THE PRESBYTERIAN Church (NSW) Property Trust has approved what will be the biggest single project ever embarked on by Presbyterian Aged Care in NSW. While still subject to final approvals required for building contract, construction certificate documentation, bank finance and Aged Care Pricing Commissioner approval of refundable accommodation deposit levels, the Presbyterian Church and its aged care arm Presbyterian Aged Care (PAC) are finally set to proceed on the much anticipated redevelopment of the Scottish Hospital site in Sydney’s Paddington. The full story is avaialble in the PDF below. PCNSW Media Release_green light for Paddington seniors devp (PD…
THE PRESBYTERIAN Church (NSW) Property Trust has approved what will be the biggest single project ever embarked on by Presbyterian Aged Care in NSW.
While still subject to final approvals required for building contract, construction certificate documentation, bank finance and Aged Care Pricing Commissioner approval of refundable accommodation deposit levels, the Presbyterian Church and its aged care arm Presbyterian Aged Care (PAC) are finally set to proceed on the much anticipated redevelopment of the Scottish Hospital site in Sydney’s Paddington. The full story is avaialble in the PDF below.
The General Assembly of the PCNSW for 2013 will be remembered for its streamlined new look and feel, the re- naming and reorganisation of the Social Services and METRO committees, the appointment of a new Social Services head and a general good catch-up for the far-flung ministers and Elders of NSW and the ACT.
From an opening night on a Monday – where past Moderators were presented, the new Moderator, Mr Colin Langford was inducted and heard to speak on Grace, some well-chosen songs sung accompanied by a live band and prayers made – through the presentation of reports from Assembly Committees, consideration of motions and debate and presentations; until the closing sederunt just three nights later on Thursday, the Assembly of 201 ministers and 139 elders from throughout NSW and the ACT effectively dealt with its business without issue or serious dissent.
Organisers had worked hard to streamline the event best described as the “annual business meeting of the Church” and as a result, the opening night was shorter, primarily because outgoing Moderator, Rev Trevor Cheetham, presented his farewell address and newcomers were welcomed on the second day rather than on opening night – and the Assembly dealt with all its business a day earlier than allowed for.
As well as hearing from all the Assembly committees about their work and considering motions and requests, the Assembly took time on day two to remember and pray for members who had passed away since the last Assembly: Elder Dr Gordon Pettit, Rev Douglas Fraser, Rev Robert Riek, Rev Graham Spence and Rev Murray Ramage. A letter was received from Rev Dr Paul Logan advising his intention to retire as Clerk of Assembly in December 31 2014 after being in the role since 1995.
Meanwhile new members _ ministers inducted into their first parishes, set apart for their first appointments in NSW or granted a seat for the first time – were welcomed: Darwin Agahari (Randwick Indonesian Church); Simon Daniel Arkapaw (Parramatta City); Michael Bosshard (Coffs Harbour); David Choi (St Mary’s); Peter Crickitt (Concord); Timothy Berriman (Gungahlin-North Belconnen); Jesse Huckel (Griffith);Leon Kruger (Macquarie Chapel); Luke McPherson ( Tregear); Corrie Nel (Roseville-Lindfield-Killara); Paul O’Rourke (Toukley); and Simon Wong (Gracepoint).
There were celebrations for the jubilees (marking 50 years of service) of Elders J Baker (Abbotsford), I Campbell (Epping), B Rixon (Tamworth) and R Hamilton (Tamworth); also ministers Rev Dr Cairns, Rev A Ewin, Rev R McCracken and Rev Dr R McKinnon. And a decision that as well as presiding over the Assembly, the new Moderator would officially visit the presbyteries of the Hunter and Sydney South during his term of office.
The Business Committee reported on the results of a survey which considered holding future Assemblies at a different time of the year to the current July school holiday fixture.
Responses came from 150 people and indicated that all alternative times would result in dramatic decreases in attendance. As a result the Assembly decided the current practice would remain.
The Assembly discussed various aspects of the year-old committee’s report, submitted by Duncan Parker, including its review of MDP funded committees with respect to their efficiency and effectiveness, the gathering of feedback on the new assessment structure due to commence next January and so on. The Assembly approved recommended MDP allocations for 2014-16. M&M will get $1,128,000, METRO $316,000, PY nil, PTCC $821,000, APWM $255,000 and GS&C $29,000.
THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Convener Rev Steven Pym and Principal Rev Ian Smith addressed the Assembly on behalf of the TEC and firstly recommended the reappointment of Biblical Studies lecturer Murray Smith… “His competence as scholar, theological teacher and pastor is obvious”. The Assembly agreed and gave him a six year contract.
He also introduced the idea that perhaps the new Presbyterian Theological Centre (PTC) should have a new name – and the Assembly encouraged the Committee to conduct market research and consultation and report to the Commission of Assembly which would have authority to enact a name change if deemed helpful.
Mr Pym told the Assembly that this year all bar one of students interviewed would do all or most of their studies at PTC, which was not always the case. “I think it’s a problem that not all of those we see will be trained at the PTC. Anecdotal evidence is that among uni students and young adults the name ‘Presbyterian’ Theological Centre is a limitation to them even considering training here. The opening of the new centre with increased physical dimensions, a more usable library and student accommodation is very exciting and a great gift from God. It seems important to make the most of this opportunity – look at the number we train and equip and look at what a change in our trading name might be.”
The Assembly thanked Rev Paul Cooper for his work as convener of the TEC. “He was a businesslike convener but last year saw his health diminished,” lamented Mr Pym. “He had great eye for attention to property… we own a genuine debt of gratitude to Paul Cooper.”
Mr Smith said 2012-13 had been a year of significant growth and challenges. “In the last 12 months every member of the academic staff has published something – journals, chapters in books, complete monographs, study notes…
“We have welcomed a new member of staff, Greg Goswell, who brings a wealth of experience. The new building is on schedule. It only rains on weekends and industry days. February 21 next year is the opening.”
Mr Pym said the PTC had looked at three graduate attributes – preaching, leadership and pastoral care and decided to devote one year to each and see how it could put the areas vertically through the curriculum so the whole course was soaked in those three skills.“Last year we worked hard on preaching. Every year from now candidates will be doing something on preaching. This year looking at the area of leadership. We recognised that not all ministers are born leaders and some are reluctant leaders. The third we will look at
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCNSW for 2013-14 is Colin Langford, an Elder based in Goulburn.
As have done his predecessors for the five years since the inception of The Presbyterian Pulse, Mr Langford will write a column for each edition of the magazine, starting with the October- November edition. We look forward to his input.
Mr Langford grew up in central western NSW at Canowindra till he was 10. His family moved to Sydney in 1960 when his father lost his job and they lived at Seven Hills for 11 years.
“So for that time I was a Westie,” he told the opening night of the Assembly with a wry grin.
“My mother took us to an Anglican church and it was there in my late teens that I gave my life to Jesus as my Saviour and Lord.
“After completing the HSC I attended Hawkesbury Agricultural College (coincidentally also where Charlie Pass studied) and was then employed in various locations by the NSW Department of Agriculture (under one of its many names) for 40 years as a livestock officer.
“In this role I advised and ran workshops, field days and meetings for farmers. So I was really an adult educator not an insurance salesman or accountant as some people seem to think. Interestingly some commissioners have even approached me for some insurance or financial advice! I send them to someone better qualified than me to answer their questions.”
Mr Langford first attended a Presbyterian church in Leeton in January 1979 and it was there that he met the Rev Fred Burke (father of David Burke) who he says taught the rules and procedures of the Presbyterian Church.
“I became an elder in 1982. At Leeton I was active within the then Murrumbidgee Presbytery where I first met Paul Cooper, Bruce Meller, Kevin Murray, Peter Morphew and Ian Smith.
“It is because of my special attachment to that area that David Burke is one of my chaplains and also because as some would know Fred was Moderator nominate for the 1987 Assembly, but he died prior to taking up the position.
“My other Chaplain Peter Gobbo was en exit appointment to the Griffith charge, where in the mid 1980’s I was appointed one of four assessors to the Session at Griffith by the Presbytery which was a very interesting time and it is great to see how Griffith has grown since that time.”
Mr Langford has been attending the NSW General Assembly since he was first commissioned in 1985. He has been married to Margaret for 35 years and has two daughters Katherine and Jenny. Katherine is married to John Larkings and has two young boys. Both girls are actively involved in their respective churches.
By Bruce Mellor
The need to plant churches is urgent. That’s why the Ministry and Mission Committee called its church-planting sub-committee ASAP. The time to act is now. Suburbs the size of cities are burgeoning in NSW but they are almost entirely devoid of churches.
Older towns and suburbs have churches of several persuasions but not new areas. And even in old areas, many of the churches that do exist have forgotten their reason for being: no-one can remember the last time someone was converted. In new and older areas alike, Presbyterians need to plant churches.
At the most recent meeting of the Assembly, ASAP presented two events to heighten awareness of the challenge of church planting, help develop a network for church planting and generally promote this critical need.
Partnering with Geneva
On Monday July 1, ASAP’s Maurie Cropper explained what ASAP had been doing and then announced a partnership between The Geneva Push and the Ministry and Mission Committee.
For the past five years, ASAP assessed potential church planters and church planting opportunities. It will continue to assess oppor- tunities but assessment of planters is now going to be done in the first instance by The Geneva Push – a nationwide non-denominational, reformed and evangelical agency with far more experience and potential than ASAP could develop.
Scott Sanders, from The Geneva Push, explained their desire to see churches evangelised into existence using a multiplication model based on assessment, coaching, broadcasting and recruiting.The Geneva partnership connects NSW Presbyterians with a much bigger group of people involved in church planting.
Partnering with each other
The Monday meeting and the lunchtime one the following Wednesday also heard from people in Presbyterian churches about their various church planting stories and some of the lessons learnt. The variety of the stories was inspiring and highlighted the fact that there is not just one way to go about church planting.
Steve Cree told the Creek Road story.Their work to ‘Reach the City – Reach the World’ sees them with four Sunday services growing well. In fact, their growth threatened to exceed their facilities. Instead of building a bigger structure, they’ve adopted a multi-site approach enabling them to plant, support and resource new churches at other sites like South Bank and Springfield. Because support and resourcing are mission- critical, the bigger church develops resources for both themselves and the smaller churches. Creek Road is also seeking to partner with other churches and make their resources available for use further afield. Partnering with Creek Road is a chance to use their resources in your own context and save a huge amount of resource- development time.
Starting at Burwood, then reaching out to Auburn and now Lidcombe (where Simon is the church planter), they are working to reach young professional Australian-born Chinese people with the gospel.
The Lidcombe church plant benefits from the wisdom and experience gained at Burwood and Auburn. While Auburn’s focus is on the local neighbourhood, they have also attracted Australian born Chinese people from a much wider area of Sydney. Some people in the congregation who didn’t originally live in the area are now seriously buying into the ministry at Lidcombe, by buying a home in the local area.
They want to go further than attracting people to their church, they want to get more involved with people on their turf in an effort to tell them all about Jesus. GracePoint’s hope is to keep loving Jesus more than church planting,while being pro-active with church planting.
Murray Smith introduced the listeners to Kirk Place at Kogarah, an overplant/radical revitalisation of an existing church that is now five years down the track.
A lot of spade work was required to make the transition, including the Trustees’ development of a new church building and seed funding from Ministry and Mission. Steve Chong began as the pastor with an existing older congregation and about 15 new younger people.
Helping those groups learn to trust each other was a major task in the early days but it was successful and the congregation is now much larger and more ethnically diverse. Many people have become followers of Jesus so they have many young Christians. Kirk Place has been intentional about focussing on both the local community and the global vision.
Peter Thompson gave a valuable insight into a new initiative at Southern Cross church at Lismore. Planted 15 years ago, Southern Cross grew strongly before plateauing.
As they re-assessed their growth strategy in the light of attractional and missional ministry models, they started building gospel communities similar to those described in Total Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis. Working as inter-generational groups smaller than a regular church, each gospel community works at people owning both the gospel and the gospel mission, and multiplying into more gospel communities. This ‘mission through community’ requires real intentionality as it is friendship based and takes a lot of time as people invest in the lives of one another.
Tim Harrison spoke about the new Harrison congregation being planted by the New Life Presbyterian Church (Gungahlin, ACT ) where some forty people commenced meeting as a new church five months ago within the Harrison school.
Wayne Connor also reported on Night Church. The Dubbo church has seen many new congregations developed over time but, Night Church is the first to be established away from the church building. In the second year of its operation, it is making steady progress.
Where to from here?
Huge challenges continue to confront our church. The Leppington project in South Western Sydney continues as a critical concern along with the Molonglo development in Canberra. So does the need to revitalise the Windsor congregation and springboard from there with new, developing churches in North Western Sydney. If you are interested in networking with Presbyterians and others involved in church planting, please let us know.
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