Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

'To achieve full maturity in Christ'

A summary of Te Runanganui's three-day conference in Wellington.

Brigitte Te Awe Awe-Bevan, Kerry Davis  |  13 Aug 2015

Friday 7 August 2015

Friday’s Te Runanganui session commenced with worship and eucharist led by Te Manawa o te Wheke (central North Island). This was followed by Bible study presented by Reverend Katene Eruera, Dean of Tikanga Māori, St John’s Theological College.

Whakarongo ki te kupu a te Wairua ki te Haahi - Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.

Te Rautaki Mahere Minitatanga– Ministry Education Strategic Plan (Draft)

Reverend Dr Rangi Nicholson then presented the draft Ministry education Strategic Plan 2015-2025. The plan records a number of different conversations and hui (meetings) including Te Waka Matauranga (Education Committee), Te Runanga Whaiti (Standing Committee) and the five Hui Amorangi (Dioceses). 

Being closely aligned to the Decade of Mission the plan outlines the core educational priorities for Te Pihopatanga and seeks to create and deliver successful theological education and ministry formation programmes. Dr Nicholson stated “our church is a church of mission, let’s have more actions, put together bold visions, and have big dreams.” The plan’s vision is to achieve full maturity in Christ, and its mission is to build Christ-like communities.

After engaging discussion with conference participants, Dr Nicholson noted that feedback on the strategic plan was welcomed and offered the invitation to respond by 4 September 2015.

General Synod

Reverend Michael Hughes, General Secretary of the General Synod, presented an overview of the passing of a number of key statutes. Discussion from his report was to bring forward any issues for the design group ahead of the General Conference between Tikanga Māori and Tikanga Pakeha in the lead-up to the General Synod to be held in May 2016.

The Way Forward working group asked for continued prayer and support as they finalise their work ahead of presentation to General Synod regarding Motion 30 relating to same-gender blessing and ordination.

Anglican Mission Board

Reverend Canon Robert Kereopa reported on the Anglican Mission Board and its efforts in supporting the Missions Board, and in doing so acknowledged the support of Te Pihopatanga. He acknowledged in particular the support of those in Tikanga Māori who had been serving on the board. 

The Common Life Missions Conference is being held in Auckland from  6-9 October 2015 at King's College and Reverend Kereopa described that upcoming event as “a wonderful opportunity for our province to not only share together, but to network with our brothers and sisters across the globe.”

“…The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest…” Luke 10:2.

The five goals for the Decade of Mission are to overhaul the Church; build mission engagement; build mission partnerships; grow the Church; and share mission stories. 

Reverend Kereopa introduced the Missional Vision and Strategy for the Decade of Mission 2016-2015, addressing the conference by stating that Te Pihopatanga are blessed to be a blessing in Christ, having been adopted into the family of Christ through choosing to be reconciled to God through the reconciliation of Jesus Christ.

He urged the conference to allow the mustard seed to blossom so as to be a light to others. “Starting with our own whānau (family),” he said, “we pass on the blessing we choose to receive.”

Minita a Whānau

The Minita a Whānau programme (Ministry amongst Whānau) from the Missional Vision and Strategy was presented. This programme aims to increase the biblical understanding and worship participation of whānau (families).

To achieve this it is proposed that whānau will have made available to them diglot (bi-lingual) bibles; a diglot version of the Daily Services from the NZ Prayer Book and resources that assist in building understanding of the five part ACC Mission statement –  proclamation,  discipleship, care,  justice and Papatuanuku (caring for God’s creation) as part of whānau development. 

Missional priority to commission to Minita a Whānau for every whānau offers the provision of resources to do this. Reverend John Payne noted that “whānau needing prayer, Bible reading and all the blessing of mission should be initiated at whānau level.”

 “…where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20.

Discussion concurred that all are invited to be part of God’s whānau. Growing His whānau is growing discipleship and comes from within one's families, church families, neighbours, and wider communities.

Comments included “discipleship is about conversion, and bringing the word of God in to our whānau and neighbourhoods so that we become a bigger whānau in Christ.” Discipleship and following Christs’ word was highlighted with scripture, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2.

Dr Rosemary Dewerse urged the conference to celebrate the Gospel through collating and sharing stories from their own indigenous Saints allowing learning from and building upon those stories through to present time and into the future. She said that “Minita a whānau is also about Māori sharing and celebrating their own indigenous Good News stories.” 

Dr Dewerse said Jesus’ disciples were role modelled through a Māori worldview by Māori ancestors filled with the Holy Spirit preaching the Word to their people, paving the way for the European missionaries. Reverend Dr Paul Reynolds summed up by consolidating the Minita a Whānau and the Vision and Strategic plan with the five goals for the decade of Mission.

Hui Amorangi Into the Future

Each Hui Amorangi presented their strategic plan going forward for the next 10 years.

The richness of the Church being mainly due to the many kaumātua and kuia (elders) within the Church was highlighted by Te Taitokerau.

Rangatahi (youth) were also represented with one young person stating it was time for youth to be more active in leadership roles for the benefit of future years. He said it was a good opportunity learning to lead karakia (worship), and that different groups of rangatahi were encouraged to participate in leading karakia and other forms of worship.

Te Tai Rāwhiti Hui Amorangi (North Island Central East Coast Diocese) are looking forward to hosting a major outdoor Gospel Concert in Gisborne in January 2016. The all-ages concert will feature a number of recognised New Zealand musicians along with international gospel singers. The invitation to attend is to all who are keen to come and experience proclaiming the Good News through live music.

Karakia led by Te Taitokerau (Auckland and North Auckland) drew to a close the events of the day.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Positive future for Māori Anglican Education

Chairman of the St John’s College Trust Board and Te Aute College Trust Board, Stephen Jacobi, reported on the performance of these entities. Te Aute College and Hukarere College have benefited from the financial support and the management guidance provided by St John’s College Trust Board.

Te Aute College is presently achieving at a high level in NCEA, and the latest ERO report has commended the school. Its cycle of review is now 3 yearly. Hukarere College is also performing positively and is looking at ways of increasing its role by attracting more families to send their children there.

William Williams Trust

Ms Sarah McLean of the William Williams Trust spoke of the financial support and legacy set up to support the Māori Anglican church over the past 190 years. The Trust also financially supports indigenous people in other parts of the world through overseas mission including in Africa and the Pacific.

• • • •

Several motions relating to internal business and issues of wider concern were debated at the Te Runanganui. These included: setting a compulsory retirement age for future Bishops (motion declined); that the New Zealand Flag design not be changed (motion accepted); and that the pastoral responsibility for Māori in Australia remain with Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, not delegated to any specific Hui Amorangi.

Celebration, Liberation, Realisation

Engagement, communication, the importance of Te Reo Māori (Māori language) and building the stability of the church, were concepts drawn from invited reviewers to the Conference of needs to help grow the Church.

Mr Pita Paraone, Ms Amohaere Haukamo and Mr Herewini Te Koha were guest panellists who facilitated a discussion on the future aspirations and direction of the Church. Mr Paraone saw three specific areas, that of engagement, communication and building the stability of the Church. He spoke of Archbishop Brown Turei’s sermon urging laity involvement and leadership.

Ms Haukamo emphasised the need for clarity of purpose in serving the Church as summarised in the Archbishop’s “we have the sacred duty to be bearers of Good News, ki te mau te rongopai ki te iwi, ki nga hapu, ki nga whānau o Aotearoa.” Ms Haukamo stated that once the shared focus and commonality of the Church is clear then its message can be conveyed with confidence and love to the people.

Mr Te Koha commented on celebrating the unique indigenous identity of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa that has evolved through generations of Māori serving in the Church. The key to its continued success he believes is finding tools relevant to each generation that gives expression and value to who they are as Christians and Māori.

Reports from Kāhui Rangatahi (Youth) administrator Sonia Brooking and Kāhui Wahine (Women’s Fellowship) representatives ended the day before the final karakia (worship), led by Te Waipounamu Hui Amorangi (South Island Māori Diocese).

Sunday 9 August 2015

Reverend Leonie Joseph in her kauwhau (sermon) on the final day re-iterated the vision of Minita a Whānau and the way forward through listening for Jesus as the Bread of Life, and the life sustenance for the Church.

Her kauwhau again saw laity as being a way forward and the future of the Church, encouraging the blessing of Jesus as the Bread of life, through his spirit moving through those at the conference. As a grandmother herself, she also saw the feeding the Bread of Life to mokopuna (grandchildren) as vital in continuing to build the future of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.