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Uniting Congregations appoint first ordained executive

By Paul Titus

The Uniting Congregations of Aotearoa New Zealand (UCANZ) has appointed Rev Peter MacKenzie to be its new executive officer following the resignation of John Jones in November. Peter took up the position last month.

Peter completed his Bachelor of Divinity and Diploma of Ministry in 1985 and was ordained into Cheviot Presbyterian Church in December of that year. He has served 21 years in parish ministry, 10 of those years in Uniting parishes here and in Canada.

Rev Peter MacKenzie

During his time in ministry he has served as moderator and clerk of North Otago Presbytery, convener of the Strategic Oversight Committee, and moderator of Wellington Presbytery. He has been an active member of the Wellington JRC and the Wellington Synod.

He has continued his studies throughout his career in ministry, most recently gaining a M.Sc. in industrial and organisational psychology for which his research topic was on workplace stress, specifically within the ordained ministry.

He has a keen interest in strategic planning and analysis. He has a strong multicultural sensitivity with an understanding of Maori and Samoan culture. He speaks Samoan language and at one point in his career he had two months study leave at Malua Theological College in Samoa.

“As the first ordained minister to hold the job of executive I will bring a different perspective to the role,” Peter says.

“I have spent the last seven years with the Uniting Congregation in Johnsonville, so I am experienced with the ecumenical set up and I am familiar with the Wellington scene. I look forward to the opportunity to get round country and meet people and visit parishes.

“The role of the executive will be changing though we are not exactly sure how it will change. The aim will be to make the executive more effective for Uniting Congregations and support them in their mission and ministry.”

Peter says he is very interested in the model forged by the Hutt City Uniting Congregations, He suspects the way forward for UCANZ is to be found in models of federation rather than merging.

UCANZ co-chairs Janet Taege and Geoff Donovan welcome Peter and say he has a strong commitment to the ecumenical journey of the churches in New Zealand and a clear vision for the future directions of UCANZ.