A report from PCANZ Moderator, the Right Rev Hamish Galloway.
Two months into the Moderator role there are a couple of things that I am noticing.
Stressed Out People
Moving around the country visiting churches and meeting up with ministers these last few weeks has confirmed to me that stress levels are high. There is uncertainty, anxiety, and anger. Those in church leadership positions – ministers and elders/parish councillors – not only share many of these feelings, but they are also having to deal with them in the people they pastor.
Much of this stress relates to the COVID situation but another trend is evidence of younger ministers and leaders burning out under the pressure from older parishioners and office bearers. We need our young leaders empowered, enabled and inspired – not disempowered, frustrated and disillusioned!
These times call for understanding of organisational behaviour, conflict resolution, strengthening of support networks, and leaders connected to God through spiritual routines. I urge leaders in our churches to focus on things like this as we work our way through such challenging times.
International Ecumenical Relations
As Moderator, I have found myself included in an interesting and varied array of international church networks. This has opened my eyes to what is happening in areas around the world, and made me wonder why there is not more awareness in the local church about what is happening globally.
Of particular interest is the courageous stand the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) takes on social justice. And I have also been impressed by the prayerful approach of both the WCRC and the World Council of Churches (WCC). In recent weeks I have been involved in a discernment process with the WCRC where we have been prayerfully considering a Christian response to the world-wide COVID crisis by gathering and praying through information from all parts of the globe; I was part of the discussion and prayer related to the Pacific region. And the WCC spent a week in November where the prayer focus was on New Zealand and Australia. Good stuff! If, like me, you have been disconnected from these kinds of things, you could get onto the email lists for organisations like this via their websites and receive their interesting and thought-provoking communications.
Reprinted from Bush Telegraph, December 2021, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand