From the Moderator
Greetings to you all.
Thank you for your prayers and support over the last month. My visit to the celebration of 50 years of the Christian Conference of Asia in Indonesia was marked by the significant earthquake in West Sumatra and by the tragic plane crash near Jakarta. Though neither event was close to where I was in North Sumatra, each was a source of grief to our hosts, the Combined Churches in Indonesia.
I have two major visits to make in April – the first to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, in Taipei. We have a long-term relationship with this Church arising out of missionary work in the last century and a new sense of partnership in our contemporary era. Their special mission focus for the upcoming year is "Women’s Ministry": it will be a privilege to share our Church’s journey.
My second visit will be to the presbyteries of Dunedin and North Otago, and will include addressing the Synod of Otago and Southland's Annual General Meeting. To those in the North, the Otago and Southland Synod, is a somewhat mysterious body that greatly benefits those south of the Waitaki River. But it is an integral part of our whole Church: in the past few years it has resourced much of our mission and ministry. Information about the Synod is on the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand's website.
Many of us were deeply impressed by the faith and commitment of our visitors to the General Assembly last September from the Presbyterian Church in Myanmar. We heard that to be Christian in Myanmar requires much courage in the face of adversity and oppression. With the help of Global Mission, I am launching an appeal for a project to help our partner church in Myanmar access "Buffaloes and Carts". The upcoming Global Mission Gazette will feature more details about this.
As we approach Easter, I pray that we will be centred on Christ in his solidarity with the least and the lost in our society and his sacrifice on the cross for us all. On Easter Day, may we be raised with him to joyful new life, abundant life that we are impelled to share with all in our local community.
Assembly Office update
A journey to one of our Church’s most special places
Watching the body surfing techniques of Ian Guy, Peter Cheyne, Richard Dawson, John Daniel and our Moderator was one of the albeit lesser highlights of the meeting of the Council between 22-24 March at our Marae in Ohope. As pleasant as the swimming was the overwhelming experience at the Marae was one of warmth and welcoming and hospitality by the Tangata Whenua.
Led by the Moderator of Te Aka Puaho Millie Te Kaawa, ministers, and other leaders, Council members were reminded again of the extraordinary resource that Te Maungarongo Marae is for the Presbyterian Church.
I would like to challenge congregations to plan a pilgrimage to the Marae and to discover, or rediscover, this place and the stories which help us appreciate the special way that God has been present and worked in the life of our Church, its history and people, in sharing the Gospel together. As well as hearing the stories of faith and witness contained in the very structure of the whare nui, there is much to be gained by providing encouragement and support for the current mission and outreach of Te Aka Puaho. The Marae and neighbouring campsite provide plenty of accommodation and there is also opportunity for tramping, fishing, swimming or even a trip to White Island from Whakatane.
You can read more about the Council’s meeting here. I would like to say that there is an overwhelming sense of God’s Spirit leading us to find a new unity in our Church based on a common commitment to bringing the Good News to the community and world about us.
I do not think anyone in the Council wants to gloss over the diversity present in our Church. The Council takes seriously the voices of those 1500 people who signed petitions expressing their disagreement with the Assembly vote on sexuality and leadership. The Council also takes seriously the fact that some of our ethnically identifiable congregations find it extremely difficult to feel they have a place in the life of our Church. Coming to the Marae reminded each of us of the kindness, patience and hospitality which are both the mark of Christian community and the qualities which can help in the resolution of even our most significant differences.
We are working on a paper now in order to both outline the broad direction of the Church, some specific goals for the next few years and also to seek dialogue and consensus in support of this direction. This paper will be widely distributed.
The Service Team
In March the Service Team held its quarterly meeting in Auckland. The Service Team consists of Amanda Wells our communication manager, Brendan Sweeney our financial director, Andrew Bell who oversees our Global Mission commitments and opportunities, John Daniel who coordinates our national mission work, Graham Redding the new Director for the Centre of Christian Leadership and Yvonne Wilkie our church archivist.
The meeting provided us with an important opportunity to coordinate our work, to provide mutual support and to develop plans for implementing the directions set by the Council of Assembly.
On this occasion we organised our meeting to coincide with that of the presbytery of Auckland. We also arranged an opportunity to meet with leaders from the three presbyteries who make up the greater Auckland region to discuss their unique challenges. (For instance, the Auckland region’s population is increasing by about 80 people per day with 2.4 million people projected to be living in the region within the next 40 years).
All our team felt really supported by those who gathered with us – and we also greatly valued the opportunity to share in the discussions about the challenges and opportunities we face together as the Presbyterian Church. We were very thankful for the role our Moderator Pamela took in coordinating these discussions. From these experiences there is a strong emerging consensus that a shift in our mind set is critical for us if we are to use the resources of our asset-rich Church in order to support both the planting and growth of new churches and the seeking, saving, healing and restoring discipleship that faith in Christ demands from us.
The Service team has developed a presentation about our work which we would like to bring to other regions and Presbyteries. We hope that some or all of us can meet with every Presbytery or region over a two-year cycle. We need to plan these meetings a long way ahead so if there are regional meetings for your Presbytery planned for this year where we could provide a similar presentation, then please let me know.
The emerging consensus in terms of our organisational development identifies:
1. Strong regional parishes with multiple congregations supporting team ministry
2. The support of new and emerging congregations and faith communities not requiring buildings
3. The purchase of land and/or plant in areas of rapid urbanisation that will be developed to respond to the needs and character of those communities, and
4. The support of new congregations emerging within the life of existing parishes – as making up the pillars supporting our growth strategy.
I would welcome any feedback or comment about this summary.
I am pleased to let you know that the yearbook will be mailed out in April. We have done the best we can to make it as up-to-date and accurate as possible, but please let us know of any errors, omissions or updates to contact details.
Please pray for: the work and outreach of Te Aka Puaho, the outreach work based at our Marae at Ohope, and the work of Te Rev Wayne Te Kaawa as he develops the training programme for new Amorangi.
The work of the Council of Assembly as they faithfully seek to provide direction and governance for the Church and fulfil the directives from the General Assembly.
Please pray for the Service Team leaders and for the people involves in supporting the mission, training and communications work of the Cchurch.
Please pray for ministers and all those leading worship as they seek to communicate the profound truths at the heart of our Easter faith.
Assembly Executive Secretary
Christian World Service
CWS partner Jesu Rethinam
Jesu Rethinam, from Neythal in Tamil Nadu, India has been visiting with CWS this past week. Jesu is a social activist and lawyer working in solidarity with fishing communities on the coast of Tamil Nadu, whose livelihoods are being threatened by new industries and big business. She has also been involved in post-tsunami reconstruction, environmental protection and education through the Coastal Action Network. To hear an interview with Jesu visit the Radio New Zealand website.
Lenten Journey – Open your eyes, open your ears
Worship resources for Lent following the theme of poverty and written by parish ministers in New Zealand are available from CWS. "Poverty is like a cloak - covering but not keeping warm; hiding but not keeping safe. Those under the cloak know this, but we who are observers like to assume that those under the cloak are warm and safe. We make these assumptions because to think otherwise demands of us action".
"Water, Who Owns It?"
Many people believe that after oil, water will be the next big war-provoking issue in the world, as ever more pressure is put on scarce resources, especially in developing countries and other drought-prone areas. What is particularly of concern is that big business is endeavoring to take control of water to make profits from its distribution. Where poverty is rife this would mean a death sentence for people who could no longer afford water.
The documentary looks at the case of Sri Lanka where CWS partner Monlar and its associated network of grass-roots organisations are struggling to ensure that the supply of water to small farmers is maintained, in face of strong pressure on the government from the World Bank to privatise the supply. The centuries-old tradition of rice growing is particularly at risk from such policies, which would drive millions of people off the land. A documentary for reflection on water as it affects us all. To borrow a copy email CWS or write to PO Box 22652, Christchurch stating your preference (video or DVD) and when you would like to borrow it, with an alternate date.
CAII Hot Topic 5 – Pacific Paradise Lost? Climate Change
Read how the churches of New Zealand and the Pacific are responding to the challenge of climate change.
"Climate change is a critical issue facing the world today. It is having a long lasting affect on the planet. In this Hot Topic, the second in a series of three focusing on current issues in the Pacific, we explore how climate change is affecting the planet and the nations of the Pacific. A question for New Zealand could be, if the small Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu does indeed disappear as the ocean rises would we be willing to take into our country the 11,000 climate change refugees?" This discussion document is available for download as a PDF from CWS.
Churches' Agency on Social Issues
Broadsheet – Latest issue
‘The Bible and social issues’, ‘The state of our schools’, ‘religious diversity’ – download it free from the CASI website.
American debate – What are the crucial issues of our time?
Jim Wallis of the Sojourners Community has challenged Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family to a debate on this subject following Dobson’s criticism of National Association of Evangelicals statements on Climate Change and Global Warming. Find the issues on the CASI website.
Issues to watch
In the news recently have been a number of issues around housing and education. Both are coming up in a variety of forms indicating deeper fundamental problems. Affordability of housing in New Zealand, along with issues of availability, rents, and the abuse of State housing, form one cluster of issues. The other cluster is around education: out of school childcare, preschool education, NCEA, school zones, school closures and school fees are all issues that have hit the news. Watch these issues as they are going to come up more in the coming months. Contact CASI with your thoughts about any of these.
Introduction Work Group
The Introduction Work Group is seeking viable parish profiles for the 2007 Ordination Studies Ordinands. Our Ordinands are of high calibre experienced in many areas of the national Church and are ready to serve you at the completion of their studies this year. Please email profiles to the Convenor Amanda Guy or phone for further information on (03) 476-6559.
Rob Innes Music Ministries
Rob, who is a top New Zealand singer/songwriter, and his wife Sandra are currently working full-time in this ministry helping churches and various Christian charities raise funds for whatever their need is. This is achieved by individual churches hosting and promoting their own Rob Innes fundraising concert. These concerts have so far raised over $80,000 for churches throughout New Zealand in the past two years.
Rob’s music is well known to many through regular radio play on Southern Star and Newstalk ZB nationwide. He was a Tui Music Award finalist in 2004 & 2005 and has also had several appearances on television. Rob is one of NZ’s top entertainers and his fundraising concerts are receiving fantastic reviews. Along with his great mix of music, Rob also shares his inspiring story and adds a touch of humour to his performances.
Rob and Sandra attend a Presbyterian church known as the Crossroads Christian Centre at Mangatangi south of Auckland.
If you would like to find out more about this ministry you can email Rob or Sandra or phone them on (09) 237-8157. Check out their website.
Hewitson Library latest acquisitions
Click here to see the new acquisitions list for January 2007.
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 January 2007 Please amend the roll in your yearbook accordingly.
Paora Paatu Hunia, Te Aka Puaho, was licensed on 24 February 2007.
Tumihitai George Raerino, Te Aka Puaho, was licensed on 24 February 2007.
Mitchell Lee Jaram, Te Aka Puaho, was licensed on 24 February 2007.
Messina Roberts, Te Aka Puaho, was licensed on 24 February 2007.
Tamehana Thrupp, Te Aka Puaho, was licensed on 24 February 2007.
Tukua Tuwairua, Te Aka Puaho, was licensed on 24 February 2007.
Ordinations & Inductions
Rev Dennis Flett, Licentiate, Bay of Plenty, to Minister, Knox Church Waitara, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, on 8 February 2007.
Rev Paora Paatu Hunia, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, ordained and inducted to Amorangi Minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, on 10 March 2007.
Rev Tumihitai George Raerino, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, ordained and inducted to Amorangi Minister, Putauako Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, on 10 March 2007.
Rev Mervyn Hoete, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, ordained and inducted to Amorangi Minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, on 10 March 2007.
Rev Carol Grant, Mt Pleasant/Heathcote/Ferrymead Presbyterian, Christchurch Presbytery, to Minister, Otaki Waikanae Presbyterian, Wellington Presbytery, on 1 March 2007.
Rev Nimorata Lale, Ordinand, Wellington Presbytery, ordained and inducted to Minister, PIC Dunedin North, Dunedin Presbytery, on 18 February 2007.
Rev Dr Graham Redding, St Johns in the City, Wellington Presbytery, inducted to Director, Centre for Christian Leadership, Dunedin Presbytery, on 11 February 2007.
Changes in Status
Rev Doug Duncan, Stated Supply, Hanmer Springs Presbyterian, Christchurch Presbytery, to Minister, Hanmer Springs Presbyterian, Christchurch Presbytery, on 13 February 2007.
Rev Russell Thew, Minister, Columba Oamaru, North Otago Presbytery, to Minister within the Bounds, Dunedin Presbytery, on 31 January 2007.
Ms Anne Stewart, Student, Dunedin Presbytery, to Student, Christchurch Presbytery, on 12 December 2006.
Rev Don Fergus, Minister within the Bounds, Christchurch Presbytery, to Ministers Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery on 12 December 2006.
Rev Paul Kim, Liaison Officer, Council of Asian Congregations, North Shore Presbytery, to Minister within the Bounds, Auckland Presbytery, on 27 February 2007.
Mr Euan Cambell, Lay Appointee, St Enoch’s Tauranga, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, to Transitional Minister, St Enoch’s Tauranga, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, on 14 February 2007.
Short Term Appointments
Rev Dr Ralph Milligan, United States of America, to Minister, Hurunui Combined Parishes, Christchurch Presbytery, from 30 November 2006 to 1 May 2007.
Rev Sheena Dickson, United Kingdom, to Minister, St Georges Iona Parish, Christchurch Presbytery, from 1 February 2007 to 31 July 2007.
Rev Wayne Toleafoa, Navy Chaplain, North Shore Presbytery, resigned on 18 February 2007.
Rev Bryan Taylor, Minister within the Bounds, Christchurch Presbytery, removed from roll on 8 August 2006.
Mrs Mary Prier, Licentiate, Wellington Presbytery, removed from roll on 20 February 2007.
Mrs Mary Wilkinson, Deaconess, Wellington Presbytery, removed from roll on 20 February 2007.
Rev Ron Gibb, Minister within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery, removed from roll on 20 February 2007.
Mrs Leung Eileen Kwong, Deaconess, Wellington Presbytery, removed from roll on 20 February 2007.
Rev Ian McBride, Ministers Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, died on 18 August 2006.
Prof Ian Dixon, Ministers Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, died on 11December 2006.
St Andrews, Clutha Presbytery, amalgamated with Balmoral Parishe, Clutha Presbytery, to be called Balclutha Presbyterian Parish, on 11 February 2007.
Horsham Downs Community Church, Waikato Presbytery, removed from roll on 10 December 2006.
Click here to see the full table of vacancies