A World Ripe for Reforming? – by Carolyn Kelly

Carolyn currently Maclaurin Chaplain at the University of Auckland, where she heads a team of part-time and bi-vocational chaplains exploring ministry together in a large, diverse and rapidly changing campus. A former MA graduate of UoA, she later completed a BD at the University of Otago and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen, before becoming ordained through the PCANZ.  She is married to Mark Johnston and the parent of three young-adult offspring, with whom she enjoys wrestling with the ways and words of gospel-shaped living. She lives in inner-city Auckland.

Imagine a world:

…in which technology brings unprecedented change in rural areas; the young and the landless seek better lives in great, bustling cities – but end up homeless and jobless, as urban poor; Continue reading

Prayers On The Way – Martin Stewart

I have been experimenting this year on how I frame the prayers for congregational worship.  I’ve been calling the early prayers in the service of worship ‘Prayers on the way’ as a way of finding a language for what is going on for those who are strangers to some of the old language, and those of us who are bored by some of that stuff!  And I’ve been calling the prayers in the later parts of the service ‘Prayers for the road’.  The feedback from people has been positive, though quite a few others seem not to have noticed!

I wonder sometimes about what we lose when we step back from preparing prayers by either making them up in the moment, or borrowing  prayers from other sources.  Both practices, of course, have their place.  The prayers that rise up in the moment can be profound, but they risk carelessness in language and theology, and sameness in content. The prayers others have crafted can draw on a wonderful collection of prayers from those who have prayed before us and those who pray around us, but if not carefully curated and adapted, they risk being in a language and style that is far from the world of the people before us.  Both styles can also encourage a kind of laziness, where those who prepare worship simply bounce off for whatever is in their head or reach uncritically for whatever resource they can find to rescue them. Continue reading

Angles on Preaching V: What we might be missing in our preaching? – Geoff New

Rev Dr Geoff New is Dean of Studies at the Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership and is based in Dunedin.  He has a particular passion for preaching and has been a director in the Kiwi-Made Preaching organisation since 2012.

Allow me several lead-ins to the one topic. I am still collecting my thoughts on the subject and so to help clarify my thoughts, I need to meander through some doorways.

The first is from Jeremiah 4:16

This is what the Lord says:
‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
            ask for the ancient paths, Continue reading

5 reasons to celebrate 500 years since the Reformation with children – Jill Kayser

Jill Kayser is our epic PCANZ Kids Friendly Coach!

When asked to write an article on explaining the Reformation to children, I realised I needed to boost my own knowledge. Martin Luther gained some credibility in my mind some years back when I attended a conference led by an amazing Lutheran called Rich Melheim.  Listening to this ‘Luther-inspired’ man I had a ‘When Sally meets Harry’ experience: ‘I’ll have what she’s (he’s) having!’ and so I set out to discover what this ‘one man who changed the world’ Continue reading

The human life of Jesus – John C England

Some notes from recent writings and research prepared by Rev Dr John C England of Christchurch.

Preachers and evangelists seem to be most often concerned with how different and how ‘divine’ Jesus was. Yet, without the sheer quality of his humanity and his astounding human life there would be no Christian movement at all. The whole Christian revelation was determined by that human life, Continue reading

Angles on Preaching IV: The Whisper of God on the outer fringes – Geoff New

Rev Dr Geoff New is Dean of Studies at the Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership and is based in Dunedin.  He has a particular passion for preaching and has been a director in the Kiwi-Made Preaching organisation since 2012.

By chapter twenty-six in the Book of Job, Job is coming to the end of his argument and defence to his friends. He is running out of words, energy and patience – even though the ‘patience of Job’ is proverbial. And here in Job 26, there is a sublime and succinct summary of the work of God in creation. In nine verses (vv 5-13), Job surveys the power of God in dealing with death, destruction, the vastness of space, the mystery of earth hanging in space, the science of cloud formation, the establishment of horizons, the relationship between light and darkness, and the harnessing of monstrous sea creatures.
All this is but a glimpse of a day-in-the-life-of-God. Continue reading

500 Years On #1: The most influential Reformer you’ve never heard of, by Peter Matheson

Peter Matheson leads off a series in Candour marking 500 years since the Reformation.  Peter served as Professor of Church History at Knox Theological Hall and still resides in the Dunedin area.

Everyone’s heard of Luther and Calvin. But the Reformation was a movement, not a one man gang, and a very varied movement at that. There were women Reformers, like Katherine Zell in Strassburg and the aristocratic Argula von Grumbach. And there were radical Reformers, who thought power had gone to Luther’s head and he was acting like a new Pope.

Thomas Müntzer was a lively, highly controversial Reformer. Continue reading

Why churches should partner with secular community groups – Jose Reader

Jose Reader is currently the Church’s associate communications manager, and has filled various roles within the Presbyterian Church’s communications team over the last 12 years.

This article from Christianity Today poses an interesting question: “How can we be light in the darkness when we only hang out with other candles?”. Author, Karl Vaters, explains how his Church used to partner exclusively with other Christian ministries, and now up to half the groups that they partner with for local community service are not Christian-based.

“No, we haven’t gone soft on our faithfulness to the gospel. And we have standards for those we will and will not partner with,” he says in the article.

His words resonated with me, because over the years I have worked in this role, I have heard many concerns about how we are in danger of watering down the gospel message to connect with people outside the church. One thing I took out of the article was that mission with the community and the sharing the gospel are not mutually exclusive; they can, and do, live side-by-side – certainly in Karl’s congregation, and no doubt in many of our Presbyterian and Uniting parishes around the country.

Read and be inspired by what this congregation is getting out of partnering with non-church groups: 8 reasons churches should partner with secular community groups – [link to: http://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2017/march/8-reasons-churches-partner-secular-community-groups.html] (Thanks to Lisa Wells for sharing this article with me.)

 

Angles on Preaching III: Preaching Stories “Our Way” – Geoff New

Rev Dr Geoff New is Dean of Studies at the Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership and is based in Dunedin.  He has a particular passion for preaching and has been a director in the Kiwi-Made Preaching organisation since 2012.

Over the past few years, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to travel into North East India to teach preaching. One region particularly challenged me: Nagaland. Space does not allow me to give all the back-story but I was struck by the similarities between their cultural protocols of welcoming and observance with that of Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa. Continue reading