Working With Complaints – Geoffrey Skilton

Working With Complaints: a decade on, what have we experienced?
Discipline Process Review Group

 Welcome to the conversation
To date, I’ve never had to consult chapter 15 of the Book of Order or the wider disciplinary sections of the Book of Order or the associated Supplementary Provision for the purpose of lodging a complaint against a member of the church. Neither have I been the subject of a complaint. Likewise, the church councils of which I have been a member have not had cause to dive into the relevant sections. However, others have not been so fortunate. For the church courts, councils and individuals who have been a party to a complaint, the experiences are varied. Continue reading

Proud to be a Presbyterian – Simon Mcleay

Simon is senior minister at St Peter’s Tauranga

I often hear people complaining about ‘Assembly’, or about the way that Presbyterians ‘Debate’.  I want to stand up and be counted, I want to shout from the roof-tops that Presbyterian Style is best!  It is a style of democratic participation that harnesses the best of many people and balances the excesses of the few; we believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through the people discerning together.  Our system grew Continue reading

White Space Conversations #1: The politics of love, an alternative way by Andrew Norton

White Space Conversations* are a series of short papers by Andrew Norton (Moderator of the PCANZ) addressing issues of life, faith, order and imagination inviting generous, open, grace filled and robust conversations within our church.
This is the first in a series of six that will be posted each week on the moderators web page and on the PCANZ Facebook page

The word ‘politics’ is the coming together of a number of Greek words, polis- city, polites – citizen and politika – the affairs of the city.

There is a thread flowing through these words pointing toward something greater than the meaning each word contains in itself; the well-being, safety, protection, provision and benefit for everyone in the community; The creation of an ordered and civil society. Continue reading

Seeing Dimly

Some thoughts on translating the gospel in our culture by Martin Stewart

It seems to me that this is a season for renegotiation with our communities.
If we conduct a wedding or a funeral, we need to attend to the fact that many of those gathered do not share the faith we speak from – some may engage with aspects of it, others will resist it… many will have a prejudicial attitude that we can either reinforce or destabilize.

It does not seem appropriate to me anymore to roll out scriptural passages or make faith statements without some attempt at translating and gently inviting people into a God-filled way of seeing.  We can no longer assume people speak or understand our language.

It is a delegate space to manoeuvre in.  The opportunities for a gospel conversation are less frequent than they once were.  We can blow it instantly by rolling out the cliches, preaching at people, and talking as if we know everything.  We have plenty of cliches, many have a long history and need to be put to bed.  We have  got good at preaching at people who expect us to behave in this manner, but they have become few in number. And, of course, we do not know everything – we only get to see through a mirror dimly – we need to be careful, open, and honest about the space between what is and what will be.

This poem emerged out of an introduction I offered at a recent funeral – the image came from the hills around Makara in Wellington.
fence

seeing dimly
we want clarity before the mysteries
but we gain barely a glimpse
a passing shadow
a leaf falling from a tree

some have practiced a life of glimpsing
exhibiting a quiet confidence
insight to what exists in the space between things
knowing enough to know

an unforced word from one of them
can be a small seed of hope
a window to a horizon
a place to set one’s foot

 

Rejuvenation Series: What can we learn from our statistics? Dr Margaret Galt

New Zealand is WEIRD. We belong to a group of countries that are Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic and which think in a particular way. The acronym WEIRD is apt given how foreign that way of thinking would be to most people– both living and dead.

WEIRD societies see religious belief as an individual preference and see the growth of non-belief as benign. Continue reading

Rejuvenation Series: Finding ways that don’t work for church by Darryl Tempero

I worry sometimes that I am not failing enough. To discover new ways of being church we need to try new things, which means taking a risk that it might not work. Experimentation and failure are vital – with one major problem, it’s no fun to fail. Do I have the patience or courage to fail? Do we see ‘risk’ as a positive or negative word? Continue reading

Have our meetings lost their way – Andrew Norton

One of the core practices of being “Presbyterian” is our commitment to collective discernment. Our belief is that discernment requires listening to one another and to the spirit of God and the scriptures. The result of this has been meetings, meetings and more meetings. How many meetings does it take to run a church!

My observation is that our meetings are not working.

  1. Our meetings are not practicing spiritual discernment. They are the collective sharing of the opinions of the opinionated and then taking a vote. These meetings favour only those who speak.
  1. The wrong people are at the meetings. How can we expect to make decisions about our God given futures if the very people we want to reach have no voice? Where is the voice of the minority and the voiceless; does God not speak through them also?

Continue reading