As Convenor, I apologise for an oversight before Christmas which led to the November Council News not being circulated before now.
Council of Assembly met at the St Francis Retreat Centre, Mt Roskill, Auckland on 22 and 23 November 2019.
The AES Rev Wayne Matheson and the Deputy Convenor Mrs Anne Edgar were unable to attend the meeting in person due to illness; however both of them were able to join the meeting via Zoom at various points throughout the meeting.
The meeting welcomed Rev Hamish Galloway as Moderator Designate, and associated Mr Ian Lothian and Rev Simon McLeay for parts of the meeting.
The resignation of Rev Pauline Stewart as a member of Council was noted.
Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio spoke to his report, which detailed an extensive list of people, parishes and presbyteries that he (often with his wife Ruth) had visited since the previous Council meeting. Council acknowledged the time and effort taken for the Moderator to personally incarnate his moderatorial theme of building and strengthening relationships.
Audit and Risk Committee and Annual Statements
Mr Ian Lothian, chair of the A&R Committee, introduced himself and updated Council on the committee’s work since its recent establishment, outlining its role and function. This committee is an independent body within the Church and a committee of the Council of Assembly. The role of the Committee is to provide independent and objectivity advice to the Council of Assembly on governance matters pertaining to audit and risk. Its key functions include the oversight of the audit of the Annual Financial Statements, and to ensure compliance with Financial Reporting Standards (which flow into the Financial Statements).
Mr Lothian also outlined the audit process that had been followed for the 2018-2019 PCANZ Annual Financial Statements and spoke to the Letter of Representation that Council needed to provide to the Church Auditors. Council agreed to adopt the Financial Statements for the year ending 30 June 2019, and authorised the Convenor and Deputy Convenor to sign the Financial Statements and the Letter of Representation. Council also approved the final draft version of the Terms of Reference for the A&R Committee, with the requirement that these be reviewed at least every three years.
Theological Education and Leadership Training Task Group (TELT)
The Rev Simon McLeay (Task Group convenor) updated Council on the Task Group’s work and shared some themes that had emerged from the feedback. He indicated the general direction in which the Task Group’s thinking was moving, and signalled that a draft report with recommendations for GA20 may be available for the next Council meeting in February 2020.
The June 2019 Council meeting referred an executive summary of the PressGo Review Work Group report, including recommendations, to the PressGo Board and to presbytery councils for comment. Having considered the feedback received, Council agreed a number of recommendations. The recommendations have been forwarded to the PressGo Board with an invitation to prepare a draft implementation plan for Council’s consideration at its February 2020 meeting, with a full implementation plan to Council for its June 2020 meeting, with the view that it be actioned by 1 October 2020. Presbytery councils have also been sent a copy of the agreed recommendations, and the Work Group was thanked and discharged by Council.
Theology of Property and Money Task Group
Council received a report from the Task Group which indicated that feedback from the wider Church was still being gathered. Due to the size of the task, the Task Group indicated that it is anticipating bringing an interim report to GA20, with full recommendations being put before GA22.
Book of Order Advisory Committee (BOAC)
An updated Child Protection Policy was put to Council and approved as a Supplementary Provision to replace the current version. It was also agreed that congregations and presbyteries should consider the general principle of balance in national bodies of the Church to also apply in the process of nominating and electing a Moderator Designate (namely, that nominations should reflect the age, gender and cultural groupings found within the Church).
Rev Hamish Galloway shared his initial thoughts and preparations for his moderatorial theme for GA20 with the Council, and asked for comment and feedback on the general direction and content from Council.
Phase Two Change Decision (Review of National Church Operations)
Council undertook a review of national Church operations in 2018, which led to the adoption of a Phase One decision which saw a Core Leadership Team (CLT) established to lead the National Service Team (NST). The next step was to align the national staff with the new leadership structure. After following due process, which included a time of consultation and receiving feedback from staff, the Phase Two Change Decision was agreed by Council and issued on 3 October 2019. A number of actions steps flowing from the Change Decision are now being attended to by the CLT.
Rev Richard McLean Mrs Anne Edgar
Convenor Deputy Convenor