IF YOU WISH TO CONTACT THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTE TO BUSH TELEGRAPH, PLEASE SEE CONTACTS HERE.
From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Children and Families
Presbyterian Research Centre
This is a season in the Moderator term of intense dialogue, networking and collective conversation. Included in this season are the following:
Dialogue on Inclusivity
At the Special Assembly in April, the Church decided to commit to a dialogue on a way forward in a Church divided over issues of sexuality, biblical morality and leadership. The first part of this dialogue took place last week in Auckland on 4-5 Oct. We certainly appreciated the prayer of many in the wider Church for this event. A group of 25 people representing a diversity of views gathered. I, along with the Moderator Designate, Rev Rose Luxford and the previous Moderator, the Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio, facilitated the dialogue.
The conversation was respectful and honest. There was a humbling level of personal sharing and engagement from those present. We spent significant time brainstorming possible ways forward for the Church on an issue that has deeply divided us for decades. Careful notes have been kept on the options explored and the pros and cons of each option. The spirit of the dialogue was to listen to and converse, rather than to make any decisions or recommendations, apart from agreeing to share the summaries of our discussions. A smaller group will now review the summary notes and prepare a report.
The CoA has called a Strategic Hui to coincide with the ONE conference in November. This will be facilitated by myself, Rev Martin Stewart and Rev Sharon Ross-Ensor.
The goal is to:
- Identify common threads in reports to the last GA/SA and discern what they are telling us.
- Hear from the key strategic areas/voices in the Church about future directions.
- Provide input for wider engagement in the Church and for the Te Haere Tonu workgroup who will report to the CoA, then to GA.
Over 200 people from all around the PCANZ have registered to converge on St John’s in the City in Wellington for this conference designed to get people together to re-connect, to be inspired by creative and innovative ideas, and encounter the Spirit of the living God together. This will bring together leaders from across Presbyterian and Cooperating parishes to join in hearing inspirational stories, great worship, practical breakout sessions, fantastic kai, the opportunity to connect and laugh together with no business items to debate!
Right Rev Hamish Galloway
Dear friends and colleagues
In October the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care held its final public hearing where it examined the responses of faith based institutions. The Presbyterian Church appeared at this hearing.
Please see our website for more information concerning the Royal Commission here.
The Presbyterian Church has a zero tolerance of abuse by any representative of the Church. A reminder here of our Child Protection Policy. The Code of Ethics of the Church commits it “to conducting itself in accordance with the Gospel so that all people are treated with honesty, transparency, dignity and respect”. This policy outlines what is expected of all parts of the Church including voluntary or paid workers who work with, or have responsibility for work with, children or young people.
In addition, look out for online Ethics and Risk Management workshops for 2023. These are free. In addition to ministers, all elders, parish councillors, parish visitors, and church staff are warmly encouraged to attend.
Special Legislation Procedure Responses
Special Legislation Procedure Response to 2021 General Assembly decisions were sent to parish councils - a reminder, please complete the form and return by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 March 2023.
Advertising for three roles at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership closed on 28 October – with interviews planned for the week commencing Monday 7 November. I invite you join your prayers for those who will be invited for these roles.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year another group will complete their training as interns. Profiles for each person are 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.
ONE National Leaders Conference
This conference will be held 17-19 November at St John’s in the City Presbyterian Church, Wellington. Again, I invite you to join your prayers for those who will presenting as keynote speakers, those leading workshops, and all those attending.
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 to 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 office bearers.
And finally, a quote contained in the book, Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It; Why People Demand It by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner:
“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” – C.S. Lewis
Thank you for your prayers and support. Take care.
Ngā mihi nui
Assembly Executive Secretary
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 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.
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. For more info see here.
National Youth Manager
Return to Vanuatu
In October it was amazing to be able to return to Vanuatu for the first time in three years. I travelled with Martyn and Annette Vincent who have previously served with Global Mission in Vanuatu. This was a reconnection visit. We met with new Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) staff, visited schools and other institutions and were brought up to date on the ways in which we can continue to work alongside the PCV as partners in mission as we emerge out of Covid-19 restrictions.
The PCV has a new General Secretary, Rev Collin Kelep, and a new Secretary of Mission, Rev Solomon Vanuaroro, as well as several other new assembly staff. So it was good to meet them and establish a platform for working together.
While Martyn and Annette remained in Port Vila, I travelled to Santo Island and spent four days there. I met with the Santo and Laurua presbytery clerks, pastors Dickson BaniBani and Kalvau Love. The PCANZ contributed significant funds to these presbyteries after the devastation of Cyclone Harold in 2022, and I was able to see some of the progress of their rebuilding work.
I had the privilege of preaching at the Centenary Presbyterian Church in Luganville, before spending two days at Talua Theological Training Institute, where I met with principal, staff and students and checked out the maintenance needed on the PCANZ staff house on campus. I also met with the PCV’s Tata School principal, Samuel Salerua. Through generous donations we have also been able to support Tata’s rebuilding progress after Cyclone Harold. I then met with Navota Farm manager Patu Lui and caught up on developments there.
There are opportunities for PCANZ congregations, members and schools to reconnect in mission in Vanuatu, in a wide variety of service capacities. Check out the Global Mission Facebook page for posts about this visit and contact me for further information.
Mission to Migrants in New Zealand
WEC New Zealand is a mission agency that has developed a resource to help churches engage in mission to migrants in their communities. You can check this out here and contact WEC directly if you are interested in finding out more.
Global Mission Director
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Senatus has awarded Rev Tom Mepham the Begg-Dickie Scholarship. Tom writes:
Tēnā koutou katoa. My name is Tom Mepham. I’m the minister of Student Soul, a PCANZ congregation in Dunedin, working with students and twentysomethings. I’m married to Jen and am proud dad to Ariella and Elijah, who keep me fresh and on my toes.
I am honoured and thankful to have received the Begg-Dickie scholarship. I have been informally accepted to do a Doctorate in Theology Through Creative Practice at the University of Glasgow with Rev Dr Doug Gay. My study will be part-time over five years, by distance. This program allows me to put my musical gifts and passion to serious work in developing my ministry capacity.
I am interested in exploring metanoia [as it relates to transformation]. I would like to know more about how and where metanoia takes place in the life of our Church, particularly in the spheres that music takes place. To me that becomes a question about our worship and our mission, and it puts transformation right in the centre of each. The Begg-Dickie scholarship is an incredible blessing and privilege to receive, and it provides an amazing launching pad for enabling this study. I am feeling humbled and grateful by the generosity and trust shown to me by the KCML Senatus. Due to the state of international study fees, I still have half-way to go on raising the funds for this one. I take it as an act of faith that this is a significant open door and nod of affirmation, and I will continue to pursue the further options for bringing things to fruition. Shalom and arohanui, Tom Mepham.
We pray Tom will be graced by insight and wisdom as he engages with his research.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Crowded Places Strategy
Ever since the mosque attack in March 2019, there has been a heightened sense of awareness in New Zealand of how any Crowded Place (a building, venue or area where crowds of people are gathered) is vulnerable to attack. The Government has put together a set of resources to help us assess the risk we might face in our Crowded Place, and although we might not consider the Presbyterian Church to be at high risk of such an occurrence, it is still important to consider what measures can be taken to keep our people as safe as possible from an attack, while at the same time not restricting our life, ministry and mission unnecessarily. Whether you are part of a parish, Church school, or a related Presbyterian entity, these resources provide helpful information for your consideration.
The Police website hosts all the necessary information you may need here. The main strategy document is available on this page and is well worth reading. Further information and documentation, including a self-assessment tool, is available here.
As much as this might be seen as yet another compliance item to attend to, the practical outcomes need not be onerous. For parishes, safety measures could include training our greeters to be observant of any strange behaviour from an attendee, and what to do if it occurs. For any of our buildings – with the rise of ramraids around the country – we might want to consider how vulnerable our parking lots and entrance ways into our buildings may be, and take any remedial action necessary. Alerting our people to the strategy of “Escape-Hide-Tell” if an event occurs, or considering as church councils how best to “Deter-Detect-Delay-Respond” are other possible ways of engaging with this valuable material.
The Council of Assembly has appointed Rev Richard McLean as the PCANZ representative on the Crowded Places Community Advisory Group, and feedback regarding the resources can be sent to him for passing on to the committee.
Rev Richard McLean
Crowded Places Community Advisory Group
Kia ora! Last month, we were proud to launch our new range of Advent resources, centred around the theme Scripture from Isaiah: “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord”. We have been encouraged by the feedback we are receiving already, and are looking forward to hearing how churches across PCANZ are utilising what we have on offer. There are resources for worship, including a service outline, intergenerational activities, and liturgies for lighting advent candles. In addition to this, we also have some take-home resources available. Based on the lectionary, these resources are designed to help families be intentional about journeying through Advent together and compliment the worship resources that have been developed. Check out our Resource Kete here.
Save the Date!
We are looking forward to our next Zoom Connect event. Held once per term, these events are a time of connection, sharing and praying together. The next event is being held on Thursday 1 December, 7:30-9pm. This term’s focus will be on creating space to reflect, pray and connect with God and each other! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for registration details.
Finally, as we make our way through Term 4, Advent, and into what is often the busiest season in church and family life, we want to take time to acknowledge the passionate work of those who serve in children and families ministry. We pray God’s spirit will sustain you and bless you, your ministry, and the tamariki in your care. May you continue to know the goodness of God as we press forward towards the end of the year.
E noho i roto i te aroha o te Atua (dwell in the love of God)
Robin Humphreys and Karo Wilson
Presbyterian Children and Families
Join Presbyterian women in discerning future direction
Completing the Presbyterian Women quadrennial report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, I was reminded of what our organisation has accomplished over the past four years. Local and international projects, in partnership with Methodist Women’s Fellowship and Christian World Service, have contributed to many UN global goals for sustainable development (SDGs). Submissions to Parliament supported child poverty reduction and reproductive health rights.
Each year we participated in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) - virtually since 2021, we actively engaged with Ecumenical Women at the UN, and provided a faith-based perspective in the Ministry for Women International Caucus. We acknowledge Faaolataga Leasi who has led us as our president through these years and pray God’s blessing on her studies and path ahead.
In contrast, at the Presbyterian Women Annual General Meeting in September there was only one nomination for four vacant executive roles. A review group recommended that Presbyterian Women should be closed down as the current model of the organisation is unsustainable. This would mean losing special consultative status at the UN. The meeting requested further consultation with women in congregations, and with the wider Church, before making a decision. We value your support and advice to discern the best path forward. We seek God’s guidance to honour the legacy of Presbyterian Women, and find appropriate expression of our role at this time. Ruth Steven continues as administrator, supported by former executive members in a caretaker role. You can apply for membership and provide ideas and feedback, email us.
And while we still exist, there will be a hybrid CSW in March 2023 on the theme of gender equality in the digital age. Please email me for more information if you are interested in attending.
Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand
The Presbyterian Research Centre are pleased to welcome our new director, Jay Robinson. Jay previously worked in the Dunedin Public Library. He has had extensive experience working in libraries both in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the United States and will start in his new position as director on 31 October. We are looking forward to Jay’s arrival as he takes up his new role leading the Hewitson Library and Archives.
Presbyterian Research Centre
We have plans for Christmas to share with you. With Covid, conflict and climate change causing so much harm, we cannot lose hope. Let Hope Flow this Christmas features the story of Caleb who is in urgent need of clean water. He is one of many. We have stories, videos and worship materials that will help you focus on the needs of the world from Advent Sunday to Christmas. Posters or envelopes are available to order here. Call Murray if you would like to find out more on 0800 74 73 72. We value your prayers for this appeal and for people who do not have water, food and justice – the need is greater than ever.
See you at One
Murray and Gillian are attending the One Conference and would love to meet you. We will be running a breakout session - Act Justly – where together we will explore what this can mean in our lives, churches and the world.
Go Gifted for Gifts
We are grateful to the many people who have chosen gifts for loved ones and friends in recent years. Bees and Fruit Trees have proven the most popular. Each gift acts as a donation to the programme of a local partner working with people to improve their dignity and livelihoods. Make your choice from Gifted and we will send you a card or e-card to share. Thank you for sharing the catalogues that have been posted to congregations.
The focus of this year’s Special Project is on families recovering after the eruption and tsunami in Tonga. The resources share stories and information from our partner Ama Takiloa, a network of village-based women’s groups. We appreciate Presbyterian and Methodist women for their prayers and generous support.
White Ribbon 2022 Church resources from Rev Hana Popea, White Ribbon Ambassador
White Ribbon NZ Ambassador Rev Hana Popea will be in touch with all parishes this month prior to White Ribbon Day 25 November to offer resources she has prepared for this year’s White Ribbon Advent theme. Look out for the worship resources. Hana is also working with Presbyterian Support Northern Shine on resources for parishes. See more soon on the Church’s White Ribbon webpage.
Eco Church Kōrero: Ending Plastic Waste 7 November, 7.30pm zoom online
The UN Global Plastics Treaty is one of the most significant international agreements dealing with plastic waste. Faith-based environmental organisation A Rocha New Zealand invites you to learn about and join in this global movement. One hour interactive webinar featuring guest speaker Dr Trisia Farrelly from the Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance. Hosted by Rev Silvia Purdie with support from Megan Blakie and Karen Weir. Register (free) for the zoom link here.
Ohope Marae Working Bee, 9-16 Jan 2023
From 9 - 16 January 2023 you are invited to participate in a working bee at Ohope Marae, Te Maungarongo. For more information please email Honey Thrupp.
Glen Innis holiday home for ministers
See dates available for the original homestead (now known as James McNutt House) and the former gardener’s cottage (Maud Hooper House) for the summer holidays 2022/23 here. Proof of vaccination is no longer required to stay at Glen Innis.
For any queries concerning the Church register, contact Kate Wilson.
Receptions to the Roll
Rev Hong-kyu (Andrew) Moon, (Immanuel Korean Church), other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 15 September 2022.
Rev Anne Stewart, minister The Village Presbyterian Church to minister Timaru - St David’s Marchwiel Union Church, Alpine Presbytery, 1 October 2022.
Rev Nancy Jean Whitehead, senior active minister, to transitional minister Christchurch St Alban’s Uniting Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 1 October 2022.
Non-PCANZ Ministers in Co-operative Venture Ministries
Rev Lorelle Chapman, Methodist minister, ended at Hauraki Plains Cooperating Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, 18 September 2022.
Invercargill – St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, dissolved 5 September 2022.
The Blue Lagoon Dunedin Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, dissolved 3 October 2022.
Check out in one handy place the links to the social media of the Presbyterian Church and its ministries including websites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and video.
Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more