From the Moderator
Pike River tragedy
The Pike River tragedy is just terrible. The loss of so many lives after the frustration of not being able to move sooner to attempt a rescue has meant that the nation, the families and all involved held onto hope only to have that suddenly extinguished. We grieve with them, most of us unable to imagine what it is really like. The families and friends, those who have been part of the rescue teams, the mining officials and everyone else involved need our ongoing prayers.
It has been good to see the churches playing a key role and to see clergy regularly being consulted by the media. They have done a fantastic job and will have more to do yet. Besides funerals, there is the support of the community at a time when it is under great strain. Please continue to pray for them, including Thelma Efford and Lyn Heine, who are the lay appointees in the Uniting Church in Greymouth. I have been in touch with them and offered my help and the help of the Church. I am very grateful to them for the work they are doing. The churches are working together in this situation which is great.
Please do continue to pray that God will miraculously bring many good things out of this tragedy.
Church’s social issues booklets
On a different topic, I have attended several meetings recently where the Presbyterian Church’s social issues booklets have been appreciated. I do encourage you to have a look at them and to use them for group study. The latest one, “Crime and Justice” comes at a time when the church leaders are concerned about the building of yet more prisons and the calls for more punitive sentencing. We need to look at alternatives to prisons that are not working. This is an important issue and I encourage you to explore it.
May God bless you,
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
I write this just a few days after the terrible events at Pike River. I realised the privilege of my own role as I saw the flow of prayers and words of encouragement to the church leadership team on the West Coast from people across our national and global church community. It is at these points of helplessness and despair that the words and prayers of our faith make all the difference in the world. While we sometimes struggle with the media in this situation, West Coast ministers and church leaders from all backgrounds have consistently presented a message, on television and in the newspapers, of compassion and hope to the people in their communities.
We think of New Zealand as a secular country, but we also witness churches coming together to provide the means, words and opportunity for community lament and solidarity.
With Christmas so near let us hope and pray that the healing words of the Good News may be made incarnate in the communities which have lost so much.
The Council of Assembly
The Council met last weekend. Please see the Council News online.
General Assembly feedback
Thank you for the responses we received from the approximately 150 people who responded to our questionnaire concerning your experiences of General Assembly. Overall 79 percent rated the Assembly positively, with most of those positive responses indicating that “it was much better than my expectations." It was interesting that for over 40 percent this was the only Assembly they had attended in the past ten years, and over 25 percent were under 45 years of age.
While the main aspects of the Assembly were rated better than average by most, there were clearly some areas that we could have done better. In particular we received some concern about the business processes and about the protracted and some would say unnecessary debate on some matters. Both the Business Committee and I received some critical feedback and there was the suggestion that recommendations and other matters coming before Assembly need to better prepared.
We are taking this feedback seriously and are working to clarify the roles of those who lead the Assembly processes and business. We will be revising the standing orders of Assembly to bring greater clarity to some processes, especially around voting, and as some of the reports that went before the Assembly were received very late we are also going to need to find ways of allowing more time to process reports prior to them being sent out to commissioners.
Special legislative procedure
The General Assembly decided that now all parish councils as well as presbyteries, UDCs and Te Aka Puaho should be given the opportunity to discuss and decide on proposed changes in our Book of Order. There were a number of proposed changes and significant background information has been given to commissioners explaining why some of these changes were important. All parish councils and presbyteries have now been sent this documentation and will need to set aside time to discuss and vote on the proposals. Download a copy of these documents, SLP memo to Presbyteries and Parish Councils and Information presented to General Assembly 2010. If you are a presbytery clerk, UDC secretary, or parish council convenor and have not received these documents please contact me. The deadline for replies is 31 August 2011.
Opportunities with CWM
The Council for World Mission provides a range of scholarship and other financial support for individuals, groups, congregations and the Church. The relationship with CWM and access to our shared resources is managed through the Assembly Office. We now have on file information about most of the scholarship support and other opportunities our relationship with CWM can provide. It is quite a large file but if you would like a copy please let me know and I will email it.
Specifically, CWM is inviting applications for study opportunities towards a Master degree through the following institutions: Protestant Theological University in Kampen, The Netherlands; Tainan Theological College in Taiwan and the Presbyterian College and Seminary in South Korea. Visit this page to find application forms and other material.
Confessions of Faith
As requested by the General Assembly we now have a collection of these in both downloadable and printable forms. You can download the 1 MB file. The document is over 300 pages long, so if you want us to print you a copy please send us your request with $40.
Review of the Burial and Cremations Act 1964
The Law Commission is undertaking a review of the legislation and regulations controlling burial and cremation in New Zealand. They are seeking comment on a draft copy of the terms of reference for the review. The purpose of this consultation is to identify any problems with the current legislation and regulations, and the Law Commission is inviting comment from clergy and lay church members for this preliminary discussion. If you would like to comment, please email email@example.com An issues paper for public comments will be produced at a later stage.
Alcohol law reform
General Assembly 2010 endorsed action against New Zealand’s drinking culture. We now have the chance to have our say on the Government’s proposed alcohol law changes, with a deadline for submissions to the select committee of 1 February 2011.
The more people make submissions, the more the Government will listen. Submissions can be easy and quick, or long and personal. We will be making a submission on behalf of the Church; but I strongly encourage you to make an individual submission, and to encourage others to do the same.
Alcohol Action New Zealand has developed some useful submission templates, including a very simple submission form. If you would like some submission postcards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
From mid-December I am on holiday visiting India with my family. The trip will include time with a small Christian community working in the slums of Rajahmundry. This community has had an extraordinarily transformative presence in the lives of a community faced with very significant challenges.
Emma Keown, Council Convenor (021 210 5407), or Lisa Wells, deputy Convenor (021 374 094), can be contacted for any urgent matter, and Amanda Wells, communications manager (027 535 3020) should be called for any issue involving the media. I’ll be available again after 5 January on 027 4452521 or (09) 4290279.
The Assembly Office closes Thursday 23 December and reopens on Monday 10 January.
All of the Assembly staff convey their thanks and appreciation for your support and prayers over the past year. We wish you God’s rich blessings of hope and peace in this Christmas season.
Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
It’s not too late for people aged between 17 and 30 years to register for the next Going Further event on Great Barrier Island, being held 31 January to 6 February 2011. If it’s anything like the last one it will be a very formative event for those who go. Check out the Going Further web site for more details.
The Knox Centre recently graduated six ordinands and welcomed next year’s intake of seven students. This means that next year we will have 19 ministry students working as interns in parishes around the country.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
I was reading an address given by Bert Roebben to the Association of Youth Ministry Educators recently. In it he asked how church is reshaped when youth are in the picture. He then went on to talk about three ways of engaging theology with children and young people that I thought might be of interest to some of you: theology of children (listening carefully and emphatically to their religious language, they way they understand revelation and God’s presence in the world); theology with children (help them in finding good questions and solid appropriate answers); theology for children (show the courage of one’s own convictions as an educator and tell them about the solid answers you have found).
In our churches we need to be modeling and practising all three ways of engaging theology with children and young people. We also need to be teaching adults within our congregations to practise all three. If adults are inarticulate when it comes to the language of faith then it makes it very hard to teach young people how to speak this language.
Another good question, asked by youth worker, educator and theologian Kendra Creasy Dean, and worth answering within our congregations, is - are we more concerned with institutional self-preservation than living out the self-sacrificing love of Jesus? Ministry to children and young people in a healthy nurturing environment requires the latter. But some of the stories I hear, while out on the road, from church leaders and youth workers suggest that self-preservation trumps the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. The culture change required by some of our congregations is for the practice of self-sacrificing love of Jesus to trump self-preservation. May you, as church leaders, have the courage to lead such change.
Youth Ministry Development Leader
APW Study Grants
Presbyterian Women New Zealand annually offers grants to assist with course costs for women seeking Christian training. The successful applicants for this year’s APW Study Grants are:
- Cate Burton of Katikati, completing her studies for national ordained ministry.
- Erin Pendreigh of Cromwell, studying for her Bachelor of Theology through the University of Otago Distance Learning Programme.
- Joanna Matheson of Dunedin, studying for her Bachelor of Social and Community Work.
- Lynnette O’Brien of Upper Hutt, assistance with her studies in anthropology and religion.
Presbyterian Women congratulates these women on their success and wishes them well in their studies.
Ecumenical Women publication
Following on from the 2010 Commission on the Status of Women session, Ecumenical Women compiled a publication, “Your Daughters Shall Prophesy”, available online. The Very Rev Pamela Tankersley, Presbyterian Women’s United Nations Convenor, contributed to this publication. It includes a series of meditations on the Beijing Platform for Action.
Children and the Sacraments
Last month in Bush Telegraph I challenged churches who exclude children from communion to prayerfully consider their practice and to explore what it means to “let the children come” to the communion table.
I recently had an email from a Kids Friendly colleague on sabbatical in the States. Kaila wrote, “Our time in the States has been great for grabbing new ideas from churches we've attended. At a recent baptism, after the parents had made their vows, the minister asked all the children (who were already up front so they could see everything happening) to stand. The minister asked them, ‘Do you, the children of this church, promise to be Matthew’s brothers and sisters in our church family? Will you remember his name and greet him when you see him? Will you play with him and help him learn about Jesus?’ After the children, the rest of the congregation was asked to make their vows”.
In the Kids Friendly self-review, churches are asked to consider how they involve children in, and help them understand, the sacraments. As many of our churches still practice infant baptism the example of this church could easily be adopted.
So inspired and excited was I by Kaila’s email that I sent it to my friends Judy and Jason Goroncy who were due to baptise their new baby son Samuel the following weekend. A week later Judy wrote, “I spoke to our minister as soon as I received your email and he agreed to involve the children more intentionally. We moved the font to the aisle at the back of the church and had people gather around with the children sitting at the foot of the font. This created a wonderful sense of community and of our family being welcomed rather than being on show. It also captured Samuel’s entering into the church as the font was close to the entrance. The children's response was beautiful. Of course some of the younger kids didn't quite get it but I’m sure they felt included and the older children responded with much enthusiasm.”
Kids Friendly coach
Joining in mission together
Welcome home Ken and Jenny Williams and family
Ken and Jenny have been serving in mission at Talua in Vanuatu for two years. They returned to New Zealand on 27 November and will move to Gore, where Ken will become the associate minister at Calvin Presbyterian Church. They are open to invitations to speak to church groups – their story, “Come to the Sunny Side” can be found in the Global Mission pages in the June edition of Spanz.
In January, with support from the Council for World Mission, Paula and Roger Levy and family take up the call to serve God in Talua. We wish them God speed and many blessings. Support for the Levys can be sent to Global Mission at email@example.com
Last chance to have a productive summer adventure in Vanuatu
We are looking for skilled labourers and supporters (23 January to 4 February 2011) to build student houses at Talua for the unexpectedly large influx into the B.Min. We hope folk will be self-supporting, but we can subsidise air fares. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date 7 December.
Mission in Myanmar
A small team from St Columba is currently in Myanmar consulting with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar on the progress of the work we are supporting with funds you , the church, have been sending to the Rice Bowl Appeal. A bigger team will head over mid-January to participate in the projects.
CWS Christmas Appeal: Share the Care
Give a Christmas gift towards development work this year through Christian World Service. Support projects for health and healing in Tonga, Palestinian refugees in Gaza, earthquake survivors in Haiti, and HIV/Aids sufferers in Uganda.
Global Mission coordinator
Bush Telegraph 2011
Thank you for your contributions and readership this year. There will be no Bush Telegraph on 1 January, Bush Telegraph will resume on 1 February 2011. Please email any notices to email@example.com by 21 January 2011.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid to Presbyterian Investment Fund depositors will remain at 5.25 per cent for December and January. The Fund accepts deposits from parishes, but it is not open to individuals. For further information email the Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie.
Hewitson Library holiday hours
The Hewitson Library will close on Wednesday 22 December 2010 and reopen on Wednesday 5 January 2011.
NZ Ecumenical Rural Ministry newsletter
The latest edition of the New Zealand Ecumenical Rural Ministry newsletter is now available online.
The Fred Hollows Foundation – give the gift of sight this Christmas
This Christmas you can help others in a very special way with a Fred Hollows Foundation Miracle of Sight card. $25 for each card you give helps restore sight to someone in the Pacific. The cards feature a personal story describing the life-changing impact your gift can have, and there are four beautiful images to choose from. Cards can be personalised and mailed on your behalf, or sent directly to you. To order www.hollows.org.nz or free phone 0800 227 229.
Spiritual Growth Ministries 2011 programme
Copies of the 2011 programme of events (Quite Days, retreats etc) and resources are now available from the administrator, Carole Hunt, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Assembly Office also has copies of the 2011 programme booklet, email email@example.com or phone 04 801 6000.
These Hills Music and Ministry workshops, March 2011
St Luke’s, Te Kuiti Saturday 12 March
Bellblock, Sunday 13 March
On 12-13 March 2011 two workshops will be held in Te Kuiti and Bellblock, New Plymouth, organised by Ecumenical Workshops King Country and Taranaki.
Presenters: Roy Tankersley (‘Teaching new songs’), Malcolm Gordon (‘Creative worship’), and the Right Rev Pamela Tankersley (‘Community Facing Ministry’).
This is an ecumenical venture, with leaders from different denominations sharing the planning, they are inspired and energised by songs written by New Zealanders and expressing a contemporary spirituality in New Zealand's context. Two future workshops are planned, Parish Websites in June, and Colin Gibson will return October or November 2011. Contact Gaynor McCartney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cakes with a Conscience support Fair Trade and CWS
Cakes with a Conscience is the first Fair Trade bakery in Oceania to offer a range of Fair Trade Certified Cakes, biscuits, desserts and sweet treats. By being Fair Trade certified they aim to provide a better standard of living for growers. so they can care for their families. They give a portion of profits to CWS to help reduce poverty in developing nations. More info at http://www.cakeswithaconscience.co.nz/tangocms/Products
"Hope is Our Song" karaoke CD
Roald and Lucy Barthow have produced a CD of 29 songs from the NZ hymn book “Hope is Our Song” on a Technics KN7000 keyboard. For the song-list see http://www.nz-hymns.come2see.co.nz/ $20 each including postage. Make cheques out to REM and AL Barthow, send to 212 Reservoir Road, Thames 3500.
2011 CPE – Christchurch course dates
14 March - 1 July 2011, (15 weeks). Apply by 14 Jan 2011.
14 Nov 2011 - 10 Feb 2012, (11 weeks). Apply by 14 Sept 2011.
Contacts: Rev Helen Roud, 678 Cashmere Road, Halswell 8025. Phone (03) 322.8346, email email@example.com or Jo Noble, 8 Jane Deans Close, Riccarton 8011. Phone: 03-343.3103, email firstname.lastname@example.org
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3 December 2010
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote an understanding of disability issues, the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities. More info at http://www.odi.govt.nz/
WCC climate justice photo petition
An international coalition of Christian organizations is organising a photo petition that will bring the messages of all those who care for Creation to the United Nations climate talks. Individuals and groups are invited to contribute images of themselves and their message to global leaders. Anyone can share a picture of themselves via Flickr or by sending their picture (including their name and country) to email@example.com. See www.oikoumene.org/climatechange
International Migrants Day 18 December
The United Nations International Migrants' Day is a time to celebrate the contribution of migrant populations and to promote respect for their basic human rights. See http://www.un.org/en/events/migrantsday/
Changes to the tax rules that could benefit churches
The Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector reminds churches that they have available to download a flyer “Making it easier to give to religious organizations” on changes to the tax rules that have the potential to benefit religious organisations by creating opportunities for sustained, cost effective giving. This flyer includes information on the tax changes and looks at how churches and nonprofit religious organisations can take advantage of these changes
65th Christmas Appeal
Help us make it the best ever! Resources are still available and you can get more information and materials from our special appeal website www.christmasappeal.org.nz . Please promote the appeal at services throughout Advent and at community Christmas events. We hope you are enjoying the sharpened look and stories in this year’s kit. Let CWS know of any special fundraising events you have planned – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Give bees, footballs or pigs this Christmas
CWS has added exciting new gifts to its Gifted range. Beehives and pigs in Uganda, fish farming in Timor-Leste, bare foot lawyers in India and books/footballs for children in war torn Sudan are now available alongside popular gifts water, goats, and chickens. Check out www.gift.org.nz for the full range and online ordering. Perfect Christmas gifts and an exciting fundraising target for your parish or youth group.
The flooding crisis in Pakistan continues to devastate millions of people. The threat of famine looms if lost crops are not replanted soon. Urgent assistance is needed. You can watch an update of our relief efforts on the CWS website www.cws.org.nz or on disk from the CWS office, email email@example.com . The footage features CWS staff member Nick Clarke, who was seconded to Pakistan during September. The Appeal remains open.
Thank you for your support
It has been a tougher year than normal for CWS with the Canterbury earthquake leaving us homeless for a month and sector wide government funding cuts threatening our ability to support long term partners. Thank you for your support, especially your generous donations for emergency appeals and the life changing work of our partners. We look forward to a stronger 2011 with your continued support. Best wishes for Christmas and the coming year from all the Christian World Service staff.
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Lorna Clarke, Local Minister Probationer, Wairarapa Union District Council to Local Ordained Minister, Wairarapa Union District Council, 17 October 2010.
Rev Daniel Rikiriki, Amorangi, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi, Southern Urewera Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 25 September 2010.
Changes in Status
Rev Junghun Choi, Local Ordained Minister, Auckland Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister (National Ordained Minister), Auckland Presbytery, 9 November 2010.
Rev Barry Tetley, Minister, Whangarei Uniting Parish – St James’, Churches Together in Northland, to Minister Emeritus, Churches Together in Northland, 1 November 2010.
Rev Frank McKean, Minister Emeritus, South Auckland Presbytery, died 18 October 2010.
Rev Wilfred Downard, Minister Emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 20 October 2010.
Gisborne Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, closed 1 January 2005.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.