Review: Chronicles of Paki

Alison Mitchell of St Andrew’s Matamata has reviewed popular series of New Zealand children’s books, the Chronicles of Paki. 

Chronicles of Paki Te-Powhiri2-sml

The Chronicles of Paki series of children’s books tells of our early New Zealand Christian history as the Maori people interact with the arrival of missionaries and new settlers.

Delightfully written using A4-sized pages in a pictorial format, the stories have large illustrations, speech bubbles, captions and short passages of script telling the story.

Iconic kiwi, Paki, acts as a guide and explains meanings of words and phrases, translates Maori to English, and gives facts and dates. This makes the books easy to pick up and read or simply to look at the pictures and captions for detail. Continue reading

Getting to the bottom of the nation’s housing problem – Lance Thomas

seller transfers key to the house in hands of buyer

Rev Lance Thomas has been minister at Rotorua District Presbyterian Church (RDPC) until his recent retirement. RDPC has a range of one, two and three bedroom homes and offers these at affordable rentals, including some that are made available to people who would struggle to get rental accommodation.

Would you write an opinion piece on the housing crisis for the Candour election series? That sounds like fun – forget the facts it’s only an opinion piece, I think. I am reminded of the great line from the movie “Inside Out”, where one of the workers on the train of thought in the brain confesses that they have mixed up the boxes containing facts and opinions: “Don’t worry,” says the supervisor. “That happens all the time.”

If you want the facts, the Church Leaders’ Statement on Housing (May 2017) is worth a read. You could also try the New Zealand Herald, which occasionally lets an article with genuine facts sneak through. 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.

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…

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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

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.)

 

Thank you for an amazing year: 2016 in review

Thank you to all of our readers: 2016 is not quite finished yet, and we have already reached some great milestones here on the Candour blog:

  • the blog reached more people,
  • we have posted more stories,
  • received more comments, and
  • have more followers than in 2015.

These are all good signs – indicators that you are finding the Candour blog useful, so thanks for the endorsement of our work. Continue reading

An encounter that shaped my ministry: time with John O’Donohue

This post is authored by John Burton Hunt, and has been posted on his behalf by blog moderator, Jose Reader.

A harsh spirit

I was a Plunket baby. The nurse told my mother, “Feed baby every four hours, ten minutes on each side, and if he cries after three hours, don’t go to him. He will have you running to him all the time. It won’t hurt him to cry for an hour”. I cried – and so did my mother.

What is the underlying assumption? That a baby is a tyrant who needs discipline? What is the underlying belief? The doctrine of original sin. It was said, “Sin lurks at the door of the womb”. Continue reading