He hokinga mahara, Ka haere whakamua
Looking back and moving forward
I have just returned from a wānanga in Auckland where a group of eight of us gathered to discuss in depth communications for MCNZ. We looked back as we looked forward and over the course of two days, we took a deep dive into the whakapapa, ethos and purpose of our communications.
Since 1859 MCNZ has been involved in the production and distribution of many publications that chart and record our history in Aotearoa. Along with Conference Reports, Home Mission reports and numerous books, newspapers have played a major role in disseminating information, sharing news and theology and encouraging debate on issues of religious, moral and social importance.
Each iteration of the newspapers – some produced in partnership with other denominations - has had a specific focus in sharing the voice, mission, theology and bi-cultural journey of Methodism in Aotearoa and bringing those values and voices to issues here and globally.
Touchstone evolved from Crosslink in 2001 when the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand opted to withdraw from the joint publishing partnership. Twenty-two years on we gathered to discern the purpose and future of Touchstone in conjunction with the overarching role of communications for Te Hāhi Weteriana o Aotearoa.
General Secretary Rev Tara Tautari has used the wānanga concept to delve into areas affecting our church on several occasions over the past year. Unlike a hui, conference or meeting, a wānanga offers a chance for participants to explore a topic of interest without being restricted by the confines of a formal agenda. At our communications wānanga, discussions evolved over several sessions as we shared our own stories, our whakapapa, and our aspirations for the future. The work of the wānanga will be taken to the communications committee to determine a communications strategy in the next phase of this consultative process. It is anticipated that a report outlining a communications pathway for the future will be completed for Conference 2024.
MCNZ has been tackling big issues, making courageous decisions, and impacting the political, religious and social justice landscape of our country since the first missionaries arrived in Aotearoa. In recent years Touchstone has been effective in informing the Connexion and community, but less effective in conveying information that relates to the empowering and transforming prophetic voice of Methodism in Aotearoa.
I look forward to the recommendations the communications committee will determine to ensure the voice, message, thought-leadership and theology of Methodism in Aotearoa is shared in a way that is bold, connexional, relational and fit-for-purpose as we find new ways to engage effectively across many forums with our changing audiences.
Ngā mihi nui
Ady Shannon, Editor Touchstone
Phone: 021 209 9702