Archives for: February 2016

There were 4 posts published in February 2016.

Neighbours Day

Reach out in Christian hospitality

Neighbour’s Day falls on 19 and 20 March and coincides with Palm Sunday, with Easter Friday just four days later. Prescare is inviting parishes to show good old-fashioned Christian hospitality to their neighbours.  Consider “Sharing the cross” by delivering bought or baked Easter buns to neighbours.

Ideas for getting involved

As well as delivering Easter buns, you may also wish to share the Easter story. PresCare can help on both fronts:

  • Delivering Easter buns – If your parish doesn’t have the funds to purchase or bake buns, then see below about how to apply for a small grant.
  • Sharing the Easter message – Simply download and print any of the resources below that feature a picture or explanation about why Easter buns have a cross, and attach these to the buns before they are delivered. They could be delivered to neighbours or youth groups could take the Easter buns to local schools and preschools. (If handing out at a school, because of the Easter story slips on the bags, you need to ask the school to request parental permission for the children to receive the buns.)

There are plenty of ways to reach out to your neighbours. Check out these ideas for different ways of getting involved in Neighbours Day. Read more


PresCare Neighbours Day Poster

Download a Neighbours Day poster for your church

Easter story slips and images

If you wish, print off any of these images or short stories to assist you to “Share the Cross” with your neighbours.


The cross as a symbol of hope (written by the Rev Phil King)


Jesus takes up the cross image (supplied by Kids Friendly)

Jesus is nailed to the cross image (supplied by Kids Friendly)

Simon of Cryene helps Jesus image (supplied by Kids Friendly)

Stations of the cross images (supplied by Kids Friendly)

Apply for funding

PresCare is making a small number of grants available to assist parishes to purchase or bake Easter buns. Each grant will be to a maximum of $50 and in the event that the number of applicants exceeds the number of grants available, parishes will be randomly selected using the age-old method of pulling names out of a hat. To register for a grant, simply email us the following details by 5pm on Friday, 11 March:

  • parish name,
  • parish contact person,
  • that person’s contact details, and
  • a 100-200 word description of with whom and how your parish will be sharing the Easter buns.

You will be advised by email of the status of your application no later than Tuesday, 15 March.

Consider working with Presbyterian Support

If you want to get involved, consider making contact with Presbyterian Support in your region to investigate the possiblity of a joint initiative.

Presbyterian Support Northern
Anne Overton
Community Mission Advisor & PresCare Project Manager
P: 09 520 862409 520 8624

Presbyterian Support East Coast
Sylvie Gibbins
Donations and Bequest Manager
P: 06 877 819306 877 8193

Presbyterian Support Central
Jo Prestwood
P: 04 439 492904 439 4929

Presbyterian Support Upper South Island
Lydia Hemingway
Senior Fundraiser
P: 03 363 820903 363 8209

Presbyterian Support South Canterbury
Katerina Tiscenko
Marketing Communications & Fundraising Manager
P: 03 687 114803 687 1148

Presbyterian Support Otago
Caroline Simms
Mission Liaison
P: 03 477 711503 477 7115

Presbyterian Support Southland
Peter Wards
Chief Executive
P: 03 211 826003 211 8260

Tell us what you are doing

So you’ve decided to get involved, great! Let us know. Email us, and we’ll publicise your event on the Church’s Facebook page. Also send us some photos.

Why get involved?

Many people today are isolated from their neighbours, yet are unsure what to do about it. Neighbours Day provides an opportunity to come together, and serve those in need and in doing so strengthen the communities in which we live.

The goal of Neighbours Day Aotearoa – to build strong communities – is well aligned with the Christian mission of the Church and Presbyterian Support. Love thy neighbour.

By participating in Neighbours Day, local churches and Presbyterian Support can strengthen bridges between ourselves and our communities, and in doing so build meaningful mission with those in need in our communities.

Learn more about Neighbours Day >

Advocating for our earth

Young Presbyterians, like many other Christians, are concerned that we are not being stewards of the earth as Christians are called to be. They are educated and active about this century’s burning issue: climate change and the environment.

On 12 December when the UN Paris conference began, 600,000 people worldwide demonstrated against what they considered as a too-weak treaty on climate change. Two weeks earlier, the biggest People’s Climate March in New Zealand’s history had a strong presence of young people from the combined churches.

Rev Jordan Redding, 25, is a newly ordained minister at Hope Church. Climate change is a big focus of Jordan’s faith journey and he took part in the Christchurch march. He also contributed to the Presbyterian Church’s 2015 submission to the government on post- 2020 climate change targets. Paris was significant, he reflects, but our government’s response was disappointing.

“Their view is that we’re not contributing that much to climate change. I don’t think that’s an excuse as New Zealanders are living unsustainably. If everyone adopted our lifestyle the world would be in serious trouble,” he asserts. “We need ongoing public pressure to force a change in priorities. Likewise in the Church there’s concern but little action. Protesting is viewed with suspicion as being ultra-left or too hippy.”

Jessie Boston, 23, is a member of St John’s in the City and took part in the Wellington march. “I’m passionate and want to get people impassioned,” she says. “Unless you’re a climate change sceptic you should be active. It’s a sad thing that something drastic will need to happen before people change, and by then it will be too hard.”

The climate change march wasn’t just about energy, she says. “It’s about how we do life and respect others around us. One of the key issues for this generation is the disconnect between God and the Church and also from the earth – from the food we eat, our clothing sources and the impact of our actions.”

Jessie works for a funeral company and sees people opting for greener alternatives, such as cardboard coffins. Both Jessie and Jordan agree that millennials are becoming well-informed consumers.

“We’re putting more pressure on suppliers and are better informed about where things come from,” she says. “There’s more transparency now than before. And also some resentment that not enough has been done by our elders – they’ve handed over a planet that’s no longer habitable.”

Jessie is inspired by mentors in older generations, such as her parents and world leaders, but expects more from the Church.

“God gave us a magical playground and we’re causing such harm to it. The Church should be right at the front of that battle to protect it. Instead, it has stood back and waited for others and then come in behind. Divesting from fossil fuels is a good step, but we could be more intentional and take a lead, by investing in sustainable energy for example.”

In 2014, the General Assembly asked the Church Property Trustees to divest from fossil fuel investments. Individual congregations were encouraged to do the same with their own investments. The Church Property Trustees are yet to make a decision.

At a regional level more could be done, says Rev Cate Burton, St Peters in the City Tauranga assistant minister. Cate, 29, was one of six young people funded by the Church to attend the 2016 Ecology and Hope Conference, held at Carey Baptist College, Auckland in January. Academic in focus, the conference was light on practical ideas but challenging theologically, she says.

“I loved the idea of ecological readings [of Scripture],” she says. “Like in Jeremiah, God stirring up the oceans. What if God is being playful? It’s like feminist readings of Scripture, you have to delve into what’s not explicitly stated and see it with fresh eyes.”

Cate says that more work is needed to integrate the theological with the practical. She points to a collaborative project in Tauranga between the church and the Good Neighbour Trust to build community gardens.

“In the past year two gardens have been started, at Bethlehem and Welcome Bay,” she says. “I’ve just suggested to my senior minister that we should also be thinking about eco design in the building projects that are coming up in Tauranga.”

Hannah North, 20, of Mahurangi Church put her hand up for the Ecology and Hope Conference to find out more about how faith, theology and conservation can work together. The day, she says, gave her a wider stance on the intrinsic ethics of conservation.

“I already felt we’re conserving the land, plants and animals for future generations, but the conference pushed me to see ecology as God’s creation, so why would we destroy it?” There were further challenges for her related to eschatology. “We discussed secularism versus theology and different views about ecology, how the eschatology of the coming of the kingdom affects the way we treat the earth,” she explains. “If it’s not going to last, is there a point to conservation?”

Hannah also studied at Laidlaw in 2015 and has been active in local conservation projects such as tree planting at Tawharanui Regional Park. Hannah will be preaching at her church in Mahurangi in March on ecology. She sees the Church as lacking sufficient emphasis on its relationship to the land. An increased focus, she says, could bridge the gap between generations and bring more young people into the Church.

“Even though the connection should be a two-way street, we want to be met where we are.”

For the first time the World Economic Forum survey on Global Risks identified the top risk to the global economy as “failure to prepare for climate change”. In New Zealand only 23.9 per cent mentioned this top risk as a factor.

“The Kiwi dream is having a beach house, an SUV and motor boat,” says Jordan. “It’s almost taboo to impose on that. Until coastal areas submerge or the dairy industry suffers I don’t think we’ll see significant change.”

Ally Graves, 18, of St Albans Presbyterian Palmerston North, who also attended the Ecology and Hope conference, says climate change is “the elephant in the room” for Kiwis. “I don’t think Paris achieved much and New Zealand’s reaction is pathetic, ignoring agriculture because that’s our economic base,” she says. “Farming isn’t being done sustainably in this country. The older generation is doing what it’s always done. People need to be more aware and take a stand, to change their lifestyle and stop buying products that cause harm.”

Ally has been a vegan for the past eight years and became involved in environmental issues through her stance on eating meat. A student at Laidlaw, Ally attended the conference out of concern that the Church hasn’t addressed environment and faith.

“Christians have the view that God will provide,” she says, “but there needs to be a stronger, more vocal Christian perspective and more done to inform people. God has given some of us the passion to fix things, not to be passive.”

Liam Boardman, 20, of the Village Church Christchurch, also attended the Ecology and Hope conference. Liam is studying history and political science at Canterbury University and sees the Church as being in a formative stage of responding to climate change.

“There’s always been support for poverty and weakness but issues affecting the environment have been sidelined because of the tension between science and religion,” he thinks. “We shy away from a deeper analysis in case the facts of science collide with our faith. We want to reject the bits that don’t fit our beliefs, and don’t know how to support climate change work while keeping within the wheelhouse of our faith.”

A talk at the conference by Caritas, demonstrating the disproportionate effect climate change is having on Pacific nations and the poor in general was, for Liam, an obvious way to connect the environment with the Church’s traditional concern with poverty and overseas mission. He sees the Catholic Church as being further advanced in synthesising this relationship, particularly through the papal encyclical published last year. The encyclical is in line with the Church’s  submission to the government on the consultation for setting New Zealand’s post-2020 climate change target.

The main issue says Elissa Shaw, 18, also of the Village Church, is finding the balance between development and sustainability. Elissa has been working on transitional projects in Christchurch following the earthquakes. Working with Gap Filler and Greening the Rubble has given her an insight into the connection between nature and hope. “Hope is in taking action,” she says.

Elissa agrees with Jordan that the millennials either have post-modern malaise and are giving up because it is too hard, or they are taking the issue of planetary survival seriously. Conference keynote speaker Professor Celia DeaneDrummond was helpful, she explains, in offering novel ways for activists to attract attention.

“She told us about Oil Free Otago, who held a funeral for fossil fuels outside an oil exploration meeting, which was cool and different. She gave me hope by showing that people were doing things at grass roots level that made a difference.”

Dr Andrew Shepherd is national co-director of A Rocha Aotearoa NZ, the Christian-based charity focused on conservation. He was one of the speakers at the Ecology and Hope conference. The biggest issues of our time, he says, are ecology and economic inequality and young people will be the ones to face the realities of what’s being described as “the 6th great extinction”.

“They’re already switched on because the issues are upfront and central in their education,” Andrew says, “but they lack the freedom to respond as they don’t have agency within the Church body, which tends to see ecology as tangential.”

Andrew believes that this theological dissonance between the education system and the Church on ecology is one of two key challenges for young people. The second, he says, is the effects of the digital age and consumption.

“I’m concerned that young people’s attachment to their screens puts them at risk of their imaginations of what the world could be becoming emasculated by large consumerist corporations dominating their thinking,” he explains. “Hashtag activism” is a term coined for being politically active on social media. This kind of activism is often judged as narcissistic or lazy. “Liking a post on Facebook or signing an online petition doesn’t change much or count as action,” says Michael Jessup, 18, who has just graduated from Year 13 at Pakuranga College and attends St Andrew’s Howick.

He was a member of the student-initiated Environmental Council and attends Auckland Council’s Make a Difference (MAD) leadership programme that nurtures MADsters. One of his passions is to make environmental videos and post them online. He entered a three-minute clip on marine litter into a competition run by the Foundation for Environmental Education and was invited to present it at a conference in Cyprus in October 2014, with 40 other young people.

“I thought the international arena would be way better,” he reflects, “but the stuff they were talking about isn’t new. It made me realise New Zealand is at the forefront of environmental action.”

Euan Nisbet, 18, also of St Andrew’s and also on the Environmental Council is now studying sustainable agriculture at Massey University. He supports Michael’s awareness work but prefers to do practical projects. For the past couple of years Euan has been involved through his local scout group with planting native trees on Motuihe Island in the Hauraki Gulf. The Motuihe Trust and DOC have been reforesting parts of the island since 2003 and have released rare native bird species on the predator-free island.

He gets hope from walking along parts of the reforested island and seeing how much the first plantings have already grown. “You see the end game and the impact. It’s not such a hard thing to do, to plant trees,” he points out.

Hope, says Andrew Shepherd, is what the Church needs to be instilling in young people. “We need a theology that fires their imagination, so they become people of hope. Christianity can bring a unique element to ecological issues by telling a story than inspires ultimate hope in God’s greater purpose.”

Jordan Redding sees the Church’s unique role as providing a moral story that inspires everyone to take responsibility for our earthly existence.

“When I read the Scripture I see Jesus helping us to reconcile and renew God’s good creation, not helping us to escape. Jesus was resurrected in body and was concerned with earthly restoration, so the story of Christ gives us hope that God’s creation can be restored,” he explains. “The language of lament and confession also speaks powerfully. ‘We got things wrong and we’re sorry. Help us transform and participate in something new’.”

Jade Reidy – Autumn edition of Spanz magazine.

Youth of the Nation


28-30 APRIL 2016

Youth of the Nation is an annual Christian Youth Conference held in Wanganui, New Zealand. The theme for this years conference is ONE:

Ephesians 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit. You were appointed to one hope when you were chosen. There is one Lord, one faith and one baptism. There is one God and Father of all. He is over everything. He is through everything. He is in everything.

YOTNConf 2016 – ONE

Join Nick Khiroya (Hillsong Church), Steven Silcock, Daniel Paikea & more this April at #YOTNconf!Register online now!

Posted by Youth Of The Nation NZ on Thursday, February 4, 2016

Youth of the Nation (YOTN) aims to encourage and empower Christian young people to pursue Jesus Christ with a zeal that will impact their generation.

Check out their website