Help! We’ve got a conflict! – Heather Kennedy

In my involvement at presbytery and in my ministry, I have seen – and been caught up in – many conflict situations. Some of the insights I have gained, I am happy to share with you all. I do not propose to give you a check-list to tick, or a quick fix resolution, or even new information you haven’t already explored in order to resolve conflict situation.

One of the key pieces of advice I would like to share is: Be Prepared. You will undoubtedly encounter conflict, and probably have already: it cannot be avoided. Continue reading

Accusing Jesus – Stuart Vogel

VermeerOver recent years, I have had a fascination with the great Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). Vermeer had the rare artistic ability to capture a particular moment – and make it eternal.  A little like the gospel writer, Luke.

Recently at the Auckland Taiwanese Presbyterian Church I preached on the story in Luke 10, of Jesus in Mary and Martha’s home. In 1655, Vermeer painted the scene in his painting “Christ in the House of Mary and Martha”. 1655 was within the final years that the Netherlands controlled Formosa (Taiwan) as a colonial power. Continue reading

Youth worker vs youth minister – Gordon Fitch

Gordon Fitch is national youth manager with Presbyterian Youth Ministry. In this article he explores the difference between youth workers and youth ministers and encourages a focus on employing youth ministers.

Youth worker, youth leader, youth pastor, youth coordinator, youth director: there are a lot of titles given to a person who heads up a church’s ministry with young people.

No matter what the title is, I believe there are two types of positions, and I’m going to call them a youth worker and a youth minister. Continue reading

Women of the Burning Bush: Still Burning 25 Years On – Dr Vivienne Adair

This research came across my desk today, and I thought it would be of interest to Candour readers.

Women of the Burning Bush: Still Burning 25 Years On is a study of women in ministry within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. The research, led by Dr Vivienne Adair, follows research on the same topic commissioned by the Very Rev Margaret Reid Martin in 1990. Continue reading

Ten tricks to create the best social media videos

Creating good quality video content for your parish’s social media channels will help you maximise the reach and impact of your message.

There are an estimated 2.3 million Kiwis using Facebook everyday, and of those New Zealanders who go online, 81% use YouTube, and 46% use Instagram (and that’s only a few of the more common social media platforms). That’s a lot of people with whom we can share the Good News… Continue reading

From Reform to Renewal: Scotland’s Kirk, Century by Century – Review by Kerry Enright

Reform to RenewalFinlay MacDonald’s book From Reform to Renewal: Scotland’s Kirk, Century by Century is a help to discerning what it’s worth holding on to, and what needs letting go in the Presbyterian Church.

It is a lively, fascinating and accessible account of the history of the Church of Scotland since the Protestant Reformation. Full of intriguing stories, it is eminently readable and maintains interest. It helped me understand more of how our Church gained its shape and identity. Experiences generations ago, often repeated, have nourished a wisdom that alerts us to practices that too easily harm people and compromise integrity.

The author, Finlay Macdonald, is a respected former principal clerk and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He is a good storyteller.

New Zealand pragmatism, the attractiveness of secular gods and generational hubris can lead us to discount valuable inherited practices. Our Church deserves appreciative inquiry of our past, of how we came to value certain principles and practices. We will not understand them unless we know their history. We will not properly apply our Book of Order without appreciating the history behind it. Finlay Macdonald’s book is a good account of that history. It speaks of a broad Church seeking to be faithful to the way of Jesus Christ. It describes a sibling Church facing challenges like our own. I commend it wholeheartedly.

Macdonald, F, (2017) From Reform to Renewal: Scotland’s Kirk, Century by Century, Edinburgh, Scotland: Saint Andrew’s Press.

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The Zero Carbon Bill is open for consultation: why you should care… – Jordan Redding

Recently the Government opened a public consultation process on the upcoming Zero Carbon Bill. They are requesting online submissions from individuals and organisations as to how and in what timeframe Aotearoa transitions to a net zero economy.[1] Here’s why it’s worth taking the time to read the discussion document, and to consider making a submission as an individual, as a parish council, or to recommend it to your congregation. Continue reading

Matariki: a season of unity – Hone Te Rire

In late May or early June each year, the Pleiades – or Matariki as it is known by Maori – star cluster becomes visible in New Zealand. This signals the Maori New Year. In this article, the Rev Hone Te Rire shares the significance of Matariki.

Matariki_LRGBMatariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters in the Taurus constellation. Matariki is also associated with the winter solstice. Matariki translates to “Eyes of God” (mata – ariki) or ‘Little Eyes’ (mata – riki). This star cluster rises in the last days of May or early June. This heralds the Maori New Year.

Every year during the month of Matariki, whanau gather to commemorate loved ones passed, and to celebrate the birthdays of newer additions to the family. It is a time where whanau gathered together to celebrate unity, faith and hope through aroha. Celebratory feasts were held as whanau gathered around the table. Continue reading

Just a lot of hot air? – Phillip Donnell

Phillip Donnell is the Director of New Creation New Zealand, which seeks to assist churches in their pursuit of creation care.

green tree stem in grey dirt crackFor some time now it has been generally accepted that the humanly-induced increase of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, nitrous oxide and methane, in the earth’s atmosphere has been environmentally damaging. These gases deplete the protective ozone layer, absorb sunlight, and lead to global warming. Some people, of course, still deny that this is happening, or that we are exacerbating it, but according to the American scientist James Powell, of the 25,000 pieces of peer-reviewed literature about global warming written between 1991 and 2014, only 0.1% deny that global warming is a reality and humans are contributing to it. Continue reading