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Meet the future presbyters: Trinity College students offer mix of talents

The Methodist Church is respected because it mediates a message of transformation to a society that is desperately in need of Christian purposes and values, says Board of Ministry commissioner John Hinchcliff.

"With the serious social, ecological and personal challenges facing our society, more than ever we need people willing to declare the ‘good news’ of the gospel with courage through word and action. We need ministers to bring their different and unique talents to build up the various dimensions of the church to the glory of God, and for the well-being of our communities," John says.

"This year Trinity College has 11 students. Each brings a new and important set of talents. We embrace with gratitude, respect and good will those people who have chosen to become full-time servants and leaders of the church. We encourage them to confront the inevitable times of difficult challenge knowing Church members are willing to offer their support."

The current cohort of Trinity College students are: (left to right) Ikilifi Pope, Joohong Kim, Misilei Misilei, David Palelei, Dale Peach, retreat leader Liz Hopner, David Poultney, Kathleen Dixon and Simote Taunga. Absent: Metuisela Tafuna and Hiueni Nuku

The students are:

Joohong Kim

I am originally from Korea and married to Sooyoung. We have two children; Hannah and Eunjong. It has been eight years since we moved to New Zealand from Korea.

Having enjoyed lay ministry, I made up my mind to do fulltime ministry for the rest of my life. My previous lay ministry was mainly with young people and still I am interested in youth ministry. However, without support and help from the whole congregation, youth ministry is not effective. I think that young people are in need of wisdom and inspiration from those of us who are more elderly, who have gone through where the young are yet to go.

‘Ikilifi Pope

I am a third year student. I am Niuean-Tongan, my father was Niuean and my mother Tongan. I arrived in New Zealand from Tonga in 1986 as a student to the Bible College of New Zealand. I married Lesieli in 1987 and we have five daughters.

Being in ministry is the fulfilment of my call to serve God and community. Theologically, I have something to offer the church particularly in a context that is shaped by post modernism. In my future ministry, I intend to keep theologising, to develop initiatives and strategies that enhance the understanding of God in our world today.

David Poultney

I have made a long journey to being a candidate for ministry here in Aotearoa. Born in England, I moved here in 2000 and am now very much at home. Not only have I moved countries I have also moved churches. I was a Roman Catholic and spent several years in a Benedictine monastery. After that I trained as a psychiatric nurse, which was my job until I came to Trinity College in 2006.

I candidated from Dunedin, where I was a member at Broad Bay then at Glenaven. Coming into ministry training I have a strong sense that this is the best use of the talents and abilities I have been given. Everything that has gone before is now a part of my growing into ministry.

This is my final year and is a very busy one. I’m student supply minister at Kingsland church and have started postgraduate study. My priority right now is making the most of the time I have at Kingsland and in study to equip me for the future.

Metuisela Tafuna

I came to Trinity Theological College from the Dunedin Parish in 2006. I am a Tongan but I have always seen Dunedin as my home in New Zealand. "Love you Dunedin – Yeah!!!"

It is has always been my dream to work for the Methodist Church in parish ministry. I am in my third year and currently a Supply Student Presbyter at St Mary’s Cooperating Parish in Glen Innes. This is a great learning opportunity for me and my family.

I see parish ministry as a golden opportunity to engage in promoting God’s transforming love which was revealed in Jesus the Christ and in the Bible. I am a community person and I love working with people from all walks of life. It is hard but through the power of the Holy Spirit we will be able to do it – of course we will.

Kathleen Dixon

I'm Kiwi born and bred, but without a church history. I was, however, raised with a commitment to service. I came to Methodism less than 20 years ago, but it was like a home-coming. It took me a while, but eventually I realised that God had been equipping me for service in the church through ordained ministry. Others agreed and I'm now in my second year, working very hard at a B. Theol and the accompanying ministry formation with its focus on personal and spiritual growth along with "how-to's" of church business, worship, and pastoral care. It's all exciting.

Hiueni Nuku

I came from a village, Ha’utu in Tonga. I was educated at Tupou College and from 1984 to 1986 I was a teacher at Tupou College. I migrated to New Zealand in 1986. My wife is Tongi’aepau and we have four children, Matamoana, Tu’ipulotu, Lavinia and ‘Anaseini. I work full time as the mnager of Porirua Union & Community Health Service in Cannons Creek, Porirua.

I know that this is my call for mnistry. It took me a long time to be reassured by my call. I was brought up in Tonga and here in New Zealand diverse people in my churches and communities, I really want to do this training to accommodate the different needs of our people.

Misilei Misilei

Talofa and Greetings! I’m Samoan, brought up in the Methodist Church in Samoa by my parents who were Methodist ministers. I immigrated to New Zealand in 1976. I am married to Vai and we have three children, Richard, Laura and Ramona. I candidated for ministry from Pitt Street Church, my home and family church since 1976.

I worked, as an Investigator for the IRD for over 20 years. I have offered myself to serve God through full time ministry as part of my life long faith journey. I am enjoying the challenges of training and academic study at the moment.

With the Grace of God, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the support of my wife and family, my church family and the Methodist Church, I look forward to carrying out God’s ministry.

Simote Taung

I’m Tongan and this is my first year as a student at Trinity Methodist Theological College. I am training as a local presbyter for the Tongan Auckland Manukau Parish. My wife is ‘Akesa and we have four sons and a daughter and three grandchildren.

I hope at the end of my training to serve our Lord in the Tongan Methodist Church.

David Palelei

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

Talofa Lava my name is David Palelei. I am a young New Zealand-born Samoan. My family and I candidated from the Manurewa Methodist Samoan Parish under Sinoti Samoa in Auckland. Our passion lies with our children today, and through our family Ministry and with God as our light and salvation we know without fear we can assist our troubled teens of today. We are all enjoying the experience so far of being at Trinity Methodist Theological College and look forward to the year ahead. God Bless.

Dale Peach

I’m a born, bred, and maturing Christchurch Methodist. My committed dance with God began during my latter primary school years and through my teens was nurtured by the Pentecostal networks of my Methodist Church.

My life and God experiences have built on these foundations and led to my liberal theological understandings. Ministry for me is about empowering people to truly believe all God’s creation is precious to and loved by God. My ministry training this year enables my family to stay in Christchurch and sees me engaging pastorally with a parish new to me and finishing my Bachelor of Theology.