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Alpine Presbytery Gathering: 27th to 29th September 2019

Theme: Caring For God’s Creation
Venue: St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Church Hall – 45 Fitzgerald Ave, Christchurch
Time: registration from 2pm with welcome at 2.30pm on the Friday
Online Registration has now closed. If you still wish to attend, please email Gail ( However, you will need to make your own arrangements for meals.

Note: there is a “Pre-Gathering” meeting with the Theological Education & Leadership Training PCANZ Review team at the venue at 11.30am (includes lunch provided for attendees) to discuss future options. This is the new version of the former KCML Review process.

It seems to me that one of the most burning issues for many people, and in particular our young people, is the environment. If your head is anywhere other than ‘in the sand’ you will know that climate change is real and that how we use the planet is largely responsible for the speed with which change is coming at us. This is why I felt that a theme loosely called ‘Caring for Creation’ might be helpful at a Gathering of Presbytery. There are, of course, many other aspects to caring for creation, like improving water quality, attending to waste and so on, but as time is limited, we have pared it down to interacting with the following speakers (see their bios below):

  • A brief introduction, via Ted Talk, by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who is both realistic about what is happening and yet hopeful that we have the means to manage the changes.
  • Rev Dr Selwyn Yeoman, who is a Presbyterian minister with a long interest in environmental issues.
  • Kristal van Houte, who is the National Co-Director of A Rocha NZ

It is simply not possible to deal with any of the issues in great depth but my hope is that these three speakers will help raise awareness of some of the issues and keep us asking questions and seeking ways in which we can be part of some of the solution. In order to be relevant in a world where young people are no longer willing to keep repeating earlier mistakes, we need to be equipped and unafraid to deal with the necessary conversations as they arise. This may help in this equipping or it may simply be the place where you are inspired to begin, or continue, the journey of discovery as we reclaim our care for creation.

On Saturday late afternoon both Selwyn and Kristal will be available for a brief question/answer session. This should give you some time to process some of what you have heard.   Rev Anne Stewart

Katharine Hayhoe: When Martin and I were in Cambridge, England recently, we chanced upon a free lecture being given by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. Katharine is a Canadian atmospheric scientist, currently based in Texas where she is professor of political science at Texas Tech University, and director of the Climate Science Centre. She is also the CEO of the consulting firm ATMOS Research and Consulting.

As a climate scientist travel is something of a conundrum. There is no greater user of fossil fuels than those aeroplanes we need to get us places in a hurry. So, to mitigate this Katharine arranges to do as many lectures as she can around the one she has been invited to deliver. What struck us was how clear and sure she was about the damage being done but also how hopeful she is that we have the means to fix the issues, if we work together. The task she has set herself is to help people prepare for a changing climate, because she believes that many of the solutions are here in our backyards. As a practising Christian she is clear that science can only go so far, someone else needs to be giving people the hope we need to take us forward sustainably and positively.

Kristel van Houte: Kristel is the National Co-Director of A Rocha NZ and the Karioi Project Manager. Prior to this Kristel was a Marine & Freshwater Ecologist at NIWA (NZ) and in American Samoa and Kenya. Kristel has 15 years of practical biology and community based conservation experience. Kristel has taught field biology in New Zealand and overseas and enjoys applying these skills in a community based setting.

Rev Dr Selwyn Yeoman: Selwyn is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. He currently leads the A Rocha local group in Dunedin. He has degrees in Geography and Divinity and did his doctorate on the nature of human dominion over creation.

Our Gathering is mainly about connecting & resourcing! This is a twice-per-year chance to meet people from around our Presbytery and experience key learning and connecting time together. Everyone is welcome! We especially want to see all ordained ministers & Presbytery Elders however a team from all parishes would be great! PCANZ Moderator Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio will also be attending.

Download the programme here: (AP Gathering programme)

Cost: Attendance fee is $15, plus cost of meals (Friday & Saturday evenings are $30 each; Saturday lunch $15). Please note that, while we have a cost for attending, the Presbytery also subsidises the cost of this event.

Parking: there is parking available on-site however it may not cater for everyone so come early to find off-site parking if needed (especially on the Friday)

Papers for the meeting: Currently we have available Nominations for Presbytery Moderator and GA18 legislative proposals for voting. These, and all further papers that we add in the next few weeks, are available to view and download here: Papers for Presbytery Gathering

Any questions please contact Gail at or Barry at


Report on the Alpine Presbytery Retreat, Hanmer Springs
Sunday 23 to Tuesday 25 June

Our Presbytery retreat this year was once again held in beautiful Hanmer Springs. Following from the lead of previous years we sought to make space to deepen our relationships, cultivate our culture and attend to God’s voice. Picking up on the theme of God’s presence in the darkness, we explored the fact that darkness can mean a lot of things, that God’s presence is with us in darkness as much as light, and that there may be some things that we can only perceive in such a space. These reflections flowed into extended dwelling on our posture, our power and our practices—in turn examined through the story of Peter and Cornelius. A key insight of that account in Acts 10 being that it reflects the conversion of the church as much as it does the extension of mission. We explored the very human reflex which pushes away those who are different and how hospitality in gospel terms actually means making room within ourselves—room which is characterised by God’s embrace. There was a sensitive and collaborative environment where many people led us in wisdom and discernment, a special part of which was an interpreted tongues message reminding us to continue to seek God and trust him for our future and a release of his Spirit, to work to continue to break down the walls that lead to exclusion and isolation and to remember his love and mercy towards all peoples. We give thanks for the blessing of this time and the sense of God’s work in the Spirit amidst us.

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