March 2021


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
Presbyterian Women
CWS Notices
Church Register

From the Moderator

Build up the community of Christ

“I pray Father, that they be united just as we are”.  John 17:11.

In the Lord ’s Prayer, it is very clear that Jesus desires for his followers to be united. This hope and desire for all Christians, all generations, has not changed. There is always the yearning for Christians to be united... but it appears this is not everyone's plan and intention.

Sadly, emphasis and energy are given to denomination loyalty, prioritising it over the unity of all Christians. This how Christianity appears in New Zealand and across the world: the 'building up' of denominations over the building up of the unity of Christians. 

At the recent Waitangi Commemoration Service, I saw a picture of unity: the working together in unison of the gathered Church leaders/representatives. There was a wonderful atmosphere, a peaceful presence.  

This month there will be a Forum for Christian Unity in Wellington; there seems to be a growing emphasis on the need for Church leaders/representatives to work together. But just how serious is the question of Christian unity to the people in the pews? 

I believe this is where we really can make a difference for the Lord’s Kingdom. Your local churches and people belong together for Christ. Be involved in your local scene. Participate and know your community. Help each other in the unity of the body of Christ. That is where we must put our energy and our emphasis as Christians. 

If we are not united as Christians, we stand apart from one another; we allow our differences to push us apart. What unites us is Jesus Christ, the love of God. Christianity is his dominion, his Kingdom. 

Are we building our denominations as a priority above the unity of Christianity? We must look carefully again at this – which comes first, Christ’s Kingdom or denominational realm? 

Jesus’ prayer was for his disciples. Today you are his disciple. The Lord prayed that we be united.


From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear friends and colleagues

I am writing this not long after our COVID Alert Levels were moved upward by the NZ Government. The recent changes in alert levels remind us afresh of the uncertainty of the challenging times in which we live. Maybe our more recent experience of living at Level 1 has caused us to forget what we learnt in lockdown last year. 

As I have been reading, listening and reflecting on the past year, four things have struck me. Firstly, this will not be the last pandemic nor the last disaster we face. Secondly, even while some of us in the “developed” world were insulated, billions of human beings have been living with vulnerability whilst much of the world paid minimal attention to their plight. Thirdly, human beings are far more dependent on God and one another than we acknowledge in times of affluence and ease. Fourthly, we should not want to simply return to what we called ‘normal’ in past years; it was a time when many injustices were not addressed. 

I am reading various parables at present – and today’s happens to be from Luke 10. Jesus asks, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The teacher of the law replies, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live”. Life giving words for challenging times…

COVID alert levels

For information you require – please see our website.  

First round of voting for Moderator-designate

All parishes have received information concerning the first round of voting for Moderator-designate. There are changes to this process as a result of decisions made at Assembly 2018. It is important parish councils read the background information paper as they prayerfully consider the matter. Names have to be submitted to presbytery clerks by Friday, 9 April. To assist those who are being asked to prayerfully consider offering themselves for this role, a background paper is included in this information.

General Assembly 2021

The 2021 General Assembly will be held from 29 September - 3 October 2021 at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch.

Commissioners to Assembly

Pursuant to Book of Order 8.16 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery. Presbytery clerks and administrators will be working to determine this process for appointing commissioners.

Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly 2021

Following consultation with the Assembly Business Work Group convener, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by this year's General Assembly. All material must be received by 5pm Friday, 18 June 2021. 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’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.

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.

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 of 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.

Ngā mihi nui

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Connect – National Youth Leaders Conference update 

On 5 February we announced that due to safety concerns, we will not be hosting Connect our national youth leaders’ conference in-person this winter. Read the full announcement.

Connect Online 

First session is 7pm - 8:30pm Monday 15 March 2021, via Zoom, from wherever you are in the country. Register Here
This is the first of several Connect online trainings of 2021. In this session, we will look at what we can do to set up our ministry to thrive in this uncertain time. During the training there will be time for group discussion. We encourage leaders from the same church to sit together in the same room, perhaps have a meal beforehand, and chat amongst themselves during the group discussion time. For leaders participating alone, we will use Zoom breakout rooms during the group discussion. After registering, you will be emailed information on how to attend the zoom training. 

Future Connect online dates for your calendar: 

  • 15 Mar, Setting up your ministry to thrive 
  • 10 May, Young Adults 
  • 12 July, Intermediates 
  • 13 Sept, Transitioning well, moving on from Intermediate and High School. 
  • 8 Nov, Helping parents win 

These are our provisional topics. We may change topics if circumstances require us to tackle a different topic with urgency. 

General Assembly – Young Adults Commissioner Programme

Each presbytery is entitled to send six young adult Commissioners (18-30) to General Assembly. Young adults who represent their presbytery will be expected to engage in the Church’s national, regional, and local courts from March 2021- October 2021, including attending the General Assembly from 29 Sept to 3 Oct at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. Please recommend any suitable, potential young adult Commissioners to your presbytery.

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Presbyterian Research Centre

As part of COVID-19 recovery work, the Government is funding the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme until June 2022. COVID-19 has helped underline the importance of the public being able to access the internet for information and services without cost being a barrier, and therefore, the Hewitson Library is now able to offer a couple of extra full-text databases from 1 April 2021 until 30 June 2022 at no charge to PCANZ. These databases will be accessible via the EBSCO online resources link on the Hewitson Library website from 1 April:

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre Plus;
This database combines Australasian magazines, newspapers, newswires, biographies and reference books to create the largest collection of regional full-text content available to libraries in Australia and New Zealand.

MasterFILE Complete;
This database offers the largest collection of popular full-text magazines, reference books and other highly regarded sources from the world's leading publishers. Covering virtually every general interest subject area, it also includes an extensive collection of photos, maps and flags.

If you would like any further information about these, please contact us at  

The Archives remains very busy with a Royal Commission inquiry, so responses to non-urgent enquiries may be delayed. 

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 Research Centre 

Presbyterian Children and Families

As we continue our journey through Lent, we are reminded of the importance of families journeying together through this season. This year our newest team member, Diane, created a resource that is being used to guide families or whole churches through Lent. As it’s never too late to guide our families in this journey, click here for the ‘The Season of Lent’ resource on our website. We are encouraging that this resource be used particularly to encourage parents with faith formation in the home. For instance, there is a page created for each week of Lent, which could be distributed to the families in your church as a whole, or could be handed out each Sunday of Lent for use at home during the week. While this resource translates well to a faith-at-home setting, it can also easily be used in a church setting on a Sunday morning or alternative. 

We will post throughout Lent, both on our Facebook page and our Instagram account. Follow along and most importantly, have a blessed Lenten journey!

This month we begin a series sharing the 5 ‘Matters’ of Children and Families Ministry, written by Cheryl Harray (before her retirement in November 2020). 

These are Cheryl’s reflections and highly recommended resources, beginning with the first ‘matter’:

1. Life-long Faith Matters - II Timothy – Paul shares wisdom with Timothy Passing on faith is core to the church’s purpose. Keep a long view of discipleship in your church from babies to older adults. Understand the “whys” before launching into the ‘how and what’. No one-size-fits-all. No recipe. Listen, plan, practice, review. Two excellent websites with a HEAP of resources being added to all the time: here2stay from Australia, Lifelong Faith from the USA.

Lenten Blessings
Robin Humphreys & Diane McKinstry
Presbyterian Children and Families

Global Mission

Top of the list this month is the military coup in Myanmar which has had a devastating effect. Since 2015, the people of Myanmar enjoyed new freedoms under the first democratically elected government in Myanmar. While far from perfect, it was a vast improvement on the former military regime - and good progress was being made. The coup is a major setback to that progress. Arrests of political leaders, violence against peaceful protesters, and internet blackouts all raise grave concerns for the safety of the Myanmar population. 

With other international partners, we are maintaining a close eye on developments and have been in regular contact with the leadership of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, sharing collegial encouragement and pledging our ongoing support. Our Moderator Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs thanking the New Zealand Government for their statement condemning the coup, and calling for a swift return to democracy in Myanmar. He also offered our support by sharing any information that might be relevant for the Government response. 

Of course, this new development has a serious impact on Rev Helen and Wayne Harray who have been working at Tahan Theological College in Myanmar. While currently back in New Zealand, they maintain regular contact and continue to work remotely as much as possible. They recently updated their situation on their blog

We are maintaining contact with our partners and supporting them as much as possible in the circumstances. Our financial support for cyclone rebuilding projects in Vanuatu is ongoing and this work that will continue throughout the year. 

It was good to recently share in a service at St Ninian’s Church, Blenheim and meet Vanuatu RSE workers who worship there. It was a reminder that although Covid-19 has had a massive impact on our work, we are still involved in significant and effective missional relationships with our partners.

Phil King
Global Mission Director

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

February saw the successful completion of the Summer Block Course for National Ordained Minister interns, with five new interns as reported in last month’s Bush Telegraph. Feedback was very positive and we are delighted with the way the new interns integrated with those beginning their second year. It is very encouraging to see the calibre of women and men being formed to serve in this way. It was also a pleasure to work with the Department of Theology at Otago University, collaborating with Paul Windsor in Preaching and Communication in a Contemporary Context.

In March, we look forward to connecting with other PCANZ national team members, and representatives from each of the presbyteries, as we work together responding to the leadership formation needs identified by the presbyteries last year. 

Other work streams include: working with presbyteries on ongoing Local Ordained Minister formation; following up with those leaders received from other denominations; and connecting with key stakeholders around the country.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies/Acting Principal
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Presbyterian Church Schools

Queen Margaret College, Wellington, is the next school in this Presbyterian Church Schools series. Queen Margaret (better known as QMC) is an Independent College split into four parts; a co-ed Preschool for 3-4 year olds, a Junior School for Years 1-6, Middle School for Years 7-10, and Senior School for Years 11-13 girls only. In 2018, QMC opened a boarding facility on the school grounds. The forty students housed here were the first since previous boarding accommodation closed in 1950.

Queen Margaret College was founded by the Very Rev Dr James Gibb, and the Honourable John Aitkin, in 1918. (see last month’s column for more about them). Their intent was “to provide for girls a sound intellectual and moral education, and to build up strong Christian character on a broad religious basis and thus produce the best type of girlhood and womanhood”. The College attracted a starting group of fifty-three.

QMC took over the house at 53 Hobson St, first leased by the Presbyterian Church in 1915 for the establishment of Scots College, and has remained on this inner-city site ever since. The house was built in 1873 with the striking tower added in 1878. It was the city base of T C Williams, son of missionary Henry Williams, and his wife Anne (formerly Beetham) until 1912. 

Queen Margaret College is named after the queen consort of King Malcolm III of Scotland in the 11th century. Margaret is known for her deep personal faith, her intellect in a time when few could read, her strength of character in reforming the Scottish Church, her resilience during an often tumultuous life, and her many charitable works. Such qualities inspire QMC’s declaration they are for “passionate learners, resilient women, future leaders”.

For further information see the QMC website.

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

Presbyterian Women

This year began following a Christmas season when we were able to meet and mix freely with friends and families. We were able to enjoy and be blessed by participating in our Christmas season with all the many services and activities that our congregations and communities share together. It was easy to forget that we were still in COVID Level One restrictions - unless we were personally affected by the struggles of New Zealanders wanting to return home and waiting for a place in Managed Isolation. And yet those workers, mostly women, who lost their work due to the first round of lockdown are still daily affected by loss of income. While the economy is doing better than expected, it is those who are often the disadvantaged in income - women, Maori, and Pasifika - who are again being left behind as our country recovers from the economic impacts of COVID-19.  Let us remember in our prayers and in practical ways those who are struggling in everyday life at this time.

I have been caring for an elderly friend who recently needed to go into hospital level care in a rest home. Along with her nieces, I have been visiting daily and bringing her extras - little treats - and keeping in-touch with the caring staff at the rest home. Sunday evening, I went back to the rest home to let her know that no one could visit for at least three days as under Alert Level Two restrictions the rest home operates at Alert Level Four to keep their residents as safe as possible. The days I cannot visit will be some of the longest I have endured as I keep my friend close to my heart and in my prayers along with the other residents and staff at the rest home. It truly is a time to be kind.

Ruth Steven
PWANZ Administrator

CWS Notices

Memorial Service for Barbara Stephens

A memorial service for former CWS National Coordinator Rev Barbara Stephens will be held at Durham Street Methodist Church, Christchurch, 2pm, Sunday 21 March.

The Christmas Appeal

“For I was hungry and you gave me food” Matthew 25:35a
We encourage you to share our new video during your Sunday service this week or next, and post the link in your newsletter or on your website.  If you would like a copy of the video, please contact Jordyn.

Please remind treasurers to send in donation information (remittance form at the bottom of the page) promptly so we can send receipts in good time. 
If you would like someone to speak at a service or discuss ways you can fundraise for people who need enough to eat, please contact Eric Park, Relationships Coordinator, 022 377 6606.

Gifted E-cards - Apologies

Our apologies to anyone who experienced problems with e-cards at Christmas. The plug-in is fixed and you can order a Gifted e-card or attractive gift card without problem. Choosing a gift is one way to mark the season of Lent (which began 17 Feb) through the traditional practice of giving alms 

World Water Day

In Uganda Specioza is very excited. After a lot of prayer, hard work and saving, work has begun on her new rainwater tank.  If the rains come in March, she will have fresh water in time for World Water Day on 22 March. Thank you for supporting the Christmas Appeal, the Special Project of the Methodist Women’s Fellowship and Presbyterian Women Aotearoa NZ, and through Gifted. You will be able to follow her story through social media: on Facebook or Twitter. See how your gifts get transformed into clear, safe water.


Churches and changing Covid-19 Alert Levels

See what the current alert level means for your church on the Government Covid-19 website, alert level 3 and alert level 2 , and see the PCANZ website Covid-19 information for churches.  

UCANZ Forum, 16-18 April 2021: Hear what the CVs are saying to the Churches

The Biennial Forum will be held at El Rancho near Waikanae Beach, Kapiti coast, from dinnertime 5.30pm Friday to lunchtime Sunday. A shorter Forum but a full programme featuring workshops, games, drama and speed-dating! See more information 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 is currently 1.75% pa, but will fall to 1.0% pa from 1 April 2021. 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 further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

Read the publications of the Church’s ministries 

The PCANZ's ministries, finance department and Church Property Trustees, all produce and publish a variety of publications. To learn more, read or subscribe to the publications, check them out here

CCS Disability Action needs caregivers in Christchurch 

CCS Disability Action is in desperate need of safe and nurturing short term or long term caregivers for their very special children and young people across the Christchurch region If you are interested in welcoming a child into your family, call them to find out more about Shared Care or Foster Care on 0800 227 900.

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. Stays are running from Monday to Sunday to allow 24 hours between guests to allow for a deep cleaning. Check out the website for video tours, available dates and contact details to make a booking. Learn more

Saint Kentigern scholarship opportunities

Church school Saint Kentigern Auckland has “many scholarship opportunities for students entering the College in Year 9 in 2022. We are really keen to reach out all over New Zealand to young people who demonstrate excellence in any area, who uphold the Saint Kentigern values, and demonstrate an outstanding attitude with a clear vision of their ‘Future Me’ and the contribution they would like to make to the world.” Scholarships are available for students who demonstrate outstanding achievement and attitude in the areas of academics, sport, performing, and visual arts. Applications close Monday 5 April 2021. Read more and apply

Church Register

Removals from Roll Book of Order 15.27, (1) (n) 

Rev Pauline Stewart, St Helier’s Church & Community Centre, Northern Presbytery, 4 February 2021. 

Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries 

Rev Manoa Havea, Methodist Minister, to St Paul’s Union Church Taupo, Kaimai Presbytery, 6 February 2021.


Rev Wallace Bruce Murray, Minister Emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 22 September 2020.

Kate Wilson
Compliance Support Officer


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 and featured ministerial vacancies for the latest vacancies available in Aotearoa and around the globe.