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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church School
From the Moderator
Covid Response: Essential workers in the realms of love, faith & hope
I am worn out, O LORD; have pity on me!
Give me strength; I am completely exhausted
and my whole being is deeply troubled.
How long, O LORD … (Psalm 6:2)
With Omicron here, we enter yet another demanding season with COVID. As Moderator, I get a sense of what is happening around our Church. Four things that strike me at this stage of the pandemic are:
- Challenging questions
How do we respond to the different opinions that come our way seeking a response? When Brian Tamaki was recently remanded in custody at Mt Eden Prison, I received an email asking me to sign an open letter to protest this ‘on the matter of free speech’. After some consideration my response was:
" I don't think the issue here is about free speech but rather it is about wilful and repeated law breaking by Brian. Pastors are certainly not above the law. In my opinion, we Christians and churches need to distance ourselves from such behaviour. At a time when most New Zealanders are seeking to work together for the good of all, my non-Christian friends are bewildered by Brian's behaviour. They tend to see him as leading the 'Christian' response. That is just not true. It is a terrible witness. We need to make it clear we do not support it. I definitely will not be adding my name to your statement - in my opinion it is a big mistake."
What do you think of my response? How are you responding to these kinds of issues?
This pandemic is giving rise to sustained stress. It is a draining time for everyone including leaders – it is so important we look out for each other so that we can, in turn, look out for our people. Keep those collegial phone calls and emails going. And let us continue to draw on the deep well of resources that Christian faith provides for the sustaining body and soul in times such as these. It is a truly distinctive contribution we have to offer in this context. I was inspired by a Gordon McDonald quote in this respect, that we ministers need to ‘…be more a priest and less a preacher to people. Bless people with the powers of hope and grace and courage and love’. There will be real challenges when Omicron cases begin to multiply, and our society comes under another dose of intense pressure. We need to take our place as ‘essential workers’ in the realms of love, faith and hope.
- Drawing on new learnings
COVID has spurred an explosion of online communication coming from the Church. I think we need to consolidate our learnings here as it is a pathway towards communicating our core messages to a wider and younger audience. I am working on providing ways for us to learn from those who are doing this well.
- Maintaining a welcoming stance
I hear many stories about the different ways that churches are running worship services. There are both stories of conflict and upset, and of creative collaboration. From what I can see the best solutions creatively offer opportunities for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated to worship while keeping to the COVID rules. It often means more work, and may not be possible in every context, but where it is happening there is deep appreciation for the efforts being made.
Email me if you have input or feedback to share with me.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Dear friends and colleagues
When I was young, the postie let you know you had mail by blowing their whistle when they put the mail in the box. A highlight would be to collect the mail and bring it inside! Nowadays, the doorbell rings for the courier to let you know there is a parcel. The rush can be on to open the door and see what it is!
I was somewhat underwhelmed by a recent parcel. It did not have the labelling of any of the companies that I have ordered books from…it had other words…which told me that inside were ‘medical supplies’. Towards the end of last year, I had a few health challenges. I will require some surgery in the coming months. The ‘supplies’ are required in the interim. Certainly, these were things I needed yet, I would say, were not on any of my ‘want’ lists.
Wants and needs…interesting concepts. Maybe these came more into focus late last year as we moved into the COVID-19 Protection Framework and, more recently, into traffic light red. Maybe the age and stage of life we find ourselves in also focuses these issues. Maybe it depends on from whose perspective we are viewing the situation. Maybe it depends on from what perspective we are viewing things. I wonder what wants and needs might be expressed by the people of Tonga; Myanmar Presbyterian Church members and their communities; Afghan people; and those seeking space in MIQ.
In the year that lies ahead – and in a COVID world – wants and needs are certain to provide challenges and opportunities for us all. I am struck again by these words, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and God will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6.33 (NLT)) This seems a great place to start.
For the latest up-to-date information on changing alert levels and requirements for New Zealanders and churches see the New Zealand Government Covid-19 website.
As advised in December, we welcome our new Associate Director of Presbyterian Children and Families, Karo Wilson. Karo’s contact details can be found here.
The Council News was published in December and can be found here.
The Council of Assembly has advised that the Special Assembly will be held electronically in April. Commissioners have been advised and further information will be available shortly. Noting my health challenges, Council of Assembly appointed Ms Heather McKenzie as Acting Clerk of the Assembly until further notice. Commissioners and others who have questions related to the Special Assembly, please contact Heather direct via email or by phone 027 455 0124.
Acting Assembly Executive Secretary from 14 Feb
As mentioned, I will require some time out to focus on my health. In addition, I am due for study leave. Following any sick leave, I will take study leave. Council of Assembly has appointed Rev Phil King to be the Acting Assembly Executive Secretary during this time. Phil will start in this role on Monday 14 February. Phil can be contacted via email at email@example.com from that date, as well as via his mobile.
Update your office bearer contacts
We use electronic communication to share information, update on important matters, and pass on other news. The ability of our Office 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.
Noho haumaru me te pai.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Safety WOF Refresher
Every three years, leaders who are responsible for young people in the Presbyterian Church need to be police checked and to go through the Safety WOF. The Safety WOF has now been required by the PCANZ Child Protection Policy for leaders for 3 years. So, we have made a condensed version of the Safety WOF for those doing the Safety WOF for the second time. The course can be done by a team in about 60 minutes and, of course, if you are struggling to remember the content, you can re-watch the original videos and consult the workbooks. We think this refresher course is so simple and so helpful that we recommend you do it at the start of every year with all your leaders. Please note, new leaders must do the full Safety WOF course. See refresher course here.
Emerge Leadership Formation Video Course
If you want your young leaders to grow their leadership skills, look no further than PYM’s Emerge Leadership Formation Course.
Emerge is a free two-year video-based leadership formation programme which you run yourself with your leaders. Emerge is aimed at creating a culture of servant leadership in our young people (Year 11+), developing their character, competency, and sense of calling.
- Gain clarity about their gifts and skill sets
- Gain understanding about their personal calling and have the opportunity to grow in that calling
- Connect with potential mentoring figures in their specific calling where possible
- Grow a deeper connection, sense of belonging and participation with their local church.
National Youth Manager
I returned to work in January after enjoying a fantastic holiday with family and friends. I’m feeling grateful and very refreshed and energised for the year ahead.
The recent volcanic eruption and cyclone in Tonga have been big news. Please support the CWS appeal for Tonga by donating here.
The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu has appointed new staff to key leadership positions. I hope we will soon have the opportunity to get to know each so that our partnership with the PCV can continue to grow (despite the challenges of the past two years). Messages of gratitude are still being received for PCANZ support given for Cyclone Harold rebuilding projects.
Seeking an English teacher
We are supporting Talua Theological College as they explore options for an English teacher - made more difficult by the challenges of Covid-19. Enquiries are invited from teachers who might be interested in online teaching, or block courses if travel is possible later this year.
The situation in Myanmar has not improved. A lot of fighting has occurred in the Chin State, and some has taken place close to the PCM General Assembly Office in Tahan. The Tahan Theological College campus has become a safe haven for internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled their villages as a result of the violence. The IDPs are reliant on staff and community support as they arrived with only the clothes they were wearing. International partners will be meeting by Zoom to learn more about the situation and assess options for financial support
The first of February is the anniversary of the coup, and CWM has prepared a prayer for inclusion in church services throughout February. You can download it here.
We have sent our condolences to the PCM on the loss of Rev Go Khan Suan, who died recently of cancer. Go Khan will be sadly missed. He was well known to members of the PCANZ who visited Myanmar in the early days of our partnership.
Global Mission Director
The PressGo Board met in late November and December 2021. We welcomed new members Rev Ian Guy and Rev Ivan Martinez and thanked and farewelled Mrs Jenny Flett and Mrs Mareta Matenga. Thank you for your strong advocacy for PressGo and the effort you have put into your responsibilities, especially the Theology of Property and Money Taskgroup.
Te Aka Pauho
We received a report from Te Aka Pauho on the Heartstrings project and approved the next installment of their Mission Enterprise Fund Aroha grant. This is a project which many will be familiar with, locally, because of the impact it has had in Taneatua and surrounding areas; and regionally because of the strong networks and relationships that have been built, and nationally as many other churches look to do something similar with their communities. PressGo has funds available in the Presbyterian Foundation to help get these projects off the ground.
Some things to consider in developing a new initiative with your community
- Involve others in the community when you develop and plan your idea ie doing “with” rather than doing “for”. For example, a community garden on church land, carried out by church people and distributing produce, does not create connections and relationships in the same way the Heartstrings project does. You might have to reframe “how” to achieve the “why”. I am happy to provide advice.
- Be prepared to back your own idea. Presbyterian Foundation grants require the congregation’s project contribution to minimum 50% of the total. Contact me for application form and guidelines.
- Start small and play or experiment with an idea, with low or no cost. We still have a few Give it a Go grants ($500) available for new experiments!
When PressGo was set up in 2008, we asked churches and individuals to consider making donations to support the work we do on behalf of the PCANZ. I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of key individuals and four congregations who have in the past, or continue to, contribute faithfully: St Columba at Botany, Knox Lower Hutt, East Taieri and Nawton. Thank you for your faith in what we are doing!
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Summer Block Course
Our summer block course commences online for our two new 1st Year Interns. Maugapaia Ropeti-Iupeli will be serving his placement at Clevedon Presbyterian Church; Josh Olds will serve his internship at The Village Church (Christchurch)/Prestons Seedling. As at the time of writing, we are hoping to hold the majority of the block course in-person, but with the threat of Omicron we are gauging whether we are needing to go online. There are accommodation and travel implications if we experience an outbreak during a block course.
The Forge weekend is planned to take place at the end of February. This is the first planned weekend of several for 2022. However, we need to watch the Omicron situation carefully.
I (Geoff New) plan to be on study leave commencing 28 February. I will be writing a book on preaching the parables. The book is based on material I use in the preaching workshop that I have taught a number of times in presbyteries. The book will be a collaborative venture with two preachers in Latin America.
Yours in Christ
Rev Dr Geoff New
Dean of Studies/Acting Principal
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church Schools
Church School Chaplains (Part 3)
I wrote previously about the chaplain’s work with staff. But many chaplains also teach students in a class setting. This means they are staff too.
This teaching role means they have teaching qualifications or a LAT (Limited Authority to Teach). They develop lessons based on Ministry of Education guidelines and, depending on the school, these lessons gain credits towards qualifications such as NCEA.
In a school context the teacher is required to be inclusive in their coverage. Therefore, they will teach topics such as ‘World Religions and Values’ as well as the more Christian-sounding aspects.
As you can imagine, a teacher of Religious Education walks a very difficult line as they fulfill the requirements of a secular Ministry of Education, while, at the same time, trying to fulfill the special character of their school. Parents can also put pressure on classwork expectations; some have sent their child to a Church school to be discipled in the Christian faith, while others see it as ‘brain-washing’. Students too can present challenges - “Why put effort into a non-credit class”, for example.
As the school special character figurehead, the chaplain is particularly vulnerable to ‘accusations’ from all sides. However, classroom work also gives the opportunity for small group and one-on-one work that is not possible in a chapel service. It also gives them the chance to really get to know some of the students well, and to become known themselves.
In addition, by working at the ‘coalface’, chaplains can develop stronger ties to the teaching staff. The chaplain that teaches can be seen to truly understand the highs and lows of working at the school.
For all these reasons, many of our chaplains can be found serving the faith in the classroom.
Stephanie Wells (Rev)
Director of Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office
New PWANZ Communications Convenor
We are delighted to welcome Liz Chandler to our National Executive as our Communications Convenor. The National Executive is pleased that this role has been filled and knows that Liz, with her experience, will be an asset to our team. Liz has written an introduction to herself in the December 2021 edition of the PWANZ BushFire newsletter. If you’d like a copy of this edition, please email us or download it.
Seeking UN Convener & Missions Convener
We are looking for women who are interested in taking up the roles of UN Convener and Missions Convener. If you are interested, please email the Administrator.
PWANZ are making plans regarding ways we can continue to connect with everyone throughout New Zealand - hopefully in person, otherwise via zoom-style meetings.
With the love and peace of Christ
Presbyterian Women Aotearoa NZ
Tonga Emergency Appeal
CWS has launched the Tonga Emergency Appeal to assist in recovery efforts after last month’s eruption and tsunami. Please support local Tongans to repair rainwater systems and re-establish food gardens. Our long-term partner the Tonga Community Development Trust is made up of a network of village-based groups that know who is most in need and how best to help. After previous disasters, the women have organised clean-up operations and gone house-to-house to make sure people have what they need. Donations can be made on our website or ph 0800 74 73 72. Please continue to keep the people of Tonga in your prayers, as they clean up their homes and gardens, and face an uncertain future.
Thank you to everyone who sent donations to the Christmas Appeal, ‘Lighten their Load with Joy and Justice’. The Christmas Appeal funds all the work we do as part of the church. Your support is vital to our partners working in their communities to help people out of poverty and to overcome violence and injustice. Please remind people to send in their donations to support their work. CWS will focus on justice this year – if you would like CWS National Director Murray Overton to Zoom or speak in your service, please email.
World Day of Prayer
Services for the World Day of Prayer will be held around the country on Friday, 4 March. Women from England, Northern Ireland and Wales have prepared this year’s prayers, liturgy and Bible study to offer light and comfort to the world. Local groups are organising special services and the national committee encourages people to use the resources in regular worship and other places. For more information contact your local World Day of Prayer organising group or Zella, email here.
Connecting Rural Communities in Prayer IRCA ZOOM 7 - 8 March
Share 24 hours celebrating rural people, places and ministries! Begins with the 41st Annual Rural Ministry Conference at Center for Theology and Land at Wartburg Seminary, USA - Bible study led by Dr Craig Nessan and keynote speaker Rev Melanie Mullen. Then local teams lead each hour to share stories, music, and prayer from the Americas, across the Pacific, through Asia, Africa, Europe and the UK. The Oceania slot begins with Manasa Vatanitawake in Fiji (noon local time), and the Aotearoa NZ team (1400 local time). See more info and how to register here.
Neighbours Day Aotearoa 18-27 March 2022
Kai Connections is the theme for Neighbours Day 2022. It is about getting people to engage in all the different ways we connect over kai. A common denominator amongst all communities in Aotearoa is how food brings people together. See ideas on how you can engage with your community this year on the Church website.
World Day of Prayer 4 March 2022
World Day of Prayer is an international movement of Christian people in many different traditions who have a continuing relationship of prayer and service. People from various denominations gather in one another’s churches to celebrate, using a Worship Service prepared by women of a different country each year. Share the language, customs and music of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, right around the globe. Read more.
Glen Innis holiday home for ministers
Covid Policy: 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.
For any queries concerning the Church register, contact Kate Wilson.
Reception to the Roll
Rev Tim Lim (PCUSA), other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 1 December 2021.
Rev Daniel Park, (Hanouri Korean Presbyterian Church), other recognised minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 9 December 2021.
Rev Je Cheol Cook (American Baptist Church USA), other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 15 December 2021.
Rev Alec Wallis (Churches of Christ, NSW Australia), other recognised minister, and stated supply Tauranga – St Columba Presbyterian Church, Kaimai Presbytery, 18 December 2021.
Rev Chris Barnard, minister St Columba at Botany, Northern Presbytery to other recognised minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 30 November 2021.
Rev David Anderson, stated supply to minister Clinton Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 30 November 2021.
Rev Stephanie Wells, minister Kaiapoi Cooperating Parish to other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, 26 December 2021 (also still Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office Director).
Rev Craig Allan, minister Te Anau Presbyterian Church to other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, 2 January 2022.
Rev Matt Cave, stated supply Papamoa St Paul’s Cooperating Church to other recognised minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 2 January 2022.
Rev Shona Bettany, stated supply Albury/Pleasant Point Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery to other recognised minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 7 January 2022.
Rev Philip Bettany, minister Waimate – Knox Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery to minister Hamilton – Fairfield Presbyterian Church, Kaimai Presbytery, 16 January 2022.
Rev Charissa Nicol, chaplain Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, Alpine Presbytery to other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery 20 January 2022.
Rev Andrew Nicol, minister Bishopdale - St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery to chaplain John McGlashan College, Southern Presbytery, 20 January 2022.
Rev Simon McLeay, other recognised minister Kaimai Presbytery to chaplain Iona College, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 28 January 2022.
Rev Margaret Anne Low, minister St John’s Papatoetoe to minister emerita, Northern Presbytery, 17 October 2021.
Rev Barry Kelk, chaplain John McGlashan College to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 1 January 2022.
Removals from Roll
Book of Order 10.34b – ministers engaged in another occupation for more than five years
Rev Guy Pilkinton, other recognised minister - special ministry, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, removed from roll 14 December 2021.
Rev Keith Weavers, other recognised minister, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 20 November 2021.
Mt Roskill South – St Giles Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, dissolved 14 November 2021.
St James Presbyterian Church Waihi, change of name to Waihi Presbyterian Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, 5 December 2021.
North Avon Presbyterian Church, Alpine Presbytery, formed a new union parish with Shirley and Richmond Methodist Parishes - Crossway Community Church, 1 January 2021.
Auckland Central – Quay Street St James’ Church and Community, Northern Presbytery, dissolved 30 January 2022.
Welcome Bay Presbyterian Church – The Lighthouse Church, Kaimai Presbytery, dissolved 31 January 2022.
Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more