From 10 to 12 March, the Council of Assembly met at Te Maungarongo Marae, Ohope as guests of Te Aka Puaho.
The refurbished marae was re-opened in January 2016 and Council was invited by Te Aka Puaho to be among the first groups to use the marae following the renovations, and to acknowledge the gift the Church had made to the refurbishment. Following a powhiri, the Moderator of Te Aka Puaho led a service and in this acknowledged the Rev Tom Hawea – described as the father of Te Aka Puaho – whose funeral service had taken place earlier that day.
The Rev Wayne Te Kaawa presented his report. He did so against the background of his involvement in supporting whanau and negotiating with police in relation to an incident near Kawerau.
He commented on the celebration of re-opening the marae; the gathering of folk to celebrate Waitangi at the marae; the training of Amorangi ministers and the first step in discussions around the gift of partnership. Council acknowledged Rev Te Kaawa’s leadership in these matters and paused to pray for him and the wider Te Aka Puaho community.
The Right Rev Andrew Norton presented his report to the Council, which included his two green papers that had been distributed to the wider church prior to the meeting.
A number of matters were discussed arising from Andrew’s report, which Council warmly endorsed. These included:
The Rev Dr Colin Marshall reported on a number of matters. Following discussion, at the suggestion of the convenor, Council agreed to establish a workgroup to undertake a review of General Assembly and moderatorial term, with a view to bringing proposals to the 2016 Assembly. The workgroup members are the Rt Rev Andrew Norton, Very Rev Ray Coster, Rev Dr Colin Marshall and the Assembly Executive Secretary. As part of its work, this group will investigate Assembly moving from once every two years to once every three years.
Dr Marshall also advised that the performance review for the Assembly Executive Secretary had been completed and Council were unanimous in voicing their satisfaction with the performance of the AES, but expressed concern about his workload, and saw the appointment of a 2IC as urgent.
The AES reported that the Communications team is undertaking a review of key aspects of its work, and that the Church's global relationships are being evaluated as Council works to ensure alignment of policy and direction across the life of the Church.
He also advised the appointment of Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks as the Church’s representative on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services. Council also supported the recommendation to continue the Prescare relationship between the Church and Presbyterian Support.
The AES advised a number of matters relating to updates and adjustments required to our supplementary provisions.
The Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks presented her report. Council adopted the redrafted Heathy Congregations framework and strongly affirmed the values expressed in these. Council also endorsed the proposal that resources be found to enable future important documents to be translated into languages of constituent congregations of the Church.
Council received an update report from the workgroup. Various work-streams are continuing and this will lead to a series of recommendations that will form part of a report to 2016 Assembly.
Moderator Andrew Norton updated the Council on the revised Terms of Reference for Press Go and these were agreed to. In addition discussion was held about the seeking of expressions of interest for an additional three members of the Board.
The Council’s next meeting will be in June 2016 in Auckland.
The Rev Dr Colin Marshall Mrs Jenny Flett
Convenor Deputy Convenor
Council of Assembly Council of Assembly