Home The Methodist Church of New Zealand
UCANZ

UCANZ

Weekly Updates

UCANZ

UCANZ Updates

The Uniting Congregations of Aotearoa New Zealand community of Partner Churches is a continuing journey of God’s people seeking to reflect the essential unity of Christ’s Church.

Below are the updates from Andrew Doubleday, UCANZ Ministry Facilitator.

  • Update week beginning 8 January 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    2024 is under way. Should I say “Happy New Year”, knowing many of us will be facing challenges – both anticipated, and unexpected? Lynne and I had planned a camping holiday between Christmas and New Year. Instead, we found ourselves in Alexandra farewelling her 97 year old Dad as we laid him to rest. As much as we are grateful for a long life, fully lived, and a good death, it’s another reminder as we start the new year that the clock is ticking. To quote Chaucer “Time and Tide wait for no one”. While the concept of “Time” can be quite amorphous, adding “Tide” was a masterstroke on Chaucer’s part – it brings the whole into a sharp focus. It’s another reminder that I have far fewer days ahead of me than behind me. I was also jolted on Sunday to hear of the sudden death of colourful Te Waipounamu Anglican Bishop Richard Wallace. He will be sorely missed. 

    None of us know what today will bring.

    So, given the challenges and opportunities ahead, I’ll say it anyway “Happy New Year! May you discover the reality of Christ’s presence in all that 2024 offers”.

    I was reminded afresh recently in my devotional time, by E. Stanley Jones, that “I can do all things in him (Christ) who gives me strength” (Php 4:13). For Jones this had become a mantra with which he greeted and finished every day, and repeated to himself constantly through his long, productive, and rich life. I’m seeking to add it to my own – “God has not given us a spirit of fear, timidity, or cowardice, but a spirit of power, of ‘can do’, a spirit of love, a spirit of self control, self discipline and soundness of mind” (2 Tim 1:7). This was not just applicable to Paul, as he writes, but belongs to all of us.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    • The Ultimate Measure of Success Comes Down to a Few Simple Words

    Marcel Schwantes again offers a business pathway that aligns very closely with the Christian Gospel.

    Ultimately it’s the people who matter, our relationships, our willingness to care. His article can be read here.

    • The worst time of day to be productive

    Yes, we already know the answer – it’s self evident. Yet I found this article useful as it gives a number of helpful strategies. More importantly it makes it clear that the difficulty in concentrating in the afternoon is not my fault – it’s simple biology that effects all of us. Rather than beating ourselves up  we need to work around it. The article can be read here.

    Homily

    My response to this coming Sunday’s lectionary gospel of John 1 vs 35-51 – the calling of Nathaneal by Jesus in Cana of Gallilee. I’ve titled it ‘Never Saw That Coming’. It can be experienced here.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

     

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 15 January 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    It’s been a full week and weekend of catching up with ‘blasts from the past’ – people that we’ve known, loved, respected, learnt from, and journeyed with – currently on holiday in Aotearoa.

    Next week the UCANZ Standing Committee meets for two days in Auckland. Rather than flying in and out again on the same day, this year we’re having a retreat to reflect on where we are, and where and how we might move forward. It feels to a number of us that we are at a possible inflection point and it would be useful to look at where God might be calling us into the future. It will be for two days at the Hillsborough Franciscan Friary – Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday the 23rd. Please hold us in your prayer.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    1. 10 Tiny Habits That Will Make You More Respected

    The subtitle is ‘You must earn respect from yourself first’. This is the key in the article. And it has some very useful tips in how you can go about that – how you can become a person you respect. The reality is that if we have little or no respect for ourselves, it’ll be difficult to expect it from others.

    All 10 suggestions spoke to me in some way. The first one ‘Regularly do things that frighten you’ challenges me as I fairly consistently like to stay within my comfort zone. Sometimes, I need to be backed into a corner. On Sunday night just past I was. When I’m able, I’ll attend 5pm Evensong at the ChristChurch Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral. This is totally foreign to my upbringing, background, experience in the church and its ministry. Yet, I’ve enjoyed it. The Precentrix who leads the Ferial Responses (I never knew what they were called until now) ambushed me on my way in and asked me to take her role next Sunday. I protested my inability to do such a thing – I’m not a good sight reader of music, and certainly haven’t been trained for such a role. She pleaded her desperation, pressed me, asked me to watch what she does, and she’d talk to me again after the service. Once I reluctantly agreed (after the service), the role seemed to suddenly expand. I was caught! This will either be fun, or an exercise in ritualised humiliation.

    And it’s the first step on ‘regularly’ doing things that frighten me.

    Now that you’ve been thoroughly put off, the article can be read here.

    1. Other People's Emotions Are Contagious: How To Keep Them From Making You Sick

    As one who has struggled in the past by occasionally feeling overwhelmed by other people’s emotions, I found this article both interesting and helpful. You might also. It can be read here.

    Homily

    My response to this coming Sunday’s lectionary gospel of Mark 1 vs 14-20 concerns the calling of the fishermen, Peter and Andrew, and James and John.  I’ve titled it ‘Not what it seems’. It can be experienced here.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 22 January 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    As you read this it’s likely that the UCANZ Standing Committee is meeting in Auckland. For two days - Tuesday the 23rd and Wednesday the 24th - we are reflecting on where we are, and how we might move forward. We will recognise both the challenges and opportunities that are before us.           

    Please hold us in your prayer.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    • Neuroscience Says 1 Brainless Habit Improves Memory, Boosts Creativity, and Reduces Stress

    In this counter-intuitive article Marcel Schwantes extolls the virtue of day-dreaming. I believe I’ve mentioned it before, I often have some of my best problem solving and most creative thoughts in the shower (I know you wanted to know that). Apparently, this is a very common phenomenon. Schwantes offers some strategies to be able harness the value of day-dreaming in an intentional way. The article can be read here.

    • Six Insidious Ways Fear Takes Over And Robs Us Of The Life We Were Born To Live

    Choosing articles to share is always an exercise in discernment and balancing risk.

    If there are bits that you struggle with – where either that don’t fit your world view, or you have made a judgement about the world view of the author - I encourage you to simply lay those things aside. Pick the meat off the bones and leave the bones aside.

    As one who considers himself an authority on ‘fear’ (through personal experience) there is so much insight of real value in this article. I can so relate to each of the points that Ahearn makes. It can be read here.

    Homily

    My response to this coming Sunday’s lectionary gospel of Mark 1 vs 21-28 concerns Jesus first piece of formal ministry recorded by Mark – it’s on the Sabbath in the synagogue in Capernaum, and concerns the deliverance of a man bound by an unclean spirit.  I’ve titled it What Part Does Fear Play?’ Interesting, (to me anyway) that the 2nd article I’ve offered in this newsletter also concerns fear, and how to be free.  The homily can be experienced here.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 29 January 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    This past week, Standing Committee shared 2 days together in Auckland at the St Francis Retreat Centre in Hillsborough. robyn brown helpfully led us through a team building exercise in seeking to understand ourselves and one another through the medium of the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator.

    As we moved into reflecting on who we are and how we might move forward it became very clear that we need to take our partner churches with us in together recommitting to the Ecumenical Project.

    We considered the issues of our own future and funding.

    We settled on seeking to be very intentional in getting serious Partner engagement at our next forum – in 2025. Our theme will be ‘Our Future Together’. We’re hoping this forum will be a ‘marker post’ event – one that participants will look back to as a defining moment in our individual and corporate lives. We see one of our key roles as ‘promoting ecumenism in Aotearoa’ – this may end up as a bi-line for our 2025 forum. We had settled on dates in early May, and are intended holding the event at the Onehunga Parish.  As affordable accommodation nearby may be an issue, we may be looking at a slight change in dates. We will keep you posted and broadcast the dates when we have certainty.

    We looked at our self-definition, recognising that being labelled as CVs, as ‘Union’, ‘Uniting’, ‘United’, ‘Co-operating’, not only pointed us to the past - to where we had come from - they continue to tend to lock us in, keeping this past as our present reality. So we considered how we might re-brand, to both describe more accurately who we want to be, and make ourselves more relevant in our communities.

    Rev Fei Taule’ale’ausumai resigned as our Co-chair due to health and work commitments. We are grateful for the grace in leadership that Fei has given us, and wish her well as she moves forward in all God has for her. She will continue as a member of the Standing Committee.

    Rev Jeff Odhiambo takes over as Co-chair. This means that he will almost certainly succeed Rev Andrew Howley as Chair from our 2025 forum.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    • 5 simple strategies for changing anyone’s mind

    The honour of preaching at a Methodist Synod service on Sunday morning past was given me. I  opened with a story concerning a poster I had on the wall of my office cubicle in my previous life as a Quantity Surveyor. It read (quoting Isaac Asimov) “Those of you who think you know everything, are annoying to those of us who do.” I guess you might know where this is going.

    This article is well worth the read. It’s one that I would want to re-read on a regular basis. In fact, I’ve ordered the book that the article is drawn from. While we might imagine that this is a ‘how to’ in the best way of changing the minds of others (after all, clearly, they’re wrong!) it opens a window on how our own minds work. For me, it opened me to the possibilities on how I might more readily allow my own mind to be changed.

    Ironically, while steering us away from an ‘enlightenment’ way of seeking to persuade, by pure logic and argument, it ultimately points us back to ancient wisdom.

    As I began – well worth the read - find it here.

    • How To Use Body Language To Project Leadership Presence

    Some useful tips here on how the present ourselves if we want to be heard. The most useful insight  came toward the end of the article where the author makes a plea for authenticity. If we do not believe in what we are saying, are not as committed to the project we are trying to sell as we say we are, then the truth will out. What we really believe will leak out, and will have undermined what we are trying to communicate. The article can be read here.

     

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard addresses Jesus peerless healing ministry as he focuses on the lectionary gospel text for this coming Sunday - Mark 1 vs 29-39. Find it here.

    My response to this same text is quite different, and concerns Jesus keeping his eye on what happens next - his unwillingness to simply settle.  I’ve titled it ‘The Way Forward’.  It can be experienced here.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 5 February 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Today is Waitangi Day. Once again, as a nation, we find ourselves picking at the scabs of wounds that we might have hoped were healing. With every two steps forward, we inevitably take a step back. This is the way of history. Yet we live in hope – I quote the words often attributed to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr - ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Without justice, without meaningful reparations, and without creating space for forgiveness, the healing we yearn for cannot be completed. As the Christian Church we are historically up to our necks in what has happened in the establishing of our nationhood, and we continue to share responsibility for the outcomes. Te Tiriti both was, and continues to be, a covenant entered into between the British Crown and Māori - with our Christian missionaries in the roles of advocate and intermediary.

    I’ve been referred to a series produced by Shine TV – it presents a range of voices on the issues involved. While it does not tell the whole story, it opens the possibility of conversation. It can be accessed here.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Given that this is Waitangi Day, and this is a central part of the context in which we as the church engage in mission and ministry in Aotearoa New Zealand, let it be enough.

    Homilies

    Transfiguration Sunday – both Trevor Hoggard and I start with a similar approach, though, as we might expect, our paths diverge with different emphases.

    Trevor’s fulsome sermon can be experienced here.

    My response emphasizes the invitation to notice and draw strength from ‘Marker Post’ experiences as we progress through life. It can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden the reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use them as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 12 February 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Last week found me in Auckland for Methodist Pastoral Committee, and then in Taranaki – first of all for the induction of Rev Michael Lemanu as Methodist Taranaki Regional Enabler (it was a great event), then catching up with various before the joy of preaching at the Inglewood ‘Boutique’ Church (there words, not mine). It’s wonderful to see signs and hear stories of new life springing from what many may have regarded as dry trees.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Watership Down

    Two decades ago I was part of a large ministers group that met fortnightly around the longstanding leader of the largest and most successful church in the city. On one occasion we were asked to bring our favourite leadership resources to our next meeting. While I’m not a great reader of novels, I brought perhaps my all-time favourites – a book I’ve read multiple times, and would commend to everyone who will listen. It’s ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams (pub. 1972). Yes, as I was mockingly reminded, “It’s a book about bunny rabbits”. And it’s so much more. If writing this book was the only thing that Richard Adams did in his whole life – he still served the world well.

    The article I’m going to reference is from a writer who has seen the derivative movie, not read the book. I’m interested that she, like many, found the ending a ‘tear jerker’. The ending of the book is, in fact, enormously hopeful and Christian. Still, she picks the essence of the leadership of Hazel, the central character’s (each rabbit is named after a plant). Audrey Tang’s article can be read here.

    Better yet, go now and read the book – it’s still available new for around $17 and can likely be picked up for less at second hand book shops.

    Procrastination

    Although I’ve referenced a number of articles over the past year on this topic, it’s still an issue for me, and I suspect for many of you as well. So, here’s Kathleen Davis gives us another take on why we do it, and how to stop. It can be read here.

    Growing Tree Houses?

    Finally, something that may seem a little frivolous, yet invites us to think differently.

    Homilies

    The Gospel for this coming Sunday is Mark 1 vs 9-15. It quickly covers Jesus’ baptism, his 40 days in the desert, and the start of his preaching ministry.

    Trevor examines the dualism of good and evil, and God’s ultimate victory through Jesus. His sermon can be experienced here

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘Boot Camp’. It can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use them as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

     

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 19 February 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Next Forum dates – We’re currently planning our next forum for 30th May to 1st of June 2025 based at the Onehunga Co-operating Parish in Auckland. Please mark these dates in your diaries and, let me know if there are any significant scheduling conflicts – we’d hate to run up against major partner events, or something like a Taylor Swift concert. We’re planning an intense event involving Partner leaders asked to re-commit to the Ecumenical Project. Our theme will be ‘Our Future Together’.

    Song books – I’ve had a note from Grant Thompson - secretary of  Tutukaka Coast Community Church as follows:  “Our church seems to be flourishing in recent months. We are consistently short of our song book, Songs of Fellowship. I understand that other churches have moved to new songbooks. We’re investigating doing so but in the meantime I was wondering whether anyone had copies surplus to requirement that we could purloin?”

    This is a good news story – can anyone help? It’s the Songs of Fellowship, by Kingsway Music, Eastbourne, 1991, subsequent reprints. If you have spare copies you’re willing to part with, please contact Grant - [E-Mail not displayed]

    Thanks.

    I’m in Auckland for 2 days this week for the Auckland Regional Forum, and to hopefully help with a significant property issue – having a background in the building industry and being reasonably familiar with Church property processes might be an advantage.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Google Research Says What Separates the Best Managers From the Rest Boils Down to 8 Traits

    Marcel Schwantes hits the ball out of the park with this research based article – my take on the whole is that it all ultimately comes down to one thing – you’ve got to love the people that you lead, and want to see them succeed. The article can be read here.

    7 Examples of Poor Leadership Behaviour That Limit Business Success

    On the flip side we have this sobering article by Martin Zwilling – ‘sobering’ because I found myself ticking more boxes than I would have liked. A wake-up call – and here’s the good news – we can change. We can all become better leaders, little step by little step. The article can be accessed here.

    Homilies

    The Gospel for this coming Sunday is Mark 8 vs 31-38. Here Jesus warns his followers of the suffering that is ahead of him and invites each of us to take up our cross and follow him.

    Trevor Hoggard picks up the Epistle reading of Romans 4 vs 13-25, and extols the supremacy of faith and the commitments embedded in it, over law. Before addressing the Gospel text, Trevor uses the loving covenant commitment of marriage as a model for the walk of faith. It can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘Who are You Becoming?’. It can be experienced here.

    Alternatively, the Transfiguration reading is also offered as an optional lectionary gospel reading for this coming Sunday – it’s Mark 9 vs 2-9. Since I posted a homily for this text a few weeks back and titled it ‘Marker Posts’ it is still available and can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 26 February 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Why Your SWOT Analysis Is Probably Useless

    I recently reviewed a parish Mission Action Plan (MAP). It was amazing! Beautifully written. Every possible base covered. A solution for very problem. And totally unrealistic. While the parish was clear about what it saw the needs to be, and somewhat foggy about the resources that may need to be brought to bear, there was no clear commitment to any one of the many wonderful planning goals before them. There was no connection between who they currently are, what they are currently doing, and what resources they have for affecting any of their MAP goals.

    I’ve become  quietly convinced that we need to start with who we actually are, where we actually are. And observe that this is where God is now. This is what God is doing now. How might God be inviting us to take the next small steps into mission – usually with people like us? Once we get the sense of how we can reach people like us, then we might be able to start stretching toward those two degrees of separation and more away.  An aged congregation deciding to employ a part-time children’s worker is almost inevitably not going to produce the desired result – if the desired result is ‘greening’ the congregation. Does this mean that aging congregations cannot grow? Absolutely not. It is likely, though, that initial growth will start through reaching more aging people – and that’s something society is making a lot more of.

    Anyway, this article is not so much about this – it just got me reflecting. It is about being clear about what we’re on about, and how we define success. It can be read here.

    Why leaders need to say no to be successful

    While we’re on the theme of deciding what we’re not going to do, here’s an easy read encouraging us to be a little more discerning about what we’re going to say ‘yes’ to, by being clearer about what we need to say ‘no’ to.

    Homilies

    The Gospel for this coming Sunday is John 2 vs 13-22.

    Trevor Hoggard picks up the Old Testament reading, Exodus 20:1-17, the Epistle reading 1 Cor 1 vs 18-25, and the Gospel text which deals with Jesus cleansing of the temple. Trevor considers what happens when Law has passed its ‘used by’ date, and there is need for change – and leads into the change that comes through Jesus. His message can be experienced here

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘Who is this Jesus?’. It can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 4 March 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Retirement is an issue I’ve given some thought to. I could have retired four years ago. I didn’t. Why not? Two main reasons.

    1. In the short term, I couldn’t afford to. We were about to buy a house in the region in which we wanted to live This resulted in a significant mortgage, much greater than our modest savings. These issues are being worked out and we expect to be fine in the not-too-distant future.
    2. Why would I? I still have fire in my belly. While I’m slower than I was, I have experience, and a repository of memory (although not working as well as I might like, I discover that ‘things’ come to mind as they’re needed). I believe I have more to offer today than at any previous time in my ‘working’ life including 31 years in Parish ministry. So, why would I stop?

    While there are those that say that we shouldn’t be defined by what we do, I’m wondering who made that rule up? I’ve watched too many (mainly men, to be sure) fall into a hole because they’ve ‘retired’ – just because they clicked over that magical number. (while we think it’s young people - the highest suicide group is men over 65).

    Yes, it’s true that I’m substantially defined by what I do. So what? I’m okay with that. I believe I would also be happy stacking shelves or being a security guard at the local supermarket – anywhere where I could be meeting people. I simply want to be able to make a difference. As it is, I’m grateful that I’m being given an opportunity to be the best version of myself – just where I am. I’m reminded of Acts 13:36 where we read ‘when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep’. What could be better than that? What more could I, or any of us, ask for?

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Redefining retirement: Why older Americans are choosing work over relaxation

    So, this first article, while in an American context, has something to say to us today. I believe we’re heading in a similar direction. And from where I currently sit, on this issue anyway, that’s not a bad thing.

    The article can be read here.

    4 Soul-Sucking Things That Slowly Drain Your Motivation

    Short, pithy, crass - some good stuff here written in a hard hitting style. Opportunity to wake up if you feel yourself being left behind. Can be read here.

    You Should Set ‘Anti-goals’ Too

    And finally, even shorter – extolling the virtue of establishing what you’re NOT going to do – could be even more important than setting goals. Just imagine how much more might be achieved by cutting out addictive time-wasting activities – including ‘busy work’, which provides the illusion of being productive.  Can be read here.

    Homilies

    The Gospel for this coming Sunday is John 3 vs 14-21.

    Trevor Hoggard considers the way snakes slither their way through scripture, and the final victory of Christ’s kingdom over evil.

    His message can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘Look and Live’. It draws a direct line between Moses and Jesus. It can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update Week beginning 11 March 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Coming up

    I’m heading into the Waikato this weekend to sit with Anglican leaders at their Waikato/Taranaki Diocesan Conference. On Sunday I’ll be preaching in Hamilton, and Monday will find me in Auckland tending to a couple of pastoral matters.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    There are few sermons we remember down the decades. One such was by Rev Russell Rigby, my first District Superintendent. He spoke of sitting down at 8pm on a Monday evening (his day off), with a cuppa, in front of the tv, when the phone rings. It’s a parishioner in crisis, and they need to see him ASAP. This is a semi-rural Parish and they live 20 minutes away. He gets up and heads out to his car - grumpy and resentful. As he’s on his way he’s aware that he’s not in the best space to fulfil his pastoral duties. It occurs to him that he feels he has no choice – he will be going whether he likes it or not. Even though its his day off, this is the job. At this point he recognises that he actually does have a choice – not about whether or not he goes – but about how he frames this mission he’s on. He can continue to be resentful, or he can choose to want to be here. He makes the latter choice. By the time he arrives he is settled and ready to positively and lovingly engage.

    Here's the thing – it works! It actually works.

    This leads into the first article I want to share

    Turning a Lack of Self-Discipline and Willpower Into Success and Fulfillment

    This article by Jeff Haden surprised me. I found it oddly inspirational, and it led me down the path of thinking about what I shared in opening this newsletter. Bear in mind what I’ve just said above as you read the article, which can be read here.

    5 ‘Power Questions’ So Revealing They Will Change Your Life

    This article by Jessica Stillman deserves taking time with, and, I suspect, revisiting at least initially until we ‘get it’. While Stillman offers questions we can ask of others, about others, and helping others, they are ultimately questions for ourselves – they encourage us to look in the mirror to see who we are.

    This insightful article can be read here.

    Homilies

    The Gospel for this coming Sunday is John 12 vs 20-33.

    Trevor Hoggard recognises the role of Philip in introducing strangers to Jesus and asks ‘Are you ready to be Philip in your street, in your family, in your workplace, or in your club?’  

    His message can be experienced here.    

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘Winning by Losing’. We find Jesus acknowledging what is immediately before him – his suffering and death. Instead of defeat he frames it as victory - a mystery, to be sure.  It can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 18th March 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Home again, jiggety jig.

    I enjoyed my time with the Waikato Taranaki Anglican Diocese on Saturday – 180 of us gathered in Te Kuiti, many having travelled up to three hours from either side of the North Island. After the Whakatau, we moved into worship. It was uplifting, and joyful. As one from a different tradition, to experience liturgy woven so skilfully and meaningfully into a more contemporary style of worship was a revelation – it drew me from being a spectator into being a participant. I loved it! All beautifully lead by a couple who clearly loved Jesus – and he, originally a Methodist! As for the rest of the day? I counted it a privilege to be included.

    Sunday saw me in the relaxed and authentic environs of St Francis Hillcrest Co-operating Church in Hamilton where I had the privilege of addressing two very different styles of worshipping congregation. I hope it was as good for them as it was for me. Thank you to Tony and Dave and wider team for your generous hospitality.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    This first one was written for me, for sure. And if you’re like me, and discover that I almost invariably find that things take longer than I expected, it may be for you also.

    Beat the 'Planning Fallacy' to Be More Productive

    The irony is that the first thirteen years of my working life were as a Quantity Surveyor, where one of the requirements was being able to make an accurate/reasonable assessment of how long tasks should take to complete. With helpful tips, (a couple of which will require a ‘deep dive’) it can be read here.

    A Japanese Phrase Is The Secret To Winning Office Politics And Getting People To Agree With Your Ideas

    This second article reflects a strategy I learnt early in Parish ministry, though did not put into effect as often and intentionally as I might have. Apparently, the Japanese have a word for it, which is useful, because once one has a label for it, it is easier to accept ‘as a thing’, and incorporate it more intentionally into one’s tool kit. I have purposely not told you what 'it' is, and although the descriptor refers to ‘Winning Office Politics’, you’ll see that it’s also relevant to church leadership. You’ll just need to read it (I’m a tease, I know). Here is the link.

    Homilies

    The Palm Sunday Gospel for this coming Sunday offers a choice.

    Trevor Hoggard uses the Isaiah 50:4-9a plus John 12:12-16 reading options.

    His message, which offers some historical context, can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘Strategic Withholding’. I elected to use the Mark 11:1-12 reading. At only 9 minutes, its short, and can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 25th March 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    We’re in Holy Week.

    For many of us this is the busiest week of the year – particularly those in the more liturgical traditions. I was at the Cathedral (Cardboard variety) on Sunday night, and reviewed the plethora of services that the Dean and his staff have ahead of them this week. I felt tired, just reading the program!

    Let’s hold all our leaders in our prayers this week – as they offer what God is giving us through them - that they would know the Spirit’s empowerment and grace. And that we might see afresh the love in which we are so deeply held – surely the point of it all!

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    I’m passing on this for this week – most of you will have more than enough going on.

    Homilies

    Good Friday

    Trevor Hoggard’s Good Friday sermon can be experienced here.

    My response - I’ve been thinking a little about Pilate – so I posted a reflection on his role in the Easter narrative titled “Behold the Man!here.

    My alternative response - in 2022, in my previous role, I posted a homily titled  Good Friday, God’s Commitment – It’s still ‘fresh’ and can be experienced here.

    Resurrection Sunday

    Trevor Hoggard’s Easter Day sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the alternative Gospel reading (Mark 16:1-8) is titled Resurrection, for All and One and can be experienced here.

    To repeat that oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    May Jesus, who expresses most fully the glorious commitment of God to each of us, meet you where you are over the coming days – and may you find renewal in forgiveness, in hope, and in new beginnings.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update beginning 1 April 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    CHRIST IS RISEN!     HE IS RISEN INDEED!!

    Easter has come and gone. I imagine that many of my colleagues will now take a well-earned rest!

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Leadership is about who you are, as much as what you do

    Above the Line and Below the Line in Leadership

    As you click on the article, don’t start reading the opening gambit and then stop, thinking “This doesn’t apply to me.” Persist. This article is not long, and there’s gold here. The principle the author (s) establish, and the strategy for following through, is easy enough for any of us to put into effect. The clue is in the title I’ve given. Here’s the link.

    4 Questions To Help Us Focus On What Really Matters

    The clock is ticking. When I was 30, I had all the time in the world. My whole life was still in front of me. Same at 40. Same at 50. Same at 60. Having said all that, I did tend to think about death a lot. My own.

    I’m about to enter my 70th year (that’s a way of pretending I’m older than I really am 😊). The ticking has turned more into a steady drumbeat. There is much evidence around me that the next ten years (assuming I survive them) will likely be ones of steady decline (barring catastrophes). I still want to make a difference, and believe, perhaps naively, that I have more capacity now than at any previous time in my life. Sure, I’m slower. I forget things. I ‘drop the ball’ on a regular basis. And yet, and yet….. You get the picture. (I still believe my best years could yet be ahead of me)

    This article is not just for pensioners – it’s also for the 30, 40, 50 & 60 year old’s who continue to delude ourselves that our whole life is still ahead of us. This side of eternity, it just ain’t so.

    It’s about being clear and intentional. It can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard paints with a broad brush as he expounds the life-changing significance of the resurrection covering the lectionary readings for the coming Sunday of Acts 4:32-25, 1John 1:1-2:2, and John 20: 19-31. His sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel is titled ‘The Whole Point’. While the lectionary reading covers John 20 vs 19-31, in my reading there are 3 discrete / distinct areas that can readily be identified in this text.

    In this homily I elected to focus on the last of these in verses 30 & 31 only. It can be experienced here.

    But wait, there’s more. Last year I focussed on the two other discrete areas. I re-offer them, should you find them useful, as follows…..

    First, focussing on verses 19-23 titled ‘The Great Omission’ - initially posted  16 April 2023 as part ‘a’. It can be experienced (again) here.

    Finally, focussing on verses 19 & 24-31 titled ‘What’s with Thomas’ - initially posted 16 April 2023 as part ‘b’. It can be experienced here.

    To repeat an oft used YouTube phrase, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 8 April 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    This coming weekend, and into mid next week, I’ll be on leave for a few days away with extended family. There may or may not be a newsletter next week. I’ll see how I go. The homilies for the following Sunday should still both appear on YouTube next Monday. If you haven’t already, the simplest way to ensure you can readily access them is to ‘subscribe’ when you next click on them.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    1. You may have received resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, set down for 12-19 May this year sent out by the secretary for the National Dialogue for Christian Unity. I have attached them. One is the original International Booklet and Text prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso, and the other is an adaptation for our context in Aotearoa New Zealand – this is in Word format and can be further modified to suit local needs. Both are attached to this news update.
    2. Navigating the Nexus.  NZ Christians in Science are joining with their Australian counterparts to run an online zoom conference on consecutive Thursdays, 8.30 to 9.30pm (I hr), starting the 18th of April and finishing the 6th of June (Total 8 sessions) Some of the topics covered will include:
    • How should we read the Genesis creation story today?
    • Is ageing a creational good?
    • How can Christians face the possibility that serious enduring climate change is now inevitable?
    • How was Darwin’s theory of evolution used as justification for historical racial conflicts?
    • Does science require love?

    To find out more and sign up (I have) follow the link.

    1. Forge Aotearoa. I’ve had an outreach from Darryl Tempero. Darryl is Lecturer/Ministry Formation Coordinator, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Knox College. He writes as follows:

    Forge has been around in Australia for a couple of decades, and other countries have since joined in.  Basically existing to help equip pioneers for exploring new ways of being church and participating in Gods mission.  

    We started Forge Aotearoa in 2022 and ran a course, and after reviewing that have formed a new pilgrimage, exploring "Wayfinding" (a much better word than pioneers we think).  See here for more information, and here for some video information.

    Looks interesting! As you’ll see if you follow the links Forge Aotearoa are planning a ‘Haerenga Tapu’  (Sacred Pilgrimage) from  4pm Friday 24th May – 11.30am Sunday 26th May at Te Maungarongo Ōhope Marae. They are inviting all who are interested to join in and together ‘discover the story of God and explore what it means to be a missional wayfinder in Aotearoa New Zealand’.

    I encourage you to follow the links – well worth both a read and watch.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard covers both the Acts 3:1-20 text, considering the differences and partnership between Peter and John, and Gospel text Luke 24:36b-48 with the power of the resurrection. His sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text is titled ‘Same, but Different’. In this homily we focus primarily on the physical reality of Jesus resurrection.  It can be experienced here.

    It will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 22 April 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    One of the areas of concern I’m regularly confronted with is property. So, today I’m starting a short series on ‘Property in CVs’. I’m interested in both feedback, and pushback where you think I might be wrong.

    Property In CVs  Part 1: Who owns CV Property?

    So often I hear expressions like “Oh, this is Methodist Property, or Presbyterian Property, or ……..” -  you get the picture. What is being referred to is who holds title. I want to suggest (perhaps controversially for some) this is different from who owns it.

    So, lets start with a thought experiment which will highlight the issue.

    For simplicity, imagine an hypothetical Methodist Parish and Presbyterian Parish deciding to form a CV. They look at the two church properties they have, and have them valued. The Methodist Property is worth more than the Presbyterian property, and a ratio is struck at 60:40 in favour of the Methodist Church (I’ll deal with the issue of ratios next week). As they consider the properties – location, utility etc, they decide that the Presbyterian Property better suits their need, and the Methodist property is sold. Because it was a Presbyterian property it continues to be held in Presbyterian title – someone has to hold title. I want to suggest that this is simply an ‘Administrative Convenience’.  Does this mean that the Presbyterian partner owns it? Yes, it does - 40% of it. And the ‘Methodist’ partner owns 60% of it – yet it is held on Presbyterian title.

    The building properly ‘belongs’ to the CV, yet as CVs have no legal status (as far as I’m aware – this is invested in the Partner Churches) it is held, looked after, maintained, used, and loved by the CV – on behalf of the partner churches. This has implications legally – about who has power of decision, and relating to issues like insurance, seeking approvals for building related works, and applying for funding for such works. So, while the main authority/responsibility goes with whoever holds title, hopefully we can see that the issues of ownership are much broader, and require an understanding of how each CV got to be where it is. It also requires a commitment from the Partners to working together to secure the best future for the CV – irrespective of who holds title.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Years in parish leadership has consistently demonstrated a willingness to kid ourselves about what our future might look like.

    New Study Finds Wishful Thinking Can Have Catastrophic Consequences

    My last parish had a fairly stable leadership team over many years. One of the exercises we engaged in was to put ourselves through the Belbins Team Roles questionnaire. We discovered while we were rich in ‘ideas’ people, we were very lean in ‘finishers’ – people who actually ‘made sure it got done!’ One of our team emerged as ‘monitor evaluator’. Until we had gone through this exercise we considered him a pain – he was always the one who would be pointing out the pitfalls and why things wouldn’t work. After the Belbins exercise he was promoted to a valued member of the team, as we recognised that the role he fulfilled was essential.

    Having said all that, cynicism sneaks in as I become aware of how few of our grand plans actually seem to really make a difference. Within the church – locally, regionally, nationally, there is a great deal of wishful thinking. This article is a call to realism, and points to the possibility that if we face squarely up to our situation as it is - rather than how we’d like it to be, and seeing our strategies for what they are - rather than the rose-coloured tint we put on them, we might be able to find better ways forward. It can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard covers both the Acts 8:20-40 text – focussing primarily on the grace of God extended to the rejected Ethiopian Eunuch, and the Gospel text John 15:1-8. His sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text is titled ‘The Real Deal’. In this homily, a response to Jesus claiming to be the True Vine, we reflect on Jesus invitation to a relationship of intimacy.  It can be experienced here.

    It will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 29 April 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Greetings from the autumnal South. We had our first frost for the year the end of last week – as hard a one as I’ve remembered in our 2+ years here in Lincoln.

    As I indicated last week, one of the areas of concern I’m regularly confronted with is property. So, today I’m following up with Part 2 of ‘Property in CVs’. I had a fair amount of feedback on last week  for which I’m most grateful – thank you to those who responded to Part 1.

    Property In CVs  Part 2: Ratios, Land stories, & Insurance

    Ratios are established at the forming of the Co-operative Venture. They are simply a percentage proportioning, attributed to the partners, of the monetary value of everything that was brought into the CV. Add them all (if there are more than two partners) and they should come up to 100. When I say everything, I mean everything regarded as of monetary value – this includes all real estate - all land and buildings – churches, halls, houses etc.  It will include chattels if not included in the value of the buildings eg. AV and office equipment (photocopiers, computers and printers etc) – of course this will be valued at indemnity* value, not new. All property needs to be assessed by a registered valuer. Ratios will include all cash and investments that the churches are bringing into the CV. The partners will agree on the values each have brought into the venture, and the ratio is struck. This only becomes relevant at the point of dissolution of the CV – where everything is cashed up and the total is divided between the partners according to the ratio. Ratios can be adjusted by the adding or subtracting of resources. If a CV ‘inherits’ a partner property from a neighbouring parish, or disposes of a property to a partner (where no money changes hands), a valuation exercise is gone through (again, with registered valuers) and the ratio is adjusted and agreed by the partners.

    We still have a quite a number of CVs that have no agreed ratio. This in spite of the best efforts of my predecessors. Please take this matter seriously – it’s as problematic as dying without a will, and leaves the partner churches with a headache and the likelihood of having to engage in an arm wrestle to get resolution. We don’t want that. If your feeling overwhelmed by the prospect, and I suspect this may be the case, as I would be, please contact me - we’ll feel overwhelmed together, and come up with a ‘little-step-by-little-step’ strategy to get the ball rolling.

    If properties are sold, the proceeds generally go (in the name of the Parish) into a national account of the Partner that holds title. Each partner has their own criteria about how, how much, and for what purposes these funds can be used by the Parish. It’s worth making sure you know what’s going to happen BEFORE you head too quickly down the sale path – it may not turn out as you hope. It may be that you will want to explore other options.

    Land Story -  Kōrero Papatupu Whenua  As part of the Methodist Church’s bi-cultural commitment, if the property is in Methodist title it will need a ‘Land Story’ before it can be offered for sale. The Methodist Church would encourage all church parishes, whether with a Methodist component or not, to do their own land story. Find out the land’s history – the chain of stewardship back to its original stewards. To do it well there can be quite a lot of work involved -  it would ideally suit someone who loves doing research by digging into the past. I’ve seen some magnificent ones that have given great  satisfaction to their authors. Again, it’s better to do this sooner rather than later. Follow this link for more information.

    Insurance. While in theory CVs could insure property with whoever they like, the reality is that partner churches have their own processes, and insurance tends to follow title. Given the liveliness of this issue as more churches are effectively being ‘driven out of business’ by insurance premiums, I imagine that there will be more open discussion in coming days.

    *A story for your amusement - ‘Indemnity’ is the value that will leave you in the same position after any loss event as before – as an example, I had a car stolen and left burning on the Port Hills. The car itself was only covered ‘third party’ so was a total loss. I claimed on my ‘Contents’ policy for tools and items of specialist clothing in the vehicle. The insurance company wanted to settle on ridiculous values. While I was first to admit that the items were used, I knew there was no way I could replace them for the money offered by the Insurance company. So, I suggested to their agent that they didn’t need to pay me anything – that since I only had indemnity cover they could simply go out with their tiny budget and do the 2nd hand shopping for the items themselves. They paid me what I was asking.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Marcel Schwantes offers a timely reminder of what’s important. As Church it should come as no surprise.                                                                                                                                                 This Famous Harvard Study Reveals the Greatest Predictor of Health and Happiness in 5 Words

    I’ll give you a clue – Nobody on their deathbed ever said “I wish I’d spent more time at the office!”

    The article can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard starts with the gospel for this coming Sunday, Jn 15:9-17, expounding on what the love of God looks like, and then moves into a very helpful and challenging exposition of Acts 10:44-48 (Peter’s encounter with the household of Cornelius). His sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text is titled ‘Just Imagine’. In this homily, I ask what our lives, and the world, would look like if we took the words in the gospel text seriously.  It can be experienced here.

    It will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 6 May 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    This last week has been full – Friday saw the joy of being part of the now ‘Rev’ Lyn Heine’s ordination in Greymouth. Lyn’s infectious ‘joie de vivre’, along with her insight and long experience with people, will continue to be a blessing to the people of the West Coast district in the years to come.

    Sunday offered me the privilege of preaching at the 150th Anniversary of the Greendale Church. Ably  led by Rev ‘Aunty’ Lyn Sopoaga in her own joyous and inimitable way, it was a day of celebration of what has past and hope for the future.

    For Touchstone May 2024

    The Methodist Monthly ‘Touchstone’ is the only national communication within the partner churches that I’m aware of. I have a regular column. So, I reproduce my latest offering here….

    Change or Die

    What gathered steam as a great idea in the 1960s, and almost came to fruition as a form of organic unity in the 1970s, stumbled at the last and crashed to never rise again. I’m talking about the ‘Plan for Union’. By the time the final vote was taken, and it was discovered that the numbers weren’t quite there, the whole thing collapsed – my hunch - more out of exhaustion than a lack of desire.

    In the mean-time, the vision, the dream - had nevertheless caught on. Local groups continued to see their future as being together. Around the country today there remain over 100 Co-operating Ventures (CVs) – parishes of different denominational partnerships – no two looking exactly alike. While there have been more dissolutions than new such ventures over recent years, the dream remains alive – if not within the partner churches, yet within the CVs themselves. The reality is that the Partner Churches have, for reasons of their own, steered away from CVs as a viable option from the future. The forming of new CVs is no longer the automatic default option when faced with the possibility of closure, or the possibility of a new church venture in new communities. It seems the general commitment to our current CV model of ecumenism is one of death by attrition.

    This is where we are. I have, perhaps, a unique vantage point, a viewing place that allows me to see differently. I have the privilege of being able to engage with the partner churches (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian) at national, regional, and local levels. And it is a privilege. I get to see both the best, and the worst. I’ve met amazing people! It’s easy to be critical of church leaders – yet it also has become clear to me why so many of them are in their roles – the grace of God in them has so often been so obviously recognised. Yet, it’s not enough. Alone, the future looks dire.

    My hunch is that our future will need to be together in some way. Yet we are collectively burying our heads in the sand. All the partner churches are engaged in rear-guard actions hoping that the latest ‘shiny object’ in terms of an overseas programme, throwing money at a problem, or simply magical thinking, will reverse our decline as denominations. It won’t. At some level we continue to look backward to the ‘glory days’ when our churches were full, our Sunday Schools amazing, and fellowship groups fully engaged - imagining that if we can rediscover the essential ingredient of our denominational secret sauce, then all will be well. It may. It’s unlikely.

    We may need to move to a more permission-giving model of resourcing parishes/ congregations in the future. What I have noticed, is that where CVs are allowed to explore their own way of being church in their specific community – supported, yet unencumbered by denominational strictures – they have a chance of making a go of it. Tragically, we often regard these churches as problematic, as they lack enthusiasm for bowing the knee to denominational priorities.

    UCANZ is providing an opportunity for a conversation about our future. We are planning our Biennial Forum for Kings Birthday at the end of May 2025 in Auckland. The theme – Our Future Together. This is not just for those involved in CVs – it’s for church leaders across the board in all our partner churches who have a concern for the Church’s  future.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Adam Hanft challenges a metaphor that I admit to having used fairly consistently over the years.

    How Calling Everything a Journey Legitimizes Lethargy

    It really got me thinking about the way our words shape our behaviour – while I was reading, I became aware that ‘being on a journey’ doesn’t even necessarily need to imply any clarity about the destination ☹. The article can be read here.

    Minda Zetlin mines the insights of Wharton Psychology Professor Adam Grant in this article:                       

    The Best Leaders Share These Contradictory Traits

    To quote Grant - “Often our highest potential people are the ones who can diagnose a problem that nobody else has seen, and then figure out how to tackle it,”

    The article can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard canvasses the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday, Starting with a discussion on the replacement of Judas by Mathias as the twelfth Apostle as the disciples awaited the day of Pentecost. His sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text of John 17 vs 6-19 is titled ‘The Unseen Hedge’ and considers the level of ‘protection’ that Jesus prays for the Father to bless his followers with. In this homily, I ask what our lives, and the world, would look like if we took the words in the gospel text seriously.  It can be experienced here.

    But wait, there’s more! Since Thursday the 9th is Ascension Day, I’ve also put up a homily based on the Acts 1:1-11 reading for the day (which can also be used on the nearest Sunday – which is the 12th) and titled it ‘Ascension in its context’. It can be experienced here.

    Again, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update Week beginning 13 May 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    The question I’m most often asked is “What do we get for all the money we pay to UCANZ?”

    There is a basic misunderstanding here. The money is NOT being paid to UCANZ.

    Please bear with me. It’s important to understand this. UCANZ is an instrument set up by the partner churches, now Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian - to facilitate the partner relationships at local, regional, and national levels. This is done according to the ‘Procedures for Co-operative Ventures’ (latest version 2021). Let me know if you’d like a  copy and I’ll happily email it to you.

    The Procedures lay down three primary Partner roles. The ‘Convening Partner’, the ‘Participating Partner’, and the ‘Appointing Partner’

    The ‘Convening Partner’ has primary responsibility in sorting out ‘issues’ relating to the CV (Co-operative Venture), including reviews, change of ministry, pastoral issues etc. The ‘Convening Partner’ should be the first ‘port of call’ when the parish has a question or faces difficulties. The ‘Convening Partner’ should also be in reasonably regular contact to ensure that all is well.

    The other partner(s) are ‘Participating Partners’. Their role is to be supportive of the Parish, and should be kept fully informed of what is happening.

    These Partnership roles are exercised at Regional level – whether through a Diocese (Anglican), Presbytery (Presbyterian – who’d have thought!), or Synod (Methodist). It is expected that a CV will be appropriately represented at each of the regional bodies in which it has a partnership interest.

    While both these Partnership roles follow the 3-year cycle, there is a third Partnership role that does not. This is the ‘Appointing Partner’. In the increasingly rare situation where there is some form of stipended ministry, and it is up for a change, or being initiated, the Parish gets to choose who their ‘Appointing Partner’ will be. This means that in terms of seeking ministry the Parish will use the processes of the Partner they have chosen: if Anglican, then the Diocesan ministry appointment process; if Presbyterian, then the Call system with a Ministry Settlement Board; and if Methodist, then through their Stationing process. This does not mean that the Parish will necessarily get it’s minister from the partner who’s process it is using, though one might expect this to be likely.

    While it is likely that parish leadership will refer more naturally to the ‘Appointing Partner’ (where there is one) it needs to be understood that the primary line of accountability and support is through the ‘Convening Partner’.

    Now, back to where we started:

    The levies are paid to the current ‘Convening Partner’. This is on a 3-year cycle. We are about to enter the 3rd and final year of the current cycle. There will be a changeover of ‘Convening Partner’ on 1 July next year (2025). If a parish is in a two-way partnership, it simply flips from one partner to the other. In a three-way partnership, it will be according to who’s turn it is.

    The rate of levies is agreed every year by meetings of the RAG (Resource Allocation Group) which comprises the General/Assembly Secretaries of each of the three Partner Churches, and the UCANZ Co-chairs and Executive Officer. Levy calculations according to the agreed formula, with approved deductions according to the agreed rules, are carried out in the Waiapu Diocesan Office to which UCANZ has contracted much of its financial and levy related administrative tasks.

    The rate for the up-coming year is still being negotiated and should be made public soon.

    To return to the Original Question – the Levies are not paid to UCANZ. UCANZ is simply part of the mechanism by which the levies are assessed. As an analogy, as far as this function is concerned, UCANZ it is to the Partner Churches what the IRD is to the NZ Government.

    Finally, running UCANZ does cost money – and we are currently funded primarily by the Partner Churches.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Why Habits Fail

    Jeff Haden very usefully dives into a Google study that examines the difference between a routine and a practice - what the motivating factors are for each, and which, if trying to form a new habit, is likely to work long term.

    The article can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard engages in an honouring and heart-warming discussion on the life, work and influence of Charles Wesley – the great hymn writer and brother to John, ‘founder’ of the Methodist Church - ultimately demonstrating Charles’ ecumenical passion. Trevor’s sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text of John 15 vs 26,27; 16 vs 4-15 examines the role of the Holy Spirit. I ultimately conclude that the Holy Spirit continues to lead us forward into truth and new ways of seeing. It can be experienced here.

    Again, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 20 May 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    50+ years ago I started my working life in the Quantity Surveying office of the Ministry of Works in Dunedin. Eventually, I was given my first ‘Adjustment’ job – managing variations to a contract from the QS perspective. It was, naturally, a small contract. After a couple of months the boss invited me into his office to see how I was getting on. It was awful! I couldn’t find anything when I needed it. My crowning memory was of the heat rising through my collar at the back of my neck - it was an exercise in humiliation. I resolved that it would never happen again. Against my natural inclination, I became the most organised person in the office, running many contracts and always able to lay my hand immediately on any piece of documentation as I needed it.

    I’ve reached a similar inflection point. I spent a day sorting out my study/office. This included emptying two drawers from my filing cabinet, and re-purposing them from personal to UCANZ stuff.

    And, to follow this theme, I have a few articles I’ve reviewed to share with you

     

    11 of the Best Methods for Decluttering

    The magic of this article is that it offers 11 separate methods, from 11 different ‘experts’, on what has worked for them. As an inveterate hoarder I’ve found myself doing a bit of a ‘pick and mix’. Use what works for you:

    It can be read here.

    And this next one is brilliant!

    5 time-saving habits

    I’ve already started to put a few of the pointers into action – including having bought myself a $15 timer at Mitre 10.

    It can be read here.

    Finally, since I’ve recently entered my 70th year, the issues of mortality have become significantly front and centre, and I’m wanting to spend the time remaining to me as ‘usefully’ as I’m able. Three years ago, I lived against a hill which, for nearly three decades, had provided a wonderful venue for vigorous exercise. Now, I live in the middle of a plane and I’ve blimped out somewhat. I don’t like it, I don’t feel good, and I’m resolved to change. The following article reminded me of the value of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – which was easy living next to a hill, with steps and steep tracks. I’ve realised I can apply to the same principle to pedaling my old MTB around the rural blocks Lincoln is surrounded by. Here’s the article’s headline -

    Neuroscience Says 6 to 10 Minutes a Day Can Make You Smarter, More Focused, and Even Increase the Size of Your Brain

    While this might not sound much to be about exercise, this article by Jeff Haden is all about exercise – a particular form of exercise, which we can all do – we may simply need to use a little bit of lateral thinking to settle on what might work for us. While what he suggests clearly has significant positive benefits, his primary motivation is to do what he can to avoid the dementia that became a feature of his father’s life. I get that. The article can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard focuses on Trinity Sunday, drawing on the texts – Romans 8:12-17, and John 3:1-17. He provides a very useful (interesting, and informative) explanation of how the Trinity was revealed in the early church, and its transformative effect. Trevor’s sermon can be experienced here.

     

    My response to the Gospel text of John 3 vs 1-17 is titled ‘Born again, again’. As I’ve described it, this is a consideration of the 'born again' contrasted with and including the 'born from above' translation in this most well known of texts, and the implications of changing the way we understand it. It can be experienced here.

     

    Again, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Once again, use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update week beginning 27 May 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    This week, a few articles I’ve found useful

    Starting with the occasional article where one feels like one is looking in a mirror.

    Is Your Leadership Style Unintentionally Aggressive?

    I was in a couple of meetings last week and came away aware that I’d come across fairly strong. While I make attempts to moderate myself, this is not all that unusual for me – it’s been a habit of a lifetime. Usually I catch myself too late, and the ‘damage’ is already done. I could put it down to my Dutch heritage and the open and often combative way I learnt to deal with the world. There are times when I recognise that part of me is sneakily proud of these qualities. Yet I also recognise that they can undermine what I might be wanting to accomplish, and also hurt or irritate people along the way. While I’ve been concerned about the issue, I recognise that I’m a work in progress and it may ultimately be that we don’t get our strengths without our weaknesses.

    Anyway, the article can be accessed here.

    I’m sure I’ve touched on this next issue before. If I have, apologies. For me, I know my memory leaks a lot and I need reminding – particularly of good stuff.

    Neuroscience Says Making a Simple Change to Your Work Day Will Help You Make Smarter Decisions and Be More Productive

    This article simply reflects on our daily rhythms and suggests we can use them to our advantage – organising our work so that we’re at our optimum for the time of day. It also helps in implying that perhaps we can stop beating ourselves up for not being able to handle certain tasks quite so well at certain times of the day. I’ve found it both interesting, hopeful and helpful. I hope you might also. The article can be accessed here.

    For something a little different, here’s an article about Apple and it’s leadership that may seem totally irrelevant to church. But I don’t believe it is.

    There’s one way to save Apple from irrelevance, and Tim Cook’s not going to like it

    It takes the reader back to the original philosophy of Steve Jobs – it was all about the ‘user experience’. It appears that Apple has moved away from this (again) and put profits and the making of gadgets front and centre. The problem, the author highlights, is that ultimately the company ends up making stuff nobody really wants.

    There’s something here for the church. Are we thinking at all about how what we’re offering is being received? Or are we simply carrying on, mostly on autopilot, expecting people to like what we’re dishing up because we’ve always done it, and done it this way.

    Obliquely it reminds me of a silent retreat I was on some years ago, where the facilitator asks us to reflect on the question ‘What is it they need?’ and after a day he asked the next question ‘What is it they really need?’

    Orientating ourselves away from ourselves toward out intended ‘audience’.

    Anyway, the article can be accessed here.

    Finally, while we’re thinking about Steve Jobs, here’s a nugget from his repertoire

    Steve Jobs Said 1 Habit Separates the Doers From the Dreamers

    The answer may surprise you – it did me. It was also challenging - because it was against my natural inclination. And also very useful. I’m not going to give the game away – read it for yourself!

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard draws a contrast between the work of the light of God to those who are open to see it, and the darkness of those who would not. He opens with the call of the boy Samuel and the response of the priest Eli in 1 Sam 3:1-10. Then on to Paul’s difficult yet transformative experience of Christ in 2 Cor. 4:1-12. And finally the unwillingness of the religious leaders in Jesus time to acknowledge the grace of God at work in Jesus as we find it in Mk 2:23 – 3:6. Trevor laments the current apparent low expectation within the church of hearing from God and reflecting that where the light shines, the darkness will always fight back. Even a flicker of light is enough. His sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text of John 2:23 to 3:6 is titled ‘Beneath the Judgementalism’. Ultimately I land with a question –‘What kind of God is it that your worship?’ It can be experienced here.

    Again, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Once again, use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update Week beginning 3 June 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    Again because it has a limited distribution, what follows is my latest offering to the Methodist Monthly publication ‘Touchstone’.

    In Christ

    Born in 1884. E.Stanley Jones was an American Methodist Missionary to India where he served 50+ years. Jones abhorred racism and worked tirelessly in the interfaith space. He was a friend of Ghandi and the Nehrus, and a confidant of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    As we might expect Jones was a committed ecumenist – to quote Wikipedia:

    In 1947 in the United States, he launched the Crusade for a Federal Union of Churches. He conducted mass meetings from coast to coast and spoke in almost five hundred cities, towns and churches. He advocated a system through which denominations could unite as they were, each preserving its own distinctive emphasis and heritage, but accepting one another and working together in a kind of federal union patterned after the United States' system of federal union. 

    Jones died in India early 1973, just short of his 90th birthday. He was truly one of the most remarkable people of the 20th Century.

    I’ve got to know Jones a little – his theology, his thinking, his heart. I don’t agree with everything he said, like all of us he had his own foibles, yet his book ‘In Christ’ has been a constant companion over the past two decades. Why did Jones write this book? To quote his introduction:

    This twenty-third book is the result of a feeling of a need. The need is this:

    Some concept that would reduce the whole of life to the utmost simplicity. If you have that, you're "in"; if you don't have it, you're "out." By "in" I mean "in life," and by "out," "out of life." I felt I had found that concept in the phrase "in Christ." If you are "in Christ" you're "in life"; if you are "out of Christ" you're "out of life." If that proposition be true, then it cuts down through all veneer, all seeming, all make-believe, all marginalisms, all halfwayisms — through everything — and brings us to the ultimate essence of things: If you are "in Christ" you are in life; if you are "out of Christ" you're out of life, here and now, and hereafter…..

    The phrase "in Christ" is the ultimate phrase in the Christian faith, for it locates us in a Person — the Divine Person — and it locates us in Him here and now. It brings us to the ultimate relationship — "in." Obviously this "in" brings us nearer than "near Christ," "fol­lowing Christ," "believing in Christ," or even "committed to Christ." You cannot go further or deeper than "in."

    To be "in Christ" means to pull up the roots of one's very life from the soil of sin and self and herd and plant them "in Christ." He becomes the source of our life, the source of our thinking, our feeling, our acting, our being.

    This obviously involves self-surrender. Not merely the surrender of our sins, our bad habits, our wrong thinking, and our wrong motives, but of the very self behind all these. All of these are symp­toms ; the un-surrendered self is the disease. So the phrase "in Christ" is not only the ultimate concept, but it demands the ultimate act —  self-surrender. …..

    One would expect that this ultimate concept in Christianity, "in Christ," leading to the ultimate human response, self-surrender, would be deeply embedded in the New Testament. Is it? It is far more deeply embedded in the New Testament than many things upon which we have built whole denominations — the new birth, conver­sion, baptism of the Holy Spirit, justification by faith, baptism by water, apostolic succession, presbyters, bishops, forms of church government, inner light, absence of forms.

    I don’t doubt that the response of some will be “Andrew you’re simply promoting a form of exclusive individualised Christianity rather than recognising the call to participate in the cause of freedom and justice for all.” I recognise the tension.

    What I can’t help noticing is that this ‘Missionary to India’ was one of the most effective promoters of the call to freedom and justice for all – and it sprang for a profound  spirituality being rooted ‘in Christ”. There was a deep generosity of spirit within Jones as he reached across all barriers with the love and acceptance that was in him - because he was “in Christ”.

    To adapt the words of a well-known series of tv adds – “I want what he had”.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    This week, just one.

    Why I Told My Dad to Spend More Money

    As I read it, it made logical sense. Except, what struck me about it, is that while it sounds simple, we’re asking someone to break the habit of a lifetime.

    The reality is that many of us live out of a poverty mindset (guilty as charged), and worry about running out – turning this around may require learning a new skill. At first it will be difficult. As with many changes of habit, it starts with noticing. The short article can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard addresses the lectionary readings 1 Sam 8:4-11,19,20;  2 Cor 4:13 - 5:1; and Mark 3:20-30. He makes a plea for a circumspect attitude to politics and refusing to get tied up with the rhetoric of unduly partisan positions which prevent us for listening to alternative perspectives.  Trevor’s sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text of Mark 3:20-35 is titled ‘Piling On’. I address the issue of that sense of being under attack from all sides - that some  would describe as ‘spiritual warfare’. It can be experienced here.

    Again, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Once again, use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

  • Update Week Beginning 10 June 2024

    Kia ora e te whanau

    I’m about to hit the road – the end of this week will find me passing through Auckland, into the Waikato, and down into the King Country. Then returning home to Lincoln late next Tuesday.

    I hope to have another Newsletter ready for you – if it is, expect it to come via my personal email – [E-Mail not displayed]. People have asked where I acquired this moniker. I took Hebrew at St John’s /Trinity Theological College in Auckland under the tutelage of Keith Carley. One of the first words we learnt was ‘day’ = ‘Yom’. For the next 3 years one of my fellow students continued to call me ‘Yomyom’. If the newsletter doesn’t appear, my homily for the week should be able to be accessed here.

    Personal and Leadership Resources

    Skinner’s Law Is 86 Years Old. It’s Still the Ultimate Secret to Beating Procrastination

    This one goes back to the insights of BF Skinner – one of the pioneers of modern psychology. It struck me that his prescription is not something we’re likely to see today, as we tend to lean strongly toward providing positive incentives for people behaving well, rather than avoiding the unpleasant. Apparently we’re hard-wired more strongly to avoiding unpleasant experiences than seeking rewarding ones. So, if you’re still struggling to beat procrastination, have tried everything else, and are still desperate to succeed,  this may provide the ultimate winning strategy. Jessica Stillman’s article can be read here.

    Steve Jobs Said This Is the Number 1 Sign of Remarkable Intelligence

    Steve Jobs, apparently very driven and not always the easiest of people, yet, years after his death, continues to inspire and show profound insight. While the title of this article may be a little misleading it’s work some consideration. It seems it may not be as simple as one simple sign. It did remind me of one of the advantages of growing older – we tend to accumulate a much deeper and broader reservoir of experiences, concepts and ideas to draw on, and make creative connections from – very useful for problem solving. The Jeff Haden article can be read here.

    Homilies

    Trevor Hoggard’s sermon addresses the lectionary readings 2 Cor 5:6-10,14-17; and Mark 4:26-34. He describes the issues as follows: The human ability to conceive of time and mould the future to our own ends is one of the chief characteristics of the human mind. Yet it is thwart with risk and potential disaster. The Bible insists that human freedom is only relative – that we exercise limited choices within a cosmic physical and moral framework which God himself has laid down. For optimal human flourishing, the Bible urges humanity to live in harmony with God’s rhythms and seasons. In short, the Bible says that ultimately time belongs to God and not to us. Our use of time must respect the greater context of God’s providence. God has written the book, even if we humans determine much of what goes into each page.

    Trevor’s sermon can be experienced here.

    My response to the Gospel text of Mark 4:26-34 is titled ‘Parables, Seeing As We Are’. I recognise that there is no one way to interpret a parable, and as I’ve grown older have seen more nuanced ways of understanding what Jesus may be saying, and saying to me. It can be experienced here.

     

    Again, it will help broaden our reach if you ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’.

    Once again, use the videos as you will.

    As always, if you find you’d prefer not to receive this weekly newsletter, please let me know and your address will be removed.

    Ngā manaakitanga

    Andrew Doubleday
    UCANZ Ministry Facilitator

 

For more information on UCANZ please go to their homepage