October 2019

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

From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Global Mission
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Presbyterian Women
Presbyterian Research Centre
Christian World Service
Church Register

From the Moderator

Fifty years ago…
”Thousands were added to group that day. They spent their time learning, taking part in the fellowships…” (Acts 2:41-42) Such a magnitude of people, merging and joining our Presbyterian family, took place at the General Assembly of 1969 in Dunedin.

This event transformed both the Presbyterian Church and the Congregational Union of New Zealand (CUNZ). It was phenomenal, with 28 ministers, 15 churches and the majority of Pacific Islanders moving from one denomination to another. They took their gifts, dreams, aspirations, future and hopes into the Presbyterian faith community. It was a major event for all concerned.

In the CUNZ family, it was devastatingly painful and shattered their community. Today, it is still a huge disappointment. It is a plight on their history. The CUNZ are rebuilding, refocussing and moving on.

For the Presbyterian family, it was an out-of-this world experience: literally thousands were added to the Presbyterian Church roll and ministry. It was a transformational moment. The Presbyterians were already a big player in the Christian church landscape.

This event changed the Presbyterian Church to what it is today. We received the heart and bulk of the Congregational Union: preachers, ministers, lecturers and experience in Pacific region ministry. We received Pacific Islanders with all their languages, cultures, traditions and differences as Christians.

We also gained a position with the Council for World Mission, formerly known as London Missionary Society (LMS), due to the merger.

Both CUNZ and PCANZ recognise this event as worthwhile to commemorate. So, on Sunday, 3 November 2019, the exact day 50 years ago – that is what we will do.

We are planning worship services for our churches.

On Sunday morning services on that day, we urge and encourage your community to commemorate this event. Especially if your church have some experience of this historical journey. In the evening in Auckland at 4pm at Newton Presbyterian Church, there will be a combined service led by the CUNZ Chairperson and myself. Stories will be retold, memories recalled, and hopefully peace and gratitude to God acknowledged.

Come, you are welcomed. If at any major centre in New Zealand, you wish to gather for worship in the afternoon, please do so.

We live, we worship, to glorify God.


From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear Colleagues and friends

Over the past month, the days seem to be noticeably longer – brighter in the morning as I walk to catch the bus at 6.30am, and the chorus of the tuis welcomes the new day; to the evening where the call of the ruru drifts across our suburb – there is a time for everything.

The general secretaries of Council for World Mission member churches travelled to New Zealand and together with the Congregational Union, we hosted them for their meeting.

On the first day, we travelled to Ohope and were warmly received by Te Aka Puaho at Te Maungarongo.

After the powhiri and a short service, lunch was served and later some of the rich history of Te Aka Puaho was shared: the meaning and explanation of structure and carvings in wharenui provided wonderful insight and a reminder of knowing your story.

The feedback received was that this was one of the highlights of their visit. A time for everything…

At the end of that week hundreds of people gathered at St Columba Church in Auckland to give thanks for the life of our former Moderator, Very Rev Andrew Norton. In words, pictures, song and story we responded to a gift of life. There were tears, laughter, moments of quiet reflection and a message of hope. A time for everything…

And in early November we will remember the decision of the 1969 General Assembly. The report of the Special Committee on Consultation with the Congregational Union was received. The recommendations that were passed saw ministers and congregations of the Congregational Union received into the Presbyterian Church. This changed both denominations. A special service will be held at 4pm on Sunday, 3 November at Newton Pacific Islanders Church, Edinburgh St, Auckland to which all are invited. A time for everything…

Matters arising from Assembly
I wrote to all parish councils in March this year about GA18 feedback to proposed legislative changes, including a voting paper. Thank you to those who have already returned the voting papers. Parishes are encouraged to consider these proposals and return voting papers by 10 December 2019.

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 are 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.

Interchurch Hospital Chaplaincy Board vacancy
There is an opportunity for a Presbyterian person with professional skills; excellent board or governance experience and a passion for the work of hospital chaplaincy to express an interest in serving on the Interchurch Hospital Chaplaincy Board. Please contact me in the first instance for more details.

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services Board vacancy
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on this Board. We are looking for people to express an interest in serving in this way. Ideally greater Wellington based, the person will have a range of professional skills and strong empathy and support for Christian social services. Please contact me.

Change in staff
Last month Lynne our office administrator, concluded her employment. We have appreciated Lynne's attention to detail and her event management skills, as she kept the office in good working order, and did a good job advocating for caring for God's creation. We thank Lynne for her service over the past four years. Plans are in place to cover this vacancy.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we together seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God.


Global Mission

Vanuatu update
There’s a lot of activity happening in Vanuatu this month with two teams from St Kentigern’s spending time on service learning projects with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV). The students and their parents, led by Rev Reuben Hardie and staff at St Kentigern’s, will be spending time at two PCV schools and helping paint one of the church’s accommodation units in Port Vila (Sutherland House, for those who know). This is a return visit after a successful programme took place there last year. The St Kentigern’s teams will be accompanied by Neville and Gloria Jones who will be returning for two weeks to lend their experience and support.

In October a combined team from various North Shore churches will also spend time helping with a building project in Port Vila. You can read more about this and other news about our partnership with the PCV in the most recent edition of our Nambawan! newsletter.

Myanmar update
St Helier’s Church in Auckland is raising funds for nurse aid students’ scholarship fees; and Island Bay Church in Wellington has a fundraising project to help rebuild the dining hall at the Victoria Boarding School in Mindat. The dining hall was destroyed in a violent storm earlier this year. This is the same school that Petra Malcolm taught at for six months last year. Thanks to the members of these congregations and especially their youth groups who are working hard to raise these funds.

Remember that you can keep in touch with the news of Wayne and Helen Harray who are serving at Tahan Theological College in Myanmar on their blog: https://helenharray.com/

Global Mission acknowledges the contribution of the late Very Rev Andrew Norton to global mission. Andrew visited the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar several times and helped to establish what has become known as the Ricebowl Mission partnership. He also launched the Moderator’s Appeal for the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam caused widespread damage in 2015. Andrew was a strong supporter of our Global Mission and his presence will be sorely missed. We give thanks for his vision and leadership and what he contributed to our global mission and international partnerships.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Video-based Safety WOF Training
We are delighted to announce that the online, video-based version of our Safety Warrant of Fitness is ready for your church to use. The training is divided into three sessions, which we suggest are run over three evenings, but could be done in one day:

  1. Ethical Practices
  2. Health and Safety
  3. Recognising and Responding to Child Abuse

For each session there is a video, facilitator guide and a participant workbook. The training works like an alpha course: participants watch a video, pausing it periodically for group discussions or a group exercise.

Key Leaders' Retreat
PYM is inviting key youth leaders, who attend Connect 2019, to attend our Key Leaders' Retreat in Queenstown for FREE!  We will pay for one key youth leader per church. Additional key youth leaders, or those who did not attend Connect 2019, can still attend the retreat for $199. 

Why are we doing this? Research continues to show that key leaders play a vital role in the health and effectiveness of youth ministry. We see youth ministries thriving when a key leader has been in the role for 5 to 7 years+. The retreat aims to acknowledge, gather, refresh and equip key leaders from across the Presbyterian and Uniting churches.

Gordon Fitch
National Manager

Presbyterian Women

Alumni heros
As an alumni of the University of Otago, I was impressed to find that one-third of the 150 alumni heroes named in the University magazine were women.

I feel that I should share a few of these women heroes and their remarkable achievements. Unfortunately I cannot name everyone because of limited space, but here are a few of them.

  • Caroline Freeman BA (1885). “Became the first woman to enrol at the University and Otago’s first woman graduate. Freeman was committed to providing educational opportunities for other young women whereby she established schools both in Dunedin and Christchurch”.
  • Ethel Benjamin LLB (1897). “Was the first woman to be admitted to law school. She established a law practice, championing female clients and supporting women’s rights."
  • Emily Siedeberg CBE MB ChB (1896). “Was the first woman medical graduate and first medical practitioner. She set up her own practice in Dunedin and was actively involved in community work and issues affecting the lives of women."
  • Kathleen Anneui Pih MB ChB (1929). “Became the first person of Chinese descent to graduate with medical degree in New Zealand. Kathleen was born in China and came to New Zealand in 1908 with missionary Margaret Reid of Dunedin who adopted her. She worked as medical missionary at Canton Villages Mission."
  • Dame Silvia Cartwright DBE QSO LLB (1967) HonLLD (1993). “She was the first female Chief District Court Judge and the first woman appointed to High Court. She was the New Zealand’s second female Governor-General.”
  • Helen Margaret Reid QSO BSc (1948). “She was the first female Presbyterian minister in New Zealand. She is also the second woman and first ordained woman to serve as moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.”

The achievements by these alumni speak volumes about what women can do and contribute to our communities. It is an inspiring thought that I hope will keep us all motivated to contribute in whatever way we can to improve our New Zealand society.

Tausala Iosefa
Human Rights Convenor

Presbyterian Research Centre

We have been working closely with the Recollect software vendors, New Zealand Micrographics Services, to design our new Archives database and website. It offers a variety of features that will allow viewers multiple options to interact with content, and will allow us to make our taonga more visible.

Several donations and deposits have been received by the PRC over the last few weeks:

  • Hewitson Library received a set of The New Interpreter’s Bible from the late Rev David Grant’s library. The first volume includes Walter Brueggemann’s signature, which adds extra interest.
  • The Archives have received 57 boxes of records from the Church Property Trustees which are slowly being unpacked by staff.
  • A particularly interesting addition to the Archives is a couple of boxes of clothing and textiles collected and worn by early Presbyterian missionaries. They were used as display aids by Sister Christabel Waddell who was the PWMU travelling secretary in 1918. In the mid-late 1970s they were given to Alison Smith to use as mission themed props for Busy Bees. There is some beautiful embroidery and lovely fabrics, although some items reflect their history as dress-up items for enthusiastic children.

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, project updates or blog articles please sign up here.

CWS Notices

Christmas kits on the way
Every day Grandmother Farazia prays for her grandchildren in Uganda. She worries about their future. More than anything she asks that they will have clean water from their very own rainwater tank. She has already lost her own children to HIV and AIDS, but she is doing all she can for their children.

This year’s Christmas Appeal Give Water for Christmas – the essence of life is an appeal for people needing clear, safe water. If you would like a kit or more information about the 74-year-old CWS Christmas Appeal tradition, please contact CWS or phone 0800 74 73 72.  Order posters, envelopes and service sheet covers now. Worship resources are being added to the site in coming weeks.

Supporters’ Council
The annual Supporters’ Council will be held at St Peter’s Cathedral lounge in Hamilton on Saturday, 12 October from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Archbishop Sir David Moxon will speak on interchurch engagement in the pain of the world. Lunch is included.

Spring Story
Nerma is glad she took part in planting drives organised by Developers Foundation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Your donations helped make them happen. Hours of tree and root crop planting meant she had a food buffer for the eight-month drought. Read "We can do more". Further copies are available from CWS.

At last our new website is up and running. Look no further for presents and gifts. Choose something that will give a family the perfect gift, plus get a card or e-card to share. New gifts and the old favourites are available.

Bahamas Appeal
We ask you to keep the people affected by Hurricane Dorian in your prayers. ACT Alliance is working with churches to identify local needs. Donations can be sent to the Bahamas Appeal.


Ageing and spirituality conference
The Selwyn Institute is hosting its annual ageing and spirituality conference on 1 Nov in Auckland. This year’s agenda will focus on the many aspects of resilience, with presenters sharing their stories and secrets of success. Learn more about how to register, speakers and costs.

Research participants wanted
University of Canterbury PhD student, Jenny Brown, is researching the impact on mental health from ongoing insurance claims on homes following the 2011 Canterbury earthquake. To find out more or participate in the research, click here.

Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that from 1 October 2019 the interest rate paid on the Presbyterian Investment Fund is 2.5% (prior to this it was 3.25%). The Trustees have had to reduce the rate following recent reductions in the Official Cash Rate (which is now 1.0%). The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

Seasons of the Spirit lectionary resources
Seasons of the Spirit is an international curriculum. The curriculum year begins with Advent and is shipped out twice a year, and available in three different formats (print, CD and online). To download a free sample of each pack, please go to www.seasonsonline.org.au. Download a full catalogue on call Philip on 04 475 8855.

New book: In One Spirit by Dave Mann
Dave Mann, the originator of the Hope Project, has a released a new book on the need for greater Church unity. In One Spirit reflects and captures the essence of Mann’s conversations with over 1000 Kiwi pastors over the past eight years. Learn more

Spanz publication dates
Parishes and subscribers have recently been advised of a change to Spanz publication dates: Spanz magazine will be published twice in 2019 (April and November) and once (in May) 2020. Read more

Church Register

Receptions to the Ministerial Roll
Rev Susan Blaikie, Anglican minister, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, received 6 August 2019.
Rev Timothy Rose, Baptist minister USA, Northern Presbytery, received 6 August 2019.
Rev Clay Petersen De Oliviera, Northern Presbytery, received 6 August 2019.

Ordination and inductions
Rev Susan Blaikie, minister, Presbyterian New Parish Palmerston North, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, inducted  12 September 2019.

Changes in status
Rev Brendan O’Hagan, minister Blenheim Wairau Presbyterian Church, to other recognised ministry, Alpine Presbytery, 30 June 2019.

Rev Yvonne Smith, minister St Ninians Presbyterian Church Christchurch, Alpine Presbytery to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 23 June 2019.

Removals from Ministerial Roll
The following ministers have been removed from the roll 20 September 2019 under Book of Order ruling 10.32 (inactive in ordained ministry within the Presbyterian Church):

  • Rev Sook (Grace) Ryu, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Sung Kook Kim, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Bryan M Wade, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Henry Yau, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Keith Nisbet, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Chang-Ho Kang, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Kwang Jin Woo, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Sunday Tsoi, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Obed Unasa, Northern Presbytery
  • Rev Fyfe Blair, Southern Presbytery
  • Rev Max Reid, Southern Presbytery

Rev David Godfrey Brown, other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, resigned from roll, 29 July 2019.

Rev John Drylie, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, died 18 August 2019.
Very Rev Andrew Ross Norton, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery, died 9 September 2019.


Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and other events. Learn more


Check out our jobs vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table.