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Methodist Church Blog

Christmas message from the President


Rather than written communication, I've chosen to offer a Christmas message through the medium of YouTube.

Simply click on this link:

Every blessing to you as you transition through this Christmas season into 2021

Andrew Doubleday


Methodist Church of New Zealand

Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa


Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,

"..that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:21 (NRSV) 

We warmly greet you all with love on this is our 93rd presidential blog and our last. Our first blog marked the first week of our Presidential term. During these two years and two months we have explored what it means to weave us together to proclaim life. We have prayerfully woven together all the various parts of Te Haahi Weteriana as best we can with God's help. 


It is important that we acknowledge all those who have contributed – young and not so young, presbyters, deacons, lay people, Maori, Pakeha, Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, South African, Zimbabwean and Korean. We have appreciated hearing your voices, your challenges and your hopes. It is our hope and prayer that as we listen and hear each other, our unfinished mat continues to be woven further and further as God the ultimate weaver continues to lead the church through what lies ahead. 


We also acknowledge those people who have prayed for us over these last two years. We have been aware of your prayers, love and support throughout this journey of many ups and downs. Throughout all we have experienced God's love and empowerment. We also appreciate the challenges that have been put to us, through which we have learned and grown in our understanding of being part of a diverse church and family. We thank you all for your understanding, patience and encouragement of us over these two years. 


We will continue to serve God and the Church that we both love. Setaita will resume her role as Director of Mission Resourcing working more closely with parishes and synods. Nicola will continue her ministry with the people of the Devonport Methodist Parish during 2021 as well as training for ordained ministry. Our experiences of these last two years have added to our kite of knowledge that will assist us on our journey forward in ministry and life. We thank God for all our blessings. 


We cannot express our thanks enough to our chaplains Rev Jill van de Geer and Te Aroha Rountree. They have kept us calm, they have offered support and pastoral care whenever we needed it, they have been present with us throughout. We pray God will continue to bless you both and your ministries. We acknowledge with gratitude the guidance and support we have received from General Secretary Rev David Bush. David, we wish you well and God's blessing as you conclude your appointment as General Secretary and begin a new phase of your life. Our final note of thanks is to our families – Maika and Peter and our whanau. Without their continued love and support we would not have been able to do it all on our own. We acknowledge their contribution to the life of Te Haahi Weteriana, which has been behind the scenes. Our love to you all and we thank God for you all. 


Lastly but not least, to President elect Rev Andrew Doubleday and Vice President elect Edwin Talakai. We wish you both well. We will continue to pray for you and support you both during the next two years. We pray that your journey will be as rewarding, and hope filled as we have found ours to have been. May God guide you and give you wisdom as you lead Te Haahi Weteriana over the next two years. 


For the last time, President Setaita reflects on our theme Weaving us together to proclaim life. 

'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola

4 November 2020

Weaving Us Together To Proclaim Life
"That they may all be one."

John 17:20-23 NRSV

20"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jesus is praying to his Father. It is the night of the last supper. Jesus has shared a meal with his disciples, washed their feet, given them a new commandment to love as he loves, and told them of his leaving. Now he prays. In these verses we overhear a portion of his prayer. He prays for us. Three times he asks God that we would all become one as he and God are one.

If Jesus is praying for our oneness then he is also recognising and rejecting the boundaries and differences that divide us. There are divisions within ourselves, our families and whanau, our churches, our clans, tribes, iwi, our government, our nation. We live in a world full of divisions – male or female; young or old; rich or poor; white or black or brown; Christian or Muslim; conservative or liberal; heaven or earth; divine or human. We could go on and on listing the boundaries that we encounter and all too often establish or promote. They are not just divisions they have become oppositions. These divisions exist not only in the church and out there in the world but primarily and first in the human heart. We project on to the world our fragmented lives.

For every boundary we establish there is a human being. Ultimately, boundaries and differences are not about issues. They are about real people, with names, lives, joys, sorrows, concerns, and needs just like all of us.

Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei hea te Komako e ko?
Uia mai koe ki ahau; He aha te mea nui o te ao?
Maku e ki atu
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

If the centre of the flax is cut out
Where will the Bellbird sing?
If you ask me; What is the most important thing in the world?
I would reply
It is people! It is people! It is people!

Whether or not we admit it the boundaries we establish and enforce are usually done in such a way as to 
favour us; to make us feel ok, to reassure us that we are right and in control, chosen and desired, seen and recognised, approved of and accepted. Often, it is in order for me to win someone must lose, in order for me to be included someone must be excluded otherwise winning and being included mean nothing. The divisions of our lives in some way become self-perpetuating.

Jesus does not pray for our tolerance, our getting along, or just being nice to each other.  He does not even pray that our differences would be eliminated. Instead he prays for our oneness. He prays that we would be one as he and the Father are one so that our oneness would be the revelation of God's

presence to the world. Oneness in the midst of difference becomes a sacramental presence of God's life in the world. 

That does not mean, however, that we lose our identity or individuality. Jesus does not stop being Jesus and the Father stop being the Father because they are one. Oneness is less about numbers and quantity and more qualitative. Jesus and the Father are one because they love and give themselves to each other. Oneness is a quality of life – God's life. Jesus' prayer for oneness is ultimately that we would all be and live like God.

This is ultimately the vision, aspiration and faithful prayer contained in our theme "Weaving Us Together To Proclaim Life" for Te Haahi Weteriana O Aotearoa.

Oneness is not about eliminating differences. It is about love. Love is the only thing that can ever overcome division. Over and over Jesus tells us that.

*Love God. Love your neighbour. Love yourself. Love your enemy.

Our love for God, neighbour, self, and enemy reveals our oneness, and the measure of our oneness, our God-likeness, is love. In love there may be differences but there is no division.

It is Love alone, and only in and through love, can we be Woven Together in the midst of our differences and hence Proclaim Life. When we, ourselves are one as the Father and Son are one and they in us as one, the World will know that God sent Jesus, the life which we Proclaim.

God's love knows no boundaries. All are loved fully, completely, and uniquely as each needs.

God does not even draw boundaries between Jesus and us. God loves you the same as he loves Jesus.

God loves your neighbour the same as he loves Jesus. God loves your enemy the same as he loves Jesus.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." John 3:16 NRSV

For far too long we have dealt with each other through our boundaries, differences, and divisions. When we deal with others through our divisions we label, do violence, and argue in our defence. And we struggle to see no oneness in that.

Though Jesus is praying to the Father, you and I will in large part be the ones to answer Jesus's prayer. God's answer to Jesus' prayer is through us. We answer his prayer every time we choose how to love, who to love, where to love. It is time we answer Jesus' prayer and deal with one another in love.

It is with humble gratefulness to God, at the completion of our term of Presidency, that we place the church leadership in the loving hands of the incoming Presidential Team trusting that God's perfect Love would continue to Weave Us Together to Proclaim Life.

Nicola Teague Grundy
Vice President 
Prayer for this week

Holiest Mystery,
Community of love,
Creator, Christ, Spirit,
connecting, caressing, cajoling
us into the image of wholeness
tattooed on the heart and the soul
of every living thing.

We are not alone,
never isolated except in the imagination
of our wounded hearts.

Christ abide in us,
and we in Him,
and the joy of this is why we sing,
and why we pray,
and why we take our place
in this happy communion.

Thank you for this banquet of love,
this feast of joy,
this miracle of common purpose
In Christ

Adapted from This Happy Communion by Bruce Sanguin



Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,

On our second to last week in office, we have been privileged to have spent time with the four people who will be ordained at Conference this year – Kimberley Chiwona, Tevita Kau, Tara Tautari and Simon Williams. The ordinands have spent time in retreat and preparation for ordination which is for life. They are being led by Rev's Arapera Ngaha and Misilei Misilei who are guiding them through a time of reflecting on their journey from training into a life of service and ministry.


While being with them we listened and shared our respective stories of our journeys, shared our passions, dreams, and hopes for the future, and prayed together. We were aware that they will continue with the mantle that has been handed on by those who have gone before them. We have faith that they will begin new journeys as ordained ministers putting into practice all that they have learned and experienced. Our prayers are with them all.


We have also been preparing for the Conference Powhiri where we will also acknowledge those who have died during the two years of our office. There are 43 people who we will acknowledge and pay tribute to – presbyters, minita-a-iwi and lay people. People who have been held up as exemplifying what it means to live a Christian life, people we have looked up to. We are mindful of and upholding their families in prayer. We wish to pay tribute to each of them in our blog today. 


William Abbott, Bryant Abbott, Robert Andrews, David Baird, Raewyn Bayliss, Margaret Burnett, Bill Chessum, Maurice Copeland, Frances Crosbee, John Drylie, June Fuller, James George, Catherine Gibson,

Joan Hawley, Elsme Heggie, Muriel Ingles, Vonnie Keightley, Frances Kingi-Katene, Jackie Langdale-Hunt,

Derek Laws, Vilma Loader, Audrey Matthews, Melema'u Molitika, Fisiihoi Mone, David Mullan, Paewhenua

Nathan, William Nathan, Nomani Aiono, John Osborne, Christine Peak, Ruawai Rakena, Jim Rauwhero, Percy Rushton, Lynette Sadler, Asofiafia Samoa-Saleupolu, Hazel Simpkin, Philip Taylor, Pat Teague, Alexander Webster, Raymond Wicks, Florence Williams, Andrea Williamson, Robin Ziegler.


While we have been looking back and reflecting on what has been, it is also a time when we look forward with hope and excitement.  A time for a new journey, new ways of doing things, new normals. For us we look back with gratitude and also look forward to new beginnings and new adventures in ministry and continuing to serve the God we love.

'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola


30 October 2020

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. (1 John 3: 1)


This Sunday is All Saints day. A day that we recall those who for each of us model God's call to live an exemplary life in the world. A day that we bring into focus the God who does the unexpected through the lives of humans.


We tell stories of our heroes through the centuries.  Our heroes may well be our parents, our ancestors, those people who inspired us or taught us important life lessons. They may be our teachers, our mentors, our critics and our encouragers.


They are likely to be people who have enabled us to grow and mature in our faith. People who have been faithful witnesses through hard times, who have made difficult decisions, who have been innovators. They won't have been perfect; they will have been human. 


We may have their photos on our wall, and a sense that these people continue to be with us, to watch over us. Even though they have died, it is their love and compassion, their instruction and correction, their laughter and tears, their honesty and humility, their sacrifice and dedication, and most of all, their faith, that is their legacy and our example.


The passage from 1 John 3 reminds us that we are all children of God. It tells us of God's love for humanity. Love is the Word of God that created the world, and this creative love of God has the power to renew us and give us strength.  When humanity


encounters hardship (and this year has been and continues to be a year of hardship for many), the creative Spirit of God can lift us up and renew us.


What a great gift of love.


We are being charged to love God and to love one another.   We are being reminded that we are all made in the image of God.


We are all born with a purpose which involves living our life to the fullest and to be the best possible creation of God that we can be.


To receive the love of God is a gift, which we do not have to earn, but we must work toward doing our best in order to honour God.


As we look to All Saints Day, I am mindful of those saints who have died over the last two years. Those presbyters, minita-a-iwi, lay people who for many of us have been those who have lived an exemplary life of faith. Let us be inspired to live in this world showing the love of God through our actions.


As Christians, we live with hope in Christ, the hope that all things will be renewed, the hope that we will not remain the same but will become new. We have the difficult task of hoping in the things that will come. Our faith will take us there, sustain us, and keep us going forward.



Nicola Teague Grundy

Vice President



Prayer for this week

Lord of time and timelessness,

we look back with gratitude at what you have done for us and through us.

We look forward in anticipation for the completion of what you have begun again in us

We look forward in awareness, eager to respond to the signs of hope in our midst.

Teach us to rest secure in your presence, accompanying us on the way.

Inspire us to acknowledge the signs of hope

found always in Jesus, the Christ,

in whose name we pray.





Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa, 

We are enjoying the last weeks of our term of office. This week Vice President Nicola responded to an invitation that was made last year to visit the Dunedin Methodist Parish. Dunedin of course holds a special place in Nicola's heart having been part of the Dunedin Methodist Parish up until 2005. While in Dunedin, Nicola shared in worship at a Parish service, spoke at an education evening and spent time catching up with people. It was good to meet with a parish that is in good heart and to hear some of their stories. 

During this year, Vice President Nicola has been offering part time lay supply in the Methodist Parish at Devonport. Devonport Parish has been offering a Methodist witness for 165 years. It is thought that the first preacher at Devonport was a young Maori - Anatipa. Anatipa was probably a student at the Methodist College at Three Kings. Services then were held outdoors, probably on the beach near Torpedo Bay. Later on worship was held in a school room built by the Anglican Church and class meetings were established and held in the home of the signalman for the Flagstaff signal station.

Now, the parish is looking at how that witness continues in a new era – an era when technology and covid have a strong influence on how we move forward. As Devonport thinks about their future, two questions become important. These two questions are those that our young people are also reflecting on:

  1. How can we remain in connexion when we are unable to connect in person?
  2. If the lifeblood of our faith community is the regularity of being able to gather kanohi te kanohi (face to face), what fills the void when that is no longer possible?

As we both share in the celebration this weekend with Devonport, we are conscious that it is possible that more people will be joining via zoom than physically present. The Parish is excited that the President will be preaching at this service of celebration. This will be an interesting experience for us all. If you would like to join our celebration at Devonport this weekend, then you are welcome to register via this link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the celebration.

We are mindful that there will be many different experiences of worship this weekend – we know of parishes who will be conducting their AGM's, where some are still worshipping on-line, and for others where services will be led by lay preachers, or their presbyter or deacon. We wish everyone well as you continue to reflect and proclaim the transforming love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and declared in the Scriptures. President Setaita reflects on the gospel reading for this week.

'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola


23 October 2020

Love God and Neighbour

"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets." Matthew 22: 37-40

Billy Graham once answered a letter in his daily newspaper column from someone who was upset that churches and charities don't pay a cent in taxes. The writer was upset that he had to "pay until it hurts". In his reply, Billy Graham said that if all the food banks, homeless shelters, hospitals, community centres, addiction rehabilitation centres and other organizations were forced to close, millions of lives would be hurt. If they did close, governmental agencies would be forced to fill the gap-at enormous cost to taxpayers. He closed his reply with the following words:

No system is perfect, but I urge you not to turn a blind eye to the good done by the vast number of churches and other organisations who are sincerely seeking to serve others. Christians take seriously Jesus' command: "Love your neighbour as yourself".

When Jesus was asked which Commandment was the most important, it was a loaded question. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus, but Jesus turned the trap on them. All of the commandments were equal because they were created by God. Jesus used the opportunity to point out that all of the laws that the Pharisees came up with to make certain that the Jews kept the Commandments, were summarised by the two Great Commandments that Jesus gave us: "Love God, and love people". Both commandments are related and are of equal importance. They are the basics of Christianity.

2 Sundays ago, I worshipped at the Wesley Retirement Village in Christchurch, in a well filled Chapel with many elderly residents, some of whom were lovingly wheeled in on their beds or wheelchairs. While I thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and Service taken by Chaplain Rev Jill vandeGeer, it was a blessing to once again witness that the employees of nursing homes are a good example of the fact that loving others comes from the knowledge that each person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. They treat the residents with the dignity and respect that the residents deserve. They show their love by doing their


jobs to the best of their ability, and by doing so; they show the love they have for the residents. They try to help their neighbours, and by doing so, they are doing what God wants them to do. This love involves denying themselves for the good of others. People don't care how much we know, until they know how much we care.

But what if loving our neighbour means that we need to listen to the world and be engaged with it? There are times when people help each other out by having building bees where neighbours come together to build houses. Other times they come together to help each other with the harvest or to care for sick neighbours or elderly parents. Those are examples of loving people as God loved us.

The way God knows that we love God is by how we treat people. Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience or gentleness, we see the Lord's love at work through us, especially when the other person has been unkind and doesn't deserve such pleasant treatment. Our relationships with others demand priority over things that won't last or won't matter in a few years. If we love God and love people, we will naturally obey the rest of the Commandments. That's only natural. After all, the two Great Commandments are an example of the Golden Rule.

It is our faith that God loves us that makes us able to love ourselves and therefore be grateful for the gift of ourselves. This awareness of life as a gift is what we mean by loving God. When we love ourselves, we are grateful to God, and this gratitude sets us free to love other people. When we truly love people, we value them as gifts of God.

Jesus' teaching isn't just about how we feel about God and neighbour, but what we will do. We are to love God with all our lives, including our work. It is the basis of our obedience to God. It shows that our love for God is number one in our lives. Love for God and love for all of those who are made in God's image form the backbone of everything God says to us as written in the Bible. In the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:10, "Love is the fulfilment of the law".


May we all be Woven Together To Proclaim Life as we Love God and our neighbours in all that we do and say.


'Oku ou 'ofa atu fau mo e lotu hufia
Setaita Taumoepeau K Veikune


Prayer for this week 


Stir us, O God, with your vibrant desire.

Move us, O God, to work for your justice.

Inspire us, O God, to active service,

Keep us, O God, from complacent indifference.

Challenge us, O God, with your compassion and mercy.

Take and shape us, O God,

To live and love as your Son, Jesus Christ.


Prayer: Stir us, O God. Written by Ian Black
Published in Prayers for all Occasions.


Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,

We are in the last few weeks of our term of office and it does not lessen our ministries, our heart to serve and our availability for people and the church. Both of us are away from Auckland this week, President Setaita has been in Christchurch since last Friday and from Saturday this week Vice President Nicola will be in Dunedin. We also look forward to a 165th anniversary celebration at the Devonport Methodist Parish over Labour Weekend. All of this and an election as well. So please note there is still time to register and don't forget to vote.
Recently all Synods and Te Taha Maori will have received a paper about the resolution of claims of historic abuse of children in care. Synods were encouraged to discuss the paper and consider the recommendation that money be put aside to help cover the costs of resolving these claims. However, money is only one aspect of the resolution.

This week President Setaita, along with General Secretary David and Jill Hawkey Chair of Methodist Alliance, have been meeting with some of the victims of abuse. The purpose of the meeting has been to offer in person an apology on behalf of the Methodist Church. It has been a week of tears and testimonies of healing, renewal and hope for new beginnings. President Setaita notes that this has been one of the highlights of her term of Presidency.

"It is having to look the abused person in the eye and saying I am sorry, on behalf of the church. For the church to be there to cry with the person, to rejoice with the person and to see the hope that the person (and in some cases their whanau) walk away with, is more than a privilege. To witness the healing that takes place when an abused person is believed, is powerful."

Each person is offered a piece of pounamu, which is received with such gratitude and brings them to tears. One of the things that has been common in all these meetings is the conviction that God is real and present – it is this that brings hope. At the end of all the meetings, President Setaita just sits and cries – tears of compassion and tears of joy.

These meetings will continue, and Vice President Nicola will be attending one in the future. Throughout our term of office, it is in the meetings with people, listening to their stories, these are the blessings. Being able to sit alongside people who are often in the background and acknowledging their service, thanking them on behalf of the Church. This is one of the highlights that we treasure as we move towards the end of our term and look to another new beginning with new leadership. This week President Setaita reflects on the change of seasons.

'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola
 13 October 2020

A New Season 

"To everything there is a season, a time for every person under heaven."
Esslesiastes 3:1

We serve a God of season. We see it in creation. God created the seasons that are based upon the rotation of the Earth as it orbits the Sun. The seasons change as the earth moves, but the sun in our planetary system remains constant, and everything revolves around it.


Though we serve a God of season, God does not measure seasons with clocks and calendars, but with your experience in the Lord. Every aspect of our life is like a season and there is a purpose for those seasons. There is a reason for the season.

There are seasons you will prefer not to go through. But looking back, you can agree with me that, you will not be who you are today, without that season. You may not understand why you went through it, but it shaped who you are. There is a reason for that season.

Today can signify the end of one season and the onset of a new season. In just over three weeks time Te Haahi Weteriana will reach the end of the current term of leadership, ready to begin with the leadership of the next Presidential team and General Secretary. In one weeks' time Aotearoa will embrace the beginning of a new term of leadership with a newly elected government. In our journey with covid 19, Auckland now joins the rest of New Zealand at alert level 1, having ended (hopefully for a long season) alert level 2.

If the season that has just ended for you, started and ended of your own accord, we can let God begin a good work in us this new season.

New seasons come with changes. Whether you have been a Christian all your life or not, whether you have been a Methodist all your life or not, when you start a new season, it comes with change. You, have changed, remember we serve a God of seasons. Even in God's creation, God created the seasons. Each season is different from the others. Some are meant for things to grow, and other for things to die off.

Summer – plants reach optimal growth

Spring – plants begin to grow

Winter – leaves die, sustainer being the root. If the root is not solid, the whole plant will die.

In some seasons the days are longer, in others the night. 

  Looking at Peter, he entered into a new season when Jesus called him to follow Him. "As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fish for people. Immediately they left their nets and followed him." – Matthew 4: 18-20

In the morning, Peter was just an ordinary fisherman, by evening when he met Jesus, he became fisher of people. Peter stepped into a new season and was changed. He was made into and transformed into something he wasn't.

Fishing for people is different from fishing for fishes. It's not necessarily easier, but the outcome is grander. In fact, it is more challenging to fish for people than fishes. Looking around the church and the body of Christ today, I am sure will agree with me. But fishing for people is definitely more rewarding.

The new season comes with its challenges. A new terrain, new obstacles to cross, and new milestones to set. Remember, last season, you already had your routine. Whatever they were, good or bad, you had them. This new season, if you continue with the old approach, you might surprise yourself.

Members of Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa, let this new season be one where God starts a new work in you. Phil 1:6 "I am confident in this that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."

The sun remains constant, and as the earth rotates around it, the earth changes its season. In many ways we see the signature of the same artist in our lives. Much like the earth, our lives should revolve around the Son, Jesus Christ. Our lives will change, and we will enter and exit many seasons, but the Son remains constant yesterday, today and forever.

Yes, the seasons will change but if Jesus is at the centre of it, whether its spring, summer, or winter, if your root is solid, transfixed onto Jesus in the centre … while the past season might have failed you or not be up to par, THIS SEASON WILL BE A VICTORIOUS ONE FOR YOU IN JESUS NAME.

1 Corinthians 15: 58 "Therefore my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."

'Oku ou 'ofa atu fau kia kimoutolu mo e lotu hufia
Setaita T Taumoepeau K Veikune


Prayer for this week

God of love, God for all,
your purposes are more beautiful than we can possibly imagine.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit.
Help us let go of all that holds us back.
Open our lives and our churches to new seasons of humility and faith, of change and growth.
Shake us up with the Good News of Jesus and show us the way. Amen