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Methodist Church of New Zealand

Touchstone April 2023

Over the past year we have regularly invited Touchstone readers to consider reading each issue online to mitigate the double impact of increasing printing and distribution costs, combined with dwindling cash reserves. Methodist Conference last year affirmed the Publishing Board’s proposal to introduce a subscription model of $1.50 (+ GST if applicable) per copy, effective from July 2023. This will offset some of our production costs and - perhaps even more importantly – bring us a step closer to achieving our goal of producing zero waste.

Given the administration costs involved in managing this new subscription model, we will only send papers to those parishes / organisations that commit to a minimum of five copies per month, for 11 issues per annum.

I realise that not all readers will be happy with this decision, however MCNZ is to my knowledge the only church in Aotearoa still producing and distributing a free monthly publication. We have resisted requesting financial support from our readers for as long as possible.

As MPB Chair, Rev Kathryn Walters, wrote in a letter sent out with this issue of Touchstone, “We hung in there as long as we could and still believe that this newspaper adds value to the Church, to its people and the wider community. We hope that you do too.”

I hope you will continue to find inspiration in the articles shared in Touchstone, and that you will find a way to access the content, either by sharing copies of the paper, or links to the online platforms.

On the theme of inspiration, this evening a group of us from the Connexional Office are looking forward to attending the movie Red White and Brass in Christchurch. New MPB member Felonitesi Manukia – a former journalist with the NZ Herald, Siaolo volunteer and member Vahefonua and Auckland Methodist Tongan parish - captured the spirit and passion behind what is being hailed as ‘a gem of a movie that will inspire generations to come’. It’s a great story.

I wish all our readers a blessed Easter.


RED, WHITE and BRASS hits the big screen.

by Felonitesi Manukia

In terms of New Zealand “feel good” movies Red, White and Brass has been labelled as one of the best to hit our cinemas in recent times and its humble beginnings were driven by Methodists.

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MCNZ Rallies for Cyclone Relief

by Ady Shannon

As communities throughout the North Island get stuck into cleaning-up after the devastation of recent floods and weather events, parishes, and individuals throughout the motu have been making special efforts and generous donations to help support disaster recovery.

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MCNZ Farewells a Loyal Friend and Colleague

by Ady Shannon

On 28 February, whanau, friends and colleagues past and present gathered at the Connexional Office for a special farewell morning tea for Wendy Keir. Following 12 years of committed service, Wendy is retiring from her position as personal assistant to the General Secretary.

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Archivists Stepping Aside

by Ady Shannon

In early March long-standing archives volunteers Katherine Gillard and Jan Kotlowski retired. Archivists Katherine Doig and Jennie Hood organised a morning tea function in recognition of the enormous contribution Jan and Katherine have made to collections since they stepped in to help sort boxes stored at a Wairakei Road warehouse 10 years ago.

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Plaudits for Retired Presbyter at his 100th Birthday

by Stanley Goudge

Peter Stead was born in Lawrence, Central Otago on 26 February 1923. One hundred years on friends and family came together in North Auckland to celebrate his birthday and his remarkable contribution to church, family and community.

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Holy Week

by Rev Setaita T Taumoepeau K Veikune, Director Mission Resourcing.

Holy Week marks the high point in the Christian Year. At the end of our Lenten pilgrimage, we slow down to walk day by day in the footsteps of Jesus as he confronts the powers of sin, evil, and death.

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Peter Taylor and TeRito Peyroux-Semu

Hope Rising from the Ashes

by MCNZ President Rev Peter Taylor

Fawkes, the phoenix bird, features in the Harry Potter books. When Harry first meets Fawkes, disaster strikes: the bird dies and bursts into flames. However, Harry is reassured that this is normal and from the ashes emerges a phoenix chick – Fawkes reborn.

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Letters to the Editor

by Various

Readers respond to articles and issues of importance.

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Ian Harris

Cyclones, Floods and Quakes

by Ian Harris

As communities ravaged by Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle and devastated by Turkey’s earthquakes battle to re-establish their lives, the question that haunts people of many faiths lingers on: Where was God in these disasters?

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The Church as Sanctuary

by Rev Norman Brookes

In normal times our homes are our sanctuaries, our places of refuge, places where we can hide from the storms of life. Places where we can and often do find healing and help. That’s how it often is, and that’s how it should be. But what about when it’s not – when our home comes crashing down around us, or is washed away in a flood, or is destroyed by a falling tree or a hurtling boulder the size of a car? What then, to whom shall we go, whither shall we flee?

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Zero Waste – Rekindle the Vā of Papatūānuku

by Rev Siosifa Pole

Rev Mark Gibson in his article, Like the Waves we Rise High, Touchstone February 2023, reminds us that for our church to rise high above the detrimental impact of climate change, we must collaborate and make a collective effort to implement zero waste in our community.

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A Survivor Shares Her Experience

by Hineiwhakarata Hale

Trudy Downes, MCNZ caretaker, gives readers an insight into the impact of the recent disasters from the perspective of her niece Hine, who lives in Napier and works in an essential national health service role. When they met recently, Hine shared how it was for her during and after Cyclone Gabrielle passed through. Hine’s concern is that many people’s mental well-being is under threat from experiencing so many ‘events’. Those people will need help, but do we have the mental health resources to respond? Everybody affected by the recent weather events has a story. This is part of Hine’s story.

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The Empty Tomb – Resurrected Saviour

by Rev Motekiai Fakatou

If we pay attention to the glamorous commercial projection of Easter and the empty tomb events, often we are distracted by the usual denunciation of the good news of the resurrected Saviour.

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Unconditional Love

by Rev Dr Susan Thompson

I’ve now been working as chaplain at Tamahere Eventide Home and Village for over two years and every day is an opportunity to be surprised.

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Moving Forward

by Rev Andrew Doubleday, UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

A couple of months in, and I am finding my way through the structure and processes of UCANZ and the ecumenical relationships between the partner churches.

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Lifting the Weight off Families & Whānau

by Carol Barron, National Coordinator Methodist Alliance

On 27 February, a coalition of anti-poverty groups called for Government to wipe debt to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to lift the weight off families and whānau. The Methodist Alliance is one of the groups in the Fairer Futures coalition that produced the report on debt owed to MSD.

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Wesley Community Action working to minimise its environmental impact

by WCA

Pulling on a pair of rubber gloves and sorting through a week’s worth of rubbish isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun day at the office but kaimahi at Wesley Community Action have taken it in their stride, gamely tangling with their colleagues’ used teabags, empty food packets and discarded paper towels to help measure the organisation’s waste.

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Te Matatini Ki te Ao

by Keita Hotere

“Mā tini, mā mano ka rangatira a kapa haka, kapa haka flourishes through the efforts of many”. If we have learned anything in recent years it’s never to take for granted our capacity to gather together as Māori and celebrate our culture to declare, we are still here.

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An Easter Reflection

by Rosalina Noa Toilolo, NZMWF- National Secretary

It is a privilege and honour to write this month’s contribution on behalf of the NZMWF Executive team. With Easter around the corner, I thought it was timely to write about Easter, and specifically about the WOMEN in the Easter story; Mary mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.

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Methodist Catholic Dialogue Team Reconvene

by Rev Dr Trevor Hoggard

The Methodist - Catholic Dialogue team met 13-14 March 2023 at St Paul's Methodist Church, Orakei parish for the first time since the Covid lockdown.

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by Rev Abhishek Solomon

Aristotle… and very few beside, seem to have had a universal genius, an extraordinary capacity to excel in whatever they took in hand. John Wesley, Thoughts on Genius, November 8, 1787

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NZLPA Planning Weekend

by Linda Hall, NZLPA Correspondence Secretary,

On 11 and 12 February the Executive of the New Zealand Lay Preachers Association met in Dunedin to discuss the future of the association. The gathering resulted in a lengthy action plan and new ways to resource members.

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Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel

Vigilance Needed for Smart Scammers

by Ruby Manukia Schaumkel

A friend sent me some good advice I want to share. Always be aware of how seemingly “innocent” situations can be turned against us! Not all thieves are stupid, so we need to be extra vigilant with scammers.

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Easter Kidz Korna

by Doreen Lennox

When you read this, we will still be in the season of Lent, the time leading up to Easter Sunday. There are several things we celebrate during this time, and one of them is Passover.

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Crossroads Papakura Invite You to Celebrate

by Crossroads Papakura

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Donations help families live better lives

by Methodist Alliance

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Youth Leaders at TYC 2022

Ministry Thrives When We Look After Our Leaders

by Michael Lemanu, Tauiwi Children, Youth and Family Ministries National Coordinator

As a young youth leader in my local church, I was sometimes given a massive amount of work to do for little reward. At the time I was studying full time, working two part-time jobs, being a youth and wordship leader, on the Sound and AV team and also having other life and social commitments. The pressures of needing to balance time and prioritise responsibilities was difficult to say the least.

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Everyone does what they can to help.

by Gillian Southey

Living through a natural disaster or conflict situation can cause lasting trauma. Psychosocial support can be as important as providing food and shelter to survivors. Community-led programmes backed by professional staff are part of the humanitarian response supported by Christian World Service.

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Faith and Hope in Midlife: Reflecting on Churchgoers’ Experiences

by Megan Blakie

Author: Anne Shave Publisher: Philip Garside Publishing Ltd, Wellington (2022) 243 pages.

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The Measure

by Ray Coats

Author: Nikki Erlick Publisher: Harper Collins, The Borough Press. 2022.

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Empire of Light

by Rev Dr Steve Taylor

The film Empire of Light is intense.

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Rev Piripi Rakena from his obituary in The New Zealand Methodist Times, Vol. 25 No. 1 (May 12, 1934).

“God Has Called Me …”

by Rev Donald Phillipps

The Rakena Whānau

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Sister Jean Dalzell, missionary 1925-30, with one of her charges.

A Sacred Trust

by Lynne McDonald

The beginning of the New Zealand Methodist Mission in the Solomon Islands

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World Day of Prayer event.


by Saili. Ioapo (Itumalo Aukilani)

Theme: I have heard the stories about your faith. Ua ou faalogo I tala o lou faatuatua.

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by Supplied


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RSE workers in Hastings affected by Cyclone Gabrielle receive support and aid from Siaola and Vahefonua.

Fakaakeake ‘a Hastings mei he afā.

by Felonitesi Manukia

Ongoongo meia Fatongia Ofa & Olivia Ofa mei Hastings mo e ngaahi ‘ata.

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