Editorial: It’s Election Time!

The 2017 election season is upon us – the time when our society splinters into partisan fortresses, or shakes its head apathetically.

This year is already interesting in that there seems to be a free roller-coast ride on offer each day, and parliament hasn’t yet adjourned for the campaign.

In Candour we are encouraging a conversation about what people think is important in the 2017 election season.  While we are wanting to encourage good discussion rather than partisan rants, we do welcome your submissions. Continue reading

Euthanasia: some theological considerations for living responsibly – Jason Goroncy

Late last month, a bill to facilitate assisted dying was introduced to Victorian parliament. Assisted suicide is currently illegal in all Australian states, as it is in New Zealand, but if the bill gains sufficient support to be enacted, terminally ill patients would be able to access assisted euthanasia.

Presbyterian minister, Rev Dr Jason Goroncy, has published an article in Pacifica (the journal of the University of Divinity, Australia) that offers a theological perspective on the important issue of assisted suicide – a matter that is also being grappled with by New Zealand legislators. Continue reading

The little church that could

Lisa Wells recently shared this story at the the Australian Association of Mission Studies Conference. The story is of a Hamilton church which is re-imagining its future, and making that future happen.

vision2missionblog

I presented the following paper at the Australian Association of Mission Studies Conference in July 2017.  The conference theme was: “Imagining Home: Understanding, Reconciling and Engaging with God’s Stories Together” and my presentation was of a church PressGo had worked with and helped with funding and its missional journey.

NawtonIntroduction

When church is at its best it is a vital community of believers, called out by God, under the authority of Jesus Christ.  When it is at its worst it is a social club or a historical preservation society. To paraphrase Longfellow’s poem “That Little Girl” – “when [church] is good it is very, very good, and when [it’s] bad it is horrid.” Sometimes we even make church in our own image…

Most of the churches I work with in my role of Mission Catalyst within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand are somewhere between good and bad…

View original post 3,273 more words

Reformation Series – What Christians can do when they are world-changing not in-fighting – John Roxborogh

John Roxborogh is a retired minister/historian and has taught at the Knox Centre

First Church Papakura still has a large palm tree on its road frontage. In the 1960’s it was said that hardly a session meeting went by without some debate about having it removed. They also had some very real theological differences, yet for many that era was a golden age when they got on with changing the world in terms of the issues of the day. Continue reading

The Irrelevance of John Calvin – Murray Rae

Murray Rae is Professor of Theology at Otago University and a Presbyterian Minister.  He was also an editor of Candour in the 1990s.

When we look back to the sixteenth century, to the time of the Reformation, we see a world vastly different from our own. The great Reformer, John Calvin, could hardly have imagined the world we now inhabit. He might have struggled to recognise as well the present reality of the church — its form, its daily life, its existence on the margins of society. The form of society itself is also very different now than it was in Calvin’s day, and so the church faces challenges in mission that Calvin is unlikely to have envisaged. It is curious then to look back at reformers like Calvin, to figure out what made them tick, and to try to understand the concerns of their own time. Continue reading

Are cellphones our newest worship tool? – Jose Reader

Jose works with the Communication Department of the PCANZ

Go on, admit it. You’ve taken a peek at your phone during a service, haven’t you?  If you can genuinely say “no” to this, then I suspect (though I have no hard proof) that you are among the minority.

Today our smartphones are always with us. We use them to talk to each other, purchase things, play games, take photos and even do our banking. Despite their increasingly ubiquitous use in other parts of our lives, smartphones remain largely invisible in church (surreptitious texting during services not withstanding). Continue reading

Church & Change (with help from some visitors) – by Martin Stewart

Here’s an adapted reflection from a sermon I preached at The Village Church, Christchurch on 25 June.  The text was Matthew 10: 24–39.  The context was new buildings coming ready, and some voices wanting to go back to what we once had

As I have thought my way into this week’s reflection I have had a few visitors.

The first was Kobi Yamada and his book What Do You Do With An Idea?  I love the way the book evolves from black and white to full colour as the idea takes hold.  Isn’t that how ideas work out?  They turn up and try to speak into your already fixed view of things.  They are looked at, prodded and poked, often ridiculed, slept on, and either forgotten or picked up. Continue reading

Imagination

20160831_161354

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

~ John O’Donohue ~
[Excerpt from ‘For The Traveller’ in Benedictus 2007]

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