December 2020

From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Children and Families
Global Mission
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church School
Legal and Compliance
CWS Notices
Church Register

From the Moderator

The next frontier …

Jesus said, “...and I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. (Matthew 28:20).

The end of this unprecedented and strange year is the beginning of a new decade. There will be changes and there will be continuity in many areas of our lives.  

The PCANZ existence is experiencing many changes - locally, regionally and nationally. Covid-19 will continue to be in our lives. There are things within our control and there are always many things beyond our control. What is beyond us we can address in the New Year.  What is within our means, let us move on it.

We are in a crisis situation with a shortage of ministers, both NOM (Nationally Ordained Ministers) and LOM (Local Ordained Ministers). Promote challenge and encourage your sons and daughters to heed the call to this honourable vocation. Talk about it in your circles, in your families, your churches, your communities, and your home.

We are at a crossroads with the future of KCML, our denominations place of education and formation of future leaders. There has been a review undertaken (TELT) that can be accessed and viewed, to seek clarity on. The decision on this major, historical part of the Presbyterian community will be made at the General Assembly 2021. Council of Assembly does not make this decision. You, we, make the call collectively after deliberation, prayer, and consultation.

We are in a dire situation with our churches. First and foremost, remember that our churches are places of worship, fellowship, education, growth, and all things Christian. Focus on the word and prayer over programmes and socialising. Keep balance. The church is not a club but a sacred place for worship. Entrust every part of church life to the Holy Spirit and be guided always by the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Let us keep each other in our prayers and our thoughts. Keep going in Christ. We are never alone. Take care and stay safe. Merry Christmas.  Blessed Season of the baby Jesus.


From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear friends and colleagues

Usually at this time of year – well, for the past six years, and this year would have made it seven – I would look out my office window, see a large Pohutukawa, and await its flowering. The tree was in a carpark between Assembly Office and the southern bypass. But not this year. Earlier this year, it was cut down. We returned from lockdown to find it gone. A stump remains. Possible redevelopment of the space awaits, we are told.  I have been reflecting on this, and also on this year. The things we have seen and experienced, and that have impacted our lives. 

We have learnt that a lot of things we thought were essential and non-negotiable have been questioned. We have learnt we can work from home; we can conduct meetings via the likes of Zoom; we use more tools to communicate with our neighbours, friends, wider whanau and congregations. We have had an opportunity to learn again the value of people and relationships. We have relearnt the value of some of the simple pleasures of life. We can put those learnings into practice as we and members of our families face challenges, including: employment issues - downsizing, unemployment; health challenges; and training or education challenges.  

Maybe we have also learnt that some of the chaos and frenzy we call busyness throughout the year, or at this time of year ‘tradition’, needs to be questioned. Shopping ‘til we drop, Black Friday sales, crowded malls…the list goes on. For some years now, I have purchased ‘gifts’ from a charity we have supported for over 35 years. Each gift has a card explaining how the gift will make a difference in the lives of those who will receive it. Instead of money being spent on folk who genuinely have all their needs met, these gifts offer hope and life to those who have little or nothing. Simple.

I am reminded of the words found in Luke 12.48…”To whom much is given…much is required…”

It would be easy to make this a once-a-year action…the challenge is to make this a daily way of being. 

As I reflect on this year, I have been greatly encouraged by those who continuously respond to the challenge to share the Good News of Christ in their communities – in a rich and varied number of ways. That rather than an event or series of events, it is a complete way of life.

For me, as December begins, I plan: to be captured again by the biblical infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke; to allow time to dwell richly and allow the Spirit of God to speak into my life; to take seriously the opportunity to spend more time in prayer and live that out by acting justly; to give and receive loving mercy and walk humbly with our God.

As you walk through December my encouragement is, may the simple message of “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14) be to the forefront of all you do.

General Assembly 2021
I refer you to the advice from the Moderator and I sent last week concerning General Assembly 2021.

First round of voting for Moderator-designate
Early in the New Year, parish councils will receive information concerning the new process for electing the Moderator-designate.

Deadlines for reports, proposals and recommendations to 2021 General Assembly
Following consultation with the Assembly Business Workgroup convener, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by next year’s General Assembly. All material must be received by Friday, 19 June 2020. 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 decision supporting presbytery participation in setting of the Assembly agenda.

New Acting Principal for Knox Centre
I am delighted to advise that Rev Dr Geoff New, Dean of Studies at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, has been appointed Acting Principal of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. Geoff takes up the role 21 December 2020.

From the Assembly Office team
On behalf of the whole Assembly Office team, thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement and support during the year. We wish you a Christ-centred Christmas and look forward to serving and supporting you in 2021.

Assembly Office holiday closure
The office will close on Wednesday 23 December 2020 and reopen on Monday, 11 January 2021. For any urgent matters over this time, please contact me on my mobile.

Ngā mihi nui

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Connect 2021 11-13 June @ El Rancho Waikanae...we hope 
Please put the 11-13 of June 2021 in your diaries for Connect  at El Rancho, Waikanae. Due to Covid-19, we don’t know if the event will be able to go ahead but please plan on it happening. We will make an announcement 1 Feb 2021 if we will be going ahead with the event. Whether we go ahead with the in-person event or not, we have six online training evenings planned for 2021 and we look forward to sharing information on these events in the future. 
Safety WOF updated 
We have had tremendous feedback on the Safety WOF video training we created so congregations can train their own children & youth leaders as required by the PCANZ Child Protection Policy. 
We are delighted to announce that the WOF training just got a bit shorter. We have worked to simplify the Code of Ethics training section. Check out the new training video.  
Emerge Leadership Formation Video Course 
Our ministry vitality depends on our leadership capacity. We need to create a strong culture of invitation, discernment and leadership development throughout the Church. This year we have been working hard to develop Emerge. It is a free two-year video-based leadership formation programme, aimed at creating a culture of servant leadership in our young people (Year 11+), developing their character, competency and sense of calling. This two-year course has six sessions per year (12 in total). 

Participants will:

  • Gain clarity about their gifts and skill sets, 
  • Gain understanding about their personal calling and have the opportunity to grow in that calling,
  • Connect with potential mentoring figures in their specific calling where possible, 
  • Grow a deeper connection, sense of belonging, and participation with their local church.

The course is super easy to run and can be led by a volunteer youth leader in a church, done in partnership with other churches, or run as a regional or presbytery-wide training. Learn more.

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Presbyterian Research Centre

Presbyterian Research Centre staff promoted the new Archives website and a selection of Hewitson Library resources at the Southern Presbytery gathering in mid-November. The main gathering was held in Alexandra, with satellite gatherings held in both Gore and Leith Valley, Dunedin - we had one representative at each site. It was certainly a great opportunity to talk to people who were unaware or unsure of what we have to offer (it also illustrated that it is easier to get the attention of a small group rather than a large crowd). We plan to investigate the possibility of attending other presbytery meetings in the future. 

In collection news, the Archives have just received a box of photos, publications and other archival material relating to the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMC) at Ludhiana, Punjab in India. This included a photo album recording Beryl Howie’s farewell from the hospital. Dr Howie was a PCNZ-funded obstetrician who, as part of her role, helped to train “Lay Urban Health Workers” in antenatal care and went on to have a major impact on maternal-child health around the world. By coincidence, our Digital Content Curator, Jennifer Jeffery, has just written an article about Dr Howie for both the December 2020 Touchstone and also our Archives website.  

If you are not on 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.

Jane Thomsen

Presbyterian Children and Families

Welcoming a new team member…

As Advent begins and this year comes to a close, we announce, and warmly welcome, Diane McKinstry as our new Associate Director! Based in Whangarei, Diane and her husband have found their church home at Hope Whangarei. With her background in teaching and early childhood, Diane has been walking alongside families, professionals and volunteers for 35 years. Her passion is to engage, equip and encourage faith communities to grow together in Christ. She comes to us with a passion for intergenerational ministry while working toward a graduate diploma in Applied Theology through Carey Baptist College. We welcome her and the gifts that God has given her. We particularly look forward to the opportunities that will emerge with team members now located both in the North and South Island! Please join us in upholding Diane in your prayers as she begins in this new role.

Grace and Peace,

Robin Humphreys
Director, Presbyterian Children and Families

Global Mission

I made the observation in the February edition of Bush Telegraph that, “…2020 was off at full speed” - how quickly that changed. It’s been a long and difficult year, and with regard to travel and global mission work, it’s very hard at this stage to know how 2021 is going to turn out. 

However, while plans changed and much remains on hold, we have been able to offer significant support to our partners in their time of need. More than $80,000 was raised for the Moderator’s Cyclone Harold Appeal and the funds for this are still being distributed as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu works its way through their rebuilding programme. 

In the past month, we have sent $25,000 to the Church of North India to support their health board’s outreach to low socio-economic members affected by the impact of Covid-19. We have been able to send a similar amount to the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, to provide emergency funding for pastors in rural synods who have not been paid due to financial constraints caused by the pandemic. So, although we are currently unable to be physically present with our partners, we have the financial resources to offer some relief to those who need it, and it is reassuring to know that this gives them much encouragement. 

Going forward, 2021 remains uncertain, but we will continue to monitor the situation with our active Global Mission partnerships and be alongside then in whatever ways we can as they face ongoing challenges. 

Please let me know if you would like to consider inviting me to visit and share with your congregation next year. 

For those interested in reading the latest Council for World Mission newsletter, it can be found here.

The simple phrase “Happy New Year” carries a lot more meaning at the end of a year that has brought much challenge and change. I take this opportunity to thank those who have supported Global Mission throughout the year, and wish you a peace-filled Christmas and restorative break over the summer. We all move forward with the prayer that 2021 will bring hope for a better future, both here in New Zealand and around the world. 

Phil King
Global Mission Director

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

We have completed our Spring Block Course for NOM interns. This included several modules held over from our Winter Block Course, which could not be taught online at the time. 

Our Spring Block Course was notable for a graduation and a farewell; Matt Cave and Rob Williams graduated and we held a farewell for our principal, Rev Dr Steve Taylor. We honoured his ministry among us with a lunch event, with tributes paid by a variety of speakers. Steve’s last day at KCML is 18 December. Peace, grace, and blessings to you Steve as the Spirit draws you into new seasons and spaces.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Presbyterian Church Schools

St Andrew’s College is the next school in my series about Presbyterian Church Schools around Aotearoa New Zealand. Situated in Christchurch, it is an independent school for girls and boys, from Preschool to Year 13. The boarding establishment hosts both boys and girls (Years 9–13), including international students. 

St Andrew’s was founded by Rev Alexander Thompson, who served the British and Foreign Bible Society in New Zealand and Australia as well as setting up the Flying Doctor Service. His passionately stated ambition to “educate the sons of the Presbyterian and Scottish community in Canterbury” led to the purchase of an expansive property called “Strowan” a year after the school started in 1917. The beautiful homestead from this period remains at the centre of a much-expanded campus. The prominence of the Scottish thistle, St Andrew’s cross and Ferguson tartan in the uniform and promotional material, plus the importance of Highland pipes and dancing, are signs of this heritage. The Centenary in 2017 highlighted many of these. 

However, tradition has not held back innovation. In 1991 girls were first invited to join the College, making it now the only independent co-ed boarding school in the South Island. In 2007, Christine Leighton was appointed the first female Rector. The devastation of the 2010–11 earthquakes led to many new buildings, including an award-winning Centennial Chapel, boarding houses and classroom facilities. 

The school’s website proudly states it is a Christ-centred Presbyterian Church School. They are also clear about their connection with the PCANZ, while making sure those from other faiths and beliefs feel welcome. Their founding values of truth, excellence, faith, creativity, and inclusivity flow from this background. 

Further information may be found on the school’s website.

Stephanie Wells (Rev) 
Director of Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office 

Legal and Compliance

On 1 December 2020, the new Privacy Act 2020 (the Act) comes into effect. The Act carries across many of the same principles that previously existed, but there are some changes. The key changes are: 

  1. If an organisation has a privacy breach that has caused (or is likely to cause) serious harm to someone the Privacy Commission must be notified. Affected people should also be notified. 
  2. The Privacy Commissioner can issue “compliance notices” which require an organisation to do something, or stop doing something. 
  3. The Privacy Commissioner can make binding decisions on information access requests. 
  4. There are limitations on information being disclosed to an overseas organisation. The new Act also has extraterritorial effect, meaning it applies to overseas. 

Privacy is an important issue for any organisation that collects, uses, or discloses personal information. “Personal information” means information relating to an identifiable individual. It could be someone’s name, a photograph of a person, contact details, or a record of someone’s actions. For churches, this could include a church directory, pastoral information, or employment information. 

When a church gathers personal information, they normally need to get permission from the person concerned. The church should be clear about what personal information they are gathering and what they will use it for. The church cannot normally share your information without the affected person’s knowledge or approval. When a church holds personal information, they must let the person concerned see it whenever they ask. Churches also need to make sure personal information is accurate and is kept securely. When they no longer need your information, they need to safely destroy it. 

There are details and exceptions that apply in some circumstances. If you are unsure about the privacy rules, there is also helpful guidance on the website of the Privacy Commissioner. You can also seek advice from me.

Matthew Hague
Legal and Compliance Director

CWS Notices

When I was Hungry 
Aarav knows hunger. Covid-19 has made life harder for his family in Fiji. Thankfully, the Pacific Conference of Churches is providing produce from their Food Bank to the Vunalagi Book Club who make him, and other children from Nanuku, lunch. PCC is one partner supported by this year’s Christmas Appeal doing Gospel work – feeding people who are hungry. 
It is 75 years since the first Christmas Appeal began in war-ravaged Greece. The Appeal has touched the lives of many people. Now, Covid-19 has pushed many more people into hunger. We appreciate your prayers and support in promoting this appeal for people who are hungry. Watch and share the video. Use the worship resources. Share the partner stories. Please respond to people’s need for food with love. Contact Jordyn, 0800747372 for information, envelopes, posters or service sheets. 

Give Gifts of Joy 
Giving gifts can be a challenge. You will find something different in our Gifted range, and support a family to find joy. Stuck? Buy the popular, Send a Child to School so Haitian children can enjoy primary education. 

You choose a gift and we send you an attractive card you can share with family and friends. Order cards by 14 December so they arrive before Christmas. E-cards are available any time. 

Our office will close at noon on Thursday, 24 December and reopen on Tuesday, 5 January. It is cyclone season in the Pacific. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for urgent news.

Thank you for your support in 2020. It has been a hard year for many. We pray for you, giving thanks for your compassion. May you find connection and meaning as we work together to share God’s love with the world. 

Happy Christmas! 
Pauline McKay and CWS staff


Open Home Foundation - foster in the Wairarapa
Open Home Foundation (OHF), a Christian community response to foster care, is looking for a foster parent couple, particularly in the Wairarapa. Board payment would reflect a foster parent being available at all times. OHF would consider renting a home for you. Training, social work support, in home support and respite care provided. Contact: Ella Retter on 027 488 9715 or E Website:  

New book available
Out of the Blue: A Guide Through the Journey of Grief and Healing is a new book by
Mary Redmayne. The book, grounded in nature, includes photographs, prayers, and poetry to support the text, along with Bible quotes, and suggested songs. Cost $24 and can be ordered by email

Summer course: Preaching and Communication in a Contemporary Context
From 15-19 February 2021, Dr Paul Windsor and Rev Dr Geoff New will teach an intensive course in Dunedin on "Preaching and Communication in a Contemporary Context". The course is jointly offered by Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and the Theology Programme at University of Otago. The course is suited to both new and experienced preachers and a contribution to course costs is available for Presbyterian ministers who are in good standing. Learn more

Presbyterian Investment Fund
Deposits and withdrawals can be processed as normal during current alert levels, observing the requirement to provide advance notice for major (>$100,000) withdrawals. The interest rate paid on the PIF On-Call Fund is currently 1.75% pa and the interest rate on the new PIF Long-Term Fund is 3.0% plus inflation. The PIF is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

Glen Innis holiday home for ministers
Ordained ministers are entitled to a week's free holiday accommodation each year at Glen Innis Station, south east of Waipukurau in Hawke's Bay. Note that both houses have had dishwashers installed. Stays are running from Monday to Sunday to allow 24 hours between guests to allow for a deep cleaning. Check out the website for available dates and contact details to make a booking. Learn more

How does your church compare with others using Digital Technology in 2020?
Connecting Up and TechSoup New Zealand have released their annual "Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector" report for 2020. It includes responses from NZ churches and aims to better understand how not-for-profit organisations are using technology, see where improvement is needed, and use technology to achieve mission. This year's edition provides valuable insights into how the not-for-profit sector has handled the technology challenges of COVID-19. For example, the religious sector spend 40-50% less on IT per FTE than the average not-for-profit; 46% of not-for-profits have now moved to the cloud, but do not have ways of actively monitoring information security and cyber risks. Download the report.

University study: church responses to COVID-19 wanted 
Researchers are exploring how churches responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly during the lockdowns. This first phase of the research explores how churches adapted their worship, mission and ministry practices during the lockdowns; what motivated those responses; and the extent to which churches have continued these new or adapted practices post-lockdown(s). Ministers/faith community leaders are invited to participate, one per church. Participants will be anonymous in results. Questionnaire might take up to 30 minutes to complete.  Access survey here:  Please direct any questions to: Dr Lynne Taylor, Theology Programme, School of Arts, +64 3 479 5358, (Project has been reviewed and approved by University of Otago)

Church Register

Changes in Status
Rev Dr Paul Prestidge, from minister, Miramar Uniting Church, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu to Ministry Formation Coordinator, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, residing in Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 15 November 2020.

Rev Hamish Galloway, from minister, Hope Presbyterian Church, to minister Cashmere Presbyterian Church and The Village Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, 1 October 2020.

Rev Pauline Stewart, from minister, St Helier’s Church & Community Centre, to Other Recognised Minister, Northern Presbytery, 14 September 2020.

Short-term appointments
Rev Donald Fergus, from Stated Supply St Andrew’s Takaka (ending 15 September 2020) to Stated Supply St Martin’s Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, 19 October 2020.

Rev Nancy-Jean Whitehead, from Senior Active to Stated Supply St Alban’s Uniting Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 1 November 2019.

Rev Hadyn Pirie, Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, died 30 October 2020.


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


Check out our job vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table for the latest vacancies available in Aotearoa and around the globe.