Election Series: Inequality is a top election issue

Paul Barber is a Policy Advisor with the NZ Council of Christian Social Services (nzccss.org.nz) which is the national network of the social services of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and The Salvation Army churches. NZCCSS is one of the 37 groups in the Equality Network (equalitynetwork.org.nz) sharing a vision for a more equal country for everyone.  

Inequality and poverty, along with housing, are the top areas of concern for New Zealanders right now (see Roy Morgan poll http://nzccss.org.nz/news/2017/04/election-issues-2017-housing-inequality/ ). If churches remain silent on this issue, if we do not talk about these issues in our communities, then the church is simply declaring itself uninterested in the central problems in our community. Continue reading

The Edge: The sacred cow of the fatherhood of God – by Roxy Gahegan

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

At the Presbyterian schools conference in August I heard a presentation by the Right Reverend Ray Coster as a White Ribbon ambassador. He spoke eloquently with a thoughtful and wide ranging approach to the issue of domestic violence. He recognised that this issue is essentially about inequality between men and women; that it is overwhelmingly men who have a problem and women who suffer for it. Continue reading

Election Series: Back the Plan for a Zero Carbon Act

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Akuch Kon eats wild leaves in Rumading, a village in South Sudan’s Lol State where more than 5,000 people, displaced by drought and conflict, remain in limbo. Photo: Act Alliance/Paul Jeffrey

Apocalypses are not confined to the Scriptures. Every day there are news reports of dramatic catastrophes – a car driven into an unsuspecting crowd, a huge landslide claiming hundreds of lives and the belongings of many more, and reports of record temperatures and life threatening droughts. In each of these stories, there is a message for those seeking to understand the deeper mysteries of faith.  For me I cannot get past the idea that these events are tied up with how we choose to live on earth.

In faith statements this is often referred to as our responsibility to “care for God’s creation” – something that tends to be treated as an add-on rather than a core matter of faith. We may well enjoy spring flower festivals and singing “All things bright and beautiful”, but is that enough? Continue reading

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.

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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.

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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…

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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