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

Election Series: some musings – Martin Stewart

Martin is the editor of this blog

When you cannot be sure that you can observe the world in neutral enough ways, should you not say anything?

That’s the dilemma I face every election cycle when it comes to my pulpit ministry, and I tend to play it safe and avoid saying anything that can be interpreted as partisan politics. The pulpit, I figure, has to be shaped by greater things that the ideologies that I might find attractive and the whims of whatever mood I’m in.  I say that, and believe that, but suspect I am a spectacular failure! Continue reading

Election Series: Investing in the well-being of all children by Michael O’Brien

Michael O’Brien is the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) spokesperson on social security. Mike is an Associate Professor at the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work at the University of Auckland, and has written extensively on poverty and social security issues.

The idea of social investment has been central to a range of government policies over the last few years. While it has had a number of different descriptions and uses, the central idea is that government financial resources should be targeted to those children and families at high risk of poor outcomes. Continue reading

Sara Miles visit

Along with Theology House, The Village Presbyterian Church in Christchurch is hosting Sara Miles for a day seminar.

Sara Miles

A Day with Sara Miles Bread of Heaven/ Daily Bread

WHEN: Wed 20th September 2017 10:00a.m.- 3.15p.m.

Cost: $60 (morning tea and lunch provided)

WHERE: The Village Church, Cnr Ilam / Aorangi Roads,
Register with Claire Bonner at admin@theologyhouse.ac.nz

am: Take this bread: worship & service

Midday Table Eucharist

Lunch Provided

pm: Jesus Freaks: outreach & service grounded in eucharist

Sara Miles is the author of : ‘Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion’ ‘Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead.’ & ‘City of God: Faith in the Streets’

She is the founder and director of The Food Pantry and served as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco for ten years.

Election Series: Inequality is a top election issue

Paul Barber is a Policy Advisor with the NZ Council of Christian Social Services (nzccss.org.nz) which is the national network of the social services of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and The Salvation Army churches. NZCCSS is one of the 37 groups in the Equality Network (equalitynetwork.org.nz) sharing a vision for a more equal country for everyone.  

Inequality and poverty, along with housing, are the top areas of concern for New Zealanders right now (see Roy Morgan poll http://nzccss.org.nz/news/2017/04/election-issues-2017-housing-inequality/ ). If churches remain silent on this issue, if we do not talk about these issues in our communities, then the church is simply declaring itself uninterested in the central problems in our community. Continue reading

Election Series: Back the Plan for a Zero Carbon Act

SouthSudanAkuchRS15739_south-sudan-2017-jeffrey-A0667

Akuch Kon eats wild leaves in Rumading, a village in South Sudan’s Lol State where more than 5,000 people, displaced by drought and conflict, remain in limbo. Photo: Act Alliance/Paul Jeffrey

Apocalypses are not confined to the Scriptures. Every day there are news reports of dramatic catastrophes – a car driven into an unsuspecting crowd, a huge landslide claiming hundreds of lives and the belongings of many more, and reports of record temperatures and life threatening droughts. In each of these stories, there is a message for those seeking to understand the deeper mysteries of faith.  For me I cannot get past the idea that these events are tied up with how we choose to live on earth.

In faith statements this is often referred to as our responsibility to “care for God’s creation” – something that tends to be treated as an add-on rather than a core matter of faith. We may well enjoy spring flower festivals and singing “All things bright and beautiful”, but is that enough? Continue reading