A time to Zag – Andrew Norton

Andrew is based in Auckland and the following article is based on reflections spoken at his retirement as senior minister at St Columba in Botany Downs.

Down on the farm my father taught me, when everyone is planting wheat it’s time to plant barley. There is no demand for over-supply.

As I think about this in relation to the church’s unique contribution to today’s society, I see an over-supply of some things and correspondingly an under-supply of others.

The decline of church attendance over the years is not because the church is no longer relevant but exactly the opposite. The church looks in every way, just like our society, it is no different to the world we live in. Continue reading

Pursuing Peace in Godzone – Sharon Ross Ensor

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Sharon is the Director of the Presbyterian Church Schools’ Resource Office

Some years ago in the congregation where I was minister, we had a ‘home grown’ art exhibition which focused on the theme of peace.

People were invited to create something which conveyed what peace meant for them. The church became an art gallery of sorts for a few days and people appreciated being able to take their time with the poetry, writing, photos, art and handcraft on display, reflecting our faith community’s take on peace. Continue reading

The edge: Awake, Listen! Follow! – Roxy Gahegan

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

There are three things that have struck me deeply over the last ten years with regards to the teachings of Jesus and the way that we as church organise ourselves and live our faith and life journeys.

First of all, before my ordination training, I took classes in Church history (I had managed to avoid this entirely while studying for my theology degree back in the 90’s), and in one of the books I read, the author observed that even within the first 350 years of the Christian faith – before Constantine can be blamed for institutionalising us and aligning us with power and status – even before that, those who were perceived as heretical – doctrinally questionable or incorrect – were treated violently. Continue reading

Possibility People – Jill Kayser

“She’s very passionate isn’t she?” was a common response to my Kids Friendly sharing over the past 14 years. My ecumenical friends would call me ‘the passionate Presbyterian’ which some of them rather cheekily suggested is a misnomer (let’s hope not!)  I don’t mind being remembered as the ‘passionate Presbyterian’, but what I’d really love to be remembered as is a possibility person. Continue reading

The Burden of Being Jesus – Andrew Nicol

“I am not Jesus.” There you go, I admit it. My psych test at National Assessment was a bit of an ordeal, but there wasn’t a specific probe into messianic aspirations. I wonder if I’m the only one who’s slipped through?

What I mean is this—of course I understand I’m not quite like the messiah, but in reality I can behave as if my purpose is to be Jesus for others, or on slow days maybe his ‘hands and feet’. I’m beginning to suspect, however, that my family and congregation have spotted some potential discrepancies. Continue reading

Please Be Political… by Richard Dawson

Richard is the current Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa New Zealand

Politics is the ultimate expression of the fact that we have to exist with people who don’t think like us. Derived from the Greek polos – meaning ‘people’ – politics is the art and, perhaps, science of being a people – being together. Every expression of politics is basically a reaction to this fact. 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

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

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