Bush Telegraph December 2009

This month, we hear from the Council of Assembly about the Global Mission Office and plans for upholding the key international relationships that GMO supported. AES the Rev Martin Baker talks about how the Church can face the challenge of engaging with Korean ministers and their congregations.

The Moderator the Right Rev Dr Graham Redding discusses the importance of the relationships the Church has with five ecumenical bodies and reminds us that there is a major international consultation on climate change in Copenhagen this month and urges us to pray for world leaders to have the resolve to tackle this issue.

Keeping with the international theme, other highlights include Kids Friendly receiving international interest after presentations at conferences in Samoa and Australia and receiving an invitation to present at a conference in Asia, APW unofficially trying out the name Presbyterian Women on the advice of their United Nations convener, and PYM reports on travelling to the United States to meet with new national Youth Coordinator, Gordon Fitch, and attend and present at two youth conferences.

From the Moderator

From 28 October to 2 November I hosted (on behalf of the Church) a Pacific Region consultation for the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. Countries represented at the consultation were New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu. The theme for the consultation was “Communion and Justice”. The issue that dominated our discussions was climate change, and in particular the rising sea levels already threatening Tuvalu and Kiribati.

The Church belongs to five ecumenical bodies: The World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), Christian World Mission (CWM), the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). The relationships that we have with other churches through these ecumenical bodies in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world are important. They remind us that we are part of a global movement that seeks unity of Christian witness in the midst of immense historical, cultural and geographical diversity. Each of our ecumenical links provides something that is distinctive and enriching to our life and witness here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

With the discussions on climate change fresh in my mind, I would urge you to keep on praying for world leaders as they gather in Copenhagen 7-18 December for a major international consultation on this critical issue. Pray that the emerging international resolve to tackle this issue might not be derailed by political expediency and vested interests.

Grace and peace to you all during this Advent and Christmas season

From the Council of Assembly

You can read the summary of the Council’s November meeting, which spent some time considering issues surrounding the Global Mission Office. The three staff who remained working in the office after the departure of the Rev Andrew Bell in July have tendered their resignations, as you can read in this statement.

There has been speculation as to the reason for these changes, so Council has put together a document that provides some background information and answers some of the questions we have heard.

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

The Pohutukawa tree standing between my office window and the northern by-pass is about to blossom. I think. Waiting and expectation are part of the season: Will our credit card be declined or accepted? Will our children get through their NCEA exams? My barber was fretting over what to get her nieces for Christmas (I wished that she could have waited until after she had put her scissors down!). But the emotional context of waiting is almost always anxiety. When we are anxious we often make the wrong decisions, and yet waiting seems to be a key pastime for many of the main players in our Gospel stories and even Creation itself. Perhaps that is also the reason that Scripture includes so many verses reassuring us not to be afraid. It seems to be a big ask; waiting for something to happen, or changing our understanding about what is happening or has happened, and at the same time not being afraid.

If it is to be Good News we proclaim to our many Christmas congregations, it still has to be Good News to all those worried about their health, their children, their jobs, and the endless array of concerns we share about our world. The Scriptural testimony that the Word has become flesh captures this challenge for me.

As I write this we are awaiting news of the birth of a child to our national Youth Ministry Development Leader, Carlton Johnstone and his wife Sarah. The baby is due any day. A room is prepared, a party planned, presents have been given. As we prepare for something so wonderfully life changing as a new birth, fears and anxieties are placed into another perspective.

Moderator elections for the 2012 General Assembly

Parishes are invited to consider names of suitable nominees for the role of Moderator to bring to their presbytery/UDC.

Each presbytery/UDC should consider all the names submitted both from their parishes and from their own presbytery/UDC. The presbytery/UDC votes, and recommends one person as Moderator-Designate. This name needs to be posted by 30 March 2010 to: The Convener of the Nominating Committee, Ann Owen, 12 Aongatete Road, RD2, Katikati 3178.

Presbyteries which have combined after the 2008 General Assembly and whose boundaries await ratification at the 2010 Assembly should use their own processes to allow for a nomination to be made from each of the presbyteries involved in the combination.

Global Mission Office

Many of you will have heard of the resignations of the three staff from our GMO. Everyone involved agrees about the importance of both upholding the key overseas relationships which the GMO supported and reassuring our supporters and mission partners of our on going commitment to these relationships. While core accounting and communication activities will be maintained by the Wellington Assembly Office, we will be seeking the services of a person who can oversee the work of the GMO during this transition time. A strategic planning group led by Council member Wayne Matheson will be developing a plan that will include establishing our Church’s national overseas mission commitment within the context of our other national activities. It is anticipated that this plan will include longer term staffing requirements for this work.

Korean Presbyterian churches and ministers

Our engagement with Korean ministers and their congregations is an important challenge for us. Many of these ministers and congregations are supported by a number of Republic of Korea (often referred to as South Korea) based Presbyterian denominations.
Through our Asian Advisory Committee we are intending to hold an Auckland-based forum on Saturday 20 February for all Korean ministers and their senior elders who have come from various Presbyterian churches in South Korea.
We estimate that there are between 20 and 30 Korean Presbyterian ministers in New Zealand, many of whom lead growing congregations quite independent of our Church. We are trying to develop a coordinated response to this situation and to possibly resource a person to coordinate with presbyteries a process whereby these ministers and congregations can engage with our Church and ultimately perhaps become fully part of our Church. Some of these South Korean Presbyterian churches have indicated that they would welcome discussions at a national level supporting a mutuality of ministry agreement allowing for ministers to move with some freedom between our partner churches.
We will be sending out more publicity about this in a few weeks, in English and Korean, but in the mean time if you identify any Korean congregations that have affiliations especially with the Presbyterian Church of Korea, (PCK) the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea (PROK) or the Hap Dong Church, then please send me contact details (it’s interesting to note that combined these three Presbyterian denominations identify almost 4.5 million members in South Korea).

Focal Identity Statement – Kupu Whakapono

Please take the opportunity to engage with the completion of this important faith statement. If possible please use the website for responding, or the FIS Workgroup are happy to accept email responses. They will also accept responses sent by post to:

Presbyterian Confession
C/- Leith Valley Presbyterian Church
267 Malvern St
Leith Valley
Dunedin 9010

Social Issues Study Guide Survey

In October and November 93 parishes, almost one quarter of our parishes, took part in a social issues study guides survey. Parishes were asked if the study guides the Church produces were being used by congregations and if so how. Parishes responded overall very positively to the booklets - more than half of parishes surveyed said that the study guides are being used by their congregations. You can view a summary of the survey results.

Christmas messages

Next month our Church and the World Council of Churches (WCC) will release Christmas messages, which will be available on our website. To ensure our Moderator’s message and the WCC message are widely circulated, our communications team have arranged for both Christmas messages to be translated into Samoan and Korean. We will also be sharing our Samoan translations with the WCC so that they can distribute them to our partner churches in the Pacific.

Church of Scotland General Assembly

Every year we receive a gracious invitation to attend the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Almost every year we just happen to find some minister or elder who is travelling to Scotland at that time (20-26 May) and who is willing to represent us and convey the greetings of our Church. We can't cover the travel costs to Scotland (!) but if by chance you are going to be in Scotland at this time, then please let me know.

Communications Survey

This month we are conducting a survey to help us find out what you think about Presbyterian Church communications, so that we can keep improving them. We would very much appreciate it if you could fill in this short online questionnaire.

Assembly Office Christmas close down

The Assembly Office will be closed from 5pm Wednesday 23 December, reopening Monday 11 January, 2010. For any emergency matters over this time contact me on 027 445 2521 or 09 429 0279.

All the staff at the Assembly Office wishes you God’s rich blessings through the hope and celebrations of the Christmas season.

Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

By now you should have received publicity about the “Going Further” discipleship training event for 18 to 30 year-olds, which will be held on Great Barrier Island from the 2-7 February 2010. For more information, visit the website.

As you read this, our Spring Block Course is coming to an end. This course saw the first batch of ordination students graduate under the new internship model of ministry formation. Next year we will have 18 students on our books – the largest number for some years. Four will be doing their internships in Auckland, one in Rotorua, one in Tauranga, one in New Plymouth, two in Wellington, two in Christchurch, six in Dunedin and one in Invercargill. If your church is interested in having an intern in 2011, please contact me or visit our website to find out what’s involved.

Graham Redding

National Mission

Mission tools in practice

In his role as National Mission Enabler, John Daniel went to Katikati at the beginning of November to work with the minister and elders as they progress their vision of how they engage in mission. The process began with long phone conversations regarding planning, and the build up of background information and demographics relating to the town and environs. These were sent to the parish for them to work through and consider before John’s visit. John then travelled to Katikati for a weekend of workshopping, talking, listening, discussing, presenting…and enabling. John wasn’t there to “provide” the answers, but to enable those at the meetings to arrive at the answers themselves. Katikati is just one of three areas that John has worked in over the last couple of months. Each of these gatherings requires not only a great deal of preparation, but also continuous concentration during the meeting time. To further understand John’s role as Enabler read this analogy.

Mission Fest

On 19 and 20 November, members of the Council of Assembly met in Dunedin and were invited by the Synod of Otago & Southland to join them in a Mission Fest. On Friday evening they enjoyed a meal and a presentation on the ways Synod monies are distributed. On Saturday morning they listened to a number of speakers from the Synod area talking about local mission. Those sharing mission included Michael Frost from Oamaru, Marty Redhead from Calvin Church in Gore, Roger Harrington from Invercargill, Karl Lamb from Te Anau, and from the University of Otago, Paul Trebilco, Department of Theology and Andrew Bradstock, Professor of Theology and Public Issues.

Email us to opt-in to the monthly Mission Possible ezine

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Thanks to a CWM grant I had the privilege recently of attending two conferences in America. The first was the Social Scientific Study of Religion Conference, where I presented a paper based on some of my PhD findings. Research presented by Christian Smith and his team on young people and emerging adults will be of interest to some of you. His recent book “Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults” is based on his findings and has similarities to our context. I have ordered a copy for our PYM library at Hewitson for those interested in having a read.

The second conference was the National Youth Workers Convention run by Youth Specialties. Over 2000 people attended this conference with a greater practitioner focus. While there are some clear cultural differences between the US and NZ there are also many similarities. The transition from adolescence to young adulthood is an area many youth workers are wrestling with as increasing numbers drop out of church life at this point. PYM will be giving more attention to this strategic area in 2010.

During my time in America I was able to meet Gordon Fitch and his family. Gordon is our new national Youth Coordinator. I am looking forward to working with Gordon next year and the contribution he will make to PYM.

The CWM Pacific Youth Forum is on from 30 November to 4 December. Our Church is hosting it this year. Two youth workers, Jo Leiua and Tito Kisona from Porirua PIC, Wellington, are our delegates. We wish them all the best as they engage with other youth workers from around the Pacific on social issues concerning young people and youth development.

I met with the PYM focus group for two days in November. Together we explored and thought through a number of new youth initiatives for 2010, some of them directly focus on growth and intentional partnerships between churches in the area of youth ministry. I will keep you updated on these as they develop in the year ahead.

Carlton Johnstone

Kids Friendly

A Great Kids Friendly Year

Kids Friendly has had a great year with lots of growth and exciting developments. In February we welcomed Lorraine Morgan to our team. Lorraine is the outstanding children’s minister at St Andrew’s Geraldine and works with me to promote and organise the two new Kids Friendly initiatives introduced this year – “Transformers” and “Kids Friendly Connections”.

Transformers camps promote and facilitate leadership training in children aged 10 to 13. Young people are mentored over a year to develop their leadership and contribute to their churches. Our first successful camp was piloted in March and we have two more planned for the New Year. Waikato churches are invited to participant in a Waihi camp in February and Dunedin and North Otago churches in March. If you would like to organise a camp in your presbytery or would like to know more, contact Kids Friendly. Thanks to PSDS for contributing funding to make these camps affordable.

Lorraine is also responsible for coordinating weekend training and networking events for children’s leaders. Our pilot “Kids Friendly Connections” in Otago in November was very well received and we hope many more of you will plan such an event. And thanks to the Presbyterian Foundation for helping with the funding of these.

We now have 51 churches that are Kids Friendly, although we remind them that being Kids Friendly is not a final destination but an ongoing challenge. We have 45 more churches working towards becoming Kids Friendly.

Kids Friendly is receiving international interest. At a Council for World Mission (CWM) conference in Samoa this year 40 church leaders learnt all about us, and at a Uniting Church national children and youth conference 80 delegates shared the Kids Friendly vision. Next year I have been invited to present at an Asian conference.

Kids Friendly finishes the year on a high note with the news that the Synod of Otago and Southland has committed funds to appoint a Kids Friendly Coach to help churches in the region prioritise best practise children’s ministry.

Jill Kayser
Kids Friendly Coach

Presbyterian Women

Our National Coordinating Group (NCG) has initiated the idea of using the term “Presbyterian Women” (PW) unofficially over the coming months instead of the Association of Presbyterian Women (APW). Our UN Convener has suggested that the use of the name Presbyterian Women New Zealand at United Nations meetings will enhance the identification of who we are as it is clear and precise. The use of the term Presbyterian Women failed to be adopted in 1997 with delegates preferring the status quo. Now, in the 21st century and thirteen years later, a different name may prove more appealing.

Turakina National Appeal reaches $45,000

What good news! There was an outburst of joy when Presbyterian Women presented a giant-sized mock cheque for boarding scholarships during the recent Turakina Maori Girls’ College senior prize giving. Special thanks to all those individuals and parishes for their generous and loyal support of this appeal. It was a grand effort. The new school principal is making an impact with the students and attracting new families for 2010 enrolments.

Study grants awarded

Presbyterian Women are pleased to congratulate and announce the women who are successful recipients of awards:

  • Kay Jones, St. David’s Richmond, Nelson.
  • Anna Marie White, St John’s, Rotorua.
  • Kerry Jones, Global Mission Office.
  • Angela Bell, St Andrew’s, Otahuhu.
  • Emily Wotton, St Heliers Church, Auckland.
  • Sandra Thomas, St John’s, Rotorua.

Worship resources

  • Making Room at Christmas - by the Rev Nikki Watkin. Email resources convener, Lois Diaper,
  • Celebrate the Gifts of Women - by Kathryn Schneider. This can be used for a worship service around International Women’s Day on 8 March or at any time during the year. Download from the PCUSA AllWomen website.


Free Christmas Concert and Variety Show

Newton Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church
6 - 10pm, Saturday 5 December
YMCA, Pitt St, Auckland Central

Performances on that night will include:

  • The Newton PIPC Sunday School
  • Odyssey 'Hip-Hop' Dance Crew
  • The Yandall Sisters
  • Roland Williams (recent winner of Homai Te Pakipaki on Maori TV)
  • F.L.E.P.
  • A 'live' Resident Band with established Christian musicians from both Wellington and Auckland

Belmont Presbyterian Church - St Margaret's Centenary

15 and 16 May, 2010
Come and join the celebration!
For registration details:
Email or phone minister the Rev Owen Rogers on 09 4451855 or write to 164 Lake Road, Belmont, North Shore City 0622.

Photo required for 2010 Yearbook cover

Would you like to see your photograph or illustration on the cover of the 2010 Yearbook? We’re running a competition, with the criteria that the entry image says something about being Presbyterian today. Entries must be submitted electronically and be high resolution (300dpi), which generally means a minimum file size of 2MB. Entries can be submitted in full colour, or in one colour plus white. Full colour entries will have a one-colour filter applied before publishing. Email images to Amanda.

Presbyterian Investment Fund

The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid to Presbyterian Investment Fund depositors for December and January will be 4.50 percent (unchanged from last month). The Fund accepts deposits from parishes, but is not open to individuals. For further information contact the Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie.

Climate change talks bell ringing and liturgies

  • See our simple outline for worship during Advent to encourage people to find ways to encourage action on Climate Change in the run up to Copenhagen. Resource 1 and resource 2
  • Download a liturgy put together by the Danish churches. It includes a 350 note piece of music.

Please use and adapt these liturgies and please sign up to ring the bells of your church - or to beat the drums - 350 times on December 13. In Palmerston North, St David’s and St Andrew’s Presbyterian churches are taking up the challenge. St Andrew’s bells will be rung at 3 pm on 13 December and there will be a prayer vigil. Everyone in the area is encouraged to attend.

A Rocha & Scripture Union ecologically-based summer camp for youth at Tongariro National Park

10 – 15 January 2010
Tongariro Eco-adventure
Crusader Lodge, Mt Ruapehu
For those aged 16 - 20 years male and female
Cost is $190
Team leaders are Dr Richard Storey and Keith Hamill

Powerful volcanoes, wild rivers, magnificent forests, delicate alpine flowers, beautiful birds, extraordinary insects. Join with outdoors-lovers to explore the amazing ecosystems of Tongariro National Park. Meet real-life scientists, help on a conservation project and get to know the wonderful God who us and all other creatures.
Tongariro Eco-adventure is a partnership between A Rocha Aotearoa NZ and Scripture Union. Combining a love of God's wonderful ecosystems with all the fun and adventure of a kiwi summer camp, it promises to be a wonderful experience. Registrations are open for campers, and we are also looking for enthusiastic leaders. For more information and contact details, view the website. and see for more about A Rocha NZ.

Walk for Climate Change - Wellington

1pm, Saturday 5 December 2009
Faith communities in Wellington are encouraged to join in the Walk for Climate Change, starting from Civic Square and walking to Parliament. The walk is supported by CWS, Oxfam, 350, WWF, Greenpeace and Unite.

Church newsletters wanted

Does your church produce a newsletter? If so we want it so that we can share some of your stories with the wider Church! Please send or email your church newsletter to:
Amanda Wells
Communications Manager
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
PO Box 9049
Wellington 6141

Please let me know if you would like stamped self addressed envelopes to post your newsletters in. Thank you to all those churches that are posting in their church newsletters.

International Volunteer Day 5 December

International Volunteer Day (IV Day) is a United Nations initiative which started in 1985 and is celebrated throughout the world on 5 December every year. It’s a great day to promote and publicise the contribution volunteers make to your organisation and community.

Pacific Islands Political Studies Association 11th Conference

Fale Pasifika, 20 Wynyard Street, University of Auckland
3 - 4 December, 2009

More than 50 papers will be presented by leading scholars, analysts and political commentators from around the Pacific region. The keynote speaker will be Phil Goff.
For information contact Folole Asaua.

Clinical Pastoral Education

10 February – 4 June 2010
The Rev Ray Bloomfield, QSM, ecumenical chaplain at Rotorua Hospital, is running an extended basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. The group will meet Wednesdays at Rotorua Hospital for work, supervision and students will be free to do pastoral working their own church/parish or pastoral work can be arranged in the hospital. The programme qualifies as one paper for the LTH, Bachelors or Masters degree from University of Otago. The fee is $1900.
For more details phone Ray on 07 3481199 ext 8793.

Fuel for the Soul

New Zealand anthology of spiritual writing
Produced by the Albury Pleasant Point Presbyterian Parish as a fundraiser/outreach project, editor Karalyn Joyce says the book is receiving acclaim nationwide from church and non-church folk alike.
$20 plus $2 P&P
For a copy send cheque to: Spiritual Anthology, 7 Hillview Place, Pleasant Point, South Canterbury or email.

Hymnbook Trust Web Noticeboard

The NZ Hymnbook Trust's Labour Weekend Conference resulted in the establishment of an interactive web presence – the Noticeboard Email Message List - for discussion forums, photo gallery, hymn workshops and group workrooms for sharing hymn writing in progress. The noticeboard is linked to the Trust's website. Its aim is to make information easily available to members and interested members of the public. It will have a combined index of all our songs in all hymnbooks, identifying where to find each, and much other information. The Trust is keen to hear ideas for further developing this resource.

Christchurch churches; want to run an auction but need an auctioneer? Here he is!

Professional auctioneer Geoff Leathwick attends Hornby Presbyterian Community Church and he is offering his auctioneering skills to Christchurch churches free of charge. If your church would like Geoff to be the auctioneer at your fundraising auction email or phone (03) 3473376.

Help needed for students’ fees, Talua Ministry Training Centre, Vanuatu

The major source of income for Talua Ministry Training Centre, Vanuatu, comes from student fees. Talua operates on a cash economy, while most students come from a subsistence economy. Most students struggle to pay their fees. In theory for PCV students the presbytery, family, and the student pay a third of their fees each – the reality is there is simply not enough money. For example most pastors in Vanuatu are not receiving pay from their congregations. A basic fee structure per year is as follows: Single mission student NZ$1060 + 130 food allowances. Single diploma student NZ$1100 + 130 food allowances. Married diploma student NZ$ 1310 + 710 food allowances. Degree student NZ$4000 + food allowances. Currently all PCV staff are still owed one months wages from the end of 2008 and it is likely a similar situation will arise later this year. This is a matter for constant prayer and we respectfully ask if you can assist. Contact the Rev Ken Williams.

National Assessment Applications

Applications for national assessment must be submitted to the registrar of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership by 20 December. The applications must be fully complete which means that presbytery assessment of the candidate would have taken place prior to the application being submitted. Applications are to be accompanied by the presbytery’s recommendation and completed medical forms. All forms are available on the Knox web page.

Due to the application process and the required work to be completed by May the following year, no late applications can be accepted after 20 December 2009.

CWS Notices

Ringing the bells for climate justice

The World Council of Churches is calling for bells to be rung on Sunday 13 December at 3pm. This is the mid way point of the UN Climate Change conference and will send the message that climate change is an ethical and spiritual issue. They hope to have a chain of chimes and prayers from the Pacific to Northern Europe and continuing across the globe. Please give your support. See the CWS website for more information.

Christmas giving

The CWS Christmas Appeal has been launched. Endorsed by the Presbyterian Church, the theme is ‘Give us a chance’. It supports programmes helping poor communities access safe water, nutritious food, education, better health, new livelihoods and other necessities of life. You can add a button to your website, distribute leaflets, or hold a special collection.


For Christmas gifts with a difference check out the new Gifted range. Give hope and change with ducks, cement, water, health workers and more. Visit this website.

Free children’s magazine

The latest issue of World Watch, a CWS’s children’s magazine, is now available. It focuses on children living in Gaza and how the Middle East Council of Churches is giving them the chance to plan for the future. It comes with leader’s kit. Email to order.

Vacancy at CWS

CWS is seeking a fundraiser based in our Christchurch office. The person will manage the Christmas Appeal and be responsible for fundraising programmes. Email or phone 03 366 9274 for a job description. Applications close on Friday 11 December.

Our thanks and best wishes for Christmas

CWS thanks you for your support this year, especially for your generous donations and prayers for people affected by the many disasters that struck and your ongoing partnership with us to take action against poverty.

Church Register

Ordination and Inductions

  • Rev Peter Jackson, Stated Supply Minister, Kaiapoi Cooperating Parish, Christchurch Presbytery, to minister, Kaiapoi Co-operating Parish (this parish has a shared ministry agreement with Waimakariri Shared Ministry), Christchurch Presbytery, 5 July 2009.


  • Rev Douglas Duncan, minister, Hanmer Springs – St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Nelson Marlborough Presbytery, 5 October 2009.
  • Rev Rodney Ramsay, other recognised minister, Christchurch Presbytery, to Chaplain, Kristin School, Albany, North Shore Presbytery, 23 September 2009.


  • The Rev Rintje Westra, minister emeritus, North Shore Presbytery, resigned from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, 27 October 2009.


  • The Very Rev Michael Thawley, minister emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, died 3 June 2009.