household survey before the next phase.
CWS asks congregations for their prayerful support for South Sudan. At the time of writing, peace talks appear to be progressing in an effort to resolve the 4½-year civil war that has caused widespread hunger, dislocation and death. Talks have failed before, but the people are desperate for peace. Around 7.1 million people need food, and 1.88 million are displaced within the country. People are hungry and frightened.
The South Sudan Appeal is supporting the larger ACT Alliance Appeal with emergency relief and assisting local partner Maridi Service Agency to set up new livelihoods for traumatised people. Donations will be matched by the New Zealand Government.
Ordination and inductions
Rev Paula Levy, licentiate to minister, Gisborne Mangapapa Union Church, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 8 June 2018.
Changes in status
Rev Alistair McNaughton, minister, Kaikoura St Paul’s to Geraldine St Andrew’s Church, Alpine Presbytery, 9 Jan 2018.
Rev David Brown, minister Ashburton St Andrew’s, to other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, 30 April 2018.
Rev Sharon Ensor, director Presbyterian Schools Resource, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu to Kaimai Presbytery, 18 June 2018.
Popotunoa Presbyterian Parish, changed its name to Clinton Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 15 May 2018.
Invitation to Auckland service to mark the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches
On Sunday 22 July at 7pm at the Church of Holy Sepulchre on Khyber Pass, Auckland there will be a service to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches in a multicultural worship service of thanksgiving. A warm invitation is extended to all to join this ecumenical service.
Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat events
Vaughan Park holds a variety of workshops throughout the year. Upcoming events include a retreat that focuses on the spirituality of music and an one-day introduction to meditation. Check out these and other events here: 2018 retreat programme
Register now for the faith nursing conference
Registrations are now open for the NZCFNA conference, which will be held in Tauranga on 7-8 September. The focus will be on providing a “toolbox of resources toward development of positive mental health in the wold today.” More info
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.50 per cent 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 of free accommodation per annum at Glen Innis. 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