Note: This is the final 2021 edition of Bush Telegraph. We return with news from the Church in February 2022. Have a safe, peaceful and blessed Christmas and New Year.
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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Presbyterian Children and Families
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church Schools
Two months into the Moderator role there are a couple of things that I am noticing.
Stressed Out People
Moving around the country visiting churches and meeting up with ministers these last few weeks has confirmed to me that stress levels are high. There is uncertainty, anxiety, and anger. Those in church leadership positions - ministers and elders/parish councillors - not only share many of these feelings, but they are also having to deal with them in the people they pastor.
Much of this stress relates to the COVID situation but another trend is evidence of younger ministers and leaders burning out under the pressure from older parishioners and office bearers. We need our young leaders empowered, enabled and inspired - not disempowered, frustrated and disillusioned!
These times call for understanding of organisational behaviour, conflict resolution, strengthening of support networks, and leaders connected to God through spiritual routines. I urge leaders in our churches to focus on things like this as we work our way through such challenging times.
International Ecumenical Relations
As Moderator, I have found myself included in an interesting and varied array of international church networks. This has opened my eyes to what is happening in areas around the world, and made me wonder why there is not more awareness in the local church about what is happening globally.
Of particular interest is the courageous stand the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) takes on social justice. And I have also been impressed by the prayerful approach of both the WCRC and the World Council of Churches (WCC). In recent weeks I have been involved in a discernment process with the WCRC where we have been prayerfully considering a Christian response to the world-wide COVID crisis by gathering and praying through information from all parts of the globe; I was part of the discussion and prayer related to the Pacific region. And the WCC spent a week in November where the prayer focus was on New Zealand and Australia. Good stuff! If, like me, you have been disconnected from these kinds of things, you could get onto the email lists for organisations like this via their websites and receive their interesting and thought-provoking communications.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues,
I have been reflecting… I have had time to do so recently as I have had some health issues which have seen me at the Emergency Department in the wee small hours of the morning. Reflection comes easily in such places.
We thought 2020 was a year like no other; 2021 showed us many things have been turned upside down. We have faced lockdowns, restrictions, mask wearing, limits on travel within the country, closed boarders - the list goes on. Normal seems a strange concept and nothing seems to be the same. Anxiety, restrictions, division and fear are words we hear and realities we face.
The angel spoke to Mary and then Joseph, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news, great joy which will be for all people everywhere. Today in the town of David a Saviour is born and this Saviour is the Messiah. He is the King, he is the Lord.’ Then the angel says, “Here is the sign that will enable you to recognize him. You will find this baby, wrapped in rags, laid in a feed trough.”
It is ironic because in our day, whenever you see a ‘nativity scene’ on a card or in a shop window, it always looks so neat! We live in a messy world.
Jesus shows up in the messiest places. No power. No money. No fanfare. No applause. No headlines. Born in a barn, wrapped up in rags, surrounded by animals, entrusted to a poverty-stricken young couple. The alpha and the omega enters into human history wrapped in obscurity and poverty and humility. There is no place he will not go, because there is no thing he will not do, because there are no depths he will not descend in order to bring God’s power, love, grace, peace, goodness and his presence to anybody who will have him.
God is not afraid of a mess. He started life dressed in rags, laid in a manger and ended his life in a mess, wrapped in rags and hung on a cross. In between, he mostly hung out with some pretty messed up people. He kept loving them and embracing them and teaching them about a better way. Jesus goes to the cross - taking on himself the mess of this world, the mess we can never straighten out.
What kind of God comes to messy places? A God who loves every person so much that he would send his son as a gift – the Saviour of the World.
Reflecting… and grateful for medical staff, specialists and care. And grateful for Immanuel – God with us - in this messy world.
Special Assembly 2022
Dates for the Special Assembly in 2022 have been determined - Wednesday 27 April to Saturday 30 April. The Special Assembly will have the same Commissioners as the General Assembly that met online in September. More details will follow.
Minutes from the online Assembly
The Council of Assembly has approved the minutes from the online 2021 General Assembly and these can be found here on the website.
See here for a variety of Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand information on the Church website.
From the Assembly Office team
On behalf of the whole Assembly Office team, thank you for your prayers and support during the year. Please know your phone calls and emails of support have made a huge difference to staff in what has been a challenging year. Blessings and we look forward to serving and supporting you in 2022.
Assembly Office holiday closure
The office will close on Thursday 23 December 2021 and reopen on Monday 10 January 2022. For any urgent matters over this time, please contact me on my mobile.
Ohope Marae, Te Maungarongo Working Bee
From 7-14 January 2022 you are invited to participate in a working bee at Ohope Marae, Te Maungarongo. You can arrive anytime within those days and enjoy fellowship and a working holiday. There is no cost to stay at the marae, only a contribution towards meals. Limited numbers. The marae committee hopes that all who intend to come will be fully vaccinated. If you are interested, please email Honey Thrupp.
Ngā mihi nui
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Save the Date - Connect National Youth Leaders’ Conference 2022
The last time we ran our flagship youth workers conference was in 2019. It seems a lifetime ago that we gathered in Ohope as a community of youth workers, ministers and elders who share a youth ministry kaupapa . With the nation moving into the new traffic light system, we have confidence that we will be able to run the Connect conference, but at this stage with the uncertainty of exactly how the traffic light system will work, we cannot yet confirm it will happen in 2022.
With this being said, we have provisionally booked a couple of different venues in two different parts of the country during the July school holidays. We have booked both the 14-16 July and the 22 –24 July in different cities. After observing the roll-out of the traffic light system, conversations with experts and stakeholders, we will make an announcement on the 21 Feb, which will clarify if we are going to run Connect, and if so where and when.
We know you understand there is much uncertainty in the country at the moment and why we are not able to announce a date and venue for Connect at this time.
The PYM Internship
If you know someone who is thinking about training to become a youth worker or youth pastor then please get in touch with Matt Chamberlin to talk about the PYM Internship.
The PYM Internship offers fantastic support for anyone wanting to pursue a calling in ministry to young people through a Bachelor, Diploma or Certificate level training pathway. It combines formal academic ministry training through a recognised provider (Laidlaw College, Carey Baptist College, Otago University and Praxis) 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. See here more info.
Past Connect Online Videos
And if you are keen to watch the recordings of our previous Connect Online trainings from 2021, you can find more here. This year we had sessions on:
• Setting up your ministry to thrive
• Young Adult Ministry Essentials
• Intermediate Ministry Essentials
• Transitioning well, moving on from Intermediate and High School.
National Youth Manager
Presbyterian Children and Families
Kia ora e te whānau
As another calendar year concludes, the beginning of the church calendar commences with the anticipation of the coming of the Christ child throughout the next four weeks of Advent. I pray this season will be a time full of hope, both for you and those you minister to and with.
Advent and Christmas
As we begin our journey through the Season of Advent and move toward Christmas, we point you to a collection of resources we have collated for you. These include resources from friends in our Aotearoa context, as well as ministry friends abroad. You will find the list of resources on our website: Advent and Christmas. We particularly point you to this FREE resource put together by our friends from ‘mainly Ministries,’ which can be used in either a home or gathered church whānau setting: Christmas Resource FREE – mainly Ministries New Zealand.
For those of you still considering a Christmas Pageant, we have collated a number of skits both for in-person as well as online use. Please find them on our website: Christmas Skits.
New Associate Director of PCFM appointed!
We are very excited to announce the appointment of Karo Wilson as our new Associate Director! Karo will begin with us in the New Year, on 2 February. She is currently serving as Children & Youth Pastor, Weston Presbyterian in Oamaru. She will continue in a reduced local role while pairing that with the part-time national role. Please join us in prayer as she prepares to join our national team.
CFM Job Vacancies
We have a new section on our website which lists local church CFM role vacancies across the country: Local – Presbyterian Children and Families Ministry. If you have a role you would like advertised, please send it to us.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you and yours,
Robin Humphreys (M.Div)
Presbyterian Children and Families
It feels like we have been in a season of loss in the past year. As I look back over Bush Telegraph articles from the previous 12 months, I have reported the deaths of several key figures, both past and present in our mission partnerships. We have lost former PCANZ missionaries as well as senior figures in our partner churches. Covid-19 has had an impact here, taking the lives of respected church leaders in Myanmar and India. So, I approach the end of a challenging year and the season of Advent with this sense of loss, balanced by gratitude for those who have served well and left legacies of faith and commitment that have inspired many others.
I mention that it has been a challenging year, and this is true in many ways. The effect of Covid-19 on Global Mission has been significant. While we have adapted and maintained contact with our mission partners via Zoom calls and Facebook/WhatsApp messages, it is inevitable that there has been a loss of some momentum. However, on the positive side it has given partners time to pause and reflect on what they believe God is calling them to in their local contexts, and how they envisage global mission relationships going forward. A recent Council for Development conference, attended by many mission and development organisations, affirmed the belief that things cannot go back to the way they were pre-Covid-19.
I have frequently mentioned Myanmar in Bush Telegraph articles this year. The situation there continues to be dire for Presbyterian Church members and their communities; please continue to uphold them in prayer as they endure a desperate struggle for the peace and democracy so cruelly taken from them in the military coup on 1 February this year.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to support our Global Mission partnerships; may you experience the joy and peace that comes to us in Jesus Christ as we journey through Advent to Christmas and a New Year in 2022.
Global Mission Director
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
We (i.e. Press Go, presbyteries, KCML) have received a good number of applications for Forge which commences in February 2022. A lot of work has been accomplished to get the project to this point.
Preparations are commencing for our next NOM block course in January and February. This is our longest block course of the year and will be a combination of online and in-person training.
Seeking a Project Co-ordinator
We are also in the process of advertising for a Project Co-ordinator for the Ministry Development Plan and National Assessment Workgroup administrative tasks. Details can be found here.
Yours in Christ
Rev Dr Geoff New
Dean of Studies/Acting Principal
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church Schools
This is Part 2 of a series on the work of our Church school chaplains. This time I’m focusing on their work with staff. Our schools range from hundreds of staff to around 20, but all come under the care of the chaplain.
Teaching is a complex activity, and the most important thing educators bring to their work is their heart, passion and connectedness. Sadly, these qualities are often overlooked in our current educational climate with its focus on objective, quantifiable outcomes.
Every day the teachers in our Church schools do this vital and demanding work. They care deeply, and keep finding ways to connect with their students, trying to work within a data-driven system that drives them in another direction. They bring passion to their work in schools as well as skill, plus deep wells of inner strength and spirit.
Thus, it is vital that our chaplains’ roles go beyond supporting students to working with and being there for the staff including those in non-teaching areas. Barry Kelk, who I quoted last month, has said that one of his core tasks is to be chaplain to the principal. In a time of increasing complexity and pressure in the education sector, the chaplain provides prayer support and a listening ear to school leaders as they grapple with difficult decisions. Their position, slightly outside the mainstream but with knowledge of the school, makes them an ideal confidant.
Chaplains serve the staff in many other ways. Joce Kearney of St Orans, who is also retiring soon, is well-known for providing meals for staff in crisis. Chaplains make sure they are present in the staffroom at breaktimes to have those random conversations or furtive bookings for a quiet chat later. In these ways and more, chaplains benefit staff of our Church schools.
Stephanie Wells (Rev)
Director of Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office
Today I write about Presbyterian Woman Aotearoa New Zealand and why we exist. We are an autonomous body within the Presbyterian Church and speak on social issues from a Christian women’s perspective. We have made submissions, appearing before select committees at Parliament.
We are an important voice working to empower women through our participation as a recognised group with governmental and NGO bodies. Presbyterian Women are active in promoting gender equality through participation in the National Council of Women, United Nations Association, and the International Caucus of the Ministry for Women. We join with representatives from other Christian traditions in promoting a faith-based perspective in these contexts.
Joining with the Methodist Women’s Fellowship, Presbyterian Women contributes to annual mission projects within and beyond Aotearoa.
We belong to the International Ecumenical Women’s partnership through which we keep in touch with faith-based women’s organisations around the world.
Presbyterian Women has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Our UN Convenor attends this global gathering taking a delegation of women with her, and hosts a parallel event.
Presbyterian Women take a Special Collection on the Sunday nearest to International Women’s Day each March to support the ongoing advocacy role of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand locally, regionally, and internationally. The generous contributions of congregations and individuals to this campaign are acknowledged with gratitude.
Presbyterian Women Aotearoa NZ
Sharing our year
2021 has presented us with immense challenges. It has also given us new opportunities, positive change and highlighted the blessing that we can be to one another.
We continue to work towards our mission of achieving a just and compassionate society, that honours te Tiriti o Waitangi. We remain particularly committed to engaging with issues that relate to the impacts of poverty and exclusion, children and families, and our older people. We have been particularly interested in working towards a food secure Aotearora, where everyone has dignified access to enough good food.
To achieve this we advocate, collaborate and lobby for change. We weave stories, bring change makers together, publish reports and make submissions, advise government, and feature in the media. You will find examples of many of these things on our website.
Some highlights this year have included:
- Being a loud voice for the needs of our membership, and those they serve, in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and equity.
- Extensive work in relation to raising awareness of the critical shortage of nurses in aged care in Aotearoa.
- Making a range of huge steps towards dismantling food insecurity in Aoteaora, including developing a mana-enhancing framework for food sovereignty.
- Sharing the voice of those we serve through submissions on cycles of disadvantage, gambling, immigration, hate speech, housing, children’s rights.
- Collaborating with and providing leadership to the Tenants Advocacy Network.
We know that we have huge, systemic challenges facing us. We know that the coming year is likely to be equally as challenging. We also know that Christmas is a time of hope, a time where we acknowledge that change is possible and hope is real.
Merry Christmas from NZCCSS.
President and Presbyterian Representative
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
We are ready for Christmas, to share stories of people who have found joy and justice because of your support! Please give generously to the 2021 Christmas Appeal.
Much in Muneeswari’s life has changed since she sought help from the local women’s sangam or association. She has a small home and food rations for her family from the government. Her employer has tripled her pay and she received a public apology from her abusive supervisor. Trained by CWS partner, the Women Development Resource Centre, she is standing up for the rights of Dalit women.
Special thanks to Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway for his endorsement and to Revs Sharon Ross Ensor, Richard Lawrence and Alistair McBride for preparing the worship resources. There are posters in 10 languages, prayers, stories, liturgy, images, a service sheet for each Sunday, children’s ideas and six short videos available on the website.
If you would like a speaker, please email David Lawson, phone 021 671 430.
Will fruit trees stay the most popular gift for 2021? This Christmas choose a gift that will bring joy for a family who needs food or care. We’ll send you a beautiful card to pass on (or choose the e-card option) and a tax-deductible receipt. Find your gift at www.gift.org.nz . Order catalogues from firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 74 73 72.
The CWS office will close at noon on December 24 and reopen on January 10, 2021. If there is a humanitarian disaster, check our website. Emergency contact: email@example.com
Thanks for working together this year. Happy Christmas!
Murray and team at CWS
Presbyterian Day of Prayer 5 Dec
On 23 November 2021, Moderator Rt Rev Hamish Galloway wrote to parishes to invite Presbyterians around the country to pray for our nation on Sunday 5 December. Watch his worship resource video and read more here.
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 will increase from 1.0% pa to 1.50% pa from 1 January 2022. The interest rate on the PIF Long-Term Fund remains at 3.0% pa plus inflation. Rates are subject to change. The PIF is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For details on the Long Term Fund or further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett. The Trustees wish everyone a blessed Christmas and joyful New Year. Our office will be closing from 5pm on Wednesday 22 December and re-opening at 9am on Monday 10 January 2022.
Glen Innis holiday home for ministers
To ensure a safe environment for all guests, visitors, residents, and staff, we require all eligible guests (currently those 12 years and older) at Glen Innis Station to be fully vaccinated. Proof of full vaccination will be required on booking, and any additional visitors will need to confirm their vaccination status with the Holiday Homes manager prior to their arrival. While on the farm, we ask that visitors stay two metres away from farm staff, and out of any equipment sheds. Check in and departure, where possible, will be contactless. Please contact Glen Innis if you have any queries. Learn more
Study Theology 2022 at University of Otago
The Theology Programme at the University of Otago are committed to serving Christian communities throughout New Zealand and offer many opportunities for the study of Christian Theology, both on-campus and through the distance study programme. Enrolments for Semester 1, 2022 are open. For details see here.
Summer School University of Otago Theology
A new Summer School paper (10 January - 18 February 2022): PAST 323/MINS 415 Christian Ministry in Te Ao Māori (The Māori World), with an Intensive from 17-21 January at Te Rau College, Gisborne. Taught by Rev Dr Wayne Te Kaawa. There are many other papers, including postgraduate programmes. See more. Email any queries.
For any queries concerning the Church Register, contact Kate Wilson.
Reception to the Roll
Rev Greta Müller (Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa), other recognised minister, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 28 October 2021.
Rev Chris Milham, minister Dannevirke - Knox Presbyterian Church to other recognised minister, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 15 November 2021.
Rev Steve Jourdain, minister Palmerston North – St Alban’s Presbyterian Church to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 28 November 2021.
Correction to the November Bush Telegraph: Rev Paula Levy, minister Gisborne Mangapapa Union Church to other recognised minister, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 1 October 2021 (not Alpine Presbytery as stated).
Rev Kimi Henry, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 10 October 2021.
Rev Bill Francis, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 18 October 2021.
Rev Allan Smith, minister emeritus (Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu) 27 October 2021.
Rev Fania Talagi, local ordained minister Parnell - Knox Presbyterian Church, Pacific Presbytery, 25 October 2021.
Rev Charles Naylor, minister emeritus (Alpine Presbytery), 13 November 2021.
Rev Barry Ayers finished as moderator Alpine Presbytery, 3 October 2021; Rev Andrew Nicol is acting moderator.
Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more