Assembly Office update
Through a news service we receive copies of newspaper clippings that mention the Church. They portray interesting snapshots of our life. Last week an article in the New Zealand Herald told of a young woman at Tamaki Pacific Islanders Church receiving an award for servcie. She gave herself to caring for an aunt who was unwell, helping young people who faced difficulties and sharing in the life of the Church.
There was also an Otago Daily Times obituary for the Rev Prof Evan Pollard, former Professor of New Testament at the Theological Hall, Knox College, Dunedin. “Polly”, as he was popularly known, was a world-renowned Patristics scholar who wore his scholarship lightly. He was approachable, engaging and full of stories and he presented at world conferences and through prestigious lectureships.
Easter people - signs of the power of Christ to inspire, encourage, and sustain. Resurrection people – quite differently witnessing to the bursting life of God. Easter remains our pivotal moment as we are ushered into the open life Christ’s resurrection brings.
We have successfully shifted to our new rented premises at Level 1, Terralink House, 275 Cuba Street, Wellington. Our contact details (phone, fax, email) remain the same. We are fully operational again, although some emails sent during the shift (17 – 23 March) may have been lost. Unpacking and final settling in will take some weeks. The new offices were dedicated and we are enjoying them. The new space is much better suited to the size of our team, which is made up of 10 Assembly Office staff and two Church Property Trustees staff. The shift went well and I am very grateful to Jose Reader who managed it, and to each staff person who contributed uncomplainingly to packing, unpacking and other tasks.
General Assembly 2006
Planning for Assembly is well underway. Remember it runs from 1 pm Thursday 28 September (starting with the powhiri) to around 1 pm Monday 2 October 2006. The venue is St Kentigern’s College, Pakuranga. More information about GA06, including updates on consultation, is available on this page.
Assembly Office Changes
I’m pleased to announce that John Roxborogh has been appointed acting principal of the School of Ministry in place of Alister Rae, who fell ill. John has considerable experience and knowledge of the Church and theological education, and is well placed to act in this role. The 2006 class has been welcomed and the School is underway for the year.
Veronica Ngan, accounts payable clerk in the Financial Services Team, has resigned to travel overseas. We will miss Veronica, who was a colourful and creative contributor to the office. Veronica is not being replaced. Other members of the Finance Team are picking up her responsibilities. The remaining members are Brendan Sweeney (Acting Finance Manager), Belinda Tomlinson (Accountant), Margaret Fawcett (Payroll, Insurance, Beneficiary Fund, Accounts), and Katrina Graham (Secretary, Accounts).
Council of Assembly
Council met over the weekend 24-26 March. Council News will be issued shortly.
E noho ra,
Assembly Executive Secretary
From the Moderator
The ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches
Garry Marquand attended the recent Assembly of the World Council of Churches. This is a slightly amended version of his report to the Council of Assembly.
The World Council of Churches, prominent sign and servant of the world Ecumenical Movement, met for its ninth Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil around the theme and prayer, "God, in your grace, transform the world". Assembled together – a wonderful diversity of people: of culture and ethnicity, and of Christian stream and liturgical tradition; from contexts of wealth and poverty, and of oppression and power; with openness and humility, and with conviction and hope.
For the first time, the WCC met in Latin America, where churches face daily the realities of oppression, economic injustice and poverty. At the Assembly "latinoamericanos" numbered 1369 out of a total of just under 4000 participants, and special efforts were also made to involve youth, indigenous peoples, and those with disabilities.
The programme included some new features:
- A complete move to consensus processes and decision making
- Ecumenical Conversations (22 options) – dialogue groups to explore critical issues challenging the church in a changing world.
- Mutirao (318 options) – workshops and seminars on a wide range of issues and challenges.
The Assembly grappled with a wide range of issues, including: violence in its many forms (being mid-way through the Decade to Overcome Violence), economic injustice, Christian identity in a multi-faith context, the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement, the challenges of Latin America , and how churches together may participate in God’s transforming grace in the world. Assembly news can be accessed on the Assembly website: www.wcc-assembly.info. Mrs Hera Clarke of the Anglican Church of NZ was elected to the Central Committee of the WCC.
I offer here three reflections regarding participation in the WCC.
Firstly the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC led to three major changes:
1. The introduction of consensus decision making.
2. The requirement that any future member church, "in its life and witness profess faith in the triune God according to the Scriptures, and as this faith is reflected in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed".
3. The requirement that any future member church, "must ordinarily have at least 50,000 members".
These changes have ensured the ongoing participation of the Orthodox Communion in the WCC.
Secondly the centre of influence in the Christian world is clearly shifting to and located in the Southern Hemisphere, especially the areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia. There was strong delegate representation from these areas. In contrast, representation from Europe and North America was proportionately less than in previous Assemblies. New Zealand only had four delegates and two NZ member churches did not send delegates.
From observation and conversation at the Assembly, and within NZ, it is clear that overall the ecumenical vision is fading in the Western Church, as churches within that context increasingly focus on their own identity and survival. The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand shares in this trend.
Thirdly involvement of the Pentecostal Stream is still very limited within the WCC. Assembly material indicated that the Pentecostal Movement comprises 26.2 percent of the world membership of the Christian Church. The greatest proportion of this membership is found in the Southern Hemisphere, with Latin America, for example, experiencing huge growth in Pentecostal Churches.
“This is a complex phenomena and any stereotyping of them all as conservative or fundamentalist in theology, or anti-ecumenical would be wrong.” (WCC Editorial Comment) The Latin American plenary session made the following assessment of the Pentecostal Movement on that Continent: it is “formed by communities that, in the great majority of cases, have a strong sense of their calling to evangelise, an immense capacity to welcome the sick and the overburdened, and who celebrate their faith in cultural ways close to everyday life.”
However, these communities are for the most part outside the WCC and other ecumenical structures. Continuing efforts at engagement need to be made for reasons ecumenical and to more fully discern God’s transforming grace in today’s world.
Global Mission Office update
Check out the latest edition of the Global Mission Gazette
It is loaded with new initiatives to challenge you and your congregation to get involved in mission in Kenya, Myanmar and North Korea. Don’t have a copy of the Gazette? Download it now from our website or contact the GMO.
Hot out of the oven: $2000 can feed a village in remote Vanuatu
For just $5.00 per day for one year, you can equip a village to be able to feed itself. It is this simple. Your $2000 will purchase one very large wood fired bread oven that is capable of baking 240 loaves of bread in one firing. If the village cooks twice a day they can make 480 loaves which they can sell for about 60c a loaf or 30c for a half loaf. But wait! There is more. Your money will also purchase a 25kg bag of flour, a packet of yeast, a bag of sugar and a packet of salt which is enough ingredients to make 1000 loaves. And there is more! Your $2000 dollars will also pay one month’s salary for a baker, and send him/her on a training course to learn how to make bread. By fully funding a start-up business you will have improved the quality of food for the whole community and the baker generate sufficient profit to earn a salary and to be able to purchase the raw ingredients for tomorrow. Jesus said “I am the Bread of Life”. This is your opportunity to provide the bread for living in a village in Vanuatu .
New GMO appointment
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Atitala Ah Yek as the GMO Project Officer. Atitala will grow our capacity in particular areas of our work overseas and at home. She will also be exploring the possibility of raising support outside of the church.
Global Mission Enthusiasts
We are grateful to the Synod of Otago and Southland who have agreed to sponsor a three-month pilot project. Rev Noel Butler has been appointed as a GMO “Enthusiast” and he will be seeking to raise the profile of the GMO in the Synod region. Noel and Rosemary have been very supportive of the GMO from its inception.
We are also very pleased that Mrs Evelyn Johnston has agreed to be the GMO representative on the Friends of Jagadhri. This is part of a growing initiative to appoint “GMO enthusiasts” across New Zealand .
Contact the GMO for more information on these new initiatives and more.
Assembly Office has moved
Our new street address is:
Level 1, Terralink House, 275-283 Cuba Street, Wellington
Our postal address and telephone numbers remain unchanged:
Postal address: PO Box 9049, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
Main phone number: (04) 801 6000
Fax number: (04) 801 6001
Introduction work group
An invitation is offered to Boards of Nomination to consider a graduating Ordinand as the Minister they are looking for.
We are about to interview the 2006 Ordinands prior to possible offering Parish Profiles to some of them. We have nine Ordinands to initiate conversations with Boards of Nomination. To date we have received three Parish Profiles.
Please refer to February and March 2006 editions of Bush Telegraph for detail concerning submitting Parish Profiles. Contact the Rev Geoffrey Skilton Convener on 03 453 5357.
Rochester and Rutherford Hall golden jubilee
Rochester and Rutherford Hall, a student Hall of Residence at the
University of Canterbury established by the Baptist, Catholic,
Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches, is celebrating its golden jubilee
over Queen's Birthday 2006. For information about the weekend and
on-line registration, go to www.rochester-rutherford.org.nz and click
Christian World Service
Fair Trade Fortnight
CWS, as a member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, is promoting Fair Trade Fortnight from 29 April to 14 May. There will be visitors from Ghana and Papua New Guinea talking about fair trade cocoa and coffee respectively. They will meet with supporters and businesses while here. Further details of the visits including public meetings are still to be finalised. Resources are being prepared for schools, including a poster competition.
CWS will be encouraging churches to take part in A Fair Cuppa" by offering fair trade tea, coffee and chocolate after morning worship on Sunday, 14th May. Worship resources will be available from April 17 along with additional promotional material. Check out www.cws.org.nz. Contact the CWS office to register. Ph 03 366 9274 or email cws(at)cws.org.nz
East Africa Appeal
East Africa is in the grip of its worst drought for more than 20 years. Eleven million people are at risk, with reports of people dying of thirst and hunger. They have lost their livestock and means of livelihood. CWS partners are currently responding in Ethiopia and Kenya, meeting urgent food and water needs, with plans to assist the restarting of farming and drought preparedness once the drought is over. Help is needed to avert a massive catastrophe. To donate to the East Africa Appeal contact CWS: PO Box 22652 Christchurch, phone 0800 74 73 72 or donate online: www.cws.org.nz
Churches Agency on Social Issues
While we say mocking things about the NIMBY syndrome 1 , I don’t imagine that any of us would be happy to have a new prison built in our neighbourhood… and yet the latest forecast for prison inmate numbers shows that there will need to be a new prison built every year for the next three years at least. New Zealand currently has the second highest imprisonment rate in the Western World. This is not because we have a high crime rate. The tougher sentencing options demanded by the public in recent years have resulted in a surge in prison numbers. The question must be asked “Is this going to work?” Two important documents were released this month. One is the Prison Population Forecast produced by the Justice Ministry and released this month. The other is Beyond the Holding Tank – pathways to rehabilitative and restorative prison policy released by the Salvation Army.
The Prison Population Forecast anticipates an 18% increase in the prison population by 2010. The Salvation Army report concludes that this is an unsustainable situation. “The demand for prison beds is consistently outstripping supply. As soon as we build new prisons the beds are full.” Our prisons do little in the way of education, training or rehabilitation programmes, and little is done to help reintegrate released prisoners back into society. This is an issue that must move beyond party politics. Forget the calls for harsher penalties, and let us work together to have a serious look at what happens in prison. It is an issue that I am sure we are going to have to work more on through this year.
To Beat or Not to Beat?
Some Christian groups have come out strongly against the proposed repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. This is the clause in the Crimes Act which allows parents the justification of “reasonable force” in disciplining their children. “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” runs their argument. They say children need boundaries, and parents need to enforce those boundaries.
On the face of it perhaps a reasonable contention, and certainly one that has been upheld for many centuries in many societies. Parents are responsible to teach and train their children, and discipline may at times require punishment. Parental authority must be backed by the right to employ physical force. Government authority would not exist without the ultimate right to punish those who break the law, and the same applies to parental authority – or does it? Is the repeal of Section 59 just another example of political correctness, social engineering and the undermining of Christian society by godless secularists?
CASI members discussing the issue have been unanimous in their support for the repeal of Section 59. We have two main reasons for this. The first, and most basic is the theological one. The core of the Gospel message is that God in love for creation chooses to forgive rather than to punish. God as Heavenly Father does not punish us as we deserve, but chooses rather to offer us the path of grace and forgiveness. We as parents must apply the same principle to our children. “When we smack our kids we teach them that the answer to sin is physical punishment – but is that really what God does?” 1 God is too often represented as One who judges and punishes, in images drawn from some Old Testament passages. A truer representation even of the Old Testament understanding of God is that God’s justice aims more at restoration and reconciliation than retribution. Jesus reserves some of his harshest words for those who mistreat children (Matthew 18:6). Paul urges fathers not to “provoke (their) children, or they may lose heart” (Colossians 4:21 ). The authority of Christian parents should not be dependent on the sanction of physical punishment. It is based rather on love, respect and relationship. These all have to be earned, even by parents, rather than enforced.
Our second argument for the repeal of Section 59 is that this clause gives the wrong starting point for any discussion on child nurture and discipline. Section 59 as it stands starts the discussion with the assumption that physical punishment is not just acceptable but the parents’ right. The discussion then focuses on what is “reasonable force”, rather than on the wider issues of how to build good discipline in the family. The intention of repeal is not to criminalise smackers or to ban smacking. The problem is when things go wrong, and parents who react with violence have the defence that what they did was good parenting. Lots of examples are quoted on both sides, with cases that have used Section 59 both in good ways and bad ways, but still the focus is on what punishment is right, rather than on appropriate discipline.
Discipline and punishment are not the same thing. Discipline is about building good lifestyle habits by rewarding, encouraging and modelling in our own life those things that are best. It is about teaching our children to respect the rights and freedoms of others. It is about teaching care, not about teaching fear. Punishment is the last resort of failed discipline. Punishment does not have to be physical. We do have to be careful here because emotional punishment can be just as damaging to a child as any physical beating. The problem with forceful punishment in the family context is that it tends to explode out of frustration and anger, rather than being a reasoned or reasonable response. If a parent starts with an understanding that they have a right to use physical punishment, it is too easy for the situation to boil over into abuse. In New Zealand we have seen too many cases of family violence, too many children badly beaten.
To those parents who argue that they have a right to use physical punishment, and that they do so reasonably and appropriately, I can only paraphrase the words of Paul in I Corinthians by saying that if that right causes another parent to stumble and a child to be abused, then I would rather give up that right.
What are your thoughts on the Repeal of Section 59? What are the alternatives? Should there just be a better defining of “reasonable force”? If Section 59 is repealed do parents and caregivers need some other special protection in law? This is going to be an ongoing issue this year. Write or email us at casi(at)casi.org.nz with your thoughts, so that we can produce a discussion resource for church groups.
The Rev Wayne Te Kaawa has recently developed and redeveloped a number of bi-lingual service resources.
Nga ritenga Karakia mo te Tangihanga me te Hura Kohatu is the first. It is a series of seven karakia with Maori on one side and an English translation on the opposite side. It consists of:
- Order of service for first night at a tangi
- Order of service for final night at a tangi
- Order of service for closing of the coffin
- Order of service for a funeral
- Order of service for the burial
- Order of service for an unveiling of headstone (marae service)
- Order of service for the unveiling at the cemetery
- Hymns and choruses
Planned additions include:
- Service at the time of death
- Blessing of the house after death
- Service for leaving the funeral home to Marae/house
- Memorial service
Anyone interested can order these by emailing wtekaawa(at)xtra.co.nz for the price of a koha to help defray the expensense of printing, binding, packaging and mailing.
Mr Te Kaawa is also planning a number of workshops at Ohope Marae for Ministers, elders or any person interested in developing bi-lingual and bi-cultural resources to enhance your mission/ministry. If you are interested in this please email him at the above email address.
The Church Register lists additions to, deletions from, and changes in status on the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand Ministerial Roll as advised by Presbytery Clerks as at 25 March 2006.
Ordinations & Inductions:
- Richard J Gray was inducted into the position of Minister, First Church Invercargill on 12 February 2006.
Rev Rehia Rangitauira was inducted to the position of Amorangi Minister, Auckland Maori Pastorate, on 5 March 2006.
Changes in Status:
- Rev Chris Bedford, Minister at Conifer Grove/Takanini – St Aidans, transferred to the position of transitional ministry, Ellesmere Co-op, Christchurch Presbytery on 23 January 2006.
- Rev Gillian Woodward, Wellington Presbytery, transferred to Minister within the Bounds, South Auckland Presbytery in February 2005.
- Rev Stuart Vogel, Minister within the Bounds, Auckland Presbytery has changed to Minister within the Bounds – Full Membership on 27 July 2005.
- Erice Carley, Deaconess, Auckland Presbytery, transferred to Wellington Presbytery on 31 December 2005.
- Rev Ronald Lau’ese, Minister Birkenhead St Andrews & St Philips, was inducted as Associate Minister, Greyfriars Mt Eden, on 2 March 2003.
- Rev Peter Kirkpatrick, Minister St Giles Te Atatu South, resigned from this position on 26 February 2006 , will remain Minister within the Bounds, Auckland Presbytery.
- Rev Selwyn Yeoman, Minister within the Bounds, became temporary associate minister at Coastal Unity Parish on 14 February 2006 .
- Rev Helen Harray, student, became associate minister at St Stephen’s Leith Valley Parish in June 2005.
- Rev Noel Khokhar, Student, North Shore Presbytery, has transferred to Minister with the Bounds, Dunedin Presbytery on 30 November 2005 .
- Rev Helen F Wallis, Minister within the Bounds, Dunedin Presbytery has transferred to Minister within the Bounds, Central Otago Presbytery, on 7 March 2005 .
- Rev Tasi Toleafoa, Minister within the Bounds, Dunedin Presbytery has transferred to Minister within the Bounds, South Auckland Presbytery, on 7 March 2005 .
- Rev Dr Rod Mitchell, Lodged Certificate, Dunedin Presbytery, has changed to Minister within the Bounds, on 7 March 2006.
- Rev Joan Ross, St Marks Union Parish, Lower Hutt , was inducted to Minister in Charge at Lansdowne Presbyterian Church on 11 March 2006.
- Rev Hariata Haumate, Southern Urewera Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, transferred to Minister, Wellington Maori Pastorate on 18 March 2006.
- The Rev Dr Keith Carley has transferred from Auckland presbytery to Wellington Presbytery with the status of Emeriti on 21 March 2006.
Rev R Stewart Anderson has transferred from Northland UDC to Wellington Presbytery as Minister Emeriti on 21 March 2006.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries:
- Rev Aliteleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe (Vai) of the Methodist church has started a term as minister in the Co-op Venture of Avondale Union on 5 February 2006.
- Rev Aliteleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe (Vai) of the Methodist church has started a term as minister in the Co-op Venture of St Austells Co-operating on 7 February 2006.
Rev Geraldine Coats, Alexandra/Clyde/Lauder Union Parish, was appointed to St Lukes Union Church on 29 January 2006.
- Rev Elizabeth Mansill, Minister St Austells New Lynn, retired 31 January 2006.
- Dr Keith Carley, St Johns College, retired 31 December 2005.
Rev Noel Butler, Dunedin South Presbyterian Parish, retired 16 December 2005.
- Rev Alan James Dunn, Ministers Emeriti, Gisborne-Hawkes Bay Presbytery, on 28 February 2006.
- Isabel McCallum, Deaconess, Te Aka Puaho, on 4 March 2006 .
- Rev Hector Arch Tankersley, Ministers Emeriti, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery, on 31 December 2005.
Click here to see the full table of vacancies