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Methodist Church of New Zealand

Touchstone May 2022

This month our feature article reflects on the life of Paul Sotutu, a remarkable man who made a huge impact on church, community and the lives of many leaders throughout the Pacific and around the Commonwealth. 

We look at plans for Conference 2022 when Methodists from all over Aotearoa will come together to celebrate our past and determine a strategy for the future. A number of commemorative events in places of special significance will set the scene for the conversations and mahi ahead as church representatives set a direction for MCNZ. Committees are currently reviewing plans, procedures and processes across a range of areas, from allocation of resources, to disciplinary procedures, to determining a vision for MCNZ that responds to changing times ahead.

Reflections on the past and responding effectively to the ever-changing demands of the future are a common theme this month. Rev Setaita Veikune encourages churches to look beyond the horizon for support and resources to achieve great outcomes. She illustrates with a community garden initiative undertaken by the Dominion Road Tongan Methodist Congregation which is working collaboratively with government agencies to feed their local community and address need. It is an inspiring read.

It was with sadness that I received a message in April from long-time reviewer and Touchstone contributor Rev John Meredith, advising that he is terminally ill and no longer able to write for this publication. John reflects on his life, his prognosis and the deep faith and spirituality that influences his response to the future.

I hope you will enjoy the content and find interest in and inspiration from the articles.

Warm regards
Ady Shannon, Editor Touchstone


Paul and Margaret Sotutu with long-time friends Frank and Vanessa Leadley.

A Mighty Tree has Fallen

by Ady Shannon

At a service of thanksgiving and remembrance at St Johns Golden Church, Whangarei, whanau, friends, former colleagues, fellow Methodists and ministerial officials from NZ and Fiji gathered to reflect on Paul Sotutu’s life and ministry.

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Kai Karakia appointed to Whakaraupo and Makawhiu Rohe. (Lyttelton Harbour and Port Levy). 

A New Mission

by Maui Stuart

Maui Stuart reports on his commissioning earlier this year.

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Rev John Meredith

Life Precarious and Precious

by Ady Shannon & Rev John Meredith

In late April I received an unexpected email from a highly valued, long time contributor to Touchstone reviews page, learned Methodist minister Rev John Meredith.

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Rev Andrew Doubleday

A Methodist Spirituality

by Rev Andrew Doubleday

I’ve been pondering who we are, and what we stand for into the 3rd decade of the 21st century. I’ve started meeting with a small group of like-ish-minded, similar aged colleagues, and we ‘chew the fat’ on where we are. It started with one other, and over the weeks has grown to five.

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Ask, Search, Knock

by Rev Setaita Veikune, Director Mission Resourcing

Jesus teaches us in his sermon on the mount to “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” Matthew 7:7 NRSV.

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by Various

Readers share their views.

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Ian Harris

The Budget

by Ian Harris

This month’s Budget will be much more than a statement of where the economy is up to and how much the Government will spend on what. As with any Budget, it will also be an implicit statement of national identity, values and direction.

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Bicentenary Programme Takes Shape

by Ady Shannon

Conference planning is well in hand. Two committees have been established for the planning. A Bicentenary group comprising representatives from the Wesley Historical Society, Te Taha Maori, the wider Connexion, youth and regional contacts have been meeting regularly via Zoom. Their mission has been to plan commemorative events for the conference, including guided tours to key sites of historical interest to Te Hāhi and other moments of celebration.

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Isolating with Covid-19

Consensus and risk acceptance

by Trudy Downes

I hope you are all doing well with these ongoing Covid-19 mischiefs. Part of my role with the Church is about risk management. Along with health and safety risks, there are many other sorts of risks that we need to address. This article is about risk in general, and I use Covid-19 as a relevant example.

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Linwood Avenue Union Church 50 Years of Service

by Lyndsay Jacobs

1972 was an exciting year for three churches in the Bromley, Linwood, Woolston area of eastern Christchurch. More than 230 years of witness from the Linwood Avenue Church of Christ, St Peter’s Presbyterian Church and the Woolston Methodist Church, united in the newly formed Southeast Christchurch Union Parish, later re-named Linwood Avenue Union Parish.

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by Brendan Boughen

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Hope in the Dark

by Rev Dr Mary Caygill

A few weeks ago, whilst buying birthday cards, my eyes alighted on a most beautiful artistic card with one of my most favourite quotes on its cover. The timeless poet Emily Dickinson writing of the nature of hope:

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Doreen Sunman

Coming to Jesus

by Doreen Sunman

Conversion seems to be a theme for the month of May.

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A Good News Story

by Rev Geraldine Coats

Ten years ago, my husband and I went to South India for a month to volunteer at a hostel for young people, called an Illam, a home of grace.

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Highbury House Goodwill store

Living up to the legacy of those who came before us

by Carol Barron, National Coordinator, Methodist Alliance

In 1950, Parliament was debating the Social Security Amendment Bill and one of the MPs quoted Rev Everil Orr saying that the proposed increases to benefits would barely cover the increased cost of living. The Methodist Alliance argued exactly the same thing in our recent media statement regarding the benefit increases on 1 April 2022.

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He Whakaaroaro

by Rev Keita Hotere

Preface: The kupu whakapuare, opening words of this reflection are a continuation of the Pā harakeke series. The pā harakeke remains a powerful symbol for describing our human behaviours and relationships in community.

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Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel

Law and Inflation

by Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel, Legal Advisor

Inflation is an economic phenomenon that has profound implications for lawyers, because the great bulk of laws and legal doctrines have been formulated on the assumption that the value of money remains relatively stable.

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Government Announce Plan to Support Older Workers

by .

In April, the New Zealand Government introduced the Older Workers Employment Action Plan (OWEAP) in a bid to help employees and jobseekers aged 50 and older to find sustainable work that fits their needs.

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Life on a Shoestring

by Carol Barron

Rhonda Swenson is an artist who has had solo exhibitions and her work has featured in Vincents Art Workshop group shows in Wellington.

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Protest boat on the River Thames

Migration issues facing Europe

by Rev Tony Franklin-Ross

At least 79.5 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. This figure includes almost 26 million refugees.

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Prayers from the hearts of our young people

by .

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In mid-April representatives of the Devasarana
Development Centre visited the protest village in Colombo.  

Fundamental Change needed in Sri Lanka

by CWS

After decades of work, Christian World Service’s partners are hoping the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka will lead to significant change for its people.

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Irina and her two children are staying at a
refugee shelter close to the border with Hungary.  

Make Time for Refugees

by CWS

Christian World Service is inviting support for Operation Refugee 2022, an opportunity to ‘welcome the stranger’ in the words of Jesus in Matthew 25.

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The Duke

by Reviewed by Rev Dr Steve Taylor

The Duke is heartwarming drama. Set in Newcastle, Kempton Bunton (Jim Broadbent) writes plays, hoping for BBC fame. At the same time, he also protests TV licences.

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Leading From The Stop: Positive Influence and Heartfelt Resilience in Times of Adversity

by Gary Clover

In this time of seemingly never-ending crises, Leading From The Stop invites the reader to consider three questions and a practical insight.

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Climate Aotearoa. What’s happening and what we can do about it?

by John Meredith

Climate Aotearoa is a collection of essays introduced by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

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Rita Tuimasave, NZMWF National Treasurer, with her husband Saleaula.

Introducing Rita Tuimaseve, NZMWF National Treasurer


I am honoured to be a member of Tuitui Salevao’s Executive Committee.

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St John's Hamilton

by Doreen Lennox

The Fijian children celebrated Palm Sunday by leading the service. Their theme was, 'How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?'

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Book review

by Doreen Lennox

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Autumn word search

by Doreen Lennox

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Tauiwi Youth Conference 2022 is going to be ON!

by Mission Resourcing

As we cautiously come out of Covid-enforced restrictions and traffic light systems, we are excited to announce the return of our premier Connexional youth leaders training event!

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Ask Aunty

Ask Aunty

by Rosalie Sugrue

Aunty explores issues of faith.

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Special Rev Samuel Leigh documents held in the Methodist Archives

by Jo Smith Methodist Archives

The commemoration of 2022 as the bicentennial of the Methodist Church in New Zealand rests on the shoulders of the Rev Samuel Leigh.

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He Never Courted Popularity

by Rev Donald Phillipps

Fred Prosser 1883-1963

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Faapaia le Ma’a Faavae o le Wesley Hastings Community Centre (WHCC)

by Sinoti Samoa

O le Viiga i le Atua i mea aupitoaluga, ma le manuia i le lalolagi, o le finagalo alofa i tagata.(Luka 2:14)

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Okaladi E Loma Children’s Sunday 2022

Mk 13 : 1 – 8, 1 Sam 2 : 1 – 10

by .Nai Lalakai

NA KENA BULATAKI NA MASU – NA BULA NEI ANA NA TINAI POROFITA O SAMUELA. (How to a live prayer life – The Life of Anna, the prophet Samuel’s mother.

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PAC Distribution Group

by Advert

Share your dream or story. Grant requests close 30 June 2022

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by Advert

Orders for the new Lectionary are due by Friday 8 July 2022

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