May 2019

Use these links to navigate to any section of Bush Telegraph. Happy reading!

From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Kids Friendly
Global Mission
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
CWS Notices
Church Register

From the Moderator

What is the world coming to?

The bubble has burst on the innocence of our planet. War, terrorism, kidnapping, bombing, and the taking of human life has reached an all-time low. Maybe, it has been like this for some time? But we, in this land of opportunity and freedom, are slowly catching up. 

The world has faced natural disasters – tsunami, earthquakes, tornadoes, mud slides, hurricanes and so forth and we always cope: we manage, we regroup, we rebuild, and the global community always rallies in support. But the destruction and suffering caused by humans on their fellow man has accelerated and is becoming a worldwide force for fear and annihilation of democracy and freedom. We must never concede or give in. We must become resolute and be even more determined to fight for our future and quality of life, and for freedom and peace. 

Easter is a reminder to us all of the battle waged by the world. God defeated death and sin in Jesus’ death and resurrection. The war has been won. 

What we are dealing with today, in our generation, are battles that we must never concede, or surrender to, in our lifetimes. We must fight the good fight. Do good, love, show mercy and be at peace with God and people.

We have recently marked Anzac day, which reminds us of sacrifice, and of the wars in which our soldiers fought. Their sacrifice has enabled us to have freedom and a future with so much to live for in our country, and in the world.

Let us live in faith and confidence. Let us look forward. Let us travel through this Easter season with hope and anticipation of the wonder of what the Holy Spirit will lead us through. Stand firm in Christ and go forth in trust that you will be blessed. Be a blessing for others. There is so much to do in our families, schools, work and communities. There is always something you can do, say, stand up for or support. The Lord calls us each day. Go on, keep on, you are never alone. 

“Onwards Christian soldiers marching…”


From the Assembly Executive Secretary

We have just celebrated the high point of the Christian year. The death and resurrection of Jesus is central to our faith: it tells the story that death is not the end; it reminds us we are resurrection people.

On Easter Sunday bomb blasts in churches (and hotels) in Sri Lanka killed over 350 people (and the toll is rising as I write this). 

The shock of this attack reminds us to join our prayers with those of many others and pray for the bereaved families and for peace in Sri Lanka. 

Our community’s response to suffering provides us with a powerful testament to the transformative hopefulness that we find in the gospel’s proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus. It is a response that transcends difference in culture, language and distance.

Over the next couple of months the Council for World Mission (CWM) will hold its annual Pacific partners gathering and about six weeks later, its Annual General Meeting.

Gatherings like this are a reminder that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Along with the joy, hospitality and depth of culture and faith that our Pacific neighbours bless us with, there are very significant challenges we need to share as sisters and brothers in Christ.

The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand’s link to CWM comes via an event which took place in 1969.

This year marks fifty years since the General Assembly welcomed a large group of ministers and members from former Congregational Union churches into membership of the Presbyterian Church. As one historian out it, this changed both churches forever. I am working with others in the Congregational Union to determine how we can mark this event.

I will keep you updated on this.

Interchurch Bioethics Council
I commend to you the work of the Interchurch Bioethics Council. Their website contains excellent material on three issues that are being widely discussed in the community: cannabis legislation; assisted reproductive technology (ART) and euthanasia. These are good resources for further study.

End of Life Choice Bill
General Assembly asked the Doctrine Core Group to make available its report on End of Life Choice Bill for study by the wider church. This material will be available later in May and will be sent out to all parish councils.

Book of Order and Other Supplementary Provisions update
A reminder that a new version of the Book of Order was published in early February. Other Supplementary Provisions have also been updated and published recently. 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.

Assembly 2020
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 partnership in God’s mission.


Kids Friendly

Living the Resurrection: from dancing, to drawing, to doing acts of service
What shows the celebration of the resurrection more than a five-year-old dancing her heart out to the Hallelujah Chorus on Easter Sunday? 

We are “Easter people”. Everything we believe as followers of Christ hangs on the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is our biggest celebration, and our greatest challenge. We are called to rejoice in the truth of the resurrection and at the same time are invited into a daily experience and practice of resurrection life as “Easter people”. 

As we continue in the season of Easter, we can practice living the resurrection in simple yet meaningful ways. We know Jesus’ disciples recognised him in the breaking of the bread in one of the post-resurrection accounts. Sitting at table together is one simple way to live the resurrection life. As a family, we light the Christ candle every night at dinner. Our almost four-year-old will remind us if we forget! She knows that we light the candle as a reminder of Jesus and that “Christ is the light of the world, a light that no darkness can put out”. What simple ways can you practice living the resurrection as a family? As a church family?

Living the resurrection can also look like drawing! Our “Love Reaches Out” Art and Writing Competition theme this year is “Make a Difference; I can, You can, We can!” It opens on 13 May this year. We encourage pre-schoolers to Year 8s - as either individuals or in a group - to respond creatively to the theme as we seek out ways to reach out in love and kindness. 

Keep living the resurrection and while you’re at it… dance your heart out! 

Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly Coach

Global Mission

Last month I began my article with a comment about the mosque shootings in Christchurch. This month the news of the devastating suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka at Easter have sent shockwaves around the world. Our hearts go out to the people of Sri Lanka and all those affected by this act of terror. Our Church does not have formal links with any churches in Sri Lanka but many New Zealanders do and so it is a tragedy that has profound ripples even here. As we continue to grieve for the victims of the Christchurch massacre, we also pray for the victims of terror in Sri Lanka. 

Going Global
Applications are open for Going Global Myanmar, a young adults cross-cultural mission experience planned for Myanmar in January 2020. Participants will be based at Tahan Theological College and will spend time with theological students, assisting them with their English conversation and learn about the mission context in Myanmar. Wayne and Rev Helen Harray are based at Tahan, and will host of the team. Learn more about Going Global 

Update from Myanmar
Wayne and Helen Harray have spent some time back in New Zealand for a few weeks. Follow their progress in Myanmar by reading their blog:  

I Love Taiwan
There is still time to apply for the I Love Taiwan programme, hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan in July each year. This is for 18-30 year olds and is a great insight into the culture of Taiwan and the mission outreach of the Presbyterian Church there. A travel subsidy is available for successful applicants. Learn more 

Vanuatu service opportunities
The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu is involved in health education, running Government-approved courses for village health workers and nurse aids. They would like to hear from New Zealand health professionals who would be interested in volunteering some time to assist with tutoring in their training programmes. Please contact me if you would like to learn more about this. 

Find out more about our mission work abroad at As always, please contact me if you would like me to visit and share about opportunities for your church to get involved in the Church’s Global Mission.  

Phil King 
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

The PRC has received a significant financial donation towards the further development of the Chrysalis Seed Art and Faith Collection which will result in one of the most comprehensive collections in this field in the world, joining the Rita Mayne England Christianity and Culture in Asia Collection in achieving world-class status. The Hewitson Library has already received a number of these new Chrysalis Seed books, with more arriving daily. 

This collection of art books and journals was developed by the Chrysalis Seed Trust around the theme of art and faith and is a very rich resource of religious art and thought. The vision of Chrysalis Seed is to “generate multiplying groups of artists in a subculture centred in Jesus”.  Its mission is to “equip artists to integrate their art and faith, and to reconcile art and faith communities”.

The collection consists of both books and journals with a particular strength in New Zealand and Pacific material. Topics include literature and a range of visual arts, and various exhibition catalogues.

This collection of art and faith materials is available nationally to artists and students, Christian artists and activists networking throughout New Zealand and is often used by Church leaders to enable and inspire worship.

If you are not on any of our mailing lists and would like to receive emails from the Presbyterian Research Centre about new books, events or blog articles please sign up here.

Jane Thomsen

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Te Whakakotahitanga 2019 - Connect 2019
We are delighted to confirm that Connect 2019 will be on our Church marae at Ohope Beach, from  Fri, 19 July – Sun, 21 July 2019. Things kick off 2pm Friday and finish up at 4pm on Sunday.

Staying on our marae will be an amazing shared experience for us, and on top of the usual Connect activities, we will grow our understanding of our Church’s bi-cultural commitment. 

There are several accommodation options available including bunk rooms in the adjacent Ohope Christian Camp as well as a series of baches and Airbnb accommodation.

The Early Bird discount is open until 15 May, so get your registrations in soon. Register now 

Employment Guide for staff working young people
Thinking about employing someone to work with young people? Fantastic. In partnership with Kids Friendly and presbytery staff, we have put together a step-by-step guide for your parish as it begins the employment process.

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 the partnership between ourselves and the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, participants will 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 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.

So, we are currently developing a Confirmation/baptismal course for years 7-10, where ministers can invite their young people to explore issues of faith and provide the opportunity to profess their faith through baptism or confirmation.

Anchored will include a regional retreat and five-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: 027 561 3373.

Gordon Fitch
Director Resourcing and National Youth Manager

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

As we enter the Easter season, Knox Centre staff are in several different places: Steve is on study leave, writing a book on fresh expressions of church. Kevin has just returned from giving a series of lectures in Taiwan on church, change and multicultural mission. Geoff has been presenting a paper at a preaching conference and is conducting preaching workshops in India with Langham international. These represent both professional development and contributions to the wider sphere of theological and ministry education that allow us to stay connected with best practice. 

Recent tragic events in Christchurch with the terrorist attack has drawn attention to the need for Christian communities and leaders to attend to how we respond to other religious faiths, and extremism, and reach across boundaries in our NZ society. The KCML living library is the online portal for making resources more accessible to ministry leaders and together with Jane Thomson of the Presbyterian Research Centre, we have loaded a number of resources (print, video and podcast) that address interfaith relations particularly with reference to Islam. 

Finally, myself and Rev Phyll Harris of Christchurch are offering the online webinar course "Mission Action Experimenting" to ministry leaders over the next couple of months. 

Mark Johnston
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership – Auckland Co-ordinator

CWS Notices

Operation Refugee
Welcome to Operation Refugee 2019! CWS is looking for people keen to help those who have fled war in Syria. Participants live on the contents of the food box for five days (two days for students) or walk the talk, while raising funds. New this year is a walking or biking option to identify with the risky journeys refugees have made.   

The challenge can be undertaken between April and September, with a special focus on 16-20 June.  Thursday, 20 June is World Refugee Day. Register here and please invite others to join you.  

While a few displaced people have returned to Syria, most are staying in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey until there is more certainty. The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees works with refugee families to provide schooling and educational opportunities, medical care, and psychosocial support.  

CWS will prepare materials for Refugee Sunday on 23 June. 

Prayers for Sri Lanka
After the violence of Easter Sunday, CWS asks churches to keep praying for the people of Sri Lanka. Our partners report they lost family and friends in the attacks. Let us pray with them for peace and comfort.

Mother’s Day 
Sunday, 12 May is a special day for remembering mothers. Show your concern by providing medical care for refugee mothers and new babies in Jordan, or high school scholarships for young women in South Sudan, saving them from early marriage. Available as cards or e-cards for your mum from Gifted

More help needed in southern Africa
ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) members are distributing relief supplies in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Donations to the Cyclone Idai Appeal will provide urgently needed food, water, sanitation, psychosocial help, and assistance to replace lost livelihoods for some of the 3 million people affected. 


Oral history participants needed: Deaconesses and the city of Dunedin 1930s-1970s
History honours student, Rachel Tombs is conducting research on Presbyterian deaconesses and their work in the Dunedin community from 1930s-1970s.This work will focus on their character, impact and legacy. Rachel is 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. Contact Rachel Tombs on 020 444 0046, or

Lock-down procedures
The events of Christchurch has seen some churches consider lock-down procedures. Clevedon Presbyterian has advised that they have recently completed a lock-down procedure and are willing to discuss with others what is involved. Contact minister, Martin Baker, for further info:

Presbyterian Investment Fund 
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.50% per annum. This rate became effective on 1 September 2017. However, the Trustees give notice that the rate will reduce to 3.25% per annum from the 1 July 2019. 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

Church Register

Changes in status
Rev Jason King, stated supply minister, Rangiora Presbyterian Parish to minister Rangiora Presbyterian Church, 21 February 2019.
Rev Ed Masters, other recognised minister to minister First Church of Otago, Southern Presbytery, 30 May 2019.
Rev Anne Thomson, minister First Church Otago to other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, 30 May 2019.
Rev David Williams, other recognised minister, to stated supply minister, St Andrews First Presbyterian Church, international congregation, Northern Presbytery, 1 June 2019.

Rev David Balchin, minister, St James Presbyterian Church and Waihi Beach Uniting Church, Kaimai Presbytery, to Wellsford Co-Operating Parish, Northern Presbytery, 16 December 2018.
Rev Nigel Crocombe, minister Palmerston Dunback, Southern Presbytery, to minister Otorohanga  Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, 12 May 2019. 

Rev John Fraser Paterson, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu died 28 March 2019.
Rev Gavin Munro, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 3 April 2019.
Rev Denzil Brown, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu died 7 April 2019.
Rev Kora Tuaiti, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died  9 April 2019.


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.