Review – Mosaic

Reviewed by Christine Harrex, Lawrence-Waitahuna Presbyterian

Mosaic - God is love

I have always had a strong belief in the value of small groups.

More than twenty years of Sunday school teaching has shown me that when children are taught in small age-specific groups, meaningful relationships are established and learning is deep and personal. I have always been scathing of big group programmes where these opportunities are limited. 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

Editorial: Expecting my spirits to be lifted daily – Martin Stewart

Martin edits this blog but his day job is as one of the ministers in The Village Church in Christchurch.  He also writes a regular column called Wide Awake (after a U2 song) in Essence, a free monthly community magazine that circulates in South Canterbury.  He finds it an interesting challenge writing in a general way for an unknown but very wide community.  The following article is also published in Essence.

20171013_122721What lifts your spirits?

Is it an accidental thing that comes at you from time to time?
Or is it something you have looked for and grown to expect? Continue reading

Be yourself – but not too much! – Silvia Purdie

Silvia Purdie reflects on the place of ‘self’ in ministry practice and finds herself in two spaces – in Christ and in Middle Earth!  Silvia ministers at Cashmere Presbyterian Church in Christchurch.

I’ve just finished my 3-yearly Ministry Development Review. In the interview I said to my reviewer that what matters most to me at this stage in my ministry is to be less driven by other people’s expectations and agendas and to be more fully and simply who I am. 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

Poet and Preacher: by Maurice Andrew

Maurice Andrew seems to be enjoying a long retirement in Dunedin.  He completed his outstanding academic career as Principal at Knox College a wee while ago now

The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) held a high view of the poet’s calling. It is probably expressed most directly in his poem “O tell us, poet, what you do. – I praise.” (“O sage Dichter, was du tust. Ich rühme.” ‘Rühmen’ is not the only word for ‘praise’ in German, and there is a touch of the exultant about it.)

My translation of Rilke’s poem is below, and then my interpretation of it (“Homiletics”). My interpretation makes an application to the preacher rather than to the poet. In other words, Rilke’s poem set me thinking and writing about “what the preacher does”. Continue reading

Ministry & Recovery: Did Jesus get tired? by Silvia Purdie

Silvia ministers at Cashmere Presbyterian Church in Christchurch

Here’s a question which will throw your Christology into stark relief: ‘Did Jesus get tired?’. If your Christology is ‘low’ you’ll probably say ‘Duh, yes of course!’; he was fully human, and experienced all the pain and exhaustion that we humans do. You’ll remember that he slept (even in a storm on a lake!), and took himself off alone to recharge. Continue reading