Research Position Knox Centre

Thornton Blair Research Fellow: Christian Education

Do you have high quality research skills, experience in the design of higher education and a passion for educational formation for Christian leadership?

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML) is seeking a uniquely gifted person to undertake action research in education design. This will involve undertaking qualitative research among key stakeholders, designing adult education delivery mechanisms and piloting the delivery of education in Christian leadership.

The Research Fellow will deliver a project that helps KCML clarify how to provide postgraduate educational formation for Christian leadership. Specifically to
1. Publish research into re-reforming post-graduate ministry and mission practice in contemporary contexts
2. Design education material that meets both stakeholder needs and higher education accreditation frameworks
3. Develop a strategic plan for education delivery
4. Initiate pilot projects, with stakeholder feedback.

The successful applicant will have experience in Christian education, project management and the use of qualitative methodologies in social sciences. They will have demonstrable skills in theological reflection, the ability to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders and excellent verbal and written skills, including research and writing. It is desirable that they have experience in post-graduate accreditation in higher education and teaching in online environments.

This is envisaged as a fixed term (22 months), part-time (0.6) position. Start date is February 2017 . The successful applicant need not live in Dunedin, provided they can demonstrate how they might build and sustain strong working relationships with the KCML team.

KCML especially welcomes applications that will enable it to meet its commitments to being a bi-cultural and intercultural church.

Applications close 9 am, Monday, 5 December, 2016. They must include a CV; a letter of application addressing the essential and desirable criteria and two references.

Enquiries to Rev Dr Steve Taylor
Principal, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Generally Assembling #6

This is it.  Back home.  Last posting.  A parable.

The All Blacks were playing Ireland.
New rules had been developed by the Rugby Union some months earlier and not everyone was happy about the rules, or the changes, but they needed to be taken on board.  There was no choice.
When it came to game day the All Blacks tried as hard as they could, but they found that the rules had been adapted to better by Ireland than by them.  They were outplayed.  They found rule changes were an affront to their style of playing because, in their opinion, the changes challenged their idea of the essence of the game.
Also, to top it off, the ref made a couple of key mistakes with the whistle.
They had rallied in the dying stages of the game and were hot on attack, but a controversial late penalty against them sealed their fate – the ball was kicked out, it was full-time, and they lost the game.
Fronting up at the press conference after the game, the captain and coach were deeply disappointed. And it showed.  The coach and captain explained that the ref was at fault for making bad calls at critical points in the game.  They also complained about the rule changes, and, even though someone in the media told them that the changes were clear to both teams many months before the game, the captain and coach kept on insisting that the game was rigged against them.
The next morning the comments in the media picked up on the deep feeling after the game.
Some media commentators were supportive of the complaints the All Blacks had made, citing other instances of shocking decision making.  One commentator even suggested that the rule changes and how they were being implemented by the referees had never been made clear to the various rugby unions.  He demanded that the referee be sacked and the decisions about the rule changes be discarded.  He even demanded that the game be played again.
But other commentators pointed out that the complaints were groundless.  They said that the players had participated in the game on an equal footing, knowing the rules and expectations of the referee, and that it was simply poor sportsmanship on the part of the losing team making the complaints.  And further more, this expression of poor sportsmanship was bringing the game of rugby into disrepute.

The church voted to call Andrew Norton back as Moderator.  No one knows why, but it is what the church has done.  Andrew provokes, pushes and punches – like a prophet.  He is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the church has called him back.  I appreciate that in all that we attended to we finally agreed to support him.  Well done!

Generally Assembling #2

Well hello again.
I should be a prophet, it has rained and is raining and I got wet in dear old Dunners.  But a day has passed and I was in it and it was more than ok.

In summary:
The Ministers’ Resourcing Day was ok.
The gaggle of ministers turned out to contain not much gaggling and quite a pile of friends.  I reacquainted myself with more than a few of them and had several deeper conversations with delightful colleagues who I have never really had a yarn with before.  What we have in common of course outweighs our points of difference, but so often we don’t get to listen to each other, so we judge and misjudge.
Then I find that there are a quarter of them who I don’t know at all.
Then I find a relic or two from my years of training and we look at one another with amused looks on our faces.
Then the content of most of the parts of the day is really interesting.
So, I find myself in a warm haze of gratitude and I admonish myself for my cynicism and promise to turn over a new leaf, but the Assembly hasn’t really started yet, and I am still young and foolish.
The evening was ok as well.  I entered Knox Church in my new-found confidence because of Knox’s healthy seismic rating and had to sit at the back because it was full.  Up the back is raised a bit and thus it was easier to count the number of balding heads.
The powhiri was somewhat make-shift (the rain), and the service was long – two and a half hours my friends, and that after the half-hour powhiri!  At one point anyone who wished was invited to greet the newly installed Moderator and I immediately banned anyone from our back-row seating to even contemplate it as there were some 300 people sitting in front of us, and if they went, and we went as well, we would be there until Christmas!  As it happened no one greeted the Moderator because firstly, he got stuck behind the Columba College Choir and secondly, everyone got to listening to the choir and, as they followed the words that were being sung on their service sheets it was at the end of the song that the invitation to greet the Moderator during the song was printed.  Thus alone and awkwardly the Moderator stood throughout it all, stoically pretending that he was comfortable with the lack of engagement with him.  And my heart went out to him and I begged a chap from our row to go down and do the decent thing but he chickened out and the Moderator sighed and sat down.
The Moderator, of course, is Richard Dawson – Right Reverend Richard as we now call him.  He has become alliterated!   Richard was in my year group during our training as ministers – we have now sacrificed two of our year group to the Moderatorial Fires, but it shows our age – we began getting ‘done’ 30 years ago and now we are facing old age!  The RRR offered some thoughtful words in his sermon on Hope, including this wee gem: “As we’ve failed to listen to one another we’ve been unable to hear God.”  Yes!  I say.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!
And the music was very good – very very good!
So, a good day, but one main thing to work on: decent coffee!  I say that every GA and still it is rubbish!

In anticipation:
We start at 8.30am tomorrow – and go at it until 9.30pm.  Um… are you kidding me?
We sorted two Council of Assembly notices of motion in an apologetic whirl at the opening service, so that leaves next to nothing left from its report… so… see you next time.
Maybe I am being mean, but this has got to be the most challenging of seasons of being the church and the group charged with discerning the future direction of the church doesn’t have much to say…so it must be ‘no worries mate, she’ll be right!’  I wish I was as confident about the state of things!
But you see, the agenda looks very light anyway.  I am not against light agendas, indeed I want them lighter and the Presbyteries being empowered to handle more of the stuff.  The problem is that we still mix the little business we have to do with inspirational stuff, and I usually end up going away from these events thinking that the business has systematically dismantled us and the inspirational stuff.
I think that we sometimes behave in ways that we wouldn’t countenance in our church communities where we care for each other.  So… why not talk this out and think a bit about how we want to be together more care-fully in Assembly?  But we don’t talk about it, and we carry on doing divisive stuff at each other as if it doesn’t matter, and as if God approves, and I question that… I really do!
So…tomorrow is coming to suck me into the 13 hour Presbyerianathon!  Yay!


To Bless and to Curse – by Martin Stewart

I was thinking recently about some of the people I struggle with and to what degree my struggle with them is about me.  They are, of course, complete and utter idiots – whereas I am not.  Actually, they are not such things any more or less than I am, but my dismissal of them is expressed in a tone of self-righteousness .  It is a tone of cursing.
I have been reading some of John O’Donohue’s writings this year.  He has written books of blessings.  It is like he learned to see and speak in only one way, that of lifting people up and seeing the light about him and them.

I came up with these words…

Blessings & Curses
Let us be careful with our words, our thoughts, our judgements.

To bless is to lay aside any sense
that we have the right to hold anything over anyone. Continue reading

Big Little Bible

The “Big Little Bible” app from the New Zealand Bible Society is a great introduction to the Bible for young children and their families.  It’s also a novel approach for families who read their Bibles every day.  The app is easy to navigate and features people and stories from major events throughout the Old and New Testaments.  It’s written in the Contemporary English Version (CEV) so the text is fairly clear and easy to understand.  The illustrations are colourful, playful and beautifully assist with the telling of the story.

My eight-year-old son, Gabriel, had a look at it for me and gave me his feedback.  He really liked the format of having a circle to tap for each story.  He liked having the story on a screen and was fascinated by the sounds it made when clicking on the app.  Gabriel thought he’d still like to use his book Bible, but this would be handy to look at if he was out and about and had to wait for me.

I found the illustrations captivating and enjoyed the features such as the ability to highlight favourite passages.  Highlighted passages are then saved to a screen that’s accessible from the home page.  There is a really good introduction and I found it handy to have the bookmark and questions feature at the top of every page.

One thing both Gabriel and I missed was the ability to have the passage read aloud.  I know that this adds a whole new technical dimension, but it would expand the usefulness of the app.  As a matter of taste, the CEV is a bit more paraphrased than I prefer.  Also I would call this a “Storybook Bible” as opposed to a Bible since it is not the complete text.

Those little things aside, I think this is a wonderful tool to expose children to God’s word.  It would be best used on a tablet or iPad with a larger screen, but I found it quite handy on my phone.  Congratulations to the New Zealand Bible Society on catering for our youngest Bible readers!  This is an inspirational tool that will expand the reach of God’s word.

Kaila Pettigrove

Kids Friendly Part Time Coach

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

Autobiography on the Move – Bruce Hamill

Bruce Hamill is on the move to a new style of ministry in Wellington…

Autobiography like truth should be hard work. Maybe it’s the pressure from Martin Stewart but I feel like it’s a good time to put in a little hard work.

I am in Darfield after about twenty one years as a minister in the PCANZ. The car is laden to the gunnels and the scooter (my mode of ministry transport) is perched alongside two bicycles on a tiny trailer. We have accumulated a surprising amount of worldly possessions and most of these are books in a container on the curb which will follow us to our third ministry job in windy Wellington. This third position is a step into the unknown. Continue reading

Imagination Series – Andrew Norton



At the end of the road 
a dirt track zig zags up the mountain 
into the clouds of unknowing. 
To be here you must leave there 
(wherever “there” is), 
defying the gravity of your own importance, 
the unfaithful way this busy world offers itself to you 
and the blindness of a life without a horizon.

As reception fades to one intermittent bar, 
contact with the outside world is all but 
leaving you 
under this wide sky 
to a wider conversation 
worthy of the landscape of your soul.

Shy shadows come out from their corners, 
ears hear a silence splinter granite rocks; 
the lies and excuses you’ve told yourself, 
and eyes are renewed by a soft gaze 
as outlines become clear. 
In this place, 
words are surrendered to the wind, 
to the arriving of your breath.

Andrew Norton 2016

Christmas Greeting


It is Christmas week.

You know this!

My word, do you know this!

This is a little message to the ministers of ‘the Word made flesh dwelling among us’ as Christmas looms.  Kia kaha!  Be strong!  The year-end is nigh!

If you are like me, the business of finding the right words is still in mid-flight. I am conscious of the weight that is on we minister’s shoulders each Christmas season.  The weight of pitching an appropriate message into the commotion of the squished-up end of year/Christmas/holiday season with all of its distractions and hurdles. Continue reading