The Continuing Story
The NZLPA continues as an ecumenical body. It does not deal with denominational business but is responsible for producing the magazine Word and Worship and the issuing of Initial and Long Service Certificates. The current NZLPA president, Mary Rose of Waikato will hand over to Garth Cant of Canterbury, towards the end of 2007.
In 2003, as interim Methodist LP facilitator, Rosalie Sugrue, emailed a selection of Methodist lay preachers' inviting suggestions for a Lay Preacher Network to be initiated at the annual get together following the traditional Lay Preacher service on Conference Sunday.
This meeting resolved that:
Traditional Methodist LP Conference events would continue – service, meeting and luncheon.
The annual meeting would be re-named the 'Annual Gathering'.
All New Zealand Methodist Lay Preaching concerns would come under the umbrella of the Methodist Lay Preacher Network.
Each Synod should appoint up to two lay preachers with email addresses as its official lay preacher representatives and corresponding contacts.
These persons would compose the Network Nucleus of the Methodist Lay Preachers Network and be responsible for conveying Lay Preacher concerns to Synods.
A Facilitator would be the contact person for the Network, send 'occasional notes' to the Network Nucleus, coordinate concerns, write a report for Conference, and enable LP events at Conference.
The Network through its Facilitator would be the official point of contact between the Methodist Church of New Zealand and its lay preachers.
It was agreed that the Network be as informal as possible. It would have no budget and hold no property.
Networking would be maintained by email, and the magazine Word and Worship.
The Gathering would serve to support members as a place to air concerns and hear what is happening.
Members would bring the names of lay preachers who had died in the past year.
Business would be kept to a minimum and done by consensus.
A guest speaker may be invited to address the Gathering.
Attendance and apologies would be recorded but there would be no minutes or formal reports.
(Initial objects) The Methodist Lay Preachers Network aims to:
* encourage more Methodists into confident worship leading
* ensure the provision of suitable initial training material
* maintain an accurate register of Methodist and Uniting Church lay preachers
* foster the formation of ecumenical district associations
* promote and maintain good standards in leading worship
* provide practical support for lay preachers and worship leaders.
Network Gatherings happen on Conference Sunday, after the LP service and before the LP luncheon
2002 Last Lay Preachers AGM at a Methodist Conference - Linwood Union, Christchurch;
Chaired by R Sugrue (President of NZLPA); guest speaker Prof. Colin Gibson.
Annual Network Gatherings
2003 Waiwhetu Uniting, Lower Hutt; Facilitator R Sugrue; guest speaker Rev Lynne Wall.
2004 Zion Hill, Birkenhead Auckland; Facilitator R Sugrue; guest speaker Rev Lynne Wall.
2005 Linwood Union, Christchurch; Facilitator R Sugrue; guest speaker Rev David Bell.
2006 Bainbridge Methodist, Rotorua; Facilitator R Sugrue; guest speaker Rev David Bell.
2007 Wesley Wellington; Facilitator R Sugrue; no guest speaker (Conference interest groups)
Issues and Outcomes
possible book and travel allowances
conditions for 'Accredited and Active' status
criteria for book allowance
possible provision of a Worship Leaders Certificate (for un-certificated preachers leading services in Co- operative Ventures)
revision of the training programme
promoting ecumenical district associations.
Conference accepted our recommendations re working towards these hopes without discussion.
The Network was asked to compile an official list of Methodist and Uniting Church LPs.
Notices of motion relating to above were processed but did not get to floor of Conference (lack of space and time to discuss adequately). No time provided for LP report to Conference. Official LP lists compiled by Synods. Training course being re-written by Rev Lynne Wall.
Network to apply to PAC for establishing a Lay Ministry Fund to enable a continuing provision for Accredited and Active LPs to receive an annual book allowance (application not received - went astray in the post or the Connexional Office).
To seek provision for LP travel allowance, and two funded LP representatives to Conference.
Four minute power-point on 'LP attitudes and hopes' presented to Conference by R. Sugrue.
Rev David Bell appointed to a newly established lay ministry position.
Issues for 2005 Gathering
Term of office for Facilitator
Co-facilitators – overlapping term of office (gender and geography balance if possible)
Two official LP representatives to Conference
Lay Ministry Fund – book allowance, Conference funding, and travel allowance
'Accredited and Active' criteria reviewed, 'Upskilled' added
Worship Leaders Certificate – for non-Methodist 'Active' preachers in Uniting Churches
Up-date on Lay Preachers course
District Associations – request Synods support
Presbyter responsibility – request local mentoring and local on-going training
Decisions of 2005 Gathering
1) That a letter be sent to the General Secretary asking that the money held for Lay Preachers be used to pay registration and travel for two official LP Network representatives to the annual Methodist Conference.
2) That there be more than one Network Facilitator. That two or three co-facilitators from different regions work as a team with a staggered term of office to ensure continuity. Suggested term of office 3 to 5 years.
3) That the co-facilitators for 2006 be Rosalie Sugrue, Jayne Alexander and Ngaire Southon.
4) That all current LPs register with their Synods and the network (form to be circulated).
Issues of 2006 Gathering
To consider: aspirations, concerns, accountability, and finance.
Lay Preachers granted listing in Church Year Book, also pages on Church web-site
Only one Lay Preacher representative permitted to Conference – balance of lay and ordained
Lay Preacher funds held by Connexion made available for Conference representative's expenses
PAC grant of $7,000 received
Outcomes of 2006 Gathering
Meeting agreed PAC grant be used as a 'one off gift' and not added to existing fund. Method of distribution not finalised, matter to be discussed with General Secretary (this resulted in offering $100 to spend at Epworth Books to all lay preachers currently registered as 'Accredited, Active and Upskilled'). Further opportunity be given to those not current to register.
Facilitation team for 2007 to be led by Rosalie Sugrue until Dorothy Willis feels ready to move into role. Further team member required (preferably a northern male). Keith Knox accepted invitation at later stage.
Issues of 2007 Gathering
- Book grant
- LP listings
- Presbyters 'Annual LP Returns'
- Travel policy
- On-going training
Outcomes of 2007 Gathering
- 81 Lay Preachers qualified for $100 book gift.
- The LP Data-base holds information on 142 registered lap preachers plus several 'in training'. A separate list of Pacifika lay preachers now appears on the Church website. Our Network is unable to keep this list current and encourages LPs listed to also individually register with the LP Network. 'Occasional Network Notes' are sent to around 100 interested persons.
- Members were reminded that a Network Registration Form is filled in once only by individual Lay Preachers. To keep records current Parish Presbyters or Enablers are asked to fill in an Annual Update Form on behalf of their certificated LPs. We ask that this be done each Nov/Dec with the hope it will promote Lay Preacher accountability and encourage Presbyters to accept more responsibility for their own LPs. (Where there is no presbyter or enabler it is up to the individual LPs to keep their information current.)
- Discussion re notice of motion on travel resulted in further processing by Board of Ministry and the following being passed by Conference &The policy for travel reimbursement for lay preachers be that they are paid the Connexional Travel Rate, currently 44 cents per km. (Does not apply when preaching in the LP's home church or for services that involve travelling less than 12 km.)
- Other recommendations on the LP Report to Conference were also passed& That Synods hold combined ordained and lay worship training, for all who lead services, and work with District Lay Preacher Associations, where they exist, to organise these events.
- That the Connexion continue to explore ways of funding an annual book allowance to Certificated Lay Preachers who fulfil the Active and Upskilled requirement.
- Co-facilitators for 2008: Dorothy Willis, Keith Knox, Rosalie Sugrue (mentor), and one wanted