From the Moderator
Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Christian World Service
From the Moderator
Mandate. Promises. Hope. Life.
“Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool, for the Lord our God is holy.” (Psalm 99:5)
We are experiencing extraordinary events in very extraordinary times. Covid-19 has dominated our landscape recently. The unseen foe assaults, suppresses and slaughters. We must stand strong together, aligned. Our strength and defence lies in trusting, serving, and helping each other.
In our nation’s general election, there was an unprecedented result in the majority victory for the Labour Party. Kiwis appreciate genuineness and efforts of compassion. The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, our Prime Minister, showed this in abundance: at the mosque killings in Christchurch, the devastation at White Island, and in the intrusion of Covid-19 on New Zealand.
In changing times, we stand on promises made and our hope for the future. Elections are built on promises. Our trust generates hope. We, as people of faith, understand this well. Our Christianity is all about promises and hope, in this world now and in eternity. In these extraordinary times of uncertainty, remember the Lord Jesus’ words: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
Stand firm in Christ our Lord and Saviour. Nothing in all creation will move you from your foundation.
Our lives have been shaken and unsettled. We have experienced the difficult parting from loved ones, families, friends, colleagues and neighbours. It is the most stressful and heartbreaking. Because of the circumstances, funerals have taken place with ten people present and no embraces or handshakes. It is very non-Christian like. But, we do our best. We share the love. We keep each other in prayer.
Our associations, our team, our comradery is changing. Folks move on from one job to another, change their situations, and pursue new opportunities. Life goes on. Go well with all our love and prayers.
Our Lord Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live”. (John 14-19)
From the Assembly Executive
Dear friends and colleagues
I was recently asked to provide some information on church statistics. It got me thinking… I wasn’t sure about the numbers for any particular year, but, understood trends and opportunities.
I read helpful material from the Church Property Trustees which included some great questions to reflect on, pray and discuss. I have listened to folk and read various opinions about how the Church needs to adapt due to Covid – adapt to cater for the things we have learnt, are learning and continue to learn… and maybe even adaption to suit what we have yet to learn.
There has been some very thought provoking material to engage with. As one person said: “I have learnt a difficult lesson: if we do not have a life without our building or our in-person Sunday gathering (because we have been so shaped by them – even down to our mission statement) – then maybe we have ceased to be a church”. “I have discovered,” - they went on - “We now have energy and time to be the church”.
I reflected on my words in July’s Bush Telegraph: “We are not going back to normal”. And as I noted then, my trust, confidence and hope in God’s gracious providence, working miraculously through human beings, remains.
Sounds like a great start to the adventure of a lifetime.
Our general election has taken place – and special votes wait to be counted. The Labour party has more than half of the seats and depending on the final count – may increase that majority. Let’s join in prayer for all those elected; for the Prime Minister and the government. For our national and local government officials, the road ahead will require qualities of compassion, calmness and preparedness.
Our Communications Associate Manager, Jose Reader, has accepted a new role as the Communication Manager for the Taranaki Regional Council. Jose has worked remotely for us for a number of years from Taranaki – so she now has the chance to work in her community. Jose has worked for us for the better part of 16 years – with a few years off for maternity leave – and has built some wonderful friendships over the years. We congratulate her on her appointment and acknowledge the contribution she has made to the Presbyterian Church during that time. She will finish with us on Friday, 6 November.
On Thursday 26 November, we will officially farewell Knox Centre Principal Rev Dr Steve Taylor. This will start at 11.45am at the Knox Centre. Following speeches, finger food will be served. If you are attending, please RSVP to the registrar, Susan Peters no later than 10am on Monday, 23 November.
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. In this season of annual meetings and possible changes to officer bearers, please pass on any changes to Grace so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate people.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Take care.
Ngā mihi nui
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
The PYM internship
Beginning the journey into youth ministry as a vocational calling is an exciting, rewarding and challenging adventure. Our Church desperately needs theologically trained, skilled, youth workers who are committed to professional development and who see their ministry in vocational terms. It is our hope and prayer that the PYM Internship will see a new wave and generation of youth workers and ministers take up positions of leadership in our Church.
The PYM Internship offers fantastic support for anyone wanting to pursue a call to ministry with young people through a Bachelor, Diploma or Certificate level training pathway. It is a collaboration between Presbyterian Youth Ministry (PYM), the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML), the local church, and a training provider. The PYM Internship combines formal academic ministry training through a recognised provider with an internship model of learning. Interns are placed in a local church, chosen in consultation with the intern, PYM and the local church where they learn.
Safety WOF training
Just a reminder that every person working with children and young people under the age of 18 needs to go through the Safety WOF training once every three years.
The training is divided into three sessions for you to run with your people. We suggest you run them over three evenings, but could be done in one day. The course covers:
- Ethical practices
- Health and safety
- 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. Learn more about the Safety Warrant of Fitness
National Youth Manager
Presbyterian Research Centre
New online parish collections
PRC staff have been continuing to work on the new Recollect Archives website. We have created sub-collections for all the presbyteries (both old and new) under the Parishes Collection and started to add some parish-specific content as an example of what can be done, for example East Taieri Parish.
We have so many records from so many parishes that we won’t be able to create these for every parish, but we are hoping that volunteers from individual parishes might be inspired by this and help us to create more of these specific collections. If you are interested in contributing, please contact us. This could be a great exercise for anniversary celebrations, or for churches that are closing.
We are working with the software developers to create a template for our Marriage and Baptism Registers, so also hope to make some of these available online within the presbytery sub-collections.
Join our mailing list
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Life continues to be challenging for our partners. In a recent Zoom conversation with the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, he confirmed that the financial situation for some sectors of the Church is becoming critical. Pastors in many of their synods are not being paid due to funds drying up. So, we have made a decision to fund these pastors’ stipends for two months, and will keep in contact about ongoing needs. While it is distressing to learn of the difficulties facing our partners, it is heartening to know that despite the many challenges we are facing this year, we are able to offer tangible support for their life and mission.
Wayne and Helen Harray are currently based in Wanaka and working from home. They are in daily contact with their students and staff at Tahan Theological College in Myanmar. It is still unclear when they will be able to return, but in the meantime they are keeping in regular contact and making the most of available technology to keep their work going. You can keep in touch with their news on their blog: www.helenharray.com.
The cyclone rebuilding support in Vanuatu is ongoing. Due to infrastructure, transport and communication challenges, progress with large-scale projects tends to be slow. However, within Santo Presbytery, work has begun on re-building the pastor’s house on Malo Island, and the Presbytery’s administration building. All four presbyteries and the PWMU, who are recipients of our appeal funds, are extremely grateful for the support we’ve offered.
A former General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, Pastor Fiama Rakau, died suddenly a few weeks ago. Fiama had also been Principal of Talua Theological College. He was well-known and deeply respected by all who served with him, and will be a great loss to the church and people of Vanuatu. On behalf of our Church, Moderator Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio sent a message of condolence to the PCV and family of Pastor Fiama.
Please let me know if you would like further information about Global Mission or want to invite me to share with your congregation.
Global Mission Officer
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
KCML welcomes Rev Dr Paul Prestidge as Ministry Formation Co-ordinator. This is a fractional and fixed-term appointment, teaching in mission and theological reflection as well as nurturing the formation of ministry interns in the Presbytery Central region.
KCML also welcomes five new national ordained interns whose call to ministry has been affirmed by National Assessment process.
National Assessment Weekend happened 26-27 September, after being delayed twice, due to the first and second lockdowns. KCML is thankful to all those who put their names forward and the National Assessment Workgroup, particularly the co-convenors, Dorille Shadbolt and Ken Williams, for their grace, flexibility and perseverance.
The period following National Assessment Weekend is always busy, as KCML works to organise ministry placements for incoming interns. In 2021, there will be nine interns, spread across four presbyteries. After two years of a smaller intake, it is encouraging to see an increase in those training for national ordained ministry.
Covid-19 has certainly made things like National Assessment more difficult. However, it has also brought change, as the Presbyterian Church embraces new technologies. This year Principal Steve Taylor has used video conferencing technologies to connect with session and councils, to discuss possible placements and introduce incoming interns. Connections between the college and various local churches have been strengthened, which we celebrate.
Spring blockcourse is programmed for 17-26 November (Covid-willing). It will be the first time KCML interns and faculty have met face-to-face since February. It will also be the first time new faculty like Rev Dr Fei Taulea’lea’usumai and Rev Dr Paul Prestige have been face-to-face in the classroom.
Again, we thank interns, faculty, supervisors and mentoring ministers for their grace and flexibility, as we have been forced online throughout the year for colloquium learning and our winter block course.
KCML graduation is Wednesday, 25 November and we celebrate the learning journeys of Matt Cave and Rob Williams. Learn more
Amid reduced staffing capacity, KCML continues to serve the wider Church. A summer course on Communication and Preaching in a Contemporary Context has just been announced. Geoff New is offering Preaching the Parables workshops in various presbyteries in November. Steve Taylor is providing input at Southern Presbytery and assisting them to trial online sacrament training. If other presbyteries are interested, KCML and Southern Presbytery would welcome further opportunities to test online learning in this area.
Recently, Geoff spoke about the wonder of preaching in an interview with Carey Principal, Dr John Tucker. Watch the interview here
Food is one of the most basic human rights. Yet the compounding effects of Covid-19, inequality, climate change and conflict are threatening more people with hunger. Last year the number of hungry people reached 690 million – and this is predicted to rise sharply through the pandemic.
This year’s Christmas Appeal focuses on sharing food. “When I was Hungry” is an invitation to join this 75-year-old Kiwi tradition.
In Fiji, Aarav who lives in the Nanuku settlement on the edge of Suva is a beneficiary of the Pacific Conference of Churches’ Food Bank.
CWS partners are supporting communities to grow more food, campaigning for fair wages and working conditions, and advocating for policies and practices to end hunger. We have been doing this work together for 75 years.
Christmas kits have been posted to parishes. If you did not get one or need more, contact Jordyn. Order posters, envelopes and service sheets today. Worship resources for Advent and Christmas Day will be on the website in early November. If you would like to talk to someone about the Appeal, email Eric or phone him on 022 377 6606. Please encourage your people to support this important appeal – it is a Presbyterian tradition.
Refugees reach out
Weeks after the August bombing of Beirut’s port, young refugees from the Dbayeh Camp are cleaning up the damage. Executive Director DSPR Lebanon, Sylvia Haddad, tells their story.
Please pray for Lebanon and support the Lebanon Recovery Appeal.
Give gifts of joy
More people are discovering the ease of buying ethical or charity gifts. CWS will send you a beautiful card or eCard in which to write your own message – and a contribution to the partner running the programme. Gifts come with a tax deductible receipt. Order catalogues from Jordyn.
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
Rural ministry survey
Rural parishes and individuals are invited to provide feedback to an Oceania International Rural Churches Association survey that is seeking stories of hope and information about how rural parishes have responded to these challenging times. Learn more
The 2019 Presbyterian Church statistics, including membership and financial information, is now available on the website. Read the statistics
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. Check out the website for available dates and contact details to make a booking. 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.
There are no updates to the Church Register this month.
Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more