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Methodist Church of New Zealand

Touchstone November 2023

Welcome to the November issue of Touchstone.

This month’s edition includes articles from guest contributors invited to write on an area of their expertise. Rev Keith Rowe, former MCNZ President, and long-time observer and commentator on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict has written a thought-provoking article that draws on his specialized knowledge of the complex situation as he reflects on the ‘If only’ actions that might have prevented the current bloodshed.

Rev Sharon Hollis, President Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, shares her thoughts on the outcome of the referendum in Australia that defeated a call to recognise Indigenous People by enshrining an advisory voice (The Voice) to Parliament in the Australian Constitution. Rev Hollis writes, “As Christians we lament the grief and sorrow of most Indigenous people at the result, and we wait.”

Rev Dr Jione Havea, Senior Research Fellow, Trinity Theological College, New Zealand, writes a compelling piece that encourages us to see, judge and act beyond the confines of church for those whose voices are not heard. And Dr ‘Elisapesi Hepi Havea shares insights from her recent attendance and presentation at the World Methodist Council Consultation on Migration in Manila, Philippines.

I hope you will take time to read the variety of articles that give voice to the work of Te Hāhi Weteriana o Aotearoa, here and on the world stage. Next week we come together for our online 2023 Conference. We ask for your prayers and blessings that the outcomes and decisions will be reached with love and discernment.

Ngā mihi nui

Ady Shannon


A scene from Gaza City showing damage from airstrikes in the ongoing Israeli / Palestinian conflict.

‘If only… ' Thoughts on an unfolding tragedy in Gaza

by Rev Dr Keith Rowe

I have been asked to reflect on recent tragic and violent events in Palestine/Israel. Even as I write my thoughts are still being clarified. I have strongly held opinions about the recent history of Palestine/Israel, but the tragedy currently unfolding in that place raises deeper questions than can be resolved by standard arguments. Foundational questions are posed afresh: Can humanity control its tendency towards violence? Is it possible to live in peace with neighbours who live and believe differently? Can we escape from humanity’s tragic desire to possess what is valued by others?

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Putting Out the Welcome Mat

by Rev Janet Marsh

In January this year, 15 Turkish refugee families including adults and children of all ages, came together in Motueka in a spirit of friendship to spend four days with members of St Andrew’s Motueka Uniting Church. The 60 visiting guests, recently arrived from Turkey, came from their new homes in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

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Conference 2023 Update

by Ady Shannon

Over the past several months General Secretary Rev Tara Tautari and her personal assistant Lucille Havenga, ably supported by a large team of tech savvy volunteers, and a dedicated organisational committee, have been busy preparing for the online Conference 2023.

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Kete Aroha o Waipounamu

by Rev Dale Peach

Theme: Theology on the Edge Sunday 28 - Tuesday 30 January 2024

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A social supermarket established by PNMSS is proving to be a hit with the Palmerston North community.

A Whirl of Activity in Palmerston North

by Ady Shannon

Shortly after Rik TeTau, Ngāti Kahungunu, took on the role as General Manager of the Palmerston North Methodist Social Services PNMSS, we interviewed him for the July 2022 issue of Touchstone. At that time, he said he was “looking for a challenge in an environment that truly cared and supported community and each other.” Since that interview, Rik and his team – 11 paid staff and 13 volunteers - have had a major impact on the local community with a range of increased and enhanced social services, including a social supermarket that is helping to fill pantries and restoring the mana of the many working families who are registering to visit.

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(L to r) Pat Lythe, Catholic Co-convenor of the Methodist-Catholic Dialogue, MCNZ Vice President TeRito Peyroux-Semu, Bishop Stephen Lowe of the Auckland Catholic diocese and Rev Peter Norman, presbyter at Takapuna
Methodist Church who hosted the service.

Methodist Catholic Joint Service of Repentance and Reconciliation

by Rev Dr Trevor Hoggard

On Wednesday 25 October, 80 people attended a joint Methodist and Catholic service held at Takapuna Methodist Church, Auckland. The service followed a liturgy of Repentance and Reconciliation prepared by the Methodist Catholic International Dialogue Commission to accompany its most recent report, God in Christ Reconciling. The service offered an opportunity to repent on past and ongoing divisions and to celebrate how far we have travelled together in ecumenical friendship.

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Rev Peter Taylor (fourth from left) outside the Orthodox Church of St

MCNZ President Participates in CCA General Assembly, India

by Rev Peter Taylor

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) General Assembly has normally met in recent times every five years, but because of Covid restrictions it was eight years since the last CCA General Assembly. As President of Te Hāhi Weteriana o Aotearoa – The Methodist Church of New Zealand I was a voting delegate representing our church.

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The recent general election saw fewer Members of
Parliament (than in the previous election) with and from Pasifika heritage.

Voices Matter

by Rev Dr Jione Havea

October 14, 2023, was a troubling day across the Tasman Sea.

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Australian Referendum Result a Cause for Lament

by Rev Sharon Hollis President Uniting Church in Australia Assembly

Unlike most other colonised countries Australia has never formally recognised the Indigenous People who have lived in these lands since creation, nor made treaties or other agreements. The outcome of a recent government referendum to recognise Indigenous People by enshrining an advisory voice (The Voice) to Parliament in the Australian Constitution has been overwhelmingly rejected.

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Dr. Elisapesi Havea (New Zealand) pictured with Rev. Catherine Chang (Philippines) and Dr. Asa Nausner (Sweden).

Climate-Induced Migration and Methodist Commitment

by Elisapesi Havea

Dr ‘Elisapesi Hepi Havea represented the Methodist Church of New Zealand Te Hāhi Weteriana o Aotearoa at the World Methodist Council Consultation on Migration in Manila, Philippines from September 4-7, 2023. She shares insights from the event that included delegates from Methodist churches and organisations worldwide.

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Te Taha Māori & Connexional leadership. Credit Rev
Keita Hotere

He Inoi Mo Te Tumuaki Hou

by Marama Hotere

The historic induction service of the new Tumuaki for Te Taha Māori, Rev. Dr Arapera Ngaha was held at Whakatuora centre on the evening of 24 October. The opening prayer is a blessing for the new Te Taha Māori leadership from Tira Toki – Mema o Te Rohe o Te Waipounamu.

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A Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

by CBM

cbm NZ (Christian Blind Mission) invite you to register for their free four-week online Advent series to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and spread the good news.

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Move 4K IP PTZ camera

Three tips for better Livestreams: Good cameras for Live Streaming

by Peter Lane

Welcome to the final instalment of our series, offering valuable tips for live-streaming your church services. We hope you've already witnessed significant improvements in your live streams by implementing our previous tips on enhancing audio and lighting.

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Jim's Cartoon

by Brendan Boughen

Our regular cartoon that seeks to find the funny side of faith.

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Jesus – King of the Comebacks

by Joshua Robertson, President NZLPA

Growing up in a big extended Pasifika family and having a large network of relatives, friends and people who were connected via church, sports teams, friends of friends, cousins of cousins, neighbours etc. meant there was never ever a shortage of jokes and laughter.

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Rev Andrew Doubleday, UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

Seeing as we are.

by Rev Andrew Doubleday, UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

It’s often easy to see the faults in others without recognising our own. We imagine that our case is special, requiring a dispensation, a measure of grace, that we would not make available to others should ‘the shoe be on the other foot’.

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Wisteria in bloom.

Flourishing with Faith in God

by Annabella Third

“These flowers haven’t bloomed since we first moved in,” I said to a friend recently in conversation.

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Dr Ruby Manukia Schaumkel

The Role of International Law in Gaza

by Dr Ruby Manukia Schaumkel, MCNZ Legal Advisor

The United Nations is a forum for the world's nations to respond to conflict, however the organisation's real power is in the Security Council. To date members have been unable to agree on a speedy response to the war between Israel and Hamas.

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Outgoing NZMWF President, Tui Salevao and Executive members celebrate at their recent Convention.

New NZMWF President and National Executive 2023 to 2025

by Tui Salevoa

NZ Methodist Women’s Fellowship gathered in person for their biennial Convention at the Sudima Hotel, Auckland from 12 to 15 October 2023. Along with business talk, the weekend was full of laughter, dancing, and fellowship as 96 members celebrated having the first opportunity since Covid-19 to meet in person. Tuituivao (Tui) S Salevao,ex NZMWF President 2021 to 2023 reports on the event.

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Rev Tony Franklin-Ross, Chairperson of the WMC
Ecumenical Relationships Committee, along with other ecumenical
guests in Krakow, Poland..

Lutheran Assembly Meet in Poland

by Rev Tony Franklin-Ross

Approximately 1000 people gathered for the 13th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation 13-19 September in Krakow, Poland. The Assembly theme, One Body, One Spirit, One Hope was drawn from Ephesians 4:4 (NRSV): “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling.”

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Registrations Open for World Methodist Conference 2024

by Rev David Bush

The global gathering of the Methodist-Wesleyan family, will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden 13-18 August, 2024.

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Kidz Korna

by Doreen Lennox

I hope everyone enjoyed their school holiday. During the holiday the children at Cambridge Union Parish celebrated Grandparents Sunday.

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main DSPR office in Gaza City was severely damaged by airstrike.  The
office was also used for vocational training and the storage of medicines for
the nearby primary health clinic.

The Face of Gaza has Changed

by Gillian Southey CWS

Days after the Hamas attack on Israel triggered airstrikes and the threat of a ground offensive, residents of Gaza are facing unbelievable destruction.

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Ahmed and his Mum are grateful for their Baby Kit which includes nappies.

CWS sends you a beautiful card or e-card for family or friends.  A gift of Baby and Mother Health will contribute to the Well Baby Clinics in Jordan.

Give Gifts of Love

by Gillian Southey CWS

Finding the right gift is always a challenge, but one that Christian World Service has covered. Their popular range of gifts is full of surprises and big gifts that don’t cost the earth.

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by Reviewer: Dr Steve Taylor

A film review by Dr Steve Taylor

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The Declaration of Independence 1835

by John Roberts

A study guide review

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DECOLONISING PALESTINE…The Land, The People, The Bible

by Brian Turner

Author: Mitri Raheb Publisher: Orbis Books, 2023, 166 pages. Reviewer: Brian Turner

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photograph shows the Auckland PWMU Executive of 1916.

Celebrating Presbyterian Women

by Rachel Hurd, Archivist, Presbyterian Research Centre (Archives)

On the evening of Thursday 28 September 2023, Rt. Rev. Rose Luxford, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, led a farewell devotion to celebrate the work of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand, (PWANZ) and to acknowledge its role within the life and history of the Church.

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A. K. Petch and his wife Gwen.

A United World – Nations, and Faiths?

by Rev Donald Phillips

Ashleigh K. Petch 1916 – 1983

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From Left – Past President Rev Dr Lynne Frith, Rev Dr ‘Epeli Taungāpeau, Rev Kaumāvae Minoneti & Rev David Harding of the Napier Methodist Parish; during the service marking the Tongan congregation’s Silver Jubilee.

Hokosia e Ta’u 25 ‘o e kāingalotu Tonga ‘o Napier

by Rev Kaumāvae Minoneti

Na'e lava lelei hono katoanga'i 'e he kāingalotu Trinity Methodist Parish, Napier, Hawke’s Bay, 'a e hokosia e ta'u 'e 25 'o e 'uluaki fai'angalotu Metotisi Tonga 'i he ongo kolo ni Napier & Hasting he 'aho Sapate 3 'o Sepitema 2023.

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Tauvaga Pese Autalavou Itumalo Manukau 2023

by Reverend Sioa Letalu

O le afiafi o le Aso Sa 22 Oketopa 2023, na fa’atumulia ai le malae o Saint Paul Otara i le mamalu o le Itumalo ma malo asiasi, o e sa molimauina ma maimoa i le Tauvaga Pese a Autalavou o le Itumalo Manukau.

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Fijian women enjoying the outdoors.

November Is Known In Fijian Traditional Calendar as Na Vula I Balolo Levu

by Rev Joeli Ducivaki

In the traditional Fijian calendar, we usually observe the seasons of fruits, crops and fish from the sea. This is the beginning of the hurricane season. Long distance sailing becomes risky due to storms, but in this turmoil God strives and belongs. Jesus was/is with the sick, poor and hungry.

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