Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
School of Ministry principal Graham Redding gave an update on the year at the School of Ministry, which concluded with a valedictory service for the 10 graduating students earlier this month. Staff members Susan Werstein and Ian Robertson have also been farewelled.
Next year a total of 24 students will be under the oversight of the renamed Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, with three students starting the new internship training programme. Graham reported growing interest from parishes, especially with the recent announcement of funding support from PSDS.
Graham talked about plans for the redevelopment of the Knox complex to make the site better suited to the new teaching model. The Council affirmed its continued support of the Hewitson Library as a resource for the Church and also agreed that the Centre be encouraged to develop and promote the use of the library within the Church. Council also directed that key parties from Knox College and the Centre work together to establish a memorandum of understanding concerning the use of the buildings.
Graham also spoke about plans for managing his dual role as Moderator Designate and director of the centre next year, and the council affirmed and encouraged him in the work he is doing.
Consideration of the strategy for releasing resources to grow the Church was a significant focus of our meeting. Council discussed the latest version of the paper presented by Assembly Executive Secretary Martin Baker, and gave him a green light to progress the strategy further to develop a final form and give thought to how it can be communicated effectively to gain the endorsement of the wider Church.
Focal Identity Statement
Richard Dawson presented a new version of the focal identity statement from the task group (at General Assembly 2006, a version of the statement that had received late amendments was withdrawn to receive further revision by the task group). Council endorsed the distribution of this new version to presbyteries and parishes to seek feedback and comment.
Council discussed the concept of a practising certificate for ministers, which has been raised by the Leadership sub-committee. This would have parallels with other professional bodies’ systems of registration. Further investigation of this concept is being carried out by the committee.
Finance manager Brendan Sweeney presented the 2006/07 audited accounts, which can be seen online here. Brendan also presented the year-to-date accounts, which show a continuation of the Church’s solidified financial position, with a surplus of $319,233 in the financial year-to-date.
The council discussed answers from the Church Property Trustees to questions about the Beneficiary Fund. CPT chairman John Kernohan informed council that the CPT planned to bring a proposal for a new scheme to the April council meeting. Council affirmed its support for the CPT’s approach in exploring new options. Council agreed that for new members of the Beneficiary fund, the retirement annuity be specified in such a way that it accrues proportionately over a minister’s service. Council also recommended to the CPT that the Supplementary Benefit Scheme be closed to further deposits.
After some discussion, Council invited the Resource sub-committee to bring a proposal to General Assembly 2008 clarifying the assessable income of a church that has sold its plant and is renting a worship space.
Church Property Trustees
Council discussed the mechanism for registration under the Charities Act and the way in which this has been communicated to parishes and presbyteries. More information about this process is available here.
Council also discussed changes in the claiming of rebates for charitable donations. The ceiling on rebates has been lifted, meaning that a person can now claim back a third of their charitable donations up to the extent of their income. This has very positive implications for the Church and the Resource sub-committee will be sending out more information.
Pamela Tankersley gave a summary of her first year as Moderator and talked about the challenge of balancing the moderatorial role with her commitment to her parish. Council agreed to explore ways that the role of Moderator might be better resourced.
Pamela also talked about the emphasis she has placed on being Christ centred and community facing, which has involved running workshops in presbyteries and connecting with the media on public issues. Council endorsed the approach that she has been taking.
Te Aka Puaho
Moderator Millie Te Kaawa acknowledged the people from the Church who had walked alongside Te Aka Puaho, and said this was being noticed and appreciated by those inside Te Aka Puaho.
She talked about developments underway, including updating the Amorangi regulations and getting more support for the training programme. A new building is being constructed for Te Aka Puaho’s administration office, with some communication difficulties being experienced in the interim.
Millie also related her experiences attending the Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in American Samoa, which focused on global problems such as climate change.
She talked about support being given by Wayne Te Kaawa to the communities in Ruatoki and Waimana in light of the arrests last month. Pamela agreed to convey Council’s support to Wayne for his pastoral work with the people in the area. She will also write to the commissioner of the police offering neutral ground in the reconciliation process with the local people traumatised by the police raids, which is appropriate given the Church’s historical track record of mediating peace in the area.
Council of Asian Congregations
Council discussed the issue of Asian congregations seeking to join the church, with Nathanael Lai presenting a list of six congregations keen to join, and accepted the report.
Pacific Island Synod
The Pacific Island Synod now has a physical office in Auckland. It’s annual general meeting was held in July and attended by a number of Church leaders, with issues discussed including the understanding of the way in which property is held. Council agreed to send a letter to the synod acknowledging their concerns and seeking a way forward.
Assembly Executive Secretary
Martin spoke about encouraging events he had attended recently, including a ministers’ mentoring event in Tauranga, the handing back of land to the local hapu in Maungapohatu, and the Church Schools’ Conference. He has also attended the Progressive Christianity Conference in Auckland and the Affirm Conference in Hamilton.
Coucnil requested that Martin initiate high level discussions with the Methodists and UCANZ in relation to the future direction of cooperating ventures.
National Mission Enabler
John Daniel spoke about a draft strategic plan for prayer that has been developed to support the Church’s ministry, which was endorsed by council.
He played a DVD produced by studentsoul and council affirmed the importance of this ministry.
Council discussed a report on ministers and retirement, and asked John to take this to the Leadership committee for further discussion.
John also reported on the success of “well church” roadshows, which have been supported by St Columba at Botany.
Martin reported that Andrew Bell had found a new minister to work alongside him t o replace departing part-time ministers. Council asked resource to work with Global Mission to bring a budget proposal to the next Assembly.
Amanda Wells gave a presentation about the Standing out in your community workshops planned for February-June next year and the production of resources already underway. This project is funded by a grant from the Council for World Mission.
Next year the council will be meeting on 4-6 April, 24-26 July and 14-16 November. General Assembly is being held from 2-6 October.
As always, we welcome your feedback or comments. Please contact the Council via firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Christ,