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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
From the Moderator
Thanks to all those who have made my term as Moderator of the General Assembly possible. In reality, no person acts alone; we are all products of the influences of our formative years and beyond. My wife Fran has been my major support during this very busy two-year period, even though she hasn’t been able to travel with me for the last year. My wider family in Dunedin and the south have been great as has my parish, St Stephens/Leith Valley. The leadership team I left there – especially lead pastor Kristin Jack – has provided mature and gifted leadership during my absence.
I’ve loved getting invitations to speak, especially at presbytery meetings and I’ve managed to cover them all. It’s a time of enormous change and the reorganisation of presbyteries has been a big adjustment for us. For the most part, we’re handling this well, but it has put pressure on the individuals who’ve been willing to step into key positions.
What I need to tell you is that no one serves this Church, or in this Church, wanting anything but the best for the organisation. We all have bad days, but the quality of commitment is still very high compared to other voluntary organisations. It is clear to me that the voluntary sector is in real crisis in this country because most people are simply not willing to make big contributions, and it is hard to say where this will take us. We still have people willing to make large volunteer contributions – though they are fewer – and we have a trained clergy as well who, on the whole, do a great job.
But it’s not easy, and we constantly have to find both new systems and ways of remaining focused on the task of being a godly and loving community that serve us well in this new era.
It has been an honour serving you friends. Thanks so much.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues
On my desk sits a small paper boat. It is made out of single piece of A4 paper – folded in various ways – to create a boat. It reminds me of an Assembly where a keynote speaker invited us to share in folding and producing a boat. It reminds me of the people I sat with at that time; it reminds me that I got stuck and needed the help of another person to reach the goal; it reminds that me we are better together; it reminds me that I can get so focused on my own little world that I can fail to see the wider picture; it reminds me there is life and a world beyond the preparation for Assembly!
Assembly can loom as all-consuming. It could or should be both an effective forum for our Church’s business, and also an opportunity for us to celebrate, learn and grow together. Assembly provides the opportunity for thanksgiving and mutual encouragement, but is also a time of discernment. I am very conscious of the enormous amount of extra work that has been undertaken by so many around this event.
Our incoming Moderator, the Rev Fakaofo Kaio, has chosen the theme of relationships. He invites us to acknowledge, celebrate and nurture our relationship with God, each other and the world.
I warmly invite us all to pray for our time together – for the ability to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church and the willingness to respond.
As I look at the paper boat… I also dare to dream… of a future where our continued reforming invites us to new structural processes that allow nimble models of decision-making in our rapidly changing world as we respond to the call of God.
The Assembly will commence with a powhiri and opening service at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch at 7pm on Wednesday, 3 October. Assembly will meet at St Andrew’s College, from Thursday morning until its conclusion at lunchtime on Sunday, 7 October. If you are not going to be at Assembly, then sign-up to receive daily email updates.
Notices of motion for the Assembly due by 5pm Wednesday, 3 October
The deadline for notices of motion has been set as 5pm Wednesday, 3 October. After this date, only motions arising from dialogue or debate will be accepted.
One service our office provides is pastoral emails where we advise the wider church of the death of one of our ministers. We greatly value and appreciate those who contact us and let us know these details. Please feel free to communicate with us about these matters – we would prefer to hear from multiple people rather than folk thinking someone else will let us know.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership in the mission of God.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Apply for a Life-Long Learning Grant
Are you a Presbyterian minister planning on further study? Do you know that you can apply for a study grant from the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership?
The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is inviting applications for the next round of Ministers’ Life-Long Learning Grants (previously known as Ministers’ Study Grants).
Your programme of study will need to be approved by presbytery and you will need to be a minister – local, national or Amorangi – in good standing of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Download the application form and guidelines at http://knoxcentre.ac.nz/grants-scholarships. Applications close on 30 October 2018.
Dean of Studies
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Our society is out of balance, with too many people missing out on what they need to properly participate in community and society. NZCCSS and its members are working for changes to social welfare.
NZCCSS believes that welfare benefit levels are too low, and the system of additional support is inadequate, too complicated and unfair.
The government-appointed Welfare Expert Advisory Group is working on a re-design of our whole welfare system. A modernised version of the Social Security Act is also about to be passed to replace the existing fifty-year-old legislation.
This is our chance to get it right, to bring fairness and genuine concern for others back into our welfare system. Find out more about NZCCSS vision on social welfare at www.nzccss.org.nz. Have your say on the future of the welfare system here http://www.weag.govt.nz/have-your-say/
The founders of the welfare system in this country were driven by Christian values and concern for others – and encompass the idea that we are all our “neighbour’s keeper”. The faith of leaders like Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage and values shared across all great religions underpin our stance on human rights and social justice.
To ensure our social security system is fit for the next 80 years, New Zealand needs to lift incomes and enable participation, believes NZCCSS.
“Aroha tetāhi ki tetāhi – let us look after each other – is the way we draw on these values to describe the hope we have for our country,” says NZCCSS president, Ian Hutson.
“We look forward to a welfare system that engages with Maori from a Tiriti o Waitangi perspective and results in wellbeing for Pacific and other ethnic communities. As well, those living with disabilities and health conditions need to be able to live their lives with dignity and participate fully in community – experiencing outcomes equal to or better than those without disabilities.”
Presbyterian representative on the NZCCSS
Volunteering as a Christian
Volunteering one’s service from a Christian perspective can be regarded as an expression of “love one another, help one another, be kind to each other, love your neighbour as yourself, serve one another knowing that Christ came to serve”. It is this service that emboldens Christians to volunteer their services. Volunteering is about people giving up their time and skills to help others in the community. It is a positive way to contribute to society, especially where there are much needed services.
In the traditional communal societies of the Pacific - and anywhere else for that matter - communal work is where members of the community volunteer and band together to provide a required service that benefits all members of the community. This type of volunteering helps grow the community, through sharing skills and know-how, and has a positive effect on the lives of the not-so-privileged members of that society.
In a more modern setting in the cities, volunteering has the same effect, but a slightly varied approach. It provides retirees with an opportunity to share their skills and knowledge, and for student volunteers volunteering provides the opportunity to learn new skills for free: skills like running a meeting, managing finances, organising events, political lobbying and many others. Those who have gone through the experience of volunteering do attest to its benefits and the satisfying rewards of having contributed to worthwhile causes.
So for those of us – women – who are in retirement and feel that we still have a lot to offer, sharing our skills through volunteering could be one way of having fun and giving back to our communities. The same goes to the student learner: volunteering could pave the way for learning new skills and getting a better career pathway. I end here with an encouragement to all: “A generous person will prosper and whoever enriches others will be enriched.” (Prov. 11:25)
Human Right Convenor
The PressGo Board met on 28 August in Wellington and welcomed two new appointed members: Anne Overton (Northern) and Rev Martin Stewart (Alpine) as well as a new associate from the Resource Subcommittee, Diana Baird. We reflected on the ways that the extraordinary is found in ordinary, everyday things.
As part of its report to General Assembly, the Board has put forward recommendations inviting Assembly to establish a task group to consider the Church’s collective wealth and establish a theology and practice of sharing property and money. We believe that it is time for us as a denomination to engage with these issues. In doing so, we wonder what transformation might come if we practised generosity in radical and costly ways in response to God’s abundant generosity to us in Jesus Christ. We look forward to hearing the discussion in dialogue groups and on the Assembly floor!
Small Grants approved from Presbyterian Foundation funds were:
- Chartwell Cooperating Church (Kaimai), $7,000 towards project cost of Youth worker.
- Newton PI Church (Central), $2,500 towards costs of 60th anniversary Sunday School
- Fairfield Church (Kaimai), $7,000 towards project cost of Community and Whanau Worker.
- Presbyterian Church, $2,500 towards the cost of White Ribbon event featuring Very Rev Roy Coster, White Ribbon Ambassador.
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.
Applications for the final grant round of 2018 – for both Mission Enterprise and Presbyterian Foundation funds – must be received by 1 November, 2018. Please contact the PressGo Catalyst to discuss or for further information at email@example.com or phone 027 4455 723.
Lately I’ve been fielding lots of enquiries from people interested in serving in Vanuatu, which is timely as most of our current team will not be returning next year. It’s great to have plenty of momentum and support for our partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.
Our English teacher at Talua Theological Training Institute, Rev Dawn Daunauda, is hosting potential new English teachers on two separate occasions over the next few weeks. Dawn has also been invited to be the guest speaker at the Talua graduation ceremony in November. This is a great honour and will be a meaningful way for her to sign off her year before she returns home.
Wayne and Helen Harray in Myanmar have completed their first “visa run”. Due to immigration laws in Myanmar, they need to leave the country and renew their visas every 70 days. They have had a flying visit to Bangkok to do that, and have now returned to their work at Tahan Theological College. They are still finding the climate very hot and humid and will be looking forward to cooler temperatures soon. Petra Malcolm has accepted an invitation to return to her role teaching at Victoria Boarding School in Mindat, so she also needs to complete a visa run. She will return in early October to continue for the next few months.
It’s been a busy month for me speaking at churches and raising the profile of Global Mission. It’s good to have the opportunity to share about the growing work of Global Mission; and also fantastic to have such generous support from so many church members.
In conclusion, please give thanks for the wonderful service of Neville and Gloria Jones and Martyn and Annette Vincent, who have now returned home. They have all made great contributions during their time of service with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu. Pray for them as they adjust and settle back into life in New Zealand.
As always, please contact me if you would like more information or would like me to share about Global Mission at your church.
Global Mission Coordinator
Transformed for leadership: and a little child shall lead them
How are we making space for the development and growth of life-long church and community leaders? This is a question that all of our churches must wrestle with and respond to. Many children and youth already have that God-given gift to lead. But, how are we responding to the call to nurture that leadership and make space in our communities for that leadership to develop? Our Transformers Camps, aimed at ages 10-13, continue to carve out an inviting and meaningful space for just that.
This year’s Transformers: Raising Up Young Leaders Camp was our 14th, and was held 24-26 August in Ngaruawahia. We had a full camp again this year! With leadership from Tala Page To’oala and team, we saw a collaborative approach between children’s and youth workers, between Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Youth Ministry. Tala used her many years’ experience assisting with Transformers Camps to bring some new offerings to those who attended – these were a natural “outgrowth” of what has come before and a bridge to what is next.
Another natural “outgrowth” of this year's camp, was Presbytery Central’s offering of a “Transformers Plus” Camp. Jennie McCullough (Children and Families Ministry Enabler) and team developed it out of the original blueprint of Transformers Camp. It catered for those who were starting on the leadership journey as well as those who were emerging with some confidence. Launched this year to meet the specific needs of the young people in the Presbytery Central region, it proved to be a great crossroads for both children’s and youth ministry leaders to provide that inviting and meaningful space for leadership development.
“And a little child shall lead them…”.
Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly coach
2018 Christmas Appeal
A donkey and a young Haitian girl are the face of this year’s Christmas Appeal. CWS invites you to “Be the Lifeline” to people in need of food, clean water and safer communities. Rev Dr Susan Jones, Rev Clare Lind and the people of Tawa Union are preparing worship resources that will be available at the end of October. CWS has sent the Appeal Kit to churches. If you would like a copy, please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can order resources online, ideally by October 15.
Pauline McKay and David Lawson will be at General Assembly. Please introduce yourself and find out more about the work we do as part of the church.
Saved from the streets of the neighbouring town, two HIV and AIDS orphans find a new home with a kind neighbour and benefit from a rainwater tank thanks to your donations. Read their story – order more copies from Sarah at email@example.com.
Help Filipinos recover after Typhoon Mangkhut
In response to a request from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), we are asking for assistance for people devastated by Typhoon Mangkhut. Weeks before harvest, farmers lost the corn and rice crops on which they depend. Donations will provide food packages, hygiene kits, shelter kits, seeds and disaster training for up to 8,000 families. Please pray for Filipinos who lost homes and livelihoods in the Category 5 storm.
Supporters are invited to the annual CWS Supporters’ Council from 6-8pm on Friday, 30 November at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Dunedin. The Council is an opportunity to discuss our work and to hear former MP and Working Group Marian Hobbs reflect on CWS, aid and foreign affairs.
There are no reported changes to the Church Register. An update will be provided in the November edition of Bush Telegraph.
Sign-up for GA News - daily updates during GA18
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Join the ‘Roaring Chorus’ to mark Armistice Day
Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage is inviting Presbyterian churches to join the centenary of Armistice Day by participating in the Roaring Chorus campaign on Sunday, 11 November at 11:02am. The Ministry wants our communities to help recreate the "roaring chorus" of thanksgiving and jubilation that erupted across New Zealand as word of the Armistice reached our shores 100 years ago. The roaring chorus could include the ringing of church or hand bells, choral or congregational singing, or the playing of organ or other church music – or all of these at once! Read more
Church Life Survey
The Church Life Survey is taking place again this year. This is an interdenominational survey that looks at the views of individual church members. Taking part is simple – there are just five easy steps:
- Register on the website www.clsnz.com and receive your unique secure code. This provides you secure access to your results. The cost of registration is $50 per parish.
- Download the questionnaire from the website at no additional cost, or you can ask CLSNZ to print and post questionnaires with a charge to cover the costs of printing and postage. (Details on the website)
- Do the survey one Sunday or get people to fill it in online. The survey is anonymous and designed to be filled out in about 5 minutes.
- If you did the survey on paper, then enter the results through the easy-to-use website. If your do this yourself there is no extra charge; otherwise the CLSNZ can enter it for $1.00 per questionnaire.
- Download the automatically generated reports. The completed questionnaires can be entered by the church or denomination directly on the website. Some training can be given to assist with this. There is no charge for doing one’s own data entry, and CLSNZ is willing to enter the data for $1.00 per questionnaire.
Register now through the website www.clsnz.com
Faith-based postgrad leadership qualifications
From February 2019, church managers and leaders will be able to gain postgraduate qualifications via new programmes offered by the University of Otago’s Department of Theology and Religion. Learn more about the qualifications – a Postgraduate Diploma in Faith-Based Leadership and Management and a Master of Faith-Based Leadership and Management – here.
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’s free accommodation at Glen Innis’ Maud Hooper or James McNutt House. Information about how to book, current vacancies and images of the properties can be found on our website. Learn more
An invitation for parishes to get involved in the Roaring Chorus Armistice centenary celebrations on Sunday, 11 November, is among the many events on our website. Check out details about this and other initiatives on our listing of national and regional events.