Report on the Alpine Presbytery Gathering (Christchurch) – Caring for Creation
About 70 people from around the Presbytery came together this past weekend for our second Presbytery Gathering for 2019. This Gathering was held at St Paul’s Trinity-Pacific Church Hall in Christchurch and we enjoyed the fairly new premises as we met and shared together.
The overall theme was Caring for Creation and keynote speakers—Katharine Hayhoe (on a TED talk), Rev Dr Selwyn Yeoman and Kristel van Houte—provided some very informative and inspirational input as we pondered the major issues facing our world in terms of climate and use of resources and thought of practical outcomes for our churches and Presbytery. One very enthusiastic outcome determined was to invite each of our churches to appoint a “Caring for Creation Champion” to keep our churches alerted to ideas and resources that can make a difference to how we live and interact responsibly with the world in which we live. More about that to come!
Alongside the main theme we welcomed Rev Andrew Callander who convenes the PCANZ task group looking at the Theology of Wealth and Property. We have hand-outs and workbooks from that session for any who would like them.
Rev Dr Darryl Tempero led us through two sessions reviewing our Presbytery Strategic Frame. An updated draft will be produced for the wider Presbytery prior to a final version being presented to our 2020 Gathering.
A poignant moment of our Gathering was introduced by Rev Hamish Galloway when several members of St Andrew’s at Rangi Ruru in Christchurch came to the Gathering sharing news of the imminent closure of their parish and the generous gifting of their resources for the wider Presbytery including a potential key project in Eastern Christchurch. Presbytery acknowledged that this was a brave step for the historic parish.
Martin & Anne Stewart shared some of their journey to Europe with an overview of their Camino walk through Spain and their Study leave at Westminster College in the UK. The photos and poetry was quite stunning.
Several business matters were attended to including:
* the re-election of all 6 current members of the Alpine Mission Fund Board (Peter Nelson, Janet Mansell, Rev Sheena Dickson, Rev Martin Stewart, Helen Clyde-Smith & Helen Carter) plus the appointment of a new member to the Board – Rev Sage Harris from Nelson. One further member is being sought.
* approval of all 3 General Assembly Legislative Proposals.
* approval of the Alpine Presbytery Performance Report.
* an update from the Hanmer and North-east Christchurch (Prestons) project teams.
* information on matters of compliance including health & safety, child protection, financial consolidation and some information from our Property & Finance team.
Darryl Tempero also introduced the idea of establishing an “Andrew Norton Scholarship for Young Leaders” in memory of the Very Rev Andrew Norton and a task group will be set up to investigate this possibility of supporting a young leader on an annual basis.
Our Gathering was ably supported by a great worship team from St Paul’s and a great catering team from the church as well!
The Gathering concluded with a service of worship on the Sunday morning with the PCANZ Moderator Rev Fakaofo Kaio preaching.
Our next Gathering is tentatively scheduled for March 27th – 29th 2020 at a venue to be confirmed. More details will follow after Council determines these.
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.