September 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
CWS Notices
Church Register

From the Moderator

The Lord teaches … 

“If you love me, feed my sheep”. John 21:17.

More than ever in Christian history, we must heed our Lord’s call to follow him, and to take care of others.  We appear lacklustre in our discipleship and in our evangelism drive; declining membership, closing parishes, lack of ministerial candidates, absent youth etc.  The abysmal list goes on.  We appear to be heading to the point of being irrelevant and insignificant.  Where is our denomination going?

We are the third largest mainstream Church in New Zealand.  We have nearly 400 churches.  A fourth of our churches (107) are in the ecumenical UCANZ movement.  We are known as a settler Church with a reputation for education and scholastic endeavour for our folks, led by academic theologians and preachers.  Our reality, our current situation, looks dire and bleak.  

What do we do?  

“Seek first the Kingdom of God”.  Matthew 6:33. “Pray earnestly”.  Luke 10:2. “Be guided by the Holy Spirit”.  Isaiah 59:21.

I too am soul searching just like you.  The PCANZ is our brand of Christianity.  We exist and witness for the glory of God, and all praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.  My personal experience leads me to the Word.  This is central for me in church life - growth and experiences with the Holy Spirit.

General Assembly 2021 is fast approaching.  Please, as a Church family, let's get behind our Moderator Rev Hamish Galloway. Support and be involved in his moderatorship for our faith journey.  It will be a wonderful experience.

Recent events

  • Zoom Talanoa PCC, from Fiji.  Pacific wide.
  • Worshipped, preached, spoke with Manukau PIC Rev Karima Faiai, Pacific Presbytery Moderator.  Enormous generosity and kindness shown.
  • Commemorative service at St David’s, Khyber Pass - preached.  Emotional gathering, well attended.  Northern Presbytery coordinated. Moderator Craig Millar.
  • Video message for Glenfield Presbyterian and Korean Church - merging into a new combined faith community.  Rev Dr Emma Keown.
  • Written letter, retirement Pauline McKay, CWS.  Appreciation for many years as CWS Director.  This is our PCANZ’s official emergency aid, justice and development agency.
  • Attended, prayed at induction of the Rev Tim Rose to St John’s Church, Papatoetoe.  Colleague to Rev Margaret-Anne Low.
  • Attended Pacific Presbytery gathering at Grey Lynn PIC. Spoke. Great gathering.
  • Worshipped, preached, spoke with Crossway Community Church, Masterton, Wairarapa. Rev Faleu Futi.
  • Blessing, spoke, and prayed - lane named after the late Rev Perema Leasi.  Great gathering.  Cannons Creek Porirua.  Rev Falkland Liuvaie.
  • Caught up briefly with Rev Peter Jackson of Waikanae Otaki Presbyterian Church.  Innovating ministry - lunch for elderly.
  • Zoom PCC, from Fiji's Children’s Ministry Module, Pacific wide.
  • Zoom KCML, new ministers welcomed to PCANZ.  Devotion and prayer. Rev Dr Paul Prestidge.
  • Letter for the family of Jane Thomsen, our Director Presbyterian Research Centre who passed away suddenly.
  • Travelled to Porirua, Wellington - passing away of three family members, all members of Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Porirua.  Rev Falkland Liuvaie, Rev Linda Hope and Rev Tui Sopoaga all sharing the ministry at a challenging time.

Finally, dear colleagues, thank you for this tremendous honour and privilege to serve our PCANZ family.  Ruth, our children, our parish Onehunga Cooperating Parish, and I, are blessed and loved. 

All our love and prayers.  To our Lord be all praise and glory.

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear friends and colleagues,

I started to write this on the first day of the most recent Level 4 Lockdown – having spent the day before in Christchurch with the Local Arrangements Team, and the Assembly Business Work Group, planning for our General Assembly. Events have continued to unfold – lockdown extensions; compulsory wearing of masks in indoor settings; working from home with zoom meetings filling the day as we again are required to adapt to changing circumstances.

How quickly things change. That this seems a little surreal is an understatement! I am reminded – I am not in control.

This, and other events over the past few weeks or so, have reminded me of the uncertainty and shortness of human life – and at the same time how valuable and precious life is. 

We were all deeply saddened by the death of our Research Centre Director, Jane Thomsen, on 6 August. I ask you join with me in continuing to pray for her family - husband Mark and sons Lewis and Toby, and the staff at the Research Centre.

I am reminded that every day matters and every day is a gift. I am reminded I do have the ability to make enjoyable experiences last longer or painful things to pass quickly. I like the way Eugene H. Peterson paraphrases Psalm 90 in “The Message”*:

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?— and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at - the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

General Assembly online 

By now you will have seen the communication that having taken advice and confirming that these are indeed exceptional circumstances - and that it is impractical to hold General Assembly which participants can attend in person - the Council of Assembly has determined that a General Assembly be held by electronic means.

Naturally, this will require a change for us as we adjust, and while recent days have seen a great deal of work to prepare us, much more still has to be determined. I ask that as we work in changing circumstances, and through fluctuating COVID-19 Levels, that you join with me and many others in praying for Assembly, for our incoming Moderator Rev Hamish Galloway, for the Assembly Business Work Group, the people working behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running each day, staff, and all Commissioners. 

Additional communication will be provided for Assembly Commissioners on a regular basis over the coming days.

Assembly White Book

The White Book is expected to be available in early September.

Calling a newly training minister

This year, three people will complete their training. They represent a range of experiences and backgrounds. Profiles for each of them are available from Rev Brendon McRae who coordinates introductions and discussions between final-year interns and ministry settlement boards. For more information, please contact Brendon.

In these days and times - Noho ora mai and kia tupato, kia noho haumaru.

Ngā mihi nui
* Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: Psalms (NavPress, 1994).

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Connect Online – Successfully transitioning into and out of youth group 

Monday 13 Sept 2021, 7:00pm - 8:30pm via Zoom, from anywhere in the country. 
The stats don’t lie, many of our young people exit our churches when they move from children's ministry into youth group, and when they finish. These transition periods marked by moving into college and going to university are tricky for young people, parents and churches to navigate. In this super practical session, the PYM team will share and explore helpful strategies for supporting young people, their parents and leaders at these important transition stages. We will also make sure you get the opportunity to learn from each other in our breakout group discussions. Register Here 

Queenstown Key Leaders Retreat – 27-30 November  

Registration is open! Key youth leaders, put this into your calendar now. If you head up the youth ministry at your church this amazing retreat is completely free of charge for one key leader per church to attend. If you have a second key leader at your church, or a spouse you would like to come as well, the additional person will cost $150.  The aim of this retreat is to reconnect, acknowledge, refresh and equip key leaders from across the PCANZ. 

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Presbyterian Research Centre

Jane Thomsen

We are deeply saddened to share the news of the sudden death of Jane Thomsen, Director. Presbyterian Research Centre (PRC) and Hewitson Librarian.

Jane began work at the PRC in 2015 and brought enthusiasm and creativity to this role. In the Library she worked to explore new ways to connect with and resource the users of Hewitson, as well as working to develop the special collections, particularly the Rita Mayne England Collection on theology and cultures in Asia, and the Chrysalis Seed Collection on art and Christianity. 

In Archives she instigated the processes which saw both the Ng Collection on Chinese Heritage and the Deaconess Collection listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World for New Zealand.

She also worked to support the Chinese Heritage Trust and its role in preserving the stories of the Chinese community.

Jane was always looking to give things a try and to develop what the PRC could be. She brought a warmth to whatever she did and we will miss her terribly.

At this time our thoughts are especially with her husband, Mark, and with her sons, Toby and Lewis.

Open Day

The Archives Open Day mentioned in the last edition of Bush Telegraph has been postponed and will be held on 23 September.

Rachel Hurd
Presbyterian Research Centre 

Presbyterian Children and Families

Season of Creation 

The Season of Creation is observed each year from 1 September – 4 October. The four Sundays held within September make up the bulk of the celebration. You may decide to celebrate the Season of Creation each of these Sundays or you may decide to choose one Sunday when you will focus on this theme. There are many great resources out there! 
Our own Rev Silvia Purdie has collated resources of her own, as well as resources from a variety of places (Arocha, World Council of Churches, Climate Witness Project, etc.), which provide a great ‘hub’ to refer to as you prepare to celebrate the Season of Creation. You can find these resources on Silvia’s website, Worship resources - Conversations.

Two additional websites we recommend taking a look at are: Resources through the Uniting Church in Australia and Resources through STRANDZ (Anglican church NZ).

The Season of Creation offers an opportunity for intentional intergenerational worship and activities as a community of faith. Have you considered planning an intergenerational tree planting event? Or a community rubbish clean-up walk for all ages?

Looking ahead

As we all know, our incoming Moderator’s theme is Empowering Generations. This theme represents a key conversation for churches to be a part of. Intergenerational ministry is beneficial for all generations. From Christine Ross and Holly Allen’s book, “Intergenerational Christian Formation”, “To experience authentic Christian community and reap the unique blessings of intergenerationality, the generations must be together often…infants to octogenarians”.
At the recent Intergenerate (AUS) conference held in July, which had a satellite gathering in Christchurch, the theme challenged us to consider how we are ‘Sharing the Table’ with all generations. You can find some of the key conversations that were had on their website: Intergenerational Resources | Intergenerate Australia.

I look forward to seeing you at General Assembly!

Peace of Christ
Robin Humphreys (M.Div)
Presbyterian Children and Families

Global Mission


Following on from last month’s article about the impact of Covid-19 in Myanmar, the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) lost another significant leader when the Rev Lalchung Lura succumbed to the virus. Lura was the former Principal of Tahan Theological College, and was well-known to many members of the PCANZ who have visited Myanmar in recent years. He was the principal during Wayne and Helen Harray’s time of service at the College and so was very well known to them. The PCM held an online memorial service that Wayne, Helen and I participated in, so we were able to share with them in celebrating his life and mourning his loss. His death is another bitter blow to a community that has been hit very hard this year. Please continue to hold the church in Myanmar in your prayers.


Two Global Mission newsletters have been published recently: 
Mingalaba updates the situation in Myanmar, including information about how you can contribute to our Covid-19 support there. 

Nambawan gives news about our partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, with further updates on our support for their ongoing Cyclone Harold rebuilding projects. You can access the newsletters here


We hope to have some video interviews for the online GA with some of our global mission partners, to help raise the profile of these partnerships and give Commissioners an insight into their contexts and how we can support them.

It is difficult to predict how the global situation will evolve over the next few months so in the meantime we continue to maintain contact with our partners as best we can and support them prayerfully and financially. 

You can keep in touch with Global Mission news on the website and on the Global Mission Facebook page.

Phil King
Global Mission Director

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Spring Block Course 

Our Spring Block Course for NOM interns commences on 7 September. This is a change from previous years when the Spring Block Course was held in late November. After consulting with presbytery representatives and staff, the decision was made to move it away from the 2nd Year interns’ end date in their placements; the busy Advent season; and from the nearness of the Summer Block Course.

Begg Dickie Scholarship 

Senatus will soon consider applications for the Begg Dickie Scholarship. Details can be found here. Send applications to Susan Peters (registrar).

Jane Thomsen 

It is with deep sadness and shock that we grieve the death of our friend and colleague Jane Thomsen, Director of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Dunedin. Jane was always seeking to help us to be better equipped in our ministry. Her research skills and ability to find resources quickly was astonishing. We pray that the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus at this time. E rere atu rā e te ngākau māhaki.

Yours in Christ
Rev Dr Geoff New
Dean of Studies/Acting Principal
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Presbyterian Church Schools

St Cuthbert’s College is the final school in this series about the Presbyterian Church schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is an independent girls' school for Years 0-13, based on Market Rd in Auckland.

The College started in 1915 through the purchase of the Mt Eden Collegiate School by a group of Presbyterians, led by James Robertson, who had formed the Auckland Presbyterian College for Ladies Limited company in 1914. Their objective was: 

“To establish… in the Provincial District of Auckland a college where girls may obtain a sound intellectual and moral education, where provision shall be made for non-sectarian religious instruction for all scholars and special provision for religious instruction in a form in accordance with the teaching of the Presbyterian Church, for all Presbyterian scholars and for others with their parents consent; and where full facilities shall be granted for the boarders of other denominations to attend their respective places of worship. Also in connection with such college or colleges to provide kindergarten teaching for boys and girls”.

Rapid growth from an initial roll of 190 girls signalled that bigger premises would soon be needed. In 1920, the directors leased twelve and a half acres from the Campbell Park Trust and later managed to purchase an adjoining two and a half acres. But it wasn’t until 1925 that the school moved into the newly-built buildings where they have remained ever since.

The first headmistress, Miss Isobel Macdonald, suggested that a shorter name than Auckland Presbyterian College for Ladies was desirable. Why ‘St Cuthbert’ was chosen is unclear but many talks on the annual St Cuthbert’s Day have suggested reasons such as his energy, compassion, self-discipline, enduring friendships and strong faith as commending his name as appropriate for a school whose motto is “By Love Serve”.

For further information see the school website.

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

CWS Notices

New director 

CWS welcomes Murray Overton as its new National Director.  His background is in education, most recently at Kaiapoi Borough School.  He has taught in Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Aotearoa New Zealand.  He is looking forward to General Assembly.

Operation Refugee 2021

CWS encourages churches and individuals to join the Operation Refugee challenge for Syrian and Palestinian refugees.  Could you organise a fundraising dinner, walk or workshop with your group or church?  Contact David Lawson to explore ways you can take part, ph 021 671 430.

Coronavirus Appeal Fiji

Thanks for the generous support for the Coronavirus Appeal, currently designated for Fiji.  We acknowledge churches and individuals praying for Fiji and holding special fundraisers to help our neighbours with food and hygiene supplies for families and medical clinics.  

Haiti Emergency Appeal

“We don’t know what will happen. Some roads are blocked and it is difficult to send goods and supplies.  We need prayer and we need to ask the people in Haiti to lead us in what they really need,” says Prospery Raymond for ACT Alliance Haiti (Action by Churches Together).  After August’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the south,  ACT Alliance Haiti organised volunteers for search and rescue and installed tents at one badly damage hospital.  CWS is appealing for donations to assist with immediate needs including water, shelter and psychosocial support, and to replace livelihoods lost in the quake.  Please pray for these resilient people already experiencing widespread hunger, violence and political instability.  

Afghanistan Appeal

Community World Service Asia has an appeal to provide emergency cash grants for hungry and displaced people through mobile phone transfers in Bamiyan, Jalalabad, Laghman and Kabul.   See our website for details.  We pray for the safety and security of all people who live in Afghanistan.


Season of Creation

A live and recorded ecumenical World Council of Churches prayer service on 1 September will mark the launch of the 2021 edition of Season of Creation, a worldwide initiative to promote prayer and action for our common home. See how to participate NZ time and view here and download Season of Creation 2021 resources here

New book - Knowing the Song by Colin Gibson

A companion book to the publications of the New Zealand Hymnbook Trust (1993- 2009), and New Zealand supplement to ‘With One Voice’ (1982). The Hymnbook Trust has made the best contemporary, local hymns available to churches and choirs, and in this companion world-renowned NZ hymn composer, Colin Gibson, tells their stories. Ministers, worship leaders, church musicians and choirs will find a wealth of material to entertain, inform, and share with congregations. Order: Print ($50),eBooks ($40) from Philip Garside Publishing Ltd 

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.

Trustees’ Revised Earthquake Policy

The Trustees have updated their Earthquake Prone Buildings policy. The revised policy extends the deadline for some strengthening work and expands on the exemption process (under which buildings may be exempted from strengthening to 67%). Please note however, that the Trustees require all parishes to have completed an earthquake assessment of their buildings (except residential properties) by 30 June 2022. The revised policy can be found here

Sign up for GA21 News

If you're not attending General Assembly online, you can sign up with your email address to receive news of GA business. Sign up here.

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, as Covid-19 Alert Levels allow. Check out the website for video tours. Note that as the country is in lockdown, there are no available dates - please contact Glen Innis if you have any queries. Learn more

Church Register

For any queries concerning the Church Register, contact Kate Wilson.

Minister changes

Rev Timothy Rose, from Ministry Enabler Northern Presbytery to minister St John’s Papatoetoe, Northern Presbytery, 29 July 2021.
Rev Sa Si’itia, from stated supply minister to minister Avondale Union Parish, Northern Presbytery, 25 June 2021.
Rev Marie Ropeti-Apisaloma, from other recognised minister to minister Owairaka -  Pacific Islanders (50%) and Samoan Presbyterian Church Onehunga (50%), Northern Presbytery, 11 July 2021.
Rev Clare Lind, other recognised minister to minister Opoho Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 8 July 2021.
Rev Rainier Raath, other recognised minister to minister Edendale Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 15 July 2021.

Removal from the roll

Rev Fa’afouina Solomona, Alpine Presbytery, 28 June 2021.
Rev Young Jun Yoo, Northern Presbytery, 27 July 2021.


Rev Chris Rosanowski, from minister St Margaret’s Silverstream to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 25 July 2021.


Rev Irving Rutherford, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 14 May 2021.
Rev Doreen Riddell, minister emerita, Kaimai Presbytery, 2 June 2021.
Rev John England, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 30 July 2021.

Parish changes

Glenfield Presbyterian Church dissolved, Northern Presbytery, 30 June 2021.
North Shore Korean Church dissolved, Northern Presbytery, 30 June 2021.
Glenfield Community Church established, Northern Presbytery, 1 July 2021.
God’s Garden Church of Auckland, Northern Presbytery, dissolved 11 July 2021.


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.