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Saint Stephens Methodist Church Otumoetai Taurangacelebrated 60 years of Methodism in the Otumoetai area of Tauranga this year.

See Report of the 60th Celebrations and photos.
Conference Arrangements Committee Meeting- Saturday 14 June 2014
Members of Synod are looking forward tohosting this year's Methodist Conference which will be held from 15th to 19th November in Hamilton. A local Conference Arrangements Committee is meeting monthly to organise venues, catering, preparation of the Conference handbook, the information desk and all the other tasks that are needed. Here we see some of the Committee members (Convenor Nan Russell, Secretary Anne Saunders, Margaret Giles and Peter Lane)modelling their hats for Conference in celebration of the Waikato!
Workshop at Rotorua on Recognising Family Violence - Saturday 7th June 2014
A Synod Workshop held in Rotorua on 7th June was led by Samoa Sinoti representative, Opeta Amani. The subject: 'Recognising Family Violence',was prompted by a request duringConference in 2013 that all Synods arrange such teaching. Family violenceis, regrettably, just as prevalent in church families, as in other parts of the community.
Synod at Rotorua - Friday 6th June 2014
Synod was hosted by the Rotorua congregation at Bainbridge Methodist Church. While members of Synod enjoyed the broccoli, potatoes, beef,and chicken spread, they were serenaded by this cross-cultural, cross-generational, Bainbridge Male Voice Choir with renditions of "Jesus stand among us, in the meeting of our lives", "This little light of mine", and other tunes. Congratulations on a marvellous performance. The apple sponge, cheese cake, custard and ice cream that followed weren't too bad either!
The choir was accompanied by talented pianist extraordinaire Rev Ierimia Amituana'i, presbyter of the Rotorua congregation. Later, Ierimia shared aspects of his faith journey with us in graphic detail - well, he used a graph - showing what he considered to be the peaks and valleys of his life journey. Through it all, he affirmed, God is with us.
Wesley Day - Sunday 25 May
The annual celebration of Wesley day- the Sunday closest to John Wesley's Aldersgate conversion experience on 24 May 1738 - was remembered on 25th May. Guest speaker was the vice-president of the Methodist Conference, Miss Jan Tasker, who preached at both Wesley Tauranga in the morning, and at Te Awamutu in the evening. Thank you Jan for yoursermon- Being a Christian the Methodist way - adapted from a sermon prepared by Rev Barry Jones. Recommended reflective material for all Methodists!
District Superintendent Rev Dr Susan Thompson pictured here with our
guest speaker, the Vice President of the Methodist Conference, Miss Jan Tasker.
Synod Refresh - 20 and 21 May

The annual Refresh meeting at Epworth on 20 and 21 May had as its guest speaker Professor Douglas Pratt.Douglas is a former Methodist minister so many members of the Synod may feel they know him quite well. However,clickherefor an update of his academic background - impressive indeed.

Douglas shared with us two particular aspects of the Christian and Muslim relationship.

The Building Bridges Seminar

For over ten years the Building Bridges Seminar has brought together a range of internationally recognised Christian and Muslim scholars for intensive study.
Texts from the Christian and Islamic traditions are used as the basis for discussion in a program that includes public lectures and private sessions. The annual
seminars, each lasing three days, have explored a number of the most significant themes in the interface between Islam and Christianity: scripture; prophecy;
the common good; justice and rights; human nature; interpretation; science and religion; tradition and modernity; prayer; death, resurrection, and human
destiny.

Further information can be found
here.


A common word between us

Douglas also informed us of an invitation sent by 138 leading Muslim scholars in 2007 to the leaders of the Christian churches and denominations in the entire word. Under the heading 'a common word between us' it acknowledged the twin golden commandments in both the Holy Qu'ran and the Holy Bible of the paramount importance of loving God, and loving one's neighbour. Quite a few references can be found in Google search if you search "A common word between us and you", but for a starter you can clickherewhere a 266 page .pdf document will provide further fascinatingstudy on the topic.

The Mad Hatters' Tea Party
Those of us who enjoy a civilised life as ordinary parishioners, occasionally wonder what the clergy get up to when they are at play. This picture was taken at Refresh during the dinner on 20th May, but who exactly is it, is he or she the special guest (also known as the "grass" guest), and what ishappening here? Thewebmasterwould be happy to be enlightened, and share the light with you.
Progressive Exploration Service, Chartwell, Hamilton - Sunday 4th May 2014
On a regular basis, ChartwellCo-operating Parishhosts a Progressive Exploration Service at 7pm. These events are widely advertised in the Community, and on the Synod Calendar. Tonight the guest speaker was Jacinda Ardern, MP, who discussed many of the important social justice issues facing our country, and shared how her Mormon upbringing has influenced her political values. A lively question time followed.
Progressive Exploration Service Organiser Aaron Bennett, on left of photo, pictured with Jacinda Ardern following the service. Aaron was particularly pleased to welcome his former school friend, who, in their senior years at Morrinsville College, was voted by her peers as the person most likely to become Prime Minister!
Youth Service at St John's Hamilton East - Sunday 27th April 2014

The service was organised by the Synod youth representative Alilia Molitika. It was attended by around 40 young people from the Hamilton East, Te Awamutu and Elim youth groups. Youth leaders, parents and Synod leaders also attended.

The evening began with worship. The Rev. Susan Thompson opened in prayer. The Rev. Anne Preston preached a well-received message about Making Choices. Music was provided by the Elim youth band.

The night ended with games led by the Te Awamutu youth group and supper.

Synod Meeting at Tamahere -Friday 7th March 2014
Synod was held at the Tamahere Eventide Home, on the outskirts of Hamilton.

The Ministers met together in the afternoon to discuss matters of mutual interest, and conduct their own business meeting.

TheDistrict Synod met for tea at 5.30pm in the new café that has been opened at the home. We were treated to the same fare as was served the same evening to the residents of the home - although the standard of the food were appetising and impressive, none of us feel quite ready to retire to a home!

TheDistrict Synod met, and were led in worship by the Tamahere Chaplain, Rev Colin Neal. General business of the Synod included a welcome to Neville Westbury (Morrinsville), Rev Carol Hancock (Te Kuiti, Piopio, Aria & Mokau), Ruth Espin (Te Puke), Rev Ian Hanley (St Clare's Dinsdale), Vaea Finau and Vahamohe Finau (St Pauls Tongan Parish Hamilton).

Synod was informed of the recent marriage of Alan Spiersand Allyson McGregor, from Tokoroa. This news was greeted with awarm round of applause.

The Ministerial Synod reported to theDistrict Synod that they had approved Veitomoni Siufanga's readiness to proceed to the National Candidates Assessment in May. We pray that this will go well with him.

Pictured here are the three new ministers in the Synod following the Stationing proceedings of Conference in 2013. From left, Rev Ieremia Amituana'i from Rotorua, District Superintendent Rev Dr Susan Thompson, Rev Alison Molineux from Taupo, and Rev Augusten Subhan from Te Puke / Mt Maunganui Parish.
Synod Meeting at Dinsdale - Friday 29th November 2013
Synod held its November meeting at the Co-operating Parish of St Clare, in Dinsdale, Hamilton. As usual, this end of year meeting was very well attended, and a sumptuous meal was provided! Opportunity was taken to farewell a number of people leaving the Synod, and further details can be foundhere. Thanks to Rev Anne Preston for supplying a number of photos taken during the Synod - a selection is available to be viewedhere.
An illustration of 'symbols of meaning' on display during the sharing of her faith journey by theDinsdale presbyter Rev Gloria Zanders.
Synod pilgrimage to Te Waitere, Kawhia and Aotea harbour - Satuday 9th November 2013
Synod members from both sides of the Kaimai ranges embarked on a pilgrimage to the Kawhia harbour to learn about our very significant early missions in the district.A very professionalbrochureprepared by Alan Leadley - with acknowledgements to Peter West, Jock Crawford and Robin Astridge - had been prepared to provide background to our journey. We assembled at London St in Hamilton at 8.30am. Following a brief karakia, we climbed the minibus and bus provided, and set off for a long journey to Te Waitere in the southern Hokianga Harbour.

At Te Waitere John Kaati welcomed us, and after we had had our own refreshments on the balcony of the Te Waitere Boating Club building, he shared with us the history of the mission work in the district, and his connection to signatories on Te Tiriti.

We then journeyed back to Kawhia where Nick Tuwhangai welcomed us to the Centennial church (interior, pictured right). District Synod Superintendent Rev Dr SusanThompson led us in a short communion service in the church, assisted by Rev Anne Preston.At a new adjacent kitchen/hall/toilet block*, we were blessed by some local hospitality, which augmented the refreshments we had taken with us for the journey.

*Nick shared his experiences of seeking financial assistance for the small parish from the Administration Division in Christchurch. Was it a case of asking for a toilet block - and the hall and the kitchen facilities would be a natural consequence, or was it case of asking for a hall and kitchen facilities and knowing that toilet facilities would be a natural consequence? It seemed Nick had still not decided, but his gratitude to the wider church was evident. Nick had spearheaded the project which saw the church extensively renovated for its 75th anniversary a few years ago.

A quick trip to the western end of Kawhia to sight an important marae building, was followed by another quick trip - this time a little longer but over the hill to see the beautiful Aotea Harbour. From the southern side we could see the sand hills on the northern side of the harbour, and hear about the former Beechamdale mission station nearby.

We arrived safely back at London Street shortly after 5pm. Before we dispersed, Susan led us in somebrief reflections. Here are two of theprayersshe used during the day.

A selection of photographs taken during the day can be seenhere.Thank you to Anne Preston for hercontribution to these photos. And a big"thank you"to everyone who contributed to the organisation of this tremendous day we will remember with deep gratitude for a long time.
Celebration of 110 Years at Waitoa - Sunday 25th August 2013
Past and present faithful members of the congregationgathered at Waitoa Church to celebrate 110 years of ministry in the Waitoa area. Rev Doris Elphickdelivered the formal address, which can be readhere.The photo below records the attendance of approximately 100 people at this celebration. Maurice Hight, pictured below (somewhere), and referring to himself as theGardener,shared thesereflectionsafter the luncheon in the Waitoa hall.
Synod at Rotorua - Friday 7th June 2013

Synod met at Rotorua and, at right, Rev Wallis Browne, Rotorua's minister, shares his faith journey with Synod.

The Tongan and Fijian youth of Rotorua Methodist Church presented a dance routine to the Synod. On left, they are watched by Synod Superintendent Rev Dr Susan Thompson, and Rotorua minister, Rev Wallis Browne.
Synod Executive meeting at Paeroa - Thursday 6th June

Synod Executive meets in all kinds of places around the district: Hamilton, Matamata and Tauranga. However this was a first! On 6thJune we met with Jan Fogg at McDonald's in Paeroa. It wasn't the healthiest lunch but we got a lot of work done and had a good time.

Left to Right: Mary West (Secretary), Rev Dr Susan Thompson (Superintendent), RevIan Croft, Viv Whimster, Ngaire Southon (Steward), Rev Jan Fogg.

Synod Scavenger Snap and Seek at Tauranga - Saturday 25th May 2013
Despite the wet weather, afantastic daywas enjoyed by all who participated.

Induction at St Stephens, Tauranga -Monday 10th March 2013

This was an historic day in the life of Te Haahi Weteriana O Aotearoa. For the first time in its history, a deacon was inducted under the stationing process to be stationed at a parish. St Stephen's in Tauranga the lucky parish, Deacon Margaret Birtles the history-making Deacon.

Rev Gloria Zanders was the guest preacher. Her "sermon challenge" to Margaret and the congregation can be readhere.

Margaret and members of her whanau gather before the service.

DeaconMargaret Birtles, seen here with Deacon Edna Evans, and District Superintendent Rev Dr Susan Thompson. Deacons and Presbyters gather at the front of the church to pray with Margaret.
Synod - 8th March 2013

Synod met at Melville Church. In accordance with our custom in recent years,the minister of the host church was invited to share his or her faith journey with the synod. Clickhereto read the challenging journey that Rev David Poultney shared with us.

We also welcomed a number of new faces to the Synod during the course of the evening:

Rev Anne Preston (on the left, at right) was recently inducted as minister at Hamilton East Parish. Here she demonstrates the warmth of the relationship already establishedwith parish Synod representative, Mrs Catherine Dickie.

Among other new faces at Synod, were, at left, Veitomoni Suifanga Trinity College student currently attached as a private student at Chartwell Cooperating Parish, and Mrs Daina Croft (centre)Synod representative from All Saint's Hamilton (also parish administrator). On the right isMele Molitika who has beencoming to Synod for a couple of years. Mele is a theological student, and her 'placement' at Hamilton Parish this year was acknowledged by Synod.

Also welcomed to Synod, but not present when this photo was taken, was Mr Paul Ma'u, whosewife Mrs Jennifer Ma'u is a Synod representative for St Francis Parish, Hamitlon.
Methodist Conference - 3 - 7 November, Wellington 2012
At the Methodist Conference in Wellington,Rev Doris Elphick of Te Aroha, officially 'retired'. Her address to the Conference can be readhere.
Induction of new Fijian Talatala - 14th October 2012
The new Fijian talatala (Presbyter)of the Fijian congregations of the Waikato-Waiariki Tabacakacaka (Hamilton East, Rotorua and Tauranga), Rev Akuila Bale, was inducted at a service at Hamilton East Church on Sunday 14th October.The service was led by Rev. Dr. Susan Thompson, the Waikato-Waiariki Synod Superintendent and Rev. Peni Tikoinaka, Superintendent of Wasewase Ko Viti Kei Rotuma E Niu Siladi. It was attended by Synod members and by members of Wasewase from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.The induction was a wonderful celebration for the Tabacakacaka which has been without their own Talatala since the death of Rev. Apakuki Ratucoka in 2010.

Rev Dr Susan Thompson, District Superintendent of the Waikato- Waiariki Synod enjoys fellowship with the new Talatala Rev Akuila Bale following the induction. Asaeli Tulagi is the Head Steward of all three congregations.

Former Waikato - Waiariki District Superintendent Rev Alan Leadley chats with Rev. Dr Ilaitia Tuwere from Auckland, who was theguest preacher. Greetings were brought to Akuila from Doreen Wilson on behalf of the Waikato Rohe.

On left.

While the day was about celebrating a new arrival, the past was also acknowledged. Both Rev Dr Susan Thompson and the new talatala,RevAkuila Bale paid tribute to the late Rev Apakuki Ratucoka, giving thanks for the work he had done.His memory is very dear tothe hearts of many people. Here, Apakuki's widow, Laisa Ratucoka, centre, is seen relaxing with friends.
Morrinsville Pipe Organ 50th anniversary recital - 16th September 2012
An appreciate audience attended a recital at Morrinsville Methodist Church on 16th September to mark the 50th anniversary of the installation of the church'spipe organ. The organ had previously been in use at the Anglican Cathedral in Christchurch (where it was part of a much larger instrument) and at St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Wellington.Dr Ron Newton, Peter Averi and John Parker wereguest artistsfor the day. Peter had previously played the organ at St Andrews in Wellington, and participated in a recital to mark the installation of the organ at Morrinvsille.

Dr Ron Newton

Mr Peter Averi

Mr John Parker. Assisting, as page turner, his wife Lynley.

Organist for most of the last 50 years, MrsGlenis Westbury, plays "To God be the Glory"- to the hearty accompaniment of the congregation.

The organ - without the usual screen, and unobstructed by people! Thank you Ron, Glenis, John and Peter for a very enjoyable afternoon.

Holm, Orkney Isles - Scotland -2nd September 2012
It is a privilege to report on an event which took place on the opposite side of the world this September. One of our own - Rev John Howell - did us proud!
In January 2008 the two towns of Holm and Taupo wereunited by tragedy. Scottish backpacker Karen Aim was brutally murdered while on a backpacking holiday in Taupo. John was involved in 2008 in leading a memorial service in Taupo, and was instrumental in the creation of a memorialarts scholarship in Karen's memory. One of the scholarship winners, Kate Bevan, created a sculpture of special significance in memory of Karen. During his recentstudy leave, John had the privilege of presenting this sculpture in Karen's home town of Holm, in a service which was described the a senior BBC producer as "particularly touching and poignant".
Thank you John for the way in which you have represented our church and fostered good relationshipsarising fromthis tragic event.
Further background relating to the sculpture can be foundhere


A news report carried on BBC Radio (2:11) can be found athttp://news.stv.tv/north/188465-sculpture-tribute-to-murdered-backpacker-karen-aim-unveiled/

The full service from Holm (1:01:41) can be downloaded at
http://soundcloud.com/radio-orkney/karen-aim-artwork-dedication

Synod - Chartwell Co-operating Church - 3rd and 4th August 2012

Before addressing the business of Synod and the Connexional Church, we welcomed new members of Synod, including Doreen Wilson (left), the new representative of Waikato Rohe, and Mrs Hone Tafuna, shown here with her daughter Gaby. Hone is the newly appointed President of the Methodist Women's Fellowship Waikato/Thames Valley District.
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It was with great pleasure that the Synod welcomed Rev Leigh Sundberg and his wife Dianne. Leigh and Dianne hail from South Africa and are providing supply ministry at Hamilton East Parish. We hope you enjoy your brief time with us. Representatives from Tauranga parish also introduced us to Wez, seen here studying his Synod papers. Wez has agreat story, and, after reading it,(don't cheat - read it first)you can click here to found out what Wez'ssurpriseis!
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Celebrations at Putaruru - Sunday 24th June 2012
On Sunday 24 June 2012, the Anglican/Methodist Cooperating Church of St Paul in Putaruru held a special service to celebrate 35 years of cooperation and also to reflect on the work of early Methodist Home Missioners in the Waikato. A full report of the celebrations can be foundhere.
Bishop David is seen here blessing the sanctuary.
Ron Sheerin had many tales to tell! Rosie Burnett dressed in period costume.
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Synod - Cambridge Union Parish - Friday 8th June 2012
Synod met with usual lively discussion in the worship area of Cambridge Union Church. We were privileged to be reminded of God's love and creation in this setting.
Presidential Visit to Waikato-Waiariki Synod - May 2012
During his official Presidential Visit to the Synod in May, Rev John Roberts and his wife Diana graciously took time out to visit an invited group of elderly Morrinsville members.
...Read more
Synod Refresh - Wednesday 9th May 2012
Rev John Bluck, retired Anglican bishop of Waiapu, was the guest speaker on the second day of an annual two day Synod Refresh meeting at Camp Epworth on the banks of the Waikato River. His topic of "putting faith back on its feet - exploring a theology of place" was well received by a group of about 50 who attended.....read more.
Youth Service at Tauranga - Sunday 29th April 2012
Over 100 people attended the service hosted by Wesley, Tauranga. Admidst prayer and singing, and getting to know each other better, worship was led by teams from Matamata and St Johns East, Hamilton. Vice-President Olive Tanielu brought a message of encouragement tothe young people - thank you Olive. A great time was had by all, with the only outstanding question being - "when can we do this again?".....Read more.
Synod Meeting at Te Aroha - Friday 2nd March 2012
Members of Synod from throughout the district gathered in Te Aroha to rekindle friendships overa tea meal provided by Eastport Womens' Fellowship. In Synod business, we received various reports and engaged in two group discussions. The first considered the Methodist Conference 10Year Mission Priority 'Let the Children Live'. The second looked atreinvigorating a Synodrecommendation to Conferenceto allow lay Synod Superintendencywhen suitable leaders were available, had received appropriate trainingand met with the endorsement of the local Synod. .......Read more.
Ohura Centenary - Sunday19th February 2012
The Centenary of the Ohura Church was celebrated on Sunday 19th February. It was a great day. The church, which is the only Church retaining a witness to the community in Ohura, was packed with former Ohura residents returning for the reunion. The faithful witness of the local congregation is indeed something to celebrate! ......Read more.
Induction of Rev Anne Griffiths to Whakatane Hosipital Chaplaincy - Saturday 18th February 2012.
The induction addresswas given by Rev Doris Elphick......Read more.
Induction of Rev Heather Simpson at Paeroa Co-operating Parish - Thursday 2nd February 2012

Reports of recent events in the life of the Synod, and an accompanying photograph are welcome. Please send to eriwen@farmside.co.nz