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Pastoral Training Weekend: 19-21 July 2019

Around 40 people gathered at El Rancho Christian Camp, Waikanae, for this year’s Pastoral Training Weekend. This included 7 pastoral leaders from Fiji, 6 from our Masterton Filipino congregation, and 4 from Vanuatu.

The weather was often cold and wet, but this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the attendees, who enjoyed a very productive time of learning and fellowship. Even our Pacific members, used to basking in temperatures of 30º, took the 12º temperatures in their stride as the warmth of the fellowship made up for the chilliness of the weather.

On Friday night Dennis Richards gave a short introductory session. The Saturday sessions were conducted by Kath Maclean, a long-time chaplain and trainer of chaplains, who supervised Dennis’ training last year when he completed an 8-week Clinical Pastoral Education course in Porirua. With everyone seated in a large circle, Kath began by asking each person to answer three questions: “What is your name?”, “What is your passion?”, and “Where are you with God right now?” The resulting comments and disclosures drew everyone closer together, with Kath explaining that we each carry a story that is very important and needs to be shared with others.

Kath asked Dennis to recount a story from his childhood, and this was used as an exercise in improving our listening skills. She outlined several “lethal listening styles”, such as the “Know-it-all”, the “Interrupter”, the “Interrogator”, the “Analyst” and the “Quick Fixer”, and explained how to handle and counteract these.

The Sunday morning session was led by Peter Lindop, who discussed the Karpman Triangle, a model of social interaction involving three roles, Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer. He gave examples of this triangle in action, which makes for a lose-lose situation, and how to break it or escape from it.

Dennis reviewed and summed up the learnings of the weekend, asking for input from the members, which Louis Smith transcribed on to a whiteboard. Dennis noted that it all boiled down to the principle of lovingkindness or caring emphasised by Jesus in John 13:34. The word describing lovingkindness in each of the cultures represented by the audience (including Filipino, Fijian, Tongan, Chinese, and ni-Vanuatu) was put up on the board, all adding up to a beautiful expression of love. Louis had been seriously ill in hospital only days earlier and was unable to attend on Friday, but made a big effort to be there for the weekend, and it was great to have Alasi and him there to add their valuable musical and other contributions. Thanks are also due to Maureen MacDonald and Sue Richards, who handled a huge amount of administrative work to ensure everything ran smoothly.

The event closed with a communion service introduced by David Wong, who noted that during this weekend we had truly experienced “communion in action”.

On Monday morning the NZ Board met, joined by the incoming Fiji board members (Isei Colati, Emily Boyd and James Panuve), along with three other observers (Frank Boyd, Jope Uqeuqe, and Lianne Trevarthen).

Amongst other items of business the trustees discussed Rex’s report on the current financial situation and a pastoral report from Dennis. The church now has a new website, and this was demonstrated on her laptop by Lianne, who has been instrumental in putting together the site. The Board greatly appreciates the excellent work Lianne has done in this regard. "Inside Life", Vanuatu and the Festival were also discussed, and Dennis advised that the Festival letter and Registration Form will be mailed out within the next few days.

Marilyn Wong has retired from the Board after a six year term, so we would like to request nominations for a new trustee to fill the vacancy. If you would like to nominate someone for this position, please advise your Pastor or send a letter or email to me ( or to the Chairman, Peter Lindop ( Nominations must be received by the end of September. Many thanks for your input.

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