Register now for General Assembly and Hope Conference

Dear Friends

I am writing to you as your Moderator-Designate to encourage you to come to Dunedin on 15-19 November for our General Assembly, which is being held at Otago University.

I warmly invite you to register now on the Assembly Week 2016 website for either the business of Assembly (as a Commissioner), or for the Hope Conference streams and workshops (as a delegate); it is not possible to attend both events as they run at the same time. However, there are many opportunities during the week for us all to gather together and enjoy each other’s company.

When you come to the beautiful city of Dunedin we will provide you with an amazing stay and a wonderfully comfortable venue. Please see the full Assembly Week programme on the website. I hope it looks welcoming to you.

This year Assembly Week fees have been kept similar to 2014.

On our website you will see that we have a range of excellent accommodation. A significant change this year is that we can house everyone in two residential colleges, Arana and Studholme. This very comfortable, quality accommodation is $75 per night including breakfast and dinner.

Assembly enrolments close 14 October, but we encourage you to enrol sooner so that you can book the best travel options. For some regions there will be limited flight options, so it is recommended that you book early. A travel subsidy is available for Commissioners and will be deducted automatically when you register online.

Once more we will begin Assembly Week with a Minister's Training Day on Tuesday, 15 November. This is for ministers only, however we encourage all those attending Assembly to arrive on this day as the Assembly opening powhiri and worship, including Moderator’s induction, will be held on the evening of 15 November at Knox Church.

Prayer for Assembly

I know that attending Assembly Week is a big commitment but I believe that this time will reap a significant harvest for you personally, and for the region you represent. I say this because I believe Assembly will be even more of a resource than it was in 2014. Why am I so hopeful?

Firstly, because our current Moderator set us on a path for making Assembly, first and foremost, a place for resourcing – I have deliberately followed his lead by offering the Hope Conference which will consist of streams in the morning and afternoon workshops. We have a wonderful group of presenters and teachers who will help equip, inspire and energise you for the coming year.

Secondly, I am looking to make our business as much about mission as possible. I hope that Assembly might eventually move from being reactive in its business to more proactive by deliberately focusing on mission for at least some of the time.

Thirdly, I am calling on the Church to pray for our Assembly. These gatherings have traditionally been some of the most difficult meetings in our life together. I want to see Assembly become the most productive meeting on our Church calendar and I believe that our first duty is therefore to pray for it!

I will be sharing a series of communications which will provide a clear focus for prayer for the Assembly. I want to challenge you to join together for a week of intensive prayer and fasting (however you may choose to do this) in the week prior to the Assembly. I will send more details soon.

Theme of Hope

This year I made the theme of our Assembly, Hope. Hope is a central tenet of the Gospel and it is so for two reasons:

  1. Because the Gospel is a message of hope “to those who are perishing,” that is, to all people. The Gospel is hope and it is appropriate then that we should dwell on it as such.
  2. Because through we who have understood this, it is a message of hope for the whole world. However, this will only be the case if we grasp the hope we have through the Gospel first. If we are hopeless – how will the world understand that there is hope?

Therefore, it is vital that we come to see both why and how the Gospel is our hope.

Assembly is just over three months away, but here in Dunedin we are almost ready to welcome you. First we have to farewell 22,000 students from “our” Assembly accommodation and venue – but we think come November they’ll be keen to go!

Please join us for a journey of hope both at the Assembly and in the Conference.

God bless

Richard Dawson