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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Research Centre and KCML
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
From the Moderator
Jesus said "Love your neighbour as yourself." (Mark 12:13)
The words of our Lord and Saviour is poignant and powerful, at all times. Events of the week 11-16 March highlighted the omniscient nature of God. We live in the present dream for the future, but interruption into our lives causes us to refocus.
The Trans-Tasman Moderators and Presidents Forum between the Uniting Church of Australia, the Methodist Conference of New Zealand and the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand met in Rotorua. It was a full-on time of worship, discussion, fellowship, sightseeing, sharing, planning and dreaming for the present, and for the future of God's Kingdom in the Southern hemisphere.
We have much in common: structure, policy (national and global), our multicultural communities and more. There were also areas of ministry and mission where we were poles apart: indigenous people, government funding, same-gender marriage, recruiting and training of minsters and more.
It was an invaluable time together. We are each others’ closest neighbours in the mission field. We need to work together, resource each other, draw from one another and stand together as the body of Christ.
We were together when the terrible and horrific newsflash came on the television. There was shock, silence and an outpouring of grief for our Muslim brothers and sisters. It cannot happen in New Zealand. It is not real. We paused and each of us went into their own in deep meditation and prayer. And we compiled a statement together. Our hearts cried for the Muslim community, for the people of Christchurch, and for all New Zealand.
In the following days and weeks as we gather in schools, in worship, and among strangers and families – and as I gathered with New Zealand church leaders in parliament’s debating chamber – we must talk openly about how to treat and care for others, about how to be a good neighbour. We each should look in the mirror and answer honestly: "How do I want to be treated by others?"
Kia kaha, stand strong. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata: it's the people, it's the people, it's the people. May love and goodness prevail.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
The events of Friday 15 March are fresh as I write this, and today the nation marked the tragic killings with a series of remembrance events around Aotearoa. Maybe – like me – shock, horror, disbelief, anger and tears were part of your immediate response. We have visited our Muslim friends; donated to one of the appeals; attended vigils. It is been heart-warming to hear and see how church communities and individuals have responded with love, care, grace and support.
I have read many words written and find myself almost lost for words that have not already been voiced. A reflection: racism or white supremacy is alive and well. Let’s call it what it is: evil – pure and simple. When people have been asking what can we do – including our partner churches overseas, who remind us we are part of a bigger family – I have said: please pray; remember the families of those killed; remember the first responders and those who provide ongoing care and support. Also, we must never, ever let hatred and racism go unchallenged when we see it in our communities.
I also write knowing this edition of Bush Telegraph will be received as we are in Lent. I have been driven again to John 1.1-18 and especially to: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
In a few weeks’ time we will declare afresh: “Christ is risen; he is risen indeed”. Let us continue to be people of the risen Christ and join Christ in the mission we are called to as bearers of good news and light shiners in the darkness.
Assembly Office closed over Easter
This year, as Easter and Anzac Day fall in the same week, it has been decided to close the Wellington office from Monday, 22 April to Friday, 26 April. This only affects Wellington-based staff, and Assembly team members in other locations will be at work as usual.
An update from the Council’s gathering on 15-16 March is now available. Read Council News
Book of Order and Other Supplementary Provisions update
A reminder that a new version of the Book of Order was published in early February. Updated Other Supplementary Provisions have been published in the past week. Both documents are available for download here.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year another group 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 person 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, please contact Brendon.
Council of Assembly has accepted the offer from Presbytery Central to host General Assembly at Lindisfarne College in October 2020. More information will follow in the months to come.
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.
Thank you for your generous support of the work we do together as a Church.
At the time of writing there is a heaviness in the air in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. It will take a while for life to return to something resembling normal as we process the horror of what has occurred, and as we try to understand what needs to change. There was a significant outpouring of love and concern from our Global Mission partners around the world when they heard the news. In such distressing times, it is encouraging to know that we are held in prayer and supported by a global family.
Our Global Mission personnel in Myanmar, Wayne and Helen Harray, are back in New Zealand briefly for a break before returning in May to resume their work at Tahan Theological College. If you would like to know how you can support the Harrays and their work in Myanmar, contact me. Read the Harrays’ blog here.
Programmes and opportunities
Plans are underway to hold a Going Global programme in Myanmar in January 2020. This is for 18-25 years-olds who have an interest in mission. This will be based at Tahan Theological College, spending time with the students and sharing in Wayne and Helen Harray’s work. Download Going Global information and application form here.
There are project opportunities for congregational teams in Vanuatu; these include church building projects as well as alongside partnerships with churches and village communities. Contact me for more information.
The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan hosts an annual I Love Taiwan programme in July. Learn more and apply here
The Council for World Mission is offering a programme for theological students in August and September this year in Palestine. Applicants must be students of theology on a path to ordained ministry. Learn more
As always, please contact me for more information or if you would like me to share about the work of Global Mission with your congregation.
Presbyterian Research Centre and KCML
In response to the tragedy in Christchurch, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and the PRC have curated some resources that may be helpful in guiding ministry leaders in both inter-faith learning and trauma counselling. This can be found on the Living Library website. The books are available from the Hewitson Library and there are also some online links which may be useful.
Please let us know if you are using a book or resource that you find particularly useful so that we can add it to the website.
Another resource on the Living Library that may be of interest is the video of the Presbyterian Research Network talk recently given by Malcolm Gordon - Looking for Lament: Exploring the Presbyterian handling of the Psalms during World War Two.
The PressGo Board met at the end of February in Wellington and had the opportunity to hear from some of those involved in mission that is out of the ordinary and “on the edge”. This gave helpful insight for our work and helped inform a discussion about PressGo’s future emphases and direction.
Application dates for 2019 were agreed (see the PressGo website for more details).
Small Grants (up to a maximum of $10,000) are funded from the Presbyterian Foundation and are open for application at any time, with closing dates of 1 May and 1 November 2019.
Mission Enterprise Fund grants are also open for application at any time with closing dates of 1 May, 1 August and 1 November 2019.
We will accept applications at any time and they will be discussed at the meeting immediately following the next closing date. It is good to start working on your application well before closing dates and the PressGo Catalyst is available to help you sharpen your case for funding support and also provide advice on other potential funding sources.
Bear in mind that MEF applications require input from your presbytery, so ensure you have left enough time for that before the closing date.
The Board is particularly interested in considering applications that are innovative, creative and community, rather than church, focussed.
In the first instance, make contact with Lisa Wells, PressGo Catalyst, email@example.com, telephone 027 4455 723.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Going Global Myanmar
We are offering an exciting opportunity for young adults (18-30) from our Church to connect with their peers in Myanmar, through our partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM). Together they’ll learn about each other’s lives, cultures and faith, while serving in mission in a local Myanmar community. This will include teaching opportunities at Tahan Theological College, faith sharing and worship. Participants will join our Church’s missionaries, Helen and Wayne Harray, who are on staff at the College.
Anchored - confirmation/baptismal course
PYM and Kids Friendly have noticed from Church statistics that only a small number of young people who engage in church ministries make public confessions of faith through baptism or confirmation.
This has led us to develop a confirmation/baptismal course for years 7-10, which can be used by ministers to invite their young people to explore issues of faith and provide the opportunity to profess their faith through baptism or confirmation.
The Anchored course will include a regional retreat and a six-session curriculum. We are currently looking for churches in the Alpine Presbytery to consider participating in a pilot of programme, which will include a regional retreat on 15-16 June.
Please contact Robin Humphreys for further information.
Helping young people process the Christchurch tragedy
Friday, 15 March was a very sad day in our nation. Many of us are struggling to know where to start processing the brutal murder of so many of our Muslim neighbours.
We have put together a simple resource to help you, and parents, to help support your young people in the wake of this national tragedy.
Director Resourcing and National Youth Manager
Ten women from Presbyterian and Methodist congregations around New Zealand were among 9,000 in New York for the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). We were gathered to share stories of empowerment and to monitor progress toward eliminating discrimination against women.
At 8:00am Monday, 11 March we had found our way to the other side of Fifth Avenue, to host a parallel event on gender equity in the third age. Ms Caroline Herewini, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Whare Tiaki Wahine Refuge, opened our session with karakia. Rev Bonnie Robinson participated by video and set the scene describing how, in her work, she observes the intersecting discriminations of sexism and ageism for older women. The work of Lois Miriam Wilson informed discussion of positive role models of older women in our scriptures. Caroline Herewini concluded by talking about the experience of older Maori, and particularly her experience of older women seeking refuge from intimate partner violence. You can see pictures at https://bit.ly/2TSgv6h
Our world turned upside down on our Thursday night as the news of the terrorist shooting in Christchurch came through. The next morning candles were lit at Ecumenical Women daily worship, with supportive prayer for us and for our nation. At a basketball game on Sunday, I had tears streaming as the crowd in Madison Square Garden stood in silence to remember the dead. Steph Redhead shares more of our experience here https://www.bravegirl.co.nz/united-nations. Scroll down to read about the themes of CSW63 and our first day.
The foresight of Presbyterian Women over 20 years ago has passed onto us this incredible privilege of special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. By the time you read this, planning will be underway for the 2020 delegation. Contact us to learn more about attending or supporting a woman you know to attend.
Presbyterian Women joint UN Convenors
Messages from partners and colleagues
Christian World Service is grateful for messages of support from partners and friends following the brutal attacks on March 15, 2019. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with the people who have died, those with injuries and grieving for loved ones. Our prayers are for members of the Muslim community, here and overseas. Where there is fear and hatred, we pray and work for peace.
In response to requests, we have undertaken to find the best avenue for the donations we receive. Donations can be sent to the Christchurch Emergency Appeal, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140, by phone 0800 74 73 72 or https://cws.org.nz/christchurchappeal/
A Sri Lankan story
The people who work on Sri Lanka’s tea estates live in conditions close to slavery. With the help of CWS partner Monlar, the workers received a bigger pay increase than expected, but it is not enough. Make yourself a cup of tea and read Time for the Teapickers to find out more. Order more copies from Sarah.
More than two million people have been affected by Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Many are desperate for food, water and rescue. CWS is receiving reports from ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) members who are responding with vital supplies. Please pray for people who need safety and sustenance. Watch the website for more information.
End of the year
All donations received on or before 31 March will be receipted promptly, including monthly donors. If you are missing a receipt, please contact Sarah. You can claim a tax refund on an IR526, available from Inland Revenue or CWS after 31 March.
Seven Weeks for Water
The Ecumenical Water Network has prepared resources for reflection and action during Lent. Buy water for Ugandan families.
South Island Ministry Conference
"Pursuing God's will together" is the theme of this year's South Island Ministry Conference being held at East Taeri Church, 12a Cemetery Road, Mosgiel on 14-15 May. Learn more about speakers, costs and how to register here.
Oral history participants needed: Deaconesses and the city of Dunedin 1930s-1970s
Rachel Tombs is conducting research for her history honours at the University of Otago on Presbyterian deaconesses and their work in the Dunedin community from 1930s-1970s. This work will focus on their character, impact and legacy. I am interested in interviewing people who are willing to share their experiences with a Dunedin based deaconess during this time. The interviews will take place at the Presbyterian Research Centre or over the phone and last no longer than one hour. If you would like to be involved, or to know more please contact me, Rachel Tombs on 020 444 0046, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Rev Kylie Provan completed her studies in January 2019, and is a licentiate from 31 January 2019.
Rev Jonathon Te Rire completed his studies in February 2019 and is a licentiate from 1 March 2019.
Changes in status
Rev John Daniel, minister stated supply Coastal Unity Parish to transitional minister (18 months) Coastal Unity Parish, Southern Presbytery, 9 December 2018.
Rev Andrew Scott, other recognised minister to minister stated supply, Waitaki Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 1 February 2019.
Lorraine Francis, minister St Johns Buckland’s Beach Cooperating Parish to other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 3 February 2019.
Rev Jeongsoon Shin (Michelle) other recognised minister to chaplain Auckland Hospital, Northern Presbytery, 11 February 2019.
Rev Susan Fenton, other recognised minister to chaplain part-time Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 12 February 2019.
Rev Helen Martin, other recognised minister, to minister stated supply St Andrew’s Gore, Southern Presbytery, 11 March 2019.
Rev Heather Kennedy, LOM transition minister Ellesmere Co-operating to transition minister Ashburton Methodist, Alpine Presbytery, 21 December 2019.
Rev Bangeun Choi, minister Presbyterian Church Korea, to assistant minister non-PCANZ Lord’s Church of Auckland, Northern Presbytery, 11 November 2018.
Rev Kristopher Heale, Anglican minister to Glendowie Presbyterian, Northern Presbytery, 27 February 2019.
Rev Rebecca Heale, Anglican minister to Glendowie Presbyterian, Northern Presbytery, 27 February 2019.
Rev Phillip Ross McDougal, minister Inglewood Uniting (Methodist appointment) to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 3 March 2019.
Rev John Cromarty, minister St David’s Presbyterian Invercargill, to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 3 February 2019.
Lansdowne Presbyterian Church was dissolved and its assets transferred to Crossway Masterton, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 13 December 2018.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.
Check out job vacancies within New Zealand and with our partners around the world on our jobs vacancies page. Ministerial positions within Presbyterian and Uniting churches can be seen on the ministerial vacancies table.