A time to Zag – Andrew Norton

Andrew is based in Auckland and the following article is based on reflections spoken at his retirement as senior minister at St Columba in Botany Downs.

Down on the farm my father taught me, when everyone is planting wheat it’s time to plant barley. There is no demand for over-supply.

As I think about this in relation to the church’s unique contribution to today’s society, I see an over-supply of some things and correspondingly an under-supply of others.

The decline of church attendance over the years is not because the church is no longer relevant but exactly the opposite. The church looks in every way, just like our society, it is no different to the world we live in. Continue reading

Pursuing Peace in Godzone – Sharon Ross Ensor

peace 4

Sharon is the Director of the Presbyterian Church Schools’ Resource Office

Some years ago in the congregation where I was minister, we had a ‘home grown’ art exhibition which focused on the theme of peace.

People were invited to create something which conveyed what peace meant for them. The church became an art gallery of sorts for a few days and people appreciated being able to take their time with the poetry, writing, photos, art and handcraft on display, reflecting our faith community’s take on peace. Continue reading

The edge: Awake, Listen! Follow! – Roxy Gahegan

Roxy is the chaplain at St. Cuthbert’s college in central Auckland.

There are three things that have struck me deeply over the last ten years with regards to the teachings of Jesus and the way that we as church organise ourselves and live our faith and life journeys.

First of all, before my ordination training, I took classes in Church history (I had managed to avoid this entirely while studying for my theology degree back in the 90’s), and in one of the books I read, the author observed that even within the first 350 years of the Christian faith – before Constantine can be blamed for institutionalising us and aligning us with power and status – even before that, those who were perceived as heretical – doctrinally questionable or incorrect – were treated violently. Continue reading

May the road rise to meet you – Martin Stewart

Home Hills Rd

An Easter reflection on Andrew Norton’s photograph Home Hills Rd in Central Otago.  The Village Church in Christchurch hosted a collection of Andrew’s images and poems.

May the road rise to meet you.

That, of course, is the opening line of the well-known Irish blessing.  May the road rise to meet you.  It’s an interesting idea – the road rising.  Our usual take on things is that we do all the moving – the lowering of a foot as we lift the other in order to propel ourselves forward.  And the road is there for a purpose – to walk or drive on – functional. Continue reading

Intergenerational Leadership: “It takes a village…” – Murray Brown

Murray Brown is the youth pastor at St Albans in Palmerston North

Most of this know the ending to this old African proverb: “…to raise a child.”

There is more than an element of truth to this saying when it comes to discipling young people in our churches.

Recently I sat outside a café with an experienced youth worker who confessed their greatest failing in youth ministry. This was not a moral failing, a leadership bungle or even a programme that fell flat on its face – he said to me: “I wish I’d recruited more than just young adults to assist me in leading the youth ministry”. Continue reading

Uniquely Presbyterian – Bruce Hamill

Bruce Hamill has written a response to Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Rt Rev Richard Dawson’s comments in the Autumn edition of Spanz about what is distinct and unique about the Presbyterian tradition.

Richard’s musings in the most recent edition of Spanz (Editor’s note: read the article here – pg 3) helpfully focused a discussion that has been brewing for some time among Presbyterians in a period of declining interest in denominational difference. Continue reading