December 2008


From the Moderator

Music plays such an important role in worship. It is important not only that we sing the faith we have received, but that we sing it into our own context. In this regard, the church in this country has been well served over the years by the New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. Alleluia Aotearoa is used widely, and many of its contributors, including Shirley Murray and Colin Gibson, have become household names.

But what about the next generation of musicians and composers? What can we do to encourage them in their ministry and service to the Church?

This question prompted the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership to think about ways of supporting and encouraging up-and-coming musicians in the Presbyterian Church. At the General Assembly I was pleased to announce, in my capacity as Principal of the Knox Centre, three initiatives. Details will soon be posted on the Knox Centre website, but for now, here is a summary:

Starting in 2009, the Knox Centre will offer six annual music scholarships, musical project grants and an award for the best new hymn or worship song.

The purpose of the music scholarships is to encourage and equip young musicians in the conduct of public worship. Each scholarship will consist of an expense paid two day workshop on music and worship at the Knox Centre, plus a $500 cash grant. Applicants must be under 30 years of age. The first workshop will be held 2 and 3 October 2009.

The purpose of the project grants is to help resource musical projects that will enrich the life of the Church. $2,000 will be available each year to support one or more projects, for example recording, further training, putting out a Demo and going on tour.

The purpose of the hymn/worship song contest is to encourage young musicians in the composition of music for use in worship. The award will be $300. All entries will receive constructive feedback and be considered for recording and applicants must be under 35 years of age.

We realise that the age restrictions are rather arbitrary, but they are intended to make sure that we stay focused on our target demographic, which is young people.

Applications for the above grants will close 30 April 2009. Enquiries can be directed to the Knox Centre or to Malcolm Gordon (0274767603) or Darryl Tempero (0276995449).

The funding for these initiatives is made possible through the generous support given to the Knox Centre by the Alfred and Isabel and Marian Reed Trust.

May you discover afresh the love and peace of Christ this Christmas season,
Graham Redding

Assembly Office update

Dear Friends

I am waiting for the Pohutukawa, between our office and the southern bypass, to flower. I can never quite remember the significance of an early or late flowering. Its connection with NZ Christmas, as well as the fact that in protecting the tree the car park has been awkwardly constructed around it, provides an interesting, if somewhat tangential, theological paradigm; the incarnation is both troubling and reassuring, the presence of the Christ child and the presence of all children fuels expectation and invests the future with hope. The nurture and safety of children, beyond the ambiguities of politics and economics, provides the most decisive measure of a society’s well being.

I have heard our modern day shepherds and farmers bringing us the good news that we can once again farm our way out of the current recession. There are opportunities this Christmas to tell our communities that they do not need to fear and that there is a great promise within which they can live.

Everyone at the Assembly Office offers very best wishes to you in your Christmas celebrations.

Church Access for people with disabilities

I have recently been contacted by the Disability Spirituality and Faith Network. The Network asked about physical access to our churches, and what architectural barriers say about our Church’s duty to teach a theology of hospitality. The same questions could be asked in regard to those with hearing, sight and other disabilities. A congregation who provides hospitality and access, in all senses of those words, expresses a powerful testimony to its commitment to Christian witness and ministry.

Get the very latest edition of the Book of Order

The 2008 edition of the Book of Order is now available online. It incorporates changes approved by the 2008 General Assembly. Printed copies are available from the Assembly Office.

Presbytery Reform

Every presbytery needs to have established a presbytery reform team by the end of 2008, with the new presbytery structure in place by October 2009. The function of these teams is outlined in the Presbytery Task Group Report (D8-1 onward) in the White Book. Among the functions of the team is consultation with other presbyteries to establish a reconfiguration of presbytery boundaries. The Very Rev Garry Marquand is the Convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group and you can contact him for more details at

Ministers’ reviews

A few people have asked about the timetable for this new process. The Leadership Committee will publish more information in the New Year, however the intention is that reviewers will receive their training in March and reviews will begin in April. Generally, all parish ministers need to participate in a review process at some stage over the next two years or so, and within 5 years will have needed to have undertaken a review at least twice in order to maintain their certificate of good standing.

Charities Commission

All presbytery clerks should have received information in regard to the entities in their region included in the registration process. If you are a clerk and have not received this information, or it is incomplete, please contact me directly. Congregations should contact their presbytery clerks for more information and be intending to include their registration number on receipts they issue as well as on their letterhead, newsletters and in other communications.

Yearbook Updates and Corrections

We are currently preparing the 2009 Yearbook. If there were errors or omissions in the current Yearbook which we have not been alerted to, please send details to the Assembly Office.

Minutes of the General Assembly

The Minutes are now available online to download.

Council of Assembly

The new Council of Assembly held its first meeting in November. The Council fulfils in part the role of the General Assembly in providing administrative and governing oversight of the Church between General Assemblies. To find out more about what was discussed please read the Council News.

The Church of Scotland General Assembly 21 to 27 May 2009

We have been invited to have a delegate at the Church of Scotland Assembly. This is somewhat outside our budget, but if by chance you were planning a trip to Scotland around this time and would enjoy this experience then please let me know.

Assembly Office Christmas Closedown

The Assembly Office will be closed from 5 pm on Tuesday 23 December to 8.30 am on Monday 5 January 2009. In cases of emergency I can be contacted on 027 4452521 or on Great Barrier 09 4290279 (if you happen to be out at the Barrier stop by to say hello).


Let us hold one another in our prayers during a season which has both its joys and challenges for those who lead and worship in our churches.

Finance update

1.  Tax on Overseas Donations

There has been some discussion lately about donors’ ability to claim tax on overseas donations. I have discussed this with our advisors and can confirm that donors can receive tax rebates on donations ultimately applied for overseas use, whether donations are made to the Global Mission Office of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, or a parish. This is because:

  • The Presbyterian Church is registered with the Charities Commission under the Charities Act. This registration currently incorporates all parishes. From next year parishes will continue to be registered, but under Presbyteries registration.
  • Inland Revenue Department require funds to be applied “wholly or principally” to charitable purposes within New Zealand. As a registered charity the Presbyterian Church (and parish) operating expenses, are expenses used for charitable purposes within New Zealand.  
  • Currently the Presbyterian Church donates only about 4% of its total income overseas, so the “wholly or principally” test is met. It is likely Parishes would also meet this requirement as the majority of its income would be spent in New Zealand on operating expenses and local mission.

Note that depending on the charity, in most cases a donor would not get a tax rebate if they were to donate directly overseas

2.   Church Property Trustees on the security of the Presbyterian Investment Fund

The Church Property Trustees advise that the Presbyterian Investment Fund (PIF) does not buy shares or invest in finance companies. About 85% of the Fund is in bank deposits, spread across those banks registered with the Reserve Bank. The balance is in high-rated investment grade bonds in major companies, and the Trustees are confident that these investments are secure. While the Trustees expect interest rates to fall over the next year, a significant proportion of the funds are invested for two or more years, so that it is expected that PIF depositors will continue to get a competitive rate on their funds.

Brendan Sweeney
Finance Manager

Kids Friendly update

Visit the Kids Friendly website

Kids Friendly

I am always encouraged when another of our churches achieves Kids Friendly status. In the last fortnight three churches have become Kids Friendly: St David’s Union, St Andrew’s Presbyterian and Nawton Community Church all formed “dream teams” and reviewed the way they minister to children and families. The process helped each of these churches identify their own unique challenges and opportunities, and together we worked to realise their goals.

This process takes anything from six months to two years depending on how much work the church has already done and how intentional and committed its leaders are. The time is not important; the intent is, because while achieving Kids Friendly status is an achievement worthy of recognition, it is only one destination on the Kids Friendly journey. The ongoing challenge is, as Rev Brian Walker of Balclutha so aptly put it, “To see everything through Kids Friendly eyes from now on”.

Each of these recently assessed Kids Friendly churches is quite different. St Andrew’s in Geraldine is a large “successful” church with a vibrant Sunday school, effective outreach programmes and a full time minister and part time children’s minister. St David’s Union is a small congregation worshipping in a Methodist plant in a suburb of Timaru. The church is led by a lay minister who is passionate about including children in all age worship and events, and working with a team of committed volunteers to minister to the community’s children and families. Nawton Community Church in Hamilton does not have a minister and is led by a team of committed elders who have recently renovated their church to better cater for the many outreach initiatives run for children and families in their community.

There is no one type or ideal Kids Friendly church, but again the intent or “heart” to minister to children and families is all important. If the people of your church have that heart I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you a wonderful spirit-filled Christmas.

Jill Kayser
Kids Friendly Coach

Global Mission update

Hot Topic

An ad in today’s paper lists a Sony 46” Full HD LCD TV for only $3199. Oh the temptation! I know I deserve a new TV this Christmas; I have worked so hard all year. Christmas is all about me isn’t it? Or is it? Have you had this argument with yourself recently?

How about this one? Give eye sight today: full recovery and a new lens for only $200. You know there is a need and you could help. You could give sight for Christmas. Christmas: it’s all about Jesus.

Recently I was reading an article about how we are living in a disposable society, one where we can buy just because we feel like it, or because there’s a sale on. Is Christmas all about us and what we can have?

As we celebrate Christmas we can so easily forget that we celebrate Christ’s mass, a mass that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. We can forget in our Christmas over indulgences that Jesus came to the world to save the world so that the world would become selfless rather that selfish. What would Jesus think of how we celebrate Christmas in New Zealand? Would he be happy with the take-over of Santa Claus, or Christmas sales that begin in August? Would he be happy that we celebrate Christmas with much food on the table and presents galore, when many people around the world are starving? With our new plasma TV that could have given sight to 16 people? Please don’t get me wrong; I’m all for Christmas, as long as we remember what it is all about.

Recently, the Moderator Right Rev Dr Graham Redding, Rev Andrew Bell and Doreen Riddell returned from a trip to North India. At Christian Hospital, Jagadhri, they heard first hand how with $200 NZ dollars a person could gain their eye sight back. Our December gazette proposes this as a Christmas gift that you could support. I know there are so many gift ideas to choose from, but with our Presbyterian connection in North India this is certainly a gift to consider.

May you all have a wonder Christ’s mass. Remember that God has given us the most amazing gift, a gift that takes us from selfishness to selflessness.


Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership update

Summer School: Christianity & Science

In January of each year the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Otago and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership offer a week-long block course. This is what we have planned for January 2009:

From Monday 26 January to Friday 30 January Professor Ted Davis will teach a paper entitled,

“Christianity and Science: Historical and Contemporary Interactions”.

The course will be held at St Columba, Botany Downs, Auckland and will end at 1pm.

As in previous years, the paper is available as a university paper (visit the University of Otago web site) or for “audit” through the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. The fee for auditing the paper is $600. Presbyterian ministers and ordinands may apply to the Knox Centre for a $300 study grant.

Enquiries about auditing the paper, including applications for study grants, should be directed to the registrar at the Knox Centre: Email Phone 03 473 0783.

Professor Davis describes the course in this way:

”Often conceived of as a battle ground, the history of the interactions of Christianity and science has frequently been a field of fruitful engagement and mutual enrichment. This course surveys the history of Christianity and science, examining a wide range of interactions from the early church until today. Specific examples of interaction will include religion and the rise of modern science, the trial of Galileo, evolution and religious responses to it, and contemporary theology of nature. History of science is the core discipline for lectures, readings, and discussions, but some attention is given to theology and biblical interpretation, especially in the modern period.”

Professor Ted Davis is Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania, USA. His main research interests are:

  • Christianity and science since 1600
  • The "Scientific Revolution," especially Robert Boyle (1627-1691)
  • Early history of antievolutionism, especially Harry Rimmer (1890-1952)
  • Protestant modernist efforts to control the image of science in America
  • The physical sciences since Copernicus

Further information about Professor Davis is available at:

National Mission update

Visit the National Mission website

Christmas Greetings from the National Mission Office 

This month we are pleased to report exciting developments in Auckland, where the establishment of a Studentsoul congregation on the University of Auckland campus is planned for 2009 (in co-operation with Mclaurin Chapel and St Andrew’s Church, Symonds St). Prospective candidates for the role of Studentsoul minister will be interviewed in early December.

This is the first step in adapting the model that has proved successful on the Otago University campus for several years, under the leadership of Rev Helen Harray and Rev Richard Dawson.

Studentsoul in Dunedin is a unique student church on campus. Young leaders are given the freedom to do and be church at a critical, formative time in their growth. With the help of trained ministers these students develop wholeness in every aspect of their lives, and learn to serve others. The development of community and the use of interactive worship are essential parts of the process.

Our vision is to see the Studentsoul model adapted to, and thriving on, every campus in the country. We believe targeted ministry to tertiary students is an essential focus in association with the ongoing development of both Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Youth Ministries. Ministry to tertiary students is critical, strategic and difficult, as youth culture changes rapidly. With the wisdom and experience of Helen and Richard, Studentsoul has much to offer working in partnership with local churches and presbyteries. We are pleased to announce a substantial grant from the Presbyterian Foundation to enable Rev Mary-Jane Konings to facilitate these partnerships.

Christmas Hours

The National Mission Office will be open throughout the holiday period apart from a few days in January. Please note that John Daniel will be on study leave from the beginning of February 2009 until 7 April.

Youth Ministry update

Visit the Youth Ministry website

Help, I don’t have any leaders for the youth ministry!

Sound familiar? Well you are not alone; many churches are looking for magical people that are the perfect age, stage and personality to lead. The big question is: where do they come from? The answer is to “grow your own”!

In Paul’s letter to Timothy he says:

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

Paul understood that leadership has nothing to do with age, and my challenge this month is for our churches to be reminded of that also.

The advantages of growing your own leaders are that they know and understand the context of your church family and community. The environment is familiar, comfortable and breeds the confidence for them to step up.

One youth ministry I visited is doing this really well. They have approximately 70 young people attending and a total of 13 leaders. Eight out of those 13 are between the ages of 16 to 18 years. Chatting with the youth pastor, he said a key to the success of the young leadership team is monthly meetings committed training and developing their leadership abilities.

Keys to growing your own leaders:

  1. Create the environment where failure is ok. Help them to evaluate effectively and learn from their mistakes. Encourage them to give things a go.
  2. Provide mentors for affirmation, encouragement and support.
  3. Make sure that encouragement and support is not just verbal – it needs to be practical as well.
  4. Provide opportunities for training and development of their leadership abilities.
  5. Let them fly!

For more information or help on this subject:

  • Find out about the PYM “Going Somewhere” leadership development programmes in your area.
  • Ensure your leaders are booked in for CONNECT our PYM leaders gathering, 3 to 5 July, 2009 in Auckland.
  • Check out the resource booklet on mentoring which is available from the PYM office for $2. Email

Steph Redhead

APW Update

Visit the APW website

International Women's Day (IWD) Sunday 8 March 2009

Celebrated on 8 March, International Women's Day (IWD) is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. Observed since the early 1900's, the day is now an official holiday in Russia, Vietnam, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The tradition sees men honouring the women in their lives with flowers and small gifts.  

International Women's Day offers a great opportunity for Christian women around the globe to be celebrated in Sunday worship for the many gifts they bring to their church.

All Women Invited !
Association of Presbyterian Women celebrates 45 years, 1964 – 2009

National Triennial Business  & Study Conference

God calls :“Touch the Earth Lightly”
1 - 3 May 2009
The Steeple Conference Centre
Kingsgate Hotel, Palmerston North

Key Note Speakers

Mrs Linda Bales: International Speaker from Washington,DC
directs an Advocacy Programme for the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, focussing on women’s issues. She will discuss how global consequences of Climate Change, and our response to these, effect women and children around the world.

Dr Kevin Tate:  International Scientist
will present the facts of Global Warming & Climate Change.

Teacher/ Facilitator: The Very Rev Pamela Tankersley
will consider God’s Creation and  be examining the conference theme  in the light of our Christian faith.

Conference Chaplain: Rev Sharon Ensor
will use the theme in her devotions and lead us in further personal, spiritual growth.

Saturday Workshops - held concurrently

A. Search the bible –as the Conference theme is explored.
The Very Rev Pamela Tankersley

B. Kick Start your worship & praise through musicking wide-ranging song.
Roy Tankersley: Community, Church and Youth choir director, workshop facilitator.

C. Experience & experiment with dance as an offering of praise & worship.
Jennifer Cowan, recent UCOL Tutor of Performing Arts.

There’s More!

Wearable Recycled Art

Be creative and have fun !!! ake & bring a piece of wearable recycled art and model it at the Saturday Night Dinner. Get saving recycled plastic, fabric, paper, foil, card etc and begin your creation.

Talk to others and come along together. Be challenged, share and grow!

For further conference details See APW website at or contact: Mrs Anne Harris, 9 Warren Street, Foxton Beach 4815. Ph 06 363 7633.  Email:

Church Property Trustees update

The Church Property Trustees advise that as from 1st December the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits is 7.0%.


Spanz magazine

The latest edition of Spanz is now in parishes and available for free to all congregations. It contains GA08 news and photos and a profile of Moderator designate 2010 – 2012 Rev Peter Cheyne. This high quality quarterly magazine contains information important for keeping up to date with happenings around our Church. If your congregation would like to receive Spanz, please contact Katrina Graham, or (04) 381-8283

Introduction Workgroup

The Introduction Workgroup seeks profiles of parishes for the Interns who will be exiting the Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership in 2009.

Please contact Amanda Guy, Convener (03) 4766559 or email for more information.

CWS notices

CWS Christmas Appeal 08

Thank you for your orders and support of CWS throughout the year. The CWS Christmas Appeal begins on Sunday 29 November and is the major fundraiser for CWS. We hope parishes will continue the tradition of giving at Christmas time and promote this appeal during advent. The global economic crisis is hitting poorest communities the hardest and without your ongoing support CWS will not be able to fund their programmes against poverty, emergency relief or help fight the causes of poverty. Help keep hope alive this Christmas.

New Christmas Resources

CWS has produced an alternative advent calendar. Each day, you can stick a coin on it to raise funds for CWS partners. The fun, quirky design is ideal for children’s groups. Download from or contact cws(at)

Website link buttons are available to add to your website from: These show your support of the CWS Christmas Appeal and enable visitors to your parish website to find out more about the appeal and donate online.

Just Gifts

Give a Christmas gift that brings hope and change to communities living in poverty. CWS virtual gifts include ducks, water, goats and gardens. See or contact CWS for a catalogue: 0800 74 73 72

Congo Appeal

CWS remains gravely concerned about the Democratic Republic of Congo. An estimated 250,000 people have fled their homes in the past few months to escape renewed fighting. The civil war has killed nearly 6 million people since 1996. Over 2 million people are displaced and 45,000 people die each month as a result of the conflict. CWS is supporting humanitarian relief including water, food, shelter and health care. Donate at or send a cheque to: Congo Appeal, CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch. Please pray for the people of Congo.


Hewitson Library latest acquisitions

Click here to see the new acquisitions list for October 2008.

Church Register

Church Register Changes for Bush Telegraph as at 25 November 2008

Reception to the Roll:

  • Rev Henry Mbambo, from Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA), 2 November 2007.

Ordination and Inductions:

  • Rev Henry Mbambo, Received from UPCSA, to Minister, Dunedin South Presbyterian Church, Dunedin and North Otago Presbytery, 23 October 2008.
  • Rev Philip Bettany, MacKenzie Co-operating Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery, to Minister Levin Uniting Church, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 20 October 2008.
  • Rev Shona Bettany, MacKenzie Co-operating Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery, to Minister Levin Uniting Church, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 20 October 2008.
  • Selwyn Pryor, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, 27 September 2008.
  • Graham Te Rire, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, 27 September 2008.
  • Tom Tupe, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, 27 September 2008.
  • Marino Gray, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, Amorangi Minister, Auckland Maori Pastorate, 12 October 2008.
  • Puhi Koia, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Whakatane Maori Pastorate, 19 October 2008.
  • Heather Mataamua, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Wellington Maori Pastorate, Chaplain Turakina Maori Girls College, 1 November, 2008.
  • Wiremu Te Ratana, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Wellington Maori Pastorate, 2 November 2008.
  • Barbara Sanderson, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Rotorua Maori Pastorate, 8 November 2008.
  • Wi Te Pairi, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister, Rotorua Maori Pastorate, 8 November 2008.


  • Rev Christopher Bedford, Ellesmere Co-operating Parish, Christchurch Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister, Churches Together in Northland, 1 January 2008.
  • Rev Neil Cowie, Minister Emeriti, Christchurch Presbytery, to Central Otago Presbytery, 17 November 2008.


  • Rev James Gunn, Minister Emeriti, Auckland Presbytery, died 20 September 2008.


  • Rev Joung Yeol Kim (John), Minister, Palmerston North Korean Parish Development Unit, resigned 11 December 20

Ministerial vacancies

Visit the Ministerial Vacancies page for a complete list of the latest regional vacancies in New Zealand.

General Vacancies

The vacancies featured in Bush Telegraph are those that have been received within the previous month for listing on the Church’s website, General Vacancies.

If you would like to list your vacancy please email the Website Administrator.

Latest vacancies:

  • Charles Sturt university - Lecturer in worship and practical theology
  • Youth Worker - Linwood
  • Queensland - Manager/Editor
  • Full Time Assistant Pastor - Tauranga
  • Transitional/Interim Ministry available
  • 2009 Internships – at Hornby Presbyterian Community Church
  • 2009 Internship at First Presbyterian Church - Papakura


Visit the Events page for upcoming events near you

Latest Events:

  • Hokitika St Andrews United Parish - Celebrating 25 years
  • Clevedon 150 year celebration
  • Knox Summer School: Christianity & Science