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

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