Use these links to navigate to the any section of Bush Telegraph. Happy reading!
From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
From the Moderator
May they rest in peace
Last week, we marked Anzac Day. My grandfathers both fought for the peace they enjoyed, one in WWI and the other in WWII. Neither wanted to go, but both felt compelled to do their duty. My father’s father was so traumatised by the experience that he would not speak of it to me or, I believe, to anyone. When I asked once what it was like he became irritable and brushed me off in a manner I was not used to. I never asked again.
My mother’s father was in his late 30s when he volunteered. He became a medical officer and saw action removing wounded from Crete, Egypt and Italy before he could return to his family. My mother did not recognise him when he returned and it was some months before she came to accept him as her father. This was not easy for him, but worse was to come. He returned ill and died in his early 60s of the illness – a tragedy for his wife and family. I have fond memories of him though I was only four when he died.
War is an ugly and merciless way of dealing with our disagreements and the improvement in weapon technologies make it even worse today. We must work with all our energies to avoid war. But we must also honour those who gave their best to bring peace to these shores. We honour their sacrifice that has created what we enjoy today. We live well because they gave their lives. This we should never forget.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear Friends and Colleagues
I have been reading a book regarding the power of words and how words can mobilise us to action - at times in history, all we seem to have is words. The book looks at words and speeches and draws some conclusions. Roman orators appealed to the emotions – epilogos – and aimed at leaving not a heart unmoved or a dry eye in the house.
I also happen to be reading Philippians. I have been dwelling on Philippians 2:1-11. I have been pondering what it would be like if I was living out verses 1-4… all the time. I wonder what type of church we might be if that was our attitude… all the time? That moves me! In these post-Easter days, how life giving! How profoundly good news!
The 2018 General Assembly will be held from 3-7 October at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. Assembly is a time for us to learn, grow and celebrate our Church’s life and mission.
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. Presbytery clerks and administrators are working to determine this process for appointing commissioners (based on published guidelines).
Voting for the Moderator-Elect, 2020
The first stage in this election process closed on 30 April. Please look out for an update regarding the next stage later this month.
Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly
Following consultation with the assembly business work group, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by General Assembly: all material must be received by 8 June 2018. This timeframe will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to Assembly. In this way, we will be able to fulfil the 2012 Assembly’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.
Presbyteries, Te Aka Puaho and the Pacific Island Synod need to identify suitable people with the skills and ability to represent the breadth of our Church, to be selected for the nominations committee which will meet prior to General Assembly. Nominating committee membership will be confirmed by Council of Assembly. Those selected for the nominations committee will be required to attend a one-day meeting in Wellington.
Thank you for your encouragement and support.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
We would value your prayers as we gather with 14 local ordained ministers for a national gathering from 8-10 May in Dunedin. This will be our second national gathering. We will be engaging and wrestling with a range of ministry and mission issues, and looking forward to a time of refreshment and encouragement.
Dean of Studies
Presbyterian Research Centre
The Archives has just received 61 boxes of photographs and records from Turakina Māori Girls' College, a Presbyterian boarding school for young Māori women, which opened in 1905 and closed in 2016. Previously we only held some early records describing the College’s initial establishment, so this is a welcome addition to our collections.
As this collection documents recent as well as early 20th century history, some of the personal information regarding staff and students will be restricted and any enquiries about these restricted records will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in line with Archives policy. There will, however, be plenty of unrestricted material available to families and researchers – we have already unpacked three beautiful wall hangings.
Over its 110 years of service many young Maori women have obtained a grounding that has enabled them to contribute to the Maori, and wider community of Aotearoa New Zealand, and we look forward to honouring that through care of this taonga.
There are now four vacancies on the Board, so we have extended the call for expressions of interest in these roles until Friday, 11 May. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Rev Sharon Ross Ensor or telephone 027 810 4358.
The PressGo Board will meet in Auckland on 29 May and one item of business is to consider applications for small grants from the Presbyterian Foundation for the first time this year. All applications, including those for funding new mission initiatives from the Mission Enterprise Fund (MEF), are due with the PressGo catalyst on 1 May. This includes having the forms filled in with presbytery comments (for MEF applications) and all supplementary material attached.
The Board is aware there are some large mission initiatives in the planning stages and acknowledges that the funding requirements of these projects far outstrip the total MEF balance. This will mean some difficult prioritising decisions ahead and a greater emphasis on funding partnerships with presbyteries.
Application forms and guidelines have been revised for 2018 and are now on the Church website. Please ensure you download the current guidelines and application forms which will have “March 2018” on the page footers. For further information or to discuss a possible new mission initiative, please contact PressGo catalyst, Lisa Wells at email@example.com or phone 027 4455 723.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Register for Connect
Connect 2017 takes place 20-22 July at El Rancho, Waikanae. The early bird registration deadline is Wednesday, 2 May, 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. For more information about them and the 30 workshop options please check the Connect website.
Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF) training
Presbyterian Youth Ministry and Kids Friendly are committed to running training in each geographical presbytery at least once a year. We strongly recommend that every church puts their leaders who work with children and young people through the Safety WOF once every three years. Learn more about Safety WOF training
Youth Commissioners at GA2018
Each presbytery has six positions available for youth commissioners for GA. It’s great to hear feedback from some our presbyteries about the high numbers of young adults being recommended to be GA youth commissioners. If you know of suitable young adults (aged 18-30), please suggest them to your regional youth coordinator. The PYM team has a comprehensive youth commissioner training and engagement process which starts in July.
National Youth Manager
We have had good news with our plans for Wayne and Helen Harray to serve in Myanmar. The Memorandum of Understanding has been approved and so we are expecting the Harrays to arrive in Myanmar in June and begin their work soon after. They will be serving as partners in mission within the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, based at Tahan Theological College. Wayne will oversee the development of the College land as a demonstration farm, and Helen will teach English and counselling practice. This is an exciting new development in our Ricebowl Mission partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar. If you would like to know how you can support the Harrays and the work they will be doing, please contact me.
There is plenty of activity happening in Vanuatu. The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) is partnering with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health in hosting a village health worker training course. Our volunteers Annette Vincent and Nicola Young will play a leading role in the preparations for this. Nicola is also involved in the delivery of the programme.
In April a team from St Peter’s Church in Tauranga, led by Rev Simon McLeay, made an exploratory visit to Napagasale (Na-pang-a-sar-lay) Presbyterian College on the Vanuatu island of Tongoa. This school has historic links with our Church and the St Peter’s team visited to discuss current needs and whether their congregation might be able to develop a partnership with the school and local community. Many more projects will get underway in the next few months. Our PCV special projects manager Neville Jones is being kept busy making preparations for these.
I still have an invitation for a church or youth team to offer worship and outreach support to a congregation on Santo Island. Please contact me if you would like to know more.
Take a look at the Global Mission website to find out more, and please contact me if you would like me to visit your church to share about the work of our Church’s Global Mission.
Global Mission Coordinator
“God’s spirit poured out on us all – both young and old!”
As we journey toward our celebration of the day of Pentecost on 20 May, we are reminded that God’s spirit is poured out on us all – both young and old.
In Acts 2:17, during Peter’s address to the crowd he quotes the prophet Joel: “…God declares, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams”. What a sobering reminder of not only the power of God’s spirit, but the effect it has on us all. May this be a reminder to us that God’s spirit is at work in the two-year-old and eighty-two-year-old! God’s spirit is powerful, effective and creative! When we open ourselves to how God’s spirit is at work in ourselves and others, we open ourselves to experiencing the creative beauty of the holy spirit.
Entries now open for the Love Reaches Out art and writing competition
Each year, Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support co-sponsor an art and writing competition for preschool to year eight children. This year, the competition theme is “Caring for our World”. Entries open on 30 April and end on 27 July. Read more here: Love Reaches Out art and writing competition
A beautiful excerpt from one of our Love Reaches Out 2017 writing winners, entitled "Noeline and Me" by Johanna Schoneveld. Johanna’s description of her piece: “I am 9, Noeline is 92. We have a special connection. I met Noeline at church a year ago. Our age doesn’t keep us apart.”
“I am emerging from the dawn,
She is traveling in the twilight,
But yet we hold hands…”
Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly Coach
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
In April, the Government encouraged kiwis to share their views with the newly established Tax Working Group (TWG) about what’s working – and what isn’t – in the current tax system; particularly in relation to improvements in structure, fairness and balance.
NZCCSS submissions will emphasise the impact on poverty and inequality produced by the interaction between the tax system and welfare/income support. In 2017, along with the more than 30 other groups of the Equality Network, we called for “a tax on very high levels of wealth and higher top tax rates on the highest incomes and fairer income support to ensure everyone contributes their fair share to enable our families and whānau to thrive”.
Current tax settings to do not fairly or adequately tax high levels of wealth and options for introducing wealth taxes need to be carefully explored. The aim of taxing wealth is to collect revenue, redistribute wealth more fairly, and to treat income earned through increases in capital value consistently – not to mention designing a system that isn’t so easily avoided. While it’s not easy to tax wealth effectively, it’s important to try to ensure high wealth holders contribute to the well-being of everyone through the tax system.
Today wealth is much more unequally distributed in New Zealand than income according to Oxfam – and there are few policy measures in place to change that.
It’s also not fair that those on the very highest incomes (over around $150,000) pay the same top tax rate as middle income earners (over $70,000). NZCCSS maintains, it’s only fair that those earning the highest incomes contribute more toward essential public services like schools and hospitals.
Diane Gilliam-Weeks is the Presbyterian Church representative on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.
Delegation at CSW62 at the UN
The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 12-23 March 2018.
I had the great privilege of leading the Presbyterian Women delegation: Joanna Maskell (from Auckland), Penny Mudford (from Wellington), Deborah Tangney (from Auckland) and Ashleigh Smith (originally from Naseby, near Ranfurly, Otago).
The priority theme was “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.
We fully immersed ourselves in a wide variety of panel discussions held by both ministerial and NGO organisations from around the world. Among the most memorable topics discussed were:
- “Honour” killing (I really hate the word “honour” being used in this context as there is nothing honourable about the killings at all!)
- Child marriage - which can have disastrous consequences on the physical, mental and reproductive health of the child/young woman.
- Female genital mutilation – which can result in pain, menstrual and obstetric issues.
- Pre-natal sex selective abortion and femicide – the sad but true fact that so many cultures prefer male gender offspring.
The injustice shown toward women and girl children in these situations is a sign of a broken world indeed. On a more hopeful note, the ecumenical women church services and gatherings were where I met with fellow women of faith from countries spanning the globe. It was especially lovely to make links with the Presbyterian Church of USA (PCUSA). They adopted me as their own (for which I was very grateful). Both Mavis and I are sure to have a fruitful ongoing relationship with them for future CSWs to come.
I wish to thank Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand (PWANZ) for their support. In addition I would urge any woman who feels passionate about the empowerment and equality of women and girls to consider applying to be part of the PWANZ delegation to CSW63 in March 2019 (email Mavis Duncanson for further information).
PWANZ UN Co-convenor
CWS has launched Operation Refugee 2018, a five-day challenge to live on the same food that is in a refugee emergency food parcel. It is a practical way to support refugees and channel much needed funds to provide food, education and medical care to those who have fled Syria. This year’s challenge runs from 16-20 June. Operation Refugee Lite is a two-day version for students.
Sign up online and invite everyone you know to make a contribution. Once you raise $87 - enough to pay for a good quality food parcel in Jordan for a family of 6 - we will send you a food box, which contains your food for five days (minus rice). Earn extra food by meeting fundraising goals. Find out what is involved and great cooking hints in the Kete.
We are asking schools, churches, individuals and businesses to join the operation to keep the lifeline going to Syrian refugees. If you would like to talk over getting involved, contact David Lawson or phone on 021 671 430.
Also, worship resources for Refugee Sunday (24 June) will be available mid-May.
Mother’s Day: spotlight on South Sudan
Choose a Gifted card or e-card for Mother’s Day. Tuna is benefitting from those who have bought School for Girls. Her father was badly injured in a petrol fire in 2015 and is no longer able to work as a policeman. After hearing a promotion on MaridiFM, run by CWS partner Maridi Service Agency, she successfully applied for one of 14 scholarships offered to girls. She used to sell bread at a roadside stall.
“Thanks to CWS that gives us funds to support these girls to achieve their dreams. God bless the hand that gives,” says a representative of Maridi Service Agency
Register now for the South Island ministry conference
Last chance to register for the upcoming South Island Ministry Conference 15-16 May at East Taieri Church, Mosgiel. This year’s speakers are Chris Clarke (former CEO of World Vision NZ) and his wife Karen Spoelstra (Anglican Youth Ministries). The focus will be on experienced people in ministry sharing from their journey. Learn more or register online
Faith Community Nurses Association annual conference
Save the date 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.
Get your copy of Mark: The Illustrated Gospel Project
Mark: The Illustrated Gospel is the work of more than 40 artists from around New Zealand and features a complete paraphrase of Mark's Gospel, accompanied with artwork, poetry and music along with liturgical resources and suggestions. Each Presbyterian and Uniting congregation is entitled to a free copy. Further copies are available for a fee. Order your congregation’s free copy (or additional copies) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Free copies of With One Voice
The Upper Clutha Parish has 100 copies of the word edition of With One Voice . The only cost will be freight, courier or pick up. Contact Tammy Clegg via e mail at email@example.com.
Preaching Workshop – Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin
Carey Baptist College’s “School of Preaching” and “Kiwimade Preaching” are holding three one-day preaching workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin (24–26 May) with Rev Dr Paul Windsor. He is uniquely placed to speak into the ministry of preaching given he travels so extensively throughout the world facilitating preaching movements. Cost includes morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch. See here for details: https://www.carey.ac.nz/events/word-world/
Ordination and inductions
Rev Sage Harris, licentiate, to assistant minister, Nelson Whakatu Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 15 January 2018.
Rev David Sang-Joon Kim, licentiate, to minister, St Mark’s Avonhead/Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, Alpine Presbytery, 5 April 2018.
Changes in status
Rev Bob Reid, stated supply minister, to minister, St Kentigern’s Burwood Uniting Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 25 February 2018.
Rev Edward Masters, minister, Rotorua District Presbyterian Church, to other recognised ministry, Kaimai Presbytery, 18 March 2018.
Rev Keith Hooker, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery to minister emeritus , Kaimai Presbytery 8 March 2018.
Rev Edward Masters, other recognised minister Kaimai Presbytery to other recognised ministry Southern presbytery, 19 March 2018.
Rev Keith Hooker, minister, Calvin Community Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery to minister emeritus 7 March 2018.
Rev Ian McCallum, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, died 1 March 2018.
Rev James Richard Battersby, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, died 4 April 2018.
Check out the latest events from around our Church and from Christian organisations and partners. Read more