The Methodist Connexional Office is located at:

Weteriana House
50 Langdons Road
Christchurch 8053

Postal address

PO Box 931, Christchurch 8140

T. (03) 366 6049   I. 0800 266 639

Please phone our main line (as above) and at the prompt either dial '0' to speak to Reception or enter an extension number. FOR A LIST OF EXTENSIONS CLICK HERE

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Christchurch South Methodist Parish 
St Marks Church        



     St Marks Church celebrated 90 years of worship services in Somerfield on July 7th                Services began first at Somerfield School and then moved to the St Marks site. 

      We plan to open our new buildings at 2 p.m. on Saturday February 8th 2020,                                                                           Everyone welcome          


  • Growing & sharing our faith in God, 
  • Joining together for worship & celebration,  
  • Living faith by serving others and offering hospitality to our local community


          Acceptance, Caring, 

Creativity, Outreach, Teamwork, Worshipfulness

St Marks Church and Hall
Cnr Barrington & Somerfield Streets, Somerfield, Christchurch 8024
See Map at the bottom of this web page.

C/- Parish Office, 27 Remuera Ave, Cashmere, Christchurch 8022
Phone:+64 (03) 980 5002

The newly renovated St marks Complex will be opened on Saturday February 8th at 2 p.m. to be followed by afternoon tea.  All are welcome, please gather in the church for the opening.  Car parking is available in the car park, entry from Barrington Street.


SUNDAY Jan 5th                      10:00 a.m.  Rev Andrew Donaldson Communion

SUNDAY Jan 12th                    10:00 a.m. Rev Andrew Donaldson

SUNDAY Jan 19th                    10:00 a.m.  Linda Cowan

SUNDAY Jan 26th                    10:00 a.m. Parish 

SUNDAY Feb 2nd                     10:00 a.m. Rev Andrew Donaldson Covenant Sunday           

SUNDAY Feb 9th                      10:00 a.m. Rev Andrew Donaldson                                                   


I was recently thinking about what might be called biblical literacy.

When I think about biblical literacy I think , of a number of tools that can be used to unlock the text and to think about and analyse the scripture.  Tools that would also help us to question some of our own 'baggage' we might bring to the text and what bias we bring to the interpretive task. This lead me to the question of what biblical skills we can legitimately expect any preacher 'ought' to have at their disposal.

For our Methodist presbyters the expectation is to have a very good start in biblical studies.  In practical terms this means at least stage 2 or 3 level in a degree or a level 6 in a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) diploma or equivalent qualification or experience.  In the ideal world this would include a rudimentary understanding of biblical scholarship or Biblical Criticism.  Including an understanding of the historical, cultural and literary context in which the writer wrote. We would have an understanding of the biblical writer's use of lexicon, syntax and grammar, and what were the themes and messages the writer wanted to get across to their audience.

Those majoring in Biblical Studies (level 7 or stage 3 )would also likely to have an ability with at least one or both of the biblical languages, Greek and / or Hebrew.  We could expect that the presbyter would have some understanding of the process in translation.  A graduate can be expected to be able to critically examine biblical commentaries.  This rudimentary understanding is of course just the beginning.  We could expect that a presbyter will continue to explore and to develop their biblical skill base.  We would  likely expect our deacons to likewise have a similar level of knowledge and skill in biblical scholarship.

Lay preachers have also normally completed a set course of study in the biblical arts.  When I started training as a lay preacher I recall that the programme included a paper in New Testament studies.  Today lay preacher's qualification sits at about level 4 on the NQF with at least one paper at level 5 or higher.  Having said this a number of our lay preachers have skills and qualifications well in advance of this.

Biblical scholarship includes a lot of criticism. Biblical Criticism is the umbrella term used for various sets of questions we might bring to a biblical text.  We might study for example a biblical text's use of grammar, structure, development, and relationship of language to identify such things as a text's genre, its context, meaning, authorship and origins.

The preacher's task is to understand what a text might have meant for those it was initially written for, and to unlock the text for us sitting in the pews 2000 years later.

An example "Source Criticism" Tradition has it that Moses wrote the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures. This is collectively known as the Torah. A careful study however reveals that there were a least four sources of story tellers drawn upon in the Torah. They are traditionally thought of by the letters J, E, D and P.

  • J (Yahwist), Southern Kingdom, story tellers from Judea  ('J' because in German Yahweh starts with  letter J.
  • E (Elohist), Northern Kingdom, story teller from Israel
  • D (Deuteronomistic), story tellers who were King Josiah's Scribes and
  • P(Priestly) story tellers who had a theological education.

The first creation narrative in Genesis is thought to have been under the authorship of the Priests(P) in exile in Babylon.  It is likely one of the last pieces of the Torah to be written.. The second creation story is much older and probably comes from the Southern Kingdom (J).

The first narrative is theologically sophisticated while the second, but earlier, story has a much more folksy style. It is the type of story told round the campfire.  But, don't be fooled this too is deeply theological.  To the trained eye it is possible to look for the signs of authorship even in translation.  Were we to read in the Torah LORD God we are likely listening to the voice of a northern or southern kingdom story teller.









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Updated 26 September, 2018