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Methodist Church Blog

CWS - Christmas Appeal

Christian World Service – Making a Difference for 70 Years


On December 15, 1945, an article headed "Help for Greece" appeared in "The Press". It asked the public for financial assistance so that 4 relief teams could be sent to Greece to provide humanitarian aid and assist with reconstruction. This was the first Christmas appeal by what is now Christian World Service (CWS).

In a recent address to supporters, former Prime Minister and now Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Helen Clark, reflected on CWS's beginnings. 

"CWS was one of the many organisations formed in response to the need for reconstruction in Europe after the destruction wrought by World War 2.  Its formation was a response by New Zealanders offering concrete, local and practical assistance to help reconstruct the lives of those devastated by that cataclysm."

70 years later some things have not changed so very much. Catastrophic events in Syria remind us, as if we needed it, that many people in the world are continually beset by desperate need born of chaos. And CWS, now New Zealand's longest serving home-grown development and aid agency, continues to respond to crises triggered by conflict, poverty and climate, forging and building on relationships with partners on the ground.

"Every day people all over the world are doing their best to build lives for themselves and their families in what are often almost impossible circumstances" says National Director Pauline McKay. "Violence, lack of resources and extremes of weather make even marginal life difficult for too many of our world's people.

Making a difference on the ground

But there is hope", she says. "Our task is to connect resources with the people who are making a difference on the ground."

In Gaza, where the war has left children traumatised and without vital healthcare, CWS's partner is helping provide these shocked and injured young people with the skilled psychological support they need.

In Vanuatu, the recent cyclone swept away the gardens that sustain rural communities. But CWS's Nivan partner is making tools and seeds available so people can feed their families once again.

And while the conflict in Sudan has generated chaos and insecurity, the possibility of free education provided by local communities in partnership with CWS is preparing a new generation for a new life.


CWS's commitment to partnership as a way to support people in crisis is at the heart of its work. It's something that struck Helen Clark powerfully when she visited a CWS programme in Uganda in 2008.

"That initiative was part of the Church of Uganda's response to HIV and AIDS", she says.  "It was an example of CWS' distinctive model of partnership - working at the grassroots with vulnerable and marginalised people and trusting the community to know what is needed and how best to make it happen.

"This model of partnership is now accepted as good development practice and one of the underlying values of the UNDP.  CWS was a pioneer in this partner-led approach."

Development and politics

CWS soon recognised it was impossible to separate aid from its political and social context. Education and advocacy became core values for CWS along with a growing emphasis on action against the root causes of inequality and poverty.

As Helen Clark observes, "CWS has always spoken out against injustice, globally and locally. It has consistently highlighted why poverty exists, even when that has put it at odds with the government of the day and even when its stance has not been popular with the general public.  However, over the past 70 years CWS has been proven to have been on the right side of history."

Pauline McKay acknowledges that CWS takes some satisfaction from that. "We're proud of all we have achieved with our partners, but there is still much more to do. Our emergency relief, campaigns and community development focus on ensuring people have the basics of life, while protecting their environment and community services for future generations.

"People are struggling to have enough food and water. Unfair trade rules and climate change worsen the problem. Natural disasters and conflicts are devastating poor communities.

"Every Christmas, for the last 70 years, Christian World Service has asked the New Zealand community to support its work with partners like these" says Pauline McKay.

"And we're doing it once again this year, because the opportunity to resource partners in places like Gaza, Vanuatu and Sudan is one way New Zealanders can help enable people at risk to overcome the odds that are otherwise so shockingly stacked against them."

Chris Nichol


Or link to our web page.

Watch a series of messages from partners, Helen Clark and John Nduna plus a visual history of CWS.

Make a donation to the 2015 Christmas Appeal, post a cheque to Box 22652, Christchurch, or call 0800 747372.

Your contribution will make a world of difference.

CWS Syria Appeal

"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Matthew 25:35.

Dear Church 

It has been wonderful to see New Zealand churches responding to the tragic situation facing refugees.  There have been heart breaking images and stories in our media of people fleeing war and danger.  Attention has focused on what is happening in Europe where more than 300,000 people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea or travelled overland with the help of people smugglers.  

There are many more refugees closer to Syria.  Turkey is sheltering close to 2 million, Lebanon 1.1 million, Jordan 630,000 plus more in Iraq, Egypt and northern Africa.  Most are living below the poverty line and are find it difficult to cope, especially with insufficient support from United Nations agencies.  Intensified fighting in Syria and the difficult living conditions in the region are pushing more refugees to seek the fortune in Europe.  

We are asking you to help us again.  Our partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees is working with refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.  With great compassion they are helping refugees and are working hard to build good relationships between very vulnerable people – Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian.  They are distributing food, water, hygiene kits, healthcare and skills training as well as running programmes for children.  

You can keep up to date with news and download an appeal leaflet here.

Training and mobilising leaders from within the refugee community have been critical to the success of their work.  They will stay until the work is done.  Within Syria, ACT (Action by Churches Together) Alliance members are distributing what food and supplies they have where they are able.  More funds are needed now to help people who have nothing left.

The tremendous support for Syrian refugees and the campaign to increase the refugee quota is a reminder that New Zealanders are compassionate and prepared to meet our responsibility to refugees under international law.   Internationally churches are providing compassionate support to refugees and migrants in their countries.  Together we want to help as many people as we can.  Please support efforts in your community and our Syria Appeal.  Please keep the refugees, those providing help and those who can bring an end to the war in your prayers.

Thank you.
Pauline McKay
National Director

An important Appointment

Significant appointment announced.

A special announcement was made to the Council of Conference meeting held on September 4th, 2015 advising of the Royal appointments of Tumuaki Diana Tana, Dr Arapera Ngaha and Rev Rex Nathan to the Kahui Wairua. [Religious Council of His Majesty King Tuheitia.

Seven churches namely Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, Ratana, Ringatu, Pai Marire have a representative each. The Methodist Church has three representatives.

Appointments were made early in 2014 and our representatives have been working quietly alongside the King and his advisors on a variety of matters in relation to the Kingitanga.

The Council recognised the honour and responsibility of the role and commends Diana, Arapera and Rex to your prayers.

Dr Arapera Ngaha, Rev Rex Nathan, Tumuaki Rev Diana Tana

Refugees: We can do more - a call to action

He was a distinguished looking man, mid 50's. His bearing suggested he had been a person of some significance, probably one to whom people went to for advice and counsel. We met him far from his home in Sudan – selling – or trying to sell useless trinkets to tourists in Cannes.

The taxi driver told me he grew up in Ninevah. Yes the same city Jonah was reluctantly sent to. Some of his family still live there. A Christian, one of the several million who have fled persecution in the Middle East, he calls Wellington home. Now a New Zealand citizen, he has enjoyed and contributed to richness of our society for 20 years.

There are times when human tragedy on a large scale unfolds before us. This is one of those times. The brief images on the television news only hint at the horrors and desperation which causes families to risk extreme danger in the hope of finding a new life, somewhere, anywhere which might provide safety and security.

There is no question New Zealand can make a difference to refugees and could do more. Increasing the quota, doubling or better for 2 -3 years to attend to the worst of the crisis. The Government however seems to be deaf, but I suspect they will no longer sit on their hands if 1000's of New Zealanders write to or visit their member of parliament asking for compassionate action on our behalf.

Yes it might mean as churches we need to offer practical support to help refugees find and make a home in New Zealand. Faith, compassion and our common humanity call us to action.

David Bush
General Secretary – Methodist Church of New Zealand
4 September 2015

This statement was endorsed by Council of Conference and is issued on behalf of the Methodist Church of New Zealand.

Mission and Ecumenical Annual Appeal 2015

Mission and Ecumenical Annual Appeal 2015

Light up Young Lives

Tabaka Solar Power Fund

Tabaka Rural Training Institute

Established in 1992 by the United Church of Solomon Islands

The institute trains over 100 young men and women in various skills from outboard motor and generator repair to hospitality and tourism.

The need to light up the main hall of the institute is felt for some time. Due to lack of power the young lives are in dark in the evening.

A Solar Power Unit for the main hall will help the students to do studies in the evening as well as provide light for recreational activities.

Read more…