A Brief History
The Methodist Local Preachers' Mutual Aid Association held its inaugural meeting at Durham Street Wesleyan Methodist Church, Christchurch, on the 26th February 1901. Its objects were:
1. To raise the status of local preachers by:
(a) providing for more effective training
(b) recommending suitable reading
(c) assist in the formation of libraries or circles of reading
(d) to promote fellowship among local preachers throughout the colony
2. To raise funds for the purpose of affording assistance to local preachers in times of sickness, distress, and old age; and to provide a sum of money payable at death; also to relieve widows of deceased members being in necessitous circumstances.
This fund still exists in two accounts amounting to around $15,000 (Dec. 2005).
Branches were established throughout New Zealand each with its own president and committee. From these evolved the Methodist Lay Preachers Association (MLPA) a national body under the direction of a president and District based executive. In recent times the usual term of office was approximately 5 years after which the National Executive responsibilities were passed to another District.
The MLPA promoted initial and on-going training of lay preachers within the Methodist Church. Trinity Theological College was responsible for training courses, assignments, examinations and accreditation. Accreditation guidelines were set out in administration leaflet 153. The National Executive encouraged lay preachers to meet in District Associations for fellowship, training and support, and was responsible for producing the quarterly lay preachers' magazine The Preacher.
In 1999 the National Executive was based in Christchurch. The North Canterbury Lay preachers Association enjoyed working ecumenically and promoted the concept of an ecumenical lay preachers association encompassing lay preachers from the four partner churches (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Churches of Christ).
MLPA President, Jayne Alexander, 'sold' the concept to the Wellington Lay Preachers Association who brought the New Zealand Lay Preachers Association (NZLPA) to reality in 2000 under the presidency of Ron Malpass.
In May 2002 Professor Colin Gibson took over editorship of The Preacher from Dr Garth Cant and Rosalie Sugrue took the position of President of the NZLPA.
At the NZLPA annual general meeting Linwood Union, Nov 2002 it was agreed to change the name of The Preacher to Word and Worship and re-format the cover to feature a coloured 'seasonal' photograph beginning 'Spring 2003.'
The NZLPA National Executive soon realised that as an ecumenical body it could not deal with business specific to a denomination. This presented particular problems for Methodists. Before the National Executive was passed from Wellington to Waikato/Waiariki (February 2004) a decision was made to establish a process for dealing with Methodist lay preaching concerns. The MLPA Presidents Bible was given to the Methodist Archives and a new Bible was presented to the NZLPA from the outgoing Wellington Executive.
|Districts hosting MLPA
||Districts hosting the NZLPA
|National Executives from 1980
||National Executives since inception
|1980-1985 Bay of Plenty
||2007- 2008 Central South Island
|1996-1999 North Canterbury
Interim Executive of the Methodist Lay Preachers Network appointed by Conference 2003:
Jayne Alexander, Helen Buxton, Garth Cant, Colin Gibson, Keith Knox, Ron Malpass and Rosalie Sugrue.
With the establishing of the Network Nucleus this committee ceased to exist.
2004-2005: Rosalie Sugrue
2006 Co-facilitators: Rosalie Sugrue, Jayne Alexander, Ngaire Southon
2007 Co-facilitators: Rosalie Sugrue, Dorothy Willis, Keith Knox
2008 Co-facilitators: Dorothy Willis, Keith Knox, Rosalie Sugrue (mentor), and one wanted