Monday, February 13, 2017
Thornton Blair Research Fellow at KCML: Rosemary Dewerse
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Rosemary Dewerse to be the Thornton Blair Research Fellow. Rosemary is a highly trained missiologist, a skilled theological educator and experienced academic administrator.
In a rapidly changing world, the need for ministers and leaders to keep growing is essential. The Thornton Blair Research Fellow is a new initiative of KCML, designed to enhance delivery of life-long learning. The Research Fellow will listen among key stakeholders and design life-learning opportunities that will integrate professional standards and higher education post-graduate requirements. Two pilot offerings in Christian leadership will be tested in 2018.
After advertising in November and interviewing in January the interview panel were delighted to offer this fixed, two year, 0.6 position to Rosemary Dewerse. Rosemary was raised in the Presbyterian Church where her father was a minister. She has written and worked in the area of church as an intercultural community. She is the author of Breaking Calabashes: Becoming an Intercultural Community which offers four practices for creating communities that welcome and enable all people.
Rosemary will be part of the KMCL team, based in Auckland.
Who is Rosemary Dewerse? In making the appointment, the panel outlined a number of essential and desirable characteristics. Through the application material, referee comments and interview, Rosemary demonstrated a track record of competency in every area. She has a passion for the Gospel as good news for the church and world. She is married to Roelant and has two children.
From 2012 to 2015 Rosemary worked as the Post-graduate Coordinator at Uniting College, Australia, which serves the Uniting Church in Australia (a partner church of the PCANZ). This involved leading over 60 postgraduate students working in both University and private higher education roles. She continues to maintain an active post-graduate supervision role and spoke of this being an area of great love, because of the sense of journeying together in mutual learning.
Rosemary has completed a PhD in intercultural leadership development. She has successfully applied for re-accreditation of post-graduate qualifications. This involved not only redesigning the post-graduate courses in light of stakeholder feedback, but also gaining the best ever accreditation results in the process.
Rosemary has taught in theological education for sixteen years in four different cultural contexts. She has published in partnership with indigenous theologians in both Australia and New Zealand. Rosemary’s referees affirmed her teaching skills. Her written work presented as part of the application process showed a creative re-working of a taught course, to enable engaged mission learning in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Rosemary is in demand in Australia and New Zealand to speak in areas of mission and leadership. She has an extensive record of publication, including a book on intercultural leadership entitled Breaking Calabashes: Becoming an Intercultural Community and articles on indigenous theology, missiology, and online curriculum design.
Rosemary has, with permission of local iwi, published in areas of Maori theology and missiology. She has studied Te Reo for three years and taught in a Maori theological context.
Rosemary has designed and taught online courses for Laidlaw College and Uniting College. She has been part of a review team that redesigned the online learning at Uniting College and was commended by her referees for her skills in this area. She has published in this area, reflecting theologically upon online curriculum redesign. She has worked as a former trainer of ministers in seminaries in Central Asia, Australia and most recently St Johns College.
In the interview, Rosemary spoke of a call to come home and believed that applying for this role was part of that call, given her roots are in the PCANZ, having grown up in the manse in urban, small-town and rural communities and worshipped as a young adult at St Pauls Trinity Pacific (Christchurch) and Fairfield Presbyterian.
The panel were struck by her connections with the PCANZ historically and with NZ cultural contexts. They found Rosemary personable and engaging, possessing a grasp of the complexity of the project and a track record of experience across all the desired and essential outcomes. They sensed a deep commitment to listen and to mutual transformation. They recognised an energy, the ability to be a self-starter and a strong sense of passion for the future of the church. In Rosemary they are confident is a person who can fulfil the expectations of Thornton Blair, and deliver a project birthed in listening to the church, yet able to sync with the complexity of professional standards, ministry realities and post-graduate higher education processes.
How was the appointment made? The Thornton Blair Research Fellow concept was agreed by the KCML Advisory Board in October 2016. A funding application to the Thornton Blair Trust had been agreed by Senatus in August and recommended to Church Property Trustees in late November.
The role was advertised and an interview panel of five shortlisted in early December. The panel asked three applicants to provide further information, including a sample of writing, a one page plan for stakeholder engagement in the first two months, further referees and to be interviewed in January 2017.
The panel prepared a list of set questions. At the end of the process, the interview panel were unanimous in affirming that Rosemary had the gifts and graces for this unique role.
Who was the interview panel? The KCML Advisory Board appointed a panel of five:
· Dr Glen Pettigrove – Chair of KCML Advisory Board
· Dr Hugh Morrison – Advisory Board member and University academic in field of education
· Rev Dr Tokerau Joseph – a Presbyterian minister who has completed post-graduate research in the intercultural nature of the PCANZ
· Rev Margaret Garland – a Presbyterian minister representing Leadership Sub-Committee and Senatus
· Rev Dr Steve Taylor – Principal KCML
Approved by Rosemary and all members of the Interview Panel
Monday, December 19, 2016
Christmas greetings from KCML
For KCML it has been year of growth. Some highlights include
• The shift of Malcolm Gordon to Dunedin and the blessing of KCML corridors filled with creativity and music
• Six graduating interns from 4 different cultures
• A block course in Wellington for the first time ever
• Four new babies born to the ministry intern cohort
• The first ever Local Ordained Ministry resourcing conference
• A hard-working Faculty who have published 3 books and 2 resources, all engaged with aspects of the church in mission and ministry
• The Christianity and Cultures in Asia lecture series
• A significant increase in funding from Presbyterian Development Society in support of New Mission Seedlings
• The approval of the Thornton Blair Christian Education Research Fellow to guide the development of life-learning
• Two online learning experiments to explore being national in our training
• Partnerships in Alpine and Otago and Southland Presbyteries in establishing New Mission Seedlings.
It has also been a year of challenges. These include
• A new team still learning how to pace ourselves
• A number of our graduating interns as yet unplaced
• The ongoing challenge of living out the bicultural and intercultural commitments of the PCANZ
A recent lectionary Psalm speaks to our highlights and our challenges. In Psalm 67, the Psalmist is full of praise, for God’s face shines. It is an echo of the blessing of Numbers 6:24-26, a God of blessing, protection and grace. For the Psalmist, this blessing applies not to Israel but to all the nations. The potential internal and exclusive focus of Israel is re-shaped by this universal love of God. It is this God that we affirm at KCML and as a church look to celebrate this Christmas.
Thanks for your partnership with us. We’re better together.
May you and yours experience the shining face of grace this Christmas,
Friday, December 16, 2016
Seeing Silence: Interdisciplinary perspectives symposium
Friday 7:30 pm, March 17, until 1 pm, Saturday, March 18, 2017.
Venue: Otago University
Call for papers: Silence: A Novel (Picador Modern Classics) is a historical novel. Written by Shusako Endo (1923-1999), one of Japan’s foremost novelists, the book offers an absorbing, albeit bleak, meditation on the inability of the seventeenth century Jesuit mission to establish religious change on Japanese soil. It allows us to explore the possibilities and pitfalls when conversion seems fruitless.
The book is currently being made into a movie, directed by Martin Scorsese. Due for New Zealand release on February 17, it stars Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson. Scorsese considers his movie-making an act of prayer, writing “I wanted to be a priest. My whole life has been movies and religion. That’s it. Nothing else” (Detweiler and Taylor 2003: 155).
This symposium welcomes a wide range of disciplinary perspectives on the themes of Silence. Contributors could focus on Silence as film, the history of 17th century Japan, the diversity of indigenous Japanese responses to Christianity and Empire, Jesuit approaches to mission, the ethics and limits of conversion, cross-cultural interactions, the writing of Endo, the missiological and theological challenges presented when faith suffers.
Papers of 20 minutes in length are sought. The deadline for 250 word abstracts is Friday 20th January, 2017. Enquiries and abstracts to Kevin Ward firstname.lastname@example.org. Presenters will informed on 31 January, 2017. Papers will be streamed if needed.
Friday evening March 17 – Special viewing of Silence and conference meal.
Saturday morning March 18
9-9:45 am Panel discussion: Asian history, film studies, history, missiology (tbc)
9:45 – 10:45 am Papers
11:15 am – 12:15 pm Papers
12:15 -1 pm Concluding comments
The symposium has been timetabled with a view to presenters watching the film after release on February 17 and having time to develop papers for the symposium.
This event is a programme of the Christianity and Cultures in Asia series, sponsored by Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, the Otago University Department of Theology and Religion, and Presbyterian Research Centre.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Presbytery partnerships are one of five key directions in the KCML strategic plan.
Presbytery partnerships: KCML wish to establish teaching partnerships with each Presbytery. Each will be individualised, given the unique needs of each Presbytery. They will include shared commitments and timelines around the location of New Mission Seedlings and teaching sites for the National Learning Diploma. This move will help KCML be national, forming intentional training relationships with Presbyteries
In the first half of 2016, Presbytery partnerships involved connection. As Principal, I was invited to speak at six of the seven Presbyteries. I spoke at Alpine Presbytery and two Otago events in April, Central ministers in May, Northern Council and Kaimai Ministers in June, Pacific Island Synod in July. This gave me an opportunity to introduce myself as the new Principal. I also used this time to test pieces of the KCML strategic plan. In particular, this involved sharing about innovation and mission and then hearing the questions and being part of conversation about how this landed.
In the second half of 2016, Presbytery partnerships involved explanation. Once the KCML Strategic plan was approved by Council of Assembly in June, I wrote to each Presbytery. I briefly explained the plan and I asked if I could visit their Council to share the plan and to ask how a partnership could be formally adopted.
The aim is clarity with each Presbytery
- how together – KCML and Presbytery – to identify training needs and shape a five year plan for training
- how to strategically discern and work together on planting of New Mission Seedlings
Over the last five months, I have had responses and been able to engage five of the seven Presbytery Councils. My last visit for this 2016 year was this week, when I spent over two hours with Pacific Island Synod. These face to face visits are important step in developing these partnerships. Each Presbytery is unique, and so each visit has been unique. The questions are always different. Different parts of the plan excite different Presbyteries. The pace of developing a partnership will be different for each Presbytery. That is good, because KCML can’t do everything at once. It also means we can run experiments and learn as we go.
Theological Colleges are not ivory towers who (theoretically) know best. Rather, we are shared partners with the church in seeking the mission of God. At the heart of Presbytery partnerships is a desire to practise shared discernment in mission and training.
Friday, December 09, 2016
Coming to our Senses: the spirituality of wine national tour
Coming to our Senses: KCML and partners events in February 2017.
Do wine and faith have anything to do with each other? What is the place of wine and wine-making in the Christian tradition? Jesus told parables about wine and vineyards and used wine at weddings and the Last Supper to demonstrate his message. Yet is wine anything more than a symbolic item within Christian spirituality? As New Zealand continues to grow in stature as a producer of quality wines and wine becomes a stronger cultural feature, is it time to awake to the senses: to gather around the table, and reclaim this gift of creation?
Annual KCML Public Lecture – Coming to our senses with author and researcher, Dr. Gisela Kreglinger. This public lecture addresses the interface between Christian faith and everyday life practices. It is part of an initiative of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, of the Presbyterian Church. 2017′s lecture will tackle a matter that many Presbyterians historically viewed with suspicion. (The lecture in Dunedin is a stand alone event. In Auckland and Wellington the lecture is combined with a tasting).
Dunedin: Tuesday 7th February, 5:15 -6 pm. Free, Cameron Hall, KCML, 6 Arden Street, Opoho.
Auckland: Monday 13th February, 5:45-8 pm. $30 book through Eventfinda, Maclaurin Chapel
Wellington: Friday 17th February, 5:45-7:45 pm, St Johns in the City. $20 Door sales (tbc).
Wine tasting, light food and reflections – The Spirituality of wine with Dr. Gisela Kreglinger. In a unique blend of talk and tasting, participants will sample wines, learn about the Biblical history and spiritual significance of wine, and explore whether wine can be taken seriously as part of a recovery of the senses in Christian spirituality. (The tasting in Dunedin is a stand alone event. In Auckland and Wellington the tasting is combined with the lecture).
Dunedin: Tuesday 7th February, 6:15 -7:45 pm. $20 door sales, Hewitson Library, 6 Arden Street, Opoho.
Auckland: Monday 13th February, 5:45-8 pm. $30 book through Eventfinda), Maclaurin Chapel
Wellington: Friday 17th February, 5:45-7:45 pm, St Johns in the City, $20 Door sales (tbc).
Workshop – Creation and Holistic Christian Living with Dr. Gisela Kreglinger. When God blessed creation and declared it good, what were the implications for Christian discipleship? This workshop will explore practical implications for cultivating everyday gifts of creation. It will engage theologians of creation, including Jurgen Moltmann, Wendell Berry and Richard Bauckham and pay particular attention to the ways that the Christian doctrine of creation shapes everyday practices and builds stronger communities.
Dunedin: Wednesday 8th February, 10-12:30 pm, $20 at door, Frank Nicol Room, 6 Arden Street, Opoho.
Auckland: Monday 13th February, 10-12:30 pm. $20 at door, Carey Baptist College, 473 Great South Road.
Wellington: Friday 17th February, 10-12:30 pm. $20 Door sales, St Johns in the City.
Who is Dr Gisela Kreglinger? Gisela Kreglinger grew up on a family-owned winery in Franconia, Germany where her family has been crafting wine for many generations. She holds a Ph.D. in Theology from St Andrews University and in her recent book, The Spirituality of Wine (2016), Gisela has woven together her passions for Christian spirituality and the created gift of wine. Gisela has offered lectures, talks and tasting in restaurants, vineyards, churches and seminaries in the USA and the UK.
“Food, and perhaps even more so wine, has always been a powerful instrument of mediation between humanity and the divine. Gisela Kreglinger offers a fascinating and in-depth exploration of the intricate relationship between wine and Christian spirituality.” – Carolo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement.
“In Kreglinger’s hand’s wine becomes a key to a spirituality that rejects false dualisms of matter and spirit and inspires the healing of the earth on the way to God’s new creation of all things.” – Richard Bauckham, Professor Emeritus, University of St Andrews.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
KCML speech at General Assembly
As a member of National staff, I am offered 5 minutes to visit General Assembly and speak about KCML. I wanted to look forward, put some concrete numbers out there and in doing so, note our dependence on God. Here is what I said to GA 2016 on Thursday.
E te Motoreta, tena koutou katoa. Tena koutou e nga tarikete. No reira, tena koutou katoa. Two years ago, in Auckland, I stood before General Assembly as Keynote speaker.
In thanking me, then Moderator, Andrew Norton, gave me this Maori toki. (Be careful what they give you, Rod Wilson, visiting speaker at GA 2016). Andrew noted that even though I was then serving “across the ditch”, in Australia, that New Zealand remained my home. So this gift, this toki, was a sign of friendship. I stand before you at this General Assembly, in the surprise of God, as Principal of KCML; grateful for the friendships that have emerged and for the friendships that are yet to emerge.
I thank those who partner with KCML. In the last financial year
- The national church contributed 22% of our income
- Synod Otago Southland contributed 19%
- Local churches who partner in intern placements contributed 18%
- Presbyterian Development Society contributed 6%
- The taonga of interest on investments from previous generations contributed 31%
I thank Leadership Sub-Committee, National Assessment Workgroup, Presbytery Candidate Committees; Council of Assembly and the KCML team.
First, we’re not KCM. We’re KCML. We’re not the Knox Centre for Ministers (bracket national ordained). We’re Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. So in the next years we’re piloting the national learning diploma – ways for the whole church to learn about leadership, mission, preaching, worship, being intercultural.
Second, we’re a national College, not a Dunedin college. So next year for the first time in 140 years, we’re taking the KCML Inaugural lecture on the road. In 3 cities, partnering with a local church – St Johns – in Wellington, and a chaplaincy – McLaurin Chapel – in Auckland. It’s called “Come to your senses.” Join us in February to examine a holistic Christian spirituality.
Third, in the Book of Order, Appendix D4, the role of a minister of word and Sacrament includes initiating “creative trends in the Church’s witness.” As a result KCML is partnering with Presbyteries in planting New Mission Seedlings. Just like those seedlings from New World, we want to partner with every Presbytery, to provide diverse learning spaces that nourish creative trends in mission.
Fourth, KCML has a strategic plan. Approved by Council of Assembly in June. The plan requires KCML to look forward in an intercultural, missional context; attentive to the God of Life-giving possibilities. The plan requires us to focus. So by GA 2020, we plan to
- Establish 7 new mission seedlings in 7 Presbyteries, with local learnings shared through a National Incubator.
- Cultivate 80 students in the National Learning Diploma, with an online platform across New Zealand
- Provide postgraduate offerings in mission and ministry, to provide life-long learning.
- All while sustaining our core business – providing 25 contextually agile NOMs
Two years ago in my GA 2014 keynotes I talked about mission. In Luke 10, Jesus sends. In Luke 14, Jesus includes. In Luke 19, Jesus seeks the lost. Without this God of mission, the KCML plan is stuffed. That’s our only hope and in God we trust. Thank you.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Practising hope: gathered and scattered. Resourcing Ministers Day GA 2016
Ministers Day aims to resource ministers. It provides an opportunity to reconnect and be updated on best practice in ministry. This year over 140 people registered, stretching Cameron Hall to capacity. The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML) team worked with the GA theme to offer a day focused around Practising hope: gathered and scattered.
A morning keynote explored hope gathered. Lynne and Steve Taylor introduced research on how PCANZ churches worshipped and prayed on Sunday, November 15, 2015, given the terrorist attacks on Paris. Findings from a survey of 160 churches offered insight into how to respond as church to hard stuff.
An afternoon keynote explored Hope scattered. Mark Johnston offered an understanding of Christ active in the world and the implications for practices of listening and discernment in our neighbourhoods. A panel of five ministers from local church and chaplaincy settings provided practical examples.
After each keynote, 8 workshop options were provided. These were led by experienced ministers from across the diversity of the PCANZ. They enabled in-depth discussion. In the morning practical resources for offering hope in the hard places of human experience were shared. In the afternoon, themes included
- Mission amongst millenials
- Listening and innovation
- Young people detaching from church: The Pacific experience
- Loving your neighbours
- Presbyteries and innovation
- Developing discernment in leadership
- Listening to rural communities
- Discerning and following Christ in suburb and city
In the 2016 year to date, KCML Faculty have produced five books or resources to resource the church. As part of the Ministers Day, these were introduced and commissioned through a laying on of hands by those gathered.
- Songs for the Saints Songbook and CD , Malcolm Gordon, $30
- The Journey of Worship DVD, Malcolm Gordon, $25
- Live, Listen, Tell: the art of preaching, Geoff New
- Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration in leadership today, Steve Taylor, $28.
- Against the Odds: Murray Robertson and Spreydon, Kevin Ward, $35
It is an outstanding achievement for a Faculty of five. All are focused on resourcing the church – in worship, preaching, innovation and contextual mission. They are available from KCML administration.
Participants noted many highlights. This included being able to reflect on practice and hear from gifted colleagues. The Presbyterian Church understands ordained ministry not as a “mere collection of more or less gifted individuals.” Rather, ordained ministry is “a group with shared responsibilities … for the Church’s ‘style of life’ in the world” (Book of Order, Appendix D-4). Ministers Day resources this “shared responsibility” and in 2016 paid special attention to the “Church’s ‘style of life’ in the world.” Thanks to all who worked so hard to make the day a success.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Thornton Blair Research Fellow: Christian Education
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
and is subject to a final confirmation of funding. 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 now 12 December, 2016 (7 day extension due to GA and Kaikoura earthquake). 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
Thursday, November 03, 2016
In June, the Council of Assembly of the Presbyterian Church strongly endorsed the KCML Strategic plan. One of the five key directions is Presbytery partnerships.
Presbytery partnerships: KCML wish to establish teaching partnerships with each Presbytery. Each will be individualised, given the unique needs of each Presbytery. They will include shared commitments and timelines around the location of New Mission Seedlings and teaching sites for the National Learning Diploma. This move will help KCML be national, forming intentional training relationships with Presbyteries.
To enact this part of the strategic plan is likely to involve three steps
- Introduction of plan to Presbyteries (of which in New Zealand there are 7: 5 geographic Presbyteries and 2 Synods that in order to be Synods are each a Presbytery)
- Clarification of the individualised relationship, through a Memorandum of Understanding that might include a 5 year Presbytery training plan and structures by which to innovate around New Mission Seedlings
- Delivery, with feedback loops
On Saturday I engaged with Northern Presbytery. For 20 minutes I provided some mission framing, for another 20 minutes I shared the 5 parts of the KCML strategic plan and for a final 20 minutes I sought feedback – what excites and what concerns.
The feedback was overwhelming positive, with the Moderator noting how much it helped the elders and ministers of Presbytery to know that challenges are being recognised and that alternative ways forward as a church are being enacted.
Saturday’s conversation brings to five (out of 7) such conversations – held either with Presbytery Councils or a full Presbytery – since the Strategic plan was approved just over 5 months ago. That’s encouraging progress.
While there is much work still to be done – in clarification and in delivery – it is great to be out and about like this around the church nationally. It is a privilege to be given this type of access and to see the diverse parts of the church at work.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
connecting, looking for partners in mission
I spent today bringing greetings from KCML to three Auckland Presbyterian churches: Taiwanese, Cantonese, English-speaking of Chinese descent. Since I was up in Auckland for meetings on Friday and Saturday, it seemed a great opportunity to stay on for an extra night and connect with parts of the Presbyterian church that perhaps have never been visited by a KCML Principal.
It was also an opportunity to seek partnerships. My hunch is that we as Knox and we as a Presbyterian church might need the cultural agility, entrepreneurial knack and cross-cultural skills that migrant congregations are likely to offer.
Here is what I said, as I presented to each a gift – an artistic representation of the Knox Centre.
Nau mai, haure mai. Aku rangatira, tena kou
In Maori I greet you and honour your elders.
My name is Steve Taylor. I was born in Papua New Guinea. I’ve been a church planter and church minister here in New Zealand and Principal of a theological College in Australia. I am currently now the Principal of Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is the theological college of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. The Presbyterian church in New Zealand recognises 4 strands of ordained ministry
- national ordained ministry
- local ordained ministry
- local ministry teams
- Amorangi Maori ministry
On behalf of the Presbyterian church, Knox Centre train for all these 4 types of ordained ministry. We don’t do this alone. We do this in partnership with Presbyteries and local churches. We also do this in partnership with Te Wananga-a-rangi, the theological college of the Maori Synod of the the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
As part of my greeting I bring a gift. It is a picture of Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. It has been painted by a local Dunedin artist, the husband of one of our lecturers.
Knox has been training ministers for 139 years. We began in 1877. So next year we are 140 years old. We have much to thank God for, a rich and long heritage.
As a College, we look backward. We also look forward. We have a vision, a dream, a hope.
First, commitment to train diverse cultures. Knox has never, to my knowledge, trained a Chinese minister. We’ve trained Korean. We’ve trained Pacific Island. We’ve trained Tamil Indian. We’ve trained Maori. We’ve never trained a Chinese minister. So I ask you to pray with us. That God will use Knox to train leaders for all the cultures of New Zealand.
Second, we at Knox Centre have a commitment to plant new mission seedlings. According to the Presbyterian Church Book of Order; to be ordained is to be part of initiating creative trends in the witness of the Church. In order to train for that KCML is looking to plant new mission seedlings, places where creative Church Witness can be initiated.
I would suggest that here in Auckland is a great place to explore creative Church witness. Amid the super diversity of this city – so many opportunities. I offer this gift and I ask you to pray for us.
Pray that God will raise up Chinese to ordained leadership here in New Zealand. And pray that God will bless in the planting of New Mission Seedlings.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
U2 Praying after paris: a research query
In a couple of weeks I am co-presenting a plenary session at Practising hope: gathered and scattered, a day resourcing ministers prior to the Presbyterian General Assembly. The advertising blurb is as follows:
9:15 am Plenary: Hope gathered. How do churches respond to hard stuff? How did PCANZ churches worship and pray as they gathered on Sunday, November 15, 2015 in light of major international events? Steve and Lynne Taylor will present findings from their research into 160 churches, to explore how churches respond in gathered worship to hard stuff. What was practiced? How was hope understood? What theologies of God in suffering were at work? What does this say about being church in the world today?
It is one thing to agree to speak. It is quite another to find something coherent, interesting, deep and engaging. I’ve been quietly mulling away, working on the data, which is SO interesting. But it also slips and slides in SO many directions. Where in all this is the creative points of connection that might open up the conversation.
At the same time, I’ve also been working on a writing deadline – a chapter on live performances of U2′s “Mysterious Ways.”
Today it clicked. Two separate conversations suddenly began talking to each other. How did churches pray after Paris? Well, I wonder how U2 “prayed after Paris”? The band after all were due to play in Paris November 15, 2015. The concert was postponed. When they returned The New York Times wrote: “The Paris show that concluded U2′s Innocence and Experience tour was concert as personal memoir, archetypal story, prayer, exorcism and vow of unity.” Hmmm. Prayer!
How did they pray, live, publicly, in the midst of so much pain?
I wonder what happens when the prayer life of U2 after Paris is put alongside the prayer life of churches?
I have had, after all, work published on U2 and lament, looking at how they prayed publicly after the Pike River Mining Tragedy in New Zealand (Boase, E.C. and Taylor, S. (2013). Public Lament. In MJ Bier and T Bulkeley, ed. Spiritual Complaint: The Theology and Practice of Lament. Eugene, USA: Pickwick Publishers, pp. 205-227).
I have also had work published on how U2 memorialise the dead (Taylor, S. (2015). Transmitting Memories: U2′s Rituals for Creating Communal History. In Scott Calhoun, ed. U2 Above, Across, and Beyond: Interdisciplinary Assessments, Lanham, Maryland, USA: Lexington Books, pp. 105-121.) In other words, I’ve already done some reading and thinking.
And so, for the sake of research, in the name of resourcing ministers, another purchase is made: iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Live In Paris
Sunday, October 16, 2016
First communion: embodying a call?
Today was my first communion in a local Presbyterian church in New Zealand. I began at KCML a year ago this week. It involved a move from Australia to New Zealand and from the Uniting Church to the Presbyterian church.
I’ve shared communion in other settings within the Presbyterian church over this year, but not at a local church level. It is an interesting, albiet totally anecdotal reflection, on the place of this sacrament in Presbyterian life. I’ve also seen one baptism in a local Presbyterian church during this first year. Again, totally anecdotal, but it would suggest more of an emphasis on Word than Sacrament. And it does invite reflection on the impact on ecclesial formation – on the church and on myself as an individual. But that is for another post.
What was wonderful was to share this first communion with Te Aka Puaho, the Maori Synod of the Presbyterian Church; to share it at Waimana, in the heart of Tuhoe nation; and to receive it from an Amorangi (Maori) minister in training.
It was a powerful reminder of the breadth of reach of the Presbyterian church in New Zealand; a reminder of the incredible gift that is Te Aka Puaho, reaching to stand in solidarity with communities and people that very few Pakeha will ever be able to engage; and their commitment as a Synod to raising of indigenous leadership.
The photo is worth reflecting on as a “visual” expression of belief, more specifically contextualised belief. The photos behind the pulpit are around the four walls of the church. They are there to express the church as living and breathing; not as a building. It allows reflection on people and events that shape the church. The colours (red, white and black) and patterns are Maori colours and patterns and express the connection with local communities and the people they serve.
We arrived early, but that was not a problem. A previous minister had set a policy in place: “The door will always be open.” The church should never be locked, should never be available on during worship.
My personality tends to find significance in events like this. My first local church communion is amongst tangata whenua, as a minority, being served as part of a process of indigenous leadership development. I would like to hope that says something about how God might be made present to me during this season of serving as Principal of KCML and how my time and energy, including my research (for example – Wanangha nai: a post-colonial indigenous atonement theology and Fiction as missiology: an indigenous Christology in Papua New Guinea), might need to be shaped.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
New Mission seedlings: How could a church tend a seedling?
Initiating creative trends in the Church’s witness is part of what it means to be a Presbyterian minister, according to the Book of Order.
The ordinand is admitted to a fellowship responsible for the guardianship of the Gospel – a guardianship which must express itself in freshness and adaptability as the Church is led by Christ to do new things. The minister has not only the task of protecting the Church and the Gospel from error, but also, and particularly, the task of initiating creative trends in the Church’s witness. (Book of Order, Appendix D-4: Ordination and the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, (1966), (vii))
As a consequence, ministerial training needs to include opportunities, encouragement and training in innovation in mission. KMCL is working toward this aim in the birthing New Mission Seedlings. The aim is to establish in each Presbytery of the PCANZ a New Mission Seedling; seven throughout New Zealand over the next few years.
Each seedling involves a long term commitment to mission in a local community. They are sites for learning
- for interns learning to lead in mission
- for KCML as a learning community being shaped by the challenges of initiating creative trends
- for churches and Presbyteries in mission, invited to partner in establishing new communities of faith
- for the national church, given that each seedling is established to address a mission question the church nationally does not yet have an answer too. This will be facilitated by annual National Incubators, that share wisdom and stimulate good practice.
In sharing this vision with a local group from a Presbytery, a minister asked an excellent question: Could we participate? We have folk who have skills? Is there some way they can participate? Can partnerships between NMS and local churches be fostered?
My immediate response was to think about the Presbyterian distinctive of shared decision-making. We look to shared processes of leadership rather than to bishops or charismatic individuals. This instinct should shape our approach to initiating creative trends in the Church’s witness. Denominationally, the question of how could a church help a seedling is in fact a deeply Presbyterian question that attends to the richness of our tradition.
A practical response is to note the following:
1 – Presence to ensure solidarity and enhance partnership – from the extreme of move into the area, through choosing to work in the area, joining a club or activity in the area; participating in a local school with reading. There are a range of ways to enter Incarnation, from full relocation, to a range of ways to be alongside.
2 – Gifts – There are a range of ways to participate in initiating creative trends present themselves
- Finance – people could contribute (food, coffee, events, etc)
- Service – commit to a team that experiments in ways to serve. This could be on a fortnightly pattern, or in key community events or linked to Christian festivals.
- Prayer – gathering in the community to listen to God (pray and read Scripture) amid the patterns of the community
- Specialisation – specific skills might be offered, for example chairing a local board meeting, teach te reo. These involve taking an individual skill and offering it, ideally in ways the express both competency and solidarity.
3. Seasons – this speaks to both length and in timing. You don’t move plants in summer but in winter. So there are seasons in the sending church to discern, that involve the state of the community and vitality of practice. This also applies individually. A person in a demanding season of work has less to give than the season following children having left home. A season by nature has an ending. Always invite folk to participate for a season and then to review.
These thoughts could apply to a local church. They could also apply to a Presbytery, given that being presbyterian is about shared mission. Local churches and Presbyteries can be visited, the mission shared and folk invited to participate for a season, in a range of ways as listed above. Will you consider offering yourself for a year, to participate in six prayer walks; or one community festival or a year of listening to children read in a local school?
Each person that participates at the end of their season, faces a choice. To renew their commitment? Or to return to their sending church? Either way, the season of shared mission has exposed them to incarnational and contextual mission. They are richer. They church will be richer. In doing so, we are making another statement.
We are declaring that initiating creative trends is a body practice. It refuses to rely on amazingly gifted people. Instead, together, in partnerships, it finds multiple ways to participate in the mission of God. This is some of the thinking that lies behind New Mission Seedlings at KCML.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Presbyterian Church of Korea newspaper
The Presbyterian Church of Korea has a weekly newspaper and my recent 10 day visit to Korea has made “the Presbyterian news.” (Including a photo: I think I look tired, my family think I look lovely)
I don’t speak Korean but I’m told the article speaks about
- the multicultural context of NZ
- the curriculum of Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
- the concepts of reformed and reforming and the need to hold both in tension in the task of forming leaders and being a seminary
- the reality that being diaspora has a context, which needs to be taken seriously
- that I met on my visit to Korea the translator and readers of my Out of Bounds Church? book, translated into Korean.