“Jesus shouted to the crowds, ‘If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark’.” (John 12:44-45; New Living Translation)
Is Jesus shouting to us and the world once again to get us to trust and to follow, to fix our eyes on the Kingdom and God’s mission in our world? As we rejoice in, and celebrate, the fact that Jesus Christ, the light, came and dispelled the darkness, let us also reflect on the depth and breadth of our trust.
Jesus said,“Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light”. (John 12:36a; New Living Translation)
As the PCANZ we have the privilege and the responsibility to live as people of the light. May it be glaringly apparent this Christmas, and the whole of 2023, that God’s light shines through us.
The Council of Assembly met via zoom earlier this month.
Council reflected on the Strategic Hui, Post Ordination Gathering and One conference, which took place in November. These events required planning and organization, and leadership, and Council acknowledged those who played a part in ensuring these flowed smoothly. The Moderator’s role was gratefully acknowledged. The emerging themes from the Hui will be passed on to the Te Haere Tonu workgroup. Minutes and notes will be sent to all those who attended.
Te Aka Puaho
Work at the marae to repair the retaining wall will get underway in January and attention was drawn to the Moderator’s appeal to assist with the costs of this work. Appreciation was expressed for the Strategic Hui and ONE conference. Te Aka Puaho will install their new Moderator in February 2023.
Our Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway reported on his work, and on initiatives he is working on for 2023. His work rate is remarkable.
Convenor Craig Donaldson reported on the first three months of the financial year. He also provided an update of the Financial Consolidation workstreams and the plan to have these to the auditors very early in the New Year. For the PCANZ, with its complex and diverse makeup, to be on the cusp of presenting the first audited consolidated financial accounts is a major accomplishment. Council of Assembly acknowledge the work of the consolidation team and thank all the congregations for their patience and cooperation as we worked towards complying with the new requirements to maintain charitable status.
Audit and Risk Committee
Council received a report and recommendations relating to the audited financial statements for the 2021-22 financial year. Council received these on behalf of the General Assembly.
Convenor Rev Ryhan Prasad reported on the various workstreams of the committee. Council noted the need for additional members for this group to spread the work and fulfil its obligations. Council is praying for members and making a concerted effort to identify people who can help with this crucial work in our Church.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Council received a report on the recruitment process for three roles. There was only one recommendation for appointment from that process. Council is thrilled to advise that it agreed to the appointment of Rev Dr Darryl Tempero as Lecturer/Ministry Formation Coordinator, on a .5 FTE, starting in July 2023 (Darryl is in a seconded role at present until March 2023 and will then take planned study leave before beginning this appointment. He will continue his role with Kiwi Church half time and will be based in Christchurch.)
The remaining roles are currently being re-advertised – see more on the Dean of Studies position and Lecturer/Ministry Formation Co-ordinator (Dunedin) position. Council warmly encourages people to prayerfully discern if they should apply for these roles.
Assembly Executive Secretary
The Assembly Executive Secretary reported on a wide range of matters including (but not limited to) the Royal Commission, Te Haere Tonu Work Group, Assembly Office and KCML staffing matters, liaising with presbyteries, working with the Book of Order Advisory Committee, judicial matters, workstreams arising from Assembly, group insurance, and risk register.
Wayne updated Council on our IT provider having been subjected to a cyber-attack - all their clients had data encrypted together with backups. He referred Council to the communication sent to the wider Church and noted that further updates would be provided when we had additional information to pass on.
He reported on progress to put in place a process relating to historic abuse matters and for people to be appointed to assist in these matters.
Following on from the work of Royal Commission and the wider issues raised, and the commitment the Church has in terms of its bicultural commitment, Council agreed to invite the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees and the Synod of Otago and Southland to engage in a review of all property they hold to determine how and when property came into their ‘hands’ and the legality of any land sales and purchases relating to all current land holdings.
And in terms of Tino Rangatiratanga and the Church’s commitment to a bicultural journey, Council asked the Book of Order Advisory Committee:
|a.||To create a workstream which will include wide-ranging conversations and consultation and to report to the 2025 General Assembly.|
|b.||To bring any recommendations resulting from their work, which is to include reviewing documents such as the Book of Order and its Supplementary Provisions, the Code of Ethics, the Conditions of Service Manual and Child Protection Policy to consider if they adequately reflect the Church’s commitment to a bicultural journey.|
Additional appointments to Te Haere Tonu Work Group
Following the Strategic Hui, additional people were identified to serve on this group and Council have appointed Rev Mose Taumaoe; Ms Leiona Tupou and Mr Josiah Dixon. In addition, a member of each of the Leadership Sub-committee and the Resource Sub-committee will serve as corresponding members. Council appointed Rev Alistair Lane as Convenor of this group. The Church’s ongoing prayer for the mahi of this workgroup will be highly appreciated.
Council has agreed to recommend to The Presbyterian Church Property Trustees that Tania-Rose Taitoko be appointed by the Trustees to the Management Committee of the Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi Trust.
Council agreed to appoint Mr Corey Farrell to the Board of Knox College and Salmond College Inc.
Farewell to Gordon Fitch
Council welcomed Gordon Fitch, Mission Resourcing Team Director, Core Leadership Team member, and PYM manager, to the meeting and expressed thanks and appreciation for his contribution to the wider Presbyterian Church over his 12 years in these various roles. He was farewelled with the good wishes and prayers of the Council. Gordon has taken up a new role with the Salvation Army.
Next Council meeting
As part of our bicultural commitment, every two years Council meets at Ohope Marae and we look forward to gathering there in March 2023.
The past year demanded a lot from us, and chances are our reserves are running low. May these lyrics from Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus, written by Helen Lemmel in 1922, encourage and uplift us:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
May God’s light shine warm and bright on and through you and yours.
Rev Dr Jaco Reyneke Mrs Kat Solomona
Convener Deputy Convener
Council of Assembly Council of Assembly