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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 School
From the Moderator
I want to acknowledge the tremendous work that went into doing our online GA last month. It was a massive tech job pulled off at short notice – thank you to that wonderful team. And then there was the adaptability and insight provided by those who fashioned what we could and could not do in terms of business. And then those who joined online with such good grace and encouragement. Thank you!
The address by Theresa Cho from St John’s Presbyterian Church San Francisco, our keynote speaker for the online GA, has caused quite a lot of comment and discussion in the Church. I asked Theresa to talk about intergenerational connection. She is well respected for her work in this area. I had listened to her speaking on this topic in various settings and was impressed. I did think that the intergenerational theme was a unifying one – something we could all really agree to get in behind! I did not expect her to talk about gender, sexuality and either/or vs both/and theological thinking. However, upon reflection, and based on my own observations, these three areas of gender, sexuality and how we think spiritually are key discussion points in the way the Church connects with the younger generation. I am very keen for us to have this conversation. My hope is that as a Church we can bat up against what Theresa has said in a constructive manner, addressing how we might deal with these issues in our own context.
At the time of GA21, my new Empowering Generations website was launched. It is designed to provide stories and resources in our quest for intergenerational connection in the Church. Please have a look at the website here and I invite you to continue to connect with it as the content grows.
Finally, these are challenging Covid times. I read an article that other day that spoke of the three Cs of Covid-19 response – change, care and community. The need to adapt to rapid change, the need to care for our neighbour, and the need to protect our communities from division. May that be our prayer too.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues
Since the last edition of Bush Telegraph the General Assembly has been held online.
Events and circumstances moved quickly and we adjusted from an in-person Assembly to a reduced online Assembly. While decisions to agree to that course of action were not taken lightly and were done with due care, the ability to turn those decisions into reality required huge adjustments for many people. Some well-planned aspects of the Assembly were placed on hold: local arrangements team and volunteers were no longer required; a new venue and tech team – both on site and remotely - were required; new systems needed to be trialled and training offered; work with report writers and a re-ordering of business needed to be worked through; new timetables produced; and thoughtful and prayerful consideration given as to how this new experience would work and engage Commissioners. Our outgoing and incoming Moderators faced a very different Assembly than they were thinking about just a few weeks earlier. Our Moderator designate likewise!
As we worked through those days, I found myself on a consistent basis giving grateful thanks for so many people: the people who adjusted and changed and adapted to these new circumstances; people who volunteered and named others who could also assist; people who researched and discovered technology that could provide all we required, was simple for us to use and ensured integrity for things like our voting, and who discovered and solved issues as we planned so we could provide an experience for Commissioners and those who watched via livestream; for the people who worked behind the scenes and across the country to assist Commissioners and ensure that what we were involved in together meant we could attend to matters well.
I was and am extremely grateful for those who prayed. Please be assured this was deeply appreciated. To all who made possible our General Assembly online – thanks team.
Special Assembly 2022
The Assembly agreed that all matters not attended to at General Assembly 2021 will be the business of a Special Assembly in 2022. More information about this will be available in the next three to four weeks.
Minutes of the Assembly will be approved by the Council of Assembly at its meeting in November and available on the Church website shortly after this.
Appointment of new Complaints and Disputes Manager
The General Assembly agreed to a number of changes to the Book of Order. One aspect of these changes related to Chapter 15. These changes were adopted ‘ad interim’ and come into effect immediately.
In light of this, Council of Assembly has appointed Anne Edgar to be the Complaints and Disputes Manager, this role is as required under Book of Order, Chapter 15.
Anne will have responsibility for implementing the process including: appointing Complaints Assessment Committees, Disciplinary Commissions and Appeal Commissions.
Contact details for Anne can be found on the Church website.
Covid-19 updates and advice
Following the Government announcements on Friday 29 October, the Council of Assembly is taking advice – including from the Book of Order Advisory Committee – and will communicate further in the coming weeks
In these days and times - Noho ora mai and kia tupato, kia noho haumaru.
Ngā mihi nui
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Connect Online – Helping Parents Win, Monday 8 November 7-8:30pm on Zoom
We know that the strongest predictor of life-long faith in our young people is if they have faithful parents who are active in teaching and modelling faith to their children. This makes sense; while we only get 1-2 hours max a week with a teen, parents have the opportunity to do so much more. As youth workers we need to remember that we are not the heroes in a young person's story, our primary job is to help support parents in their God-given role to nurture faith in their children. That being said, supporting parents, especially if you are not one yourself, can be a daunting proposition. In this Connect Online – Helping Parents Win we will equip you with great insights and resources that can help you to help parents to win. Join us for this really important conversation. Register here
Past Connect Online Videos
If you are keen to watch recordings of our previous Connect Online trainings from 2021 you can 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.
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. More info here.
School Leaver Resources
We’ve looked through the different resources and articles on the web to help churches think about their year 13 students moving out of school. On this page on our website we share some of the best content we have found. If you have any other resources you can recommend to your fellow youth leaders, please let us know and we will add them to the page.
National Youth Manager
Presbyterian Children and Families
Kia ora e te whānau
These times are challenging for many and particularly hard on families. Many have asked what our recommendations are for those in Alert Level 2, regarding ministry to children. Please see our website for our most recent advice - Level 2 Guidance for Ministry to Children.
We encourage you to have a number of planned options for ministry to children and families. As we’ve experienced in the past, the change in alert levels can happen quickly and we want to be well prepared for what may come so that our ministry to and with children and families in our communities can continue.
Advent & Christmas Resources
As we near the Season of Advent beginning on 28 November, we want to lift up one recommended resource to you. Our friends at ‘mainly Ministries’ have put together a FREE resource that can be used in a home or gathered church whānau setting – Free Christmas resource – mainly Ministries
Praying for Children through the year
For a number of yearsPresbyterian Support NZ and Presbyterian Children and Families Ministry under the PresCare banner, have produced resources encouraging our congregations to pray for the wellbeing and flourishing of children. Presbyterian Development Society are generous supporters of this initiative.
This year’s ‘Praying for Children’ week of August 22-28 unfortunately coincided with the first week of our nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and meant that congregations weren’t able to make full use of the resources. Read more here Praying for Children – Presbyterian Children and Families Ministry about how you could make use of the Praying for Children resources Seeds of Love – resources for the journey of life and faith anytime during the year.
Deep peace of the son of peace to you and yours
Presbyterian Children and Families
It was good to bring greetings from some of our partners, and share Global Mission news, during the recent online General Assembly. I appreciated the positive feedback received. In addition to what was shown during Assembly, I recorded longer interviews with India and Myanmar, these are well worth watching if you have the time. The longest video is 25 minutes. You can view all the videos here.
The political situation in Myanmar continues to become more serious as the county spirals into a civil war. There has been an increase in military presence and activity in Chin State, with a subsequent increase in violence and internally displaced persons as villagers are forced from their homes. Houses and churches are being burnt and civilians are dying. There still appears to be no political will from the United Nations or ASEAN to intervene in this growing humanitarian crisis. At the time of writing I am arranging a meeting to assess how international ecumenical partners can continue to offer solidarity and support to the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar as the situation becomes ever more fragile.
You may have read reports about increased tensions in the Taiwan Strait as China has become more aggressive. There has been a show of strength both by their air force, and in their rhetoric that Taiwan must be reunited with mainland China. Please remember our friends in the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan in this politically unsettled time.
As a result of decisions at their General Assembly in August, the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu will have new personnel in leadership positions from 1 January. And although the Covid-19 situation is still unclear, expressions of interest regarding English teaching at Talua Theological Training Institute are invited. It would be good to hear from anyone who may be interested when the situation improves.
Global Mission Director
New Board members
General Assembly appointed two new members to the PressGo Board - we welcome Rev Ian Guy and Rev Ivan Martinez. They replace Jenny Flett and Mareta Matenga who have come to the end of their terms. I would like to acknowledge here their dedicated service and the time, energy and insight they have given to their roles.
The Board will meet for the final time this year on Tuesday 23 November. If you have pending applications for a Presbyterian Foundation application, please make sure they reach us before 1 November for consideration this year.
Give it a Go grants
There are still a few Give it a Go grants remaining - these are considered at any time. If you are planning a new Halloween-alternative, White Ribbon Day or Christmas event, or even Neighbours’ Day 2022, now would be a good time to apply. For application forms and guidelines contact Lisa Wells.
Forge Pioneer Course
PressGo is pleased to be partnering with Alpine Presbytery, Presbytery Central, and KCML in launching the new Forge Aotearoa pioneer / explorer programme which will run online and on-site in 2022. Check out the website here.
The Forge Pioneer Course is a spiritual formation and training process for those who sense that God might be leading them into creating new expressions of church. Forge Aotearoa brings one-off events like Coracle under its umbrella and, in time, it will provide wider networking, mentoring and training. This is a very exciting time for the Church and we are hopeful that this course will fill a gap for people with a ministry calling outside of our established pathways to ordained ministry.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Spring Block Course
We have not long finished our Spring Block Course for NOM interns. Given the Auckland alert level – we held the block course entirely online. As people will appreciate, most of two weeks online takes a lot of energy and engagement. Both lecturers and interns are to be congratulated on their commitment to make the best of the situation.
New course for leaders February 2022
We are delighted to announce a new course starting in February 2022 for leaders exploring mission and new ways of being church. It is under the “Forge Aotearoa” umbrella, a newly formed collaboration with Alpine Presbytery, Presbytery Central, and PressGo. It is a 10 month programme, with a mix of face-to-face weekends, online community and mentoring. See further details here. Applications will include an interview process, and close mid-November 2021. You can email applications here.
Yours in Christ
Rev Dr Geoff New
Dean of Studies/Acting Principal
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church Schools
School chaplains: Rev Barry Kelk
School chaplains are key to the work of our Presbyterian Church Schools, but they are often seen as the “poor cousins” of ministry. So, for the next few issues of Bush Telegraph I want to shine a light on who they are and what they do.
Rev Barry Kelk is retiring at the end of this year after eight years as chaplain at John McGlashan in Dunedin. He has based his chaplaincy on the Scripture; “the Word became flesh and went out into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14, The Message). To him, the chaplain’s role is to go into other people’s spaces. This can often be uncomfortable as you are forced to work outside the church structures and within the rules of another institution, but is the call of chaplaincy.
Barry declares that chaplains are “privileged to be the obvious spiritual figurehead and to be seen as a leader”. However, this means these men and women in our Church schools are expected to have a faith that is real and values that are genuine. (Nobody is better at sniffing out hypocrisy than a teenager!)
Chaplains, in Barry’s opinion “bring a Christian spiritual edge to the special character” of the Church school. They are the visible reminder, in an organisation pulled in diverse directions, of the Presbyterian heritage and spiritual values they claim. Chaplains can also remind the wider Church that we should be encouraged by the bulk of our teens, and excited by the challenge and potential of the rest.
As a Church, how can we support the chaplains in our 12 Presbyterian Church schools? We can get to know them and their schools. We can pray for them. And we can take heed of Barry’s plea that we “remember we (chaplains) exist and honour this ministry”.
Stephanie Wells (Rev)
Director of Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office
Virtual New York hui: Climate change as it affects women and girls
The 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) will take place from 14 to 25 March 2022. The priority theme is, Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes, with a review theme on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work - assessing progress on the agreed conclusions of the 61st session.
Presbyterian Women Aotearoa is one of the international non-governmental organisations invited to attend the session. We enjoy this incredible privilege because of the foresight and persistence of Jane Prichard and others who made an application for special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, which we have held since 1998.
The event will be held virtually, with opportunity to participate online with women from all parts of the world. Ecumenical Women at the United Nations will host an online orientation with women of faith, including our sisters in Presbyterian Women, Presbyterian Church USA. Within Aotearoa, the Ministry for Women provides daily updates available to all NGO participants about the progress of member state negotiations.
If you have ever thought about attending CSW this is an ideal time to get a taster of the experience from the safety and warmth of your own home. Social media hashtags #CSW66 or #EWCSW66 will be increasingly populated with information about events.
Be part of the delegation
If you are interested in being part of a delegation from Aotearoa to the virtual CSW66 in March 2022, please email Mavis Duncanson.
Critical United Nations climate talks begin on 31 October in Glasgow. Find resources for prayer and action on the Global Prayer and Action Chain for Climate Justice website, supported by members of ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) including Christian World Service. Please pray for those attending COP26 and for strong action to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. CWS welcomed the Government announcement of an increase in Climate finance.
Read and share a story from René and his family in Nicaragua after they received an emergency food parcel and seeds after last year’s double cyclones, A Blessing Came to Us.
Thank you for donating to the Afghanistan Appeal, providing humanitarian assistance to displaced people. Please keep them in your prayers.
Buy a life-changing gift that will bring joy and justice this Christmas. Your gift is a donation to the local partner running programmes in their community. When you order a gift, CWS will send you a quality card to pass on or choose the e-card option. Some churches and groups find Gifted works best for them. Take a look at the website for more gifts or information. Order extra catalogues with your Christmas Appeal order or call 0800 74 73 72.
CWS is focusing on joy and justice this Christmas at a time when the combination of Covid-19 and climate change is causing huge challenges to people’s health and crippling family economies. If you would like a kit, or someone to speak at a service, please contact Jordyn at 0800 74 73 72 or email us. Please order printed resources here.
We are grateful to Revs Sharon Ross Ensor, Richard Lawrence and Alistair McBride for their contribution. Resources are available on the website or email us.
Church resources White Ribbon 2021 from Very Rev Ray Coster, White Ribbon Ambassador
White Ribbon NZ Ambassador Very Rev Ray Coster will be in touch with all parishes this month prior to White Ribbon Day 25 November to offer resources he has prepared for this year’s White Ribbon theme – “Shine a Light on Violence Prevention – Whiti te rama”. As well as worship resources, there will be the opportunity for parishes to request a limited number of PCANZ White Ribbon beeswax Shine a Light prayer candles. See more on the 2021 White Ribbon NZ theme here.
PSNZ Shine a Light on Family Violence Prevention – Zoom Webinar 25 Nov
Presbyterian Support NZ, through its Presbyterian Support Northern Shine (specialist domestic violence service) offers a White Ribbon Day introductory family violence webinar titled ‘Shine a Light on Family Violence Prevention’. Learn about the complexity of domestic violence, issues such as coercive control and entrapment and more. PSNZ hope the webinar will be “a way of enabling people within our congregations to engage with the PCANZ’s commitment to foster safe and loving homes”. Webinar presenters: Margaret Fitzgibbon (PSN Shine Team Leader FV Education, DVFREE and Professional Community Training) and Mira Taitz (PSN Shine, Senior Family Violence Educator/Trainer). Webinar date: White Ribbon Day, Thursday 25 Nov 4:45 pm – 5:30 pm. RSVP by Thurs 11 Nov here. See PSN White Ribbon resources.
World Council of Churches: Care for creation and climate justice resources
Care for creation and justice are at the centre of WCC's work on climate change. See their resources for churches here and advocacy by WCC and its churches COP26, "Pacific islands in peril, local churches' leader stresses before COP26".
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 remains at 1.0% pa. 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.
Glen Innis holiday home for ministers
There are Nov to Dec 2021 dates available for ordained ministers entitled to a week's free holiday accommodation each year at Glen Innis Station, south east of Waipukurau, in Hawke's Bay (as Covid-19 alert levels allow). Please note you are required to bring your own linen. Check out the website for video tours. Please contact Glen Innis if you have any queries. Learn more
General Secretary World Communion of Reformed Churches
The World Communion of Reformed Churches is seeking a committed, compassionate, and visionary leader to become its next General Secretary in Hannover, Germany. Candidates must be members in good standing of a WCRC member church, fluent in English, and have theological training including an advanced degree. Previous management experience, pastoral and cultural sensitivity, and the ability to provide spiritual leadership are essential. See more.
For any queries concerning the Church register, contact Kate Wilson.
Rev Roxy Gahegan, stated supply minister to minister Ellerslie/Mt Wellington – St Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Kaimai Presbytery, 15 August 2021.
Rev Peter Willsman, from senior active to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 7 June 2021.
Rev Alistair Smales, from senior active to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 7 June 2021.
Rev Sharon Ross-Ensor, other recognised minister, ended stated supply at Hamilton Chartwell Cooperating Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, 12 September 2021.
Rev David Coster, senior active to stated supply Cashmere Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, 1 October 2021.
Rev Paula Levy, minister Gisborne Mangapapa Union Church to other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, 1 October 2021.
Reinstatement to the Roll
Rev Karl Lamb, to other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, 12 September 2021, Supplementary Provisions Chapter 10 pursuant to the Book of Order Chapter 10.32B, Reinstatement to Ministerial Roll.
Rev Graeme Munro, minister emeritus and senior active Southern Presbytery to minister emeritus Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 25 August 2021.
Rev Norman Wilkins, minister emeritus Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu to Alpine Presbytery, 1 September 2021.
Non-PCANZ Ministers in Co-operative Venture Ministries
Rev Jekheli Singh, Anglican minister, to Hamilton Chartwell Cooperating Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, 12 September 2021.
Rev Stephan van Os, minister St Andrew’s Whanganui to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 29 August 2021.
Rev Tony Spandow, minister St Paul’s Manurewa to minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery, 2 August 2021.
Resignations from the PCANZ roll
Rev Susan Blaikie, other recognised minister, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, resigned and removed from roll, 16 October 2021.
Rev Donald Malloch, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 26 March 2021.
Rev Noel Butler, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 10 August 2021.
Rev Aotaga Lemuelu, minister emeritus, Pacific Presbytery, 8 September 2021.
Takapau/Norsewood Presbyterian Church, dissolved 1 September 2021.
Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more