Text Size: BIGGER | SMALLER | Reset

You are here: Home / News

Synod 2013 AGM

The Synod Of Otago and Southland held its 147th Annual General meeting on April the 19th and 20th at the Mosgiel Presbyterian Church complex.


Synod gathered on Friday evening and the immediate past Moderator Richard Gray welcomed commissioners and called commissioners to worship.  Synod stood in silence in remembrance of Prof Graham Hill, who was the past Moderator until his death earlier this year.  Greetings and condolences were also extended to Mrs. Bartha Hill.  Richard then inducted the new Moderator, Mr. Bruce Fraser, the Synod’s Mission Advisor, who then set out his theme for the meeting indicating that worship is a way of life not just a corporate event in one time and place.  Therefore Synod would conduct all its business in an atmosphere of corporate worship which would end the next day with Communion before commissioners went their individual ways continuing to worship the Lord.


The Moderator took as his texts for the evening 1 Samuel 8:1-10, 19-22 where Israel asks Samuel for a King and 1 Peter 2:9-10.  Were we like the Israelites looking for someone who would tell us what to do, someone who would take the responsibility being our leader?  As a reforming church we profess to hold to the priesthood of all believers as outlined in the passage from Peter.  The Moderator challenged Synod to put into practice this doctrine and not seek to pass our responsibility as God’s people onto another.  As Presbyterians we have a system of collegial leadership at every level under Christ the Head of His church.  We need to rediscover this.  


Synod picked up its worship on Saturday morning with the Moderator leading devotions from John 15:1-5 and used a grape cutting and secateurs to illustrate the text focusing particularly on Jesus words ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’  This was the second part of Bruce’s theme - the priesthood of all believers gathered around the centrality of Jesus.  


The Committees of Synod then reported and their funding recommendations were approved.  This year Synod distributed to various groups and congregations in the Synod’s area around $1.5 million.
Reports 2013_National_Commitments;  Educational Fund; 2013_Ecclesiastical_reportMinistry Resource Committee 
Allan Paulin, in presenting the report of the Mission and Evangelism Committee, bought to an end an association with the Synod that stretches back over 10 years, first as a staff member and then on committees before taking over the convenor-ship of the M&E committee.  The Moderator thanked him and prayed with him wishing him well.  Synod Life recommended to the meeting that Chris Burgin from Popotunoa be Moderator from the 2014 Annual meeting.  Chris was invited to address the meeting then the Moderator prayed for him.


Following the presentation of these reports the Moderator lead Synod in prayer expressing our gratitude to the Lord for the provision with which He has blessed us.


Bruce invited the first of four speakers to address the meeting on the subject ‘You have a chance to plant a New Zealand Church - what would be its focus, what would it look like and who would be involved.’


The first speaker was Andrew Harrex from Lawrence/Waitahuna.  Andrew spoke of a vision for ‘horseback ministry’ looking back to the beginnings of rural ministry in the Synod as a way of moving ahead into our future (Andrew_Harrex.pdf )


Following each speaker worship continued in song


The second speaker was Michael Frost from the Waiareka Youth Trust in North Otago.  Michael spoke of the need to have a plan, to work towards achieving that, what from our past we need to retrieve and the need to listen to the voice of the community around us. 


Carolyn Sims from Flagstaff, Dunedin spoke of the important need for relationships within both the church and the wider community.  Close supportive connections are important. Caroline Sims pdf.


Synod received the reports of its two Field Staff - Bruce Fraser, the Mission Advisor, (here) and Cheryl Harray, the Kids Friendly Advisor, ( report here) (meeting presentation  here)  Richard Gray, who had taken the chair then prayed for the staff.


The third Field Staff member, Stephanie Redhead, had tendered her resignation because of her growing family so Lyn Murray of the Synod’s Executive thanked Steph and presented her with flowers.  Stephanie spoke of her love for what she had been doing, her sadness at having to leave it behind but her excitement at being able to devote more time to her family.  The Moderator then lead the meeting in prayer.


The final speaker of the morning was Timothy Marshall from Blue Lagoon North East Valley Dunedin.  Tim raised four points of what a church would do.


The Moderator then introduced the work of the Barnabas Fund which was to be the recipients of the meeting’s offering.  The Barnabas Fund focuses its aid on supporting persecuted Christians throughout the world.  Some of their stories were shared.  $740.60 has been forwarded to the Fund from the meeting.


Following lunch, reports were received from the Archives Research Centre, the Commission for Knox College and Salmond College, the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.   Yvonne Wilkie of the Archives will retire before the next meeting of Synod so she was wished well for her retirement and the Moderator prayed for her.  The Moderator of the Southern Presbytery brought greetings from the Presbytery and spoke of the close relationship between the two courts.


The meeting came to a close with the Moderator leading communion where he emphasised that in this act together we were not only recalling all that Jesus did for us but that we were also demonstrating that we are His body in this place.  Commissioners took the opportunity to pray with each other as an expression of this.


Synod has been working on a project for some time that came to fruition at the annual meeting.  Parishes were given a DVD ‘By Word and By Spirit’ that is a training tool for elders.  Copies are available from the Synod office as well.

Presbyterian Synod Of Otago and Southland.
Phone: {03} 477 7365
Fax: {03} 477 6736
synod logo
Level 5, Evan Parry House,
43 Princes St, Dunedin.
P O Box 1131,
© 2009 Synod of Otago and Southland | Design by thirdman | Powered by Boss