From the Moderator
“Christ is risen; he is risen indeed.” These words have echoed around our churches over Easter: as Christ-centred people we know that the Lord of life is present with us in our worship and praise, in services of our Holy Communion and in our preaching and witness. However, our focus must continue to be: how is the risen Christ also present in the community of which we are a part, calling us to join him, serving in love there? How are Easter people community-facing?
This past month I visited in South Auckland Presbytery - what a variety of contexts the churches serve in this area: small rural parishes in the south, large inner-city Pacific Island parishes, and communities such as Clevedon whose people are Auckland commuters. There are many bold initiatives in this Presbytery, such as that of Clevedon’s property development. But like many Presbyteries, they struggle to find a commonality of life and purpose as Presbyterian congregations, preferring instead to focus on their own niche of mission, or on their own gathered congregation.
The most exciting initiative I have been involved in this month is with the New Zealand Council of Christian Social services. This is a network that relates to the social service organizations of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Salvation Army Churches (in our case with Presbyterian Support.) The NZCCSS board met with the leaders of these churches and together we decided it was time for the churches to challenge New Zealand once more concerning its care for the most vulnerable in our society. We are launching a programme called “Aroha tetahi ki tetahi: Let us look after one another” and over the next few months you will be sent posters and pamphlets about the five priority areas of concern:
- support for families and communities to nurture and protect our children,
- dignity for an ageing population,
- poverty elimination,
- access to affordable housing, and
- support for community-based solutions.
The Church leaders, together with NZCCSS, are making it clear that our belief is that a just and compassionate society has to be based on policies that closely address all of these concerns.
I will attend two conferences on these issues in the next month: one in Auckland on Keeping Kids Safe organised by Presbyterian Support Northern, and another on Justice and Compassion for Older People, run by NZCCSS. There will be some coverage of these in the June issue of Spanz.
Then I am off to visit our partner church in Australia (the Uniting Church in Australia), comparing notes on community facing initiatives in local congregations, particularly within ethnic and migrant communities and attending the annual retreat for Synod moderators.
In this Easter season, may the risen Lord be among you to bring you deep certainty of his love for us all, and to bring enthusiasm and encouragement for his mission.
Assembly Office update
On Easter Monday I was thinking about those wonderful words in John’s Gospel that tell of “the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it..” as Sandy and I were making our way in the dark . We were tramping out of a hut in the middle of the fabulous Whirinaki Forest at 6am to make our noon pick up. We are not fast trampers and had in rather typical fashion underestimated the distances involved.
As dawn comes up the path becomes clearer and the colours and vibrancy and life return to the world around you. It seemed at the time a good analogy to the Easter proclamation that “Christ has risen”.
Commissioners to the General Assembly
Presbyteries/UDCs are responsible for ensuring that each congregation is represented by either an elder or minister, and ensuring that as near as is practical, the number of ministers equals the number of elders appointed. If the congregation is going to be sending an elder, then each congregation’s church council needs to decide who this is going to be. Please make sure you have communicated this information to your presbytery clerk or UDC secretary. I need to know as soon as possible how many commissioners each presbytery/UDC is going to send. (I do not need to know their names at this point – just the numbers.)
Nominations for Moderator-designate
We are entering the second stage in the process for nominations for the Modereator –designate. Shortly every presbytery/UDC will receive a list of names of people nominated for Moderator-designate by presbyteries/UDCs , from the Nominating Committee. The new process allows only about five weeks to respond. Presbyteries/UDCs need to vote for one person on the list. It is important that they establish a process to ensure that this happens within this relatively narrow time frame. The name of the nominee must by posted by 20 May 2008 to the Co-convenor of the Nominating Committee, Rev Doug Lendrum 70 Khyber Pass Rd Grafton Auckland.
Focal Identity Statement
By now you should have received material from the Focal Identity Task Group. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further copies. The Task Group has asked for all responses to be made to it by 30 April 2008.
Presbytery Task Group
The Task Group have requested that all responses to their paper be made by Friday 16 May, 2008 to the Convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group, the Very Rev Garry Marquand. email@example.com [Postal address: 9 Insoll Ave, Enderley, Hamilton 3214]
Bringing issues before the General Assembly
The Assembly Office has recently sent information to presbytery clerks and UDC secretaries outlining the format and process of submitting proposals and references to the General Assembly. If you are planning to bring any matter before the General Assembly, please make sure you read Chapter 14 of the New Book of Order. The processes outlined in this chapter have replaced the practise of bringing memorials, petitions and overtures. All propsals and references to the General Assembly must reach me by 1 August 2008.
Council of Assembly
The Council meet on the weekend of April 4,5, and 6 in Palmerston North. The Council agenda includes papers from the Ecology Task Group, on-going development of the strategy document, reports from the Resource and Leadership Committees, a report from the Pacific Island Synod, and a paper from the Trustees regarding the Beneficary Fund.
A reminder about Safe Practices
I need to remind you about the importance of ensuring that there are clear lines of accountability, support and standards for those working with children and teenagers. If there is any group, even tentatively associated with your congregation, who meets in your facilities or who might be identified with your church's life and activity, then you need to ensure that the leaders of this group are observing standards of safe conduct.
In some churches, events like youth groups, play groups, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade and others have over time being seen as somewhat independent of the church's life and activities. Please take account of these groups now and be clear about your relationship to them and your pastoral, moral and legal responsibilities. Parishes also need to be aware that any groups operating out of their buildings are not necessarily covered by the Presbyterian Church’s insurance policy. This would be a good time to check that they have made arrangements for themselves.
The resource Safety in Children's Ministry provided by Jill Kayser is an excellent and helpful document.
Please uphold the Council in your prayers. Please pray for those who have allowed their name to go forward for nomination as our Moderator-designate.
Thank you for your generous support of the work we do together as a Church.
A movie for pastoral carers: there is an astounding movie just released which I think is a must-see for anyone who works to provide ministry or pastoral care to those who have suffered a stroke or debilitating illness or accident. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a movie based on the book by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby. It describes what his life is like after suffering a massive stroke that left him with a condition called Locked-In syndrome. (The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid) . It is not an easy movie to watch but I think it very rare to be provided with such profound insights from someone in such a situation.
Global Mission update
I certainly was not knocked over in the rush in response to my request for feedback last month. So I think I should make the invitation again that as we head towards a new financial year, that if you have any ideas on what the GMO should focus on, what we should give up on, how we can assist you and/or your church to achieve your goals, we would welcome your input. I am contemplating having a bit of a summit later on in the year to try and develop a medium to long term action plan. If you think that is a good idea, please let me know.
But we did have a fantastic response to the latest Gazette and we have already run out of all our extra copies. If you are not on our mailing list, please let us know.
For some churches, launching into a group trip overseas seems to be just a bit too much and more than what they can achieve. Plimmerton was one such church and so we invited them to spend a week in Otahuhu. Given Keith Nisbet’s knowledge of Auckland, we were able to put together a trip that included everything from visiting Piha to the Mangere Refugee Centre. Keith has a marvellous DVD of their team sharing in the service at Plimmerton about what they experienced. I am sure he would be willing to talk to you about the other outcomes they have witnessed since then too. Contact Keith on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to explore a similar option for your youth group, we would be only too pleased to help you with the arrangements.
This is another great opportunity to remind everyone out there of what some of the things the Global Mission Office has in the pipeline. We will be hosting a group from Taiwan who will be coming to the Connect conference in July. We are working with a youth group so they can go to Zambia. There is the Training in Mission programme, which is run by the Council for World Mission. There is an opportunity for a group of young people to go to a youth camp in South Africa and another in Taiwan. There is also a mission trip to Nepal at the end of this year. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us if you would like to become involved in one of these, or if you are passionate about being involved in God’s mission overseas. We are here to enable, to enable congregations, ministers, youth leaders and youth groups; we are here to serve and enable you. We look forward to your reply.
National Mission update
Let your fingers do the walking!
This month the National Mission Office has stepped up its Internet presence a notch and invites you to check out its new resource blog.
Mke Crowl, the research and resource assistant for the National Mission Office writes: Everyday we come across material on leadership, change, wellness and mission that is helpful to those ministering in the Church. The National Mission Enabling Resource Site aims to include a wide mix of resource material: links to other blogs and sites, helpful quotes, anecdotal material you can use, the names of books worth reading and much more.
We hope that checking out this blog will help you to find useful information from the Net more quickly. A search box at the upper left corner allows you to put in any search request; as long as that word is on the blog somewhere, it will be found. As well as this, there are links beneath each post. Click on any one of these and you’ll find all posts that relate to that topic. You can subscribe to the blog either on Google Reader or some other reader of your choice, or link to it on the Bookmarks Toolbar of your browser.
And, if you wish, you can leave comments on the blog. We’d appreciate hearing from you, as that gives us an indication as to what is useful to you.
Ministry Development Tools for Enabling Mission
The 2006 General Assembly requested the creation of review systems for parishes and ministers as well as a formal process for recognizing ministers in good standing.
As a result of this members of the National Mission Team have worked closely with two groups - the Appraisals Work Group and the Ministerial Practicing Certificate Task Group - to develop a Ministry Development Programme which encompasses both reviews and a certification process.
We are pleased to advise that since the last Assembly a lot of progress has been made towards developing reviews that will ensure parishes and ministers:
- Have a system whereby development needs can be identified;
- Receive relevant and timely feedback (on a no surprises basis) in order to improve role satisfaction, mission/role clarity and cohesiveness between the minister and parish;
- Have the opportunity to reflect on the past and to prepare for future ministry.
At the same time, great strides have been made towards developing a Certificate of Good Standing which will recognize those ministers who are committed to developing themselves both spiritually and as a leader in order to enhance their capacity to meet their community’s needs. Of course there is still a lot of work to do be done between now and October but we are confident we will be able to bring a comprehensive programme to the next General Assembly.
Please note that the next edition of Presbyterian People will be out mid-April. This year Presbyterian People is being produced bi-monthly to allow for the increased workload leading up to the General Assembly. This is an email bulletin and anyone wanting to subscribe should email the Web Administrator, Jason Reed, Jason@presbyterian.org.nz
Sister church relationship
Rev Des Botting from St David’s in the Fields, Hillsborough, Auckland, would like to hear from any ministers whose church has a sister church relationship with a Presbyterian congregation overseas. Please either phone or text (09) 625-7284 or 021 231-9669 or email email@example.com
Fair Trade Fortnight 3-18 May
From 3 to 18 May the spotlight will be on the importance of fair trade to ensure a better income for small producers and a life without poverty. Churches can take part by having a Fair Cuppa during the fortnight focusing on the difference fairly traded tea, coffee and chocolate can make or sign up to become a Fair Trade Church. Worship materials will be available from 1 April. This year, CWS is also asking people to join the Supermarket Challenge to help find the best fair trade supermarket in the country and petition supermarket chains to stock and promote a wider range of fair trade goods. Demand cards and survey forms will be available from CWS. See www.cws.org.nz, phone 0800 74 73 72 ext 112 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Encounter for Young People
Expressions of interest are fast coming in for the CWS Global Youth Encounter. Youth representatives from Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Zealand will attend hui where they will share the effects of living with violence in their own country, ideas on how to prevent violence and ways to build a peaceful community.
The live-in youth conferences will be held at Te Maungarongo Marae, Ohope (18-20 July), Wellington (25-27 July) and Christchurch (1-3 August). Young people aged 15-25 years are invited to attend but places are limited. Other meetings with the overseas visitors will be held at various schools between the hui dates. Contact email@example.com phone: 0800 74 73 72 ext 108 for further information and to register your interest.
Thank you for your support of the Kenyan Refugee Appeal. CWS sent US$10,000 to support the US$60,000 relief effort in Uganda. Despite a political agreement, ACT International reports the crisis continues. The violence that erupted after the disputed presidential elections on 27 December left over 1,000 Kenyans dead and nearly half a million displaced. Thousands escaped over the border to Uganda, dependent on family, friends and CWS partner, the Church of Uganda, for shelter, food and other basic needs.
The political impasse was finally broken as President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed a power sharing agreement on February 28, but those left homeless and displaced remain in the discomfort and uncertainty of the refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya. Having nothing to return home to and nothing to move on to, the displaced people will need ongoing support and trauma counselling to rebuild their lives. The CWS Appeal remains open. See www.cws.org.nz or phone 0800 74 73 72.
Christmas Appeal Update
CWS has received over $560,000 to date for the Christmas Appeal. With some churches still to send in their donations, we hope to reach our target soon. If you still have Christmas Appeal funds please send them as soon as possible so donors can be receipted and the appeal closed. Thank you for all your support.
APW national survey for all women
Please remind all parish administrators that the survey forms (which presbyteries received in February) are to be completed and returned in the stamped addressed envelope provided, as close as possible to 1 April . We are looking forward to gathering information to guide direction and future planning. Thank you.
The Introduction Workgroup is seeking positions for a number of excellent exiting students from the Knox Centre for Leadership and Ministry (formerly the School of Ministry) who are available for a call to a congregation or congregation-sponsored mission opportunity.
If you are a Convener of a Settlement Board please consider approaching one of our newly trained ministers.
Further information can be obtained from the convener:
Convener - Introductions Workgroup
Phone (03) 476-6559
Hewitson Library latest acquisitions
Click here to see the new acquisitions list for January 2008.
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 31 March 2008 Please amend the roll in your yearbook accordingly.Licensing:
Ordinations & Inductions:
Rev Kevin Finlay, Licentiate, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, was ordained and inducted as Minister, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Howick, Auckland Presbytery, 28 February 2008.
Rev John Wharetuku Thrupp, Amorangi, Whakatane Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi, Waimana Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 10 March 2008.
Rev Meletuione Tavelia, Licentiate, Auckland Presbytery, was ordained and inducted as Chaplain, Women’s Health Auckland Hospital, Auckland Presbytery, 17 March 2008.
Transfers and Change of Status:
Rev Graham Ng, other recognised minister, Auckland Presbytery, to other Recognised minister, North Shore Presbytery, 26 February 2008.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries:
Rev Norman West, Methodist Church, to Stated Supply, Kaiapoi Co-operating Parish, Christchurch Presbytery, 1 March 2008.
Mr Martin Williams, Baptist Church, to Local Ordained Minister Probationer, Tokomairiro Co-operating Parish, Clutha Presbytery, 27 January 2008.
Translations & Appointments:
Short Term Appointments:
Rev Anna Gilkison, Other Recognised Minister, Wellington Presbytery, was commissioned for one year, Johnsonville Uniting Parish, Wellington Presbytery, 30 January 2008.
Removal from the Roll:
Rev David Sage, Minister Emeritus, North Shore Presbytery, died 29 October 2007.
Rev Don Fauchelle, Minister Emeritus, North Shore Presbytery, died 11 March 2008.
Rev Lagi Sipeli QSM JP, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, died 16 March 2008.
Minister - Mount Pleasant/Heathcote/Ferrymead
The Parish of Mount Pleasant/Heathcote/Ferrymead seeks expressions of interest in negotiating a 2/3 ministry for a fixed term of five years.
The parish is situated in Christchurch on the Mt Pleasant hill and takes in the growing Ferrymead business, café and leisure area and the Heathcote valley.
The congregation seeks a warm, caring pastoral ordained minister who is able to relate to people across a range of theological beliefs, communicate a gospel message for the 21st Century and motivate and encourage others to think and explore their theology.
Expressions of interest can be made to the nominator, The Rev Yvonne Smith firstname.lastname@example.org after June 1st 2008.