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Three New Ministers Ordained

Three New Ministers Ordained

The recent annual conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand, held in Auckland, was notable for the ordination of 3 outstanding young ministers, the launch of the Wesleyan Ministry Institute and the celebration of the inauguration of the South Pacific Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The conference also considered the Redefinition of Marriage Bill currently before Parliament.

The Celebration and Ordination service was held on Saturday 10 November at East City Wesleyan church. Rev Rex Rigby, the first indigenous Australian to serve as National Superintendent of any Australian church, was the guest speaker. The newly ordained ministers represent part of the crop of young, highly competent ministers that are being nurtured within the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Rev Jo McKinnell is the youngest minister to be ordained in the church. She currently serves as Youth Pastor to the Papakura Wesleyan Church and is working amongst the at-risk youth population of the Redhill suburb.

Rev Clint Ussher is the senior minister of The Well, a Wesleyan Methodist Church plant in Christchurch. He reflects the high quality church planters that are being recruited to the movement. Rev Ussher brings a rich blend of practical ministry experience and strong academic preparation, having recently completed his MDiv from Princeton Seminary.

Rev Frank Ritchie is the Education and Advocacy Manager for TearFund New Zealand. His work with TearFund embodies much of the Wesleyan imperative to ministry with the poor and marginalised members of our global community. Rev Ritchie worships with cession|community in Pakuranga, where he leads the Commoners midweek service – a worship service of contemplation and prayer.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church’s investment in ministerial preparation was clearly evident in these ordinations and further reflected in the launch of the Wesleyan Ministry Institute (WMI). The WMI will serve as an umbrella organisation for ministry preparation with the Wesleyan Methodist Church offering a range of distinctive subjects for lay and ministerial students and coordinating educational access to a range of local and international tertiary providers.

ConneXion 2012 was the first member national conference to meet within the newly formed South Pacific Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The inaugural President of the conference is Rev Dr Richard Waugh. The wider mission of the Regional Conference was reinforced and celebrated with New Zealand accepting a partnership role with the developing Bougainville church. Australia and the Solomon Islands are the present members of the regional Conference with other national churches predicted to align with the largest regional expression of Methodism in the Pacific.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church’s submission to the Select Committee dealing with the Redefinition of Marriage Bill was received by the Conference. The conference affirmed its commitment to marriage in the following terms:

The Wesleyan Methodist Church’s position on marriage is consistent with the historic Christian perspective that marriage is expressed in a monogamous lifelong relationship between one man and one woman, is a covenant union made in the sight of God and is part of the divine design for the birth and rearing of children. It is our conviction that marriage is an important foundation for our society, part of the natural order which we see evidenced in the world around us, clearly established in the Christian scriptures and fully realised in the teaching of Jesus on marriage.

The conference also affirmed the church’s commitment to a properly constituted review of the Marriage law, noting that a Private Member’s Bill was not a suitable mechanism for dealing with such an important national issue. The Bill is seen as being out of step with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which continues to view marriage as between a man and a woman and ultimately failing to secure advantages for New Zealand society as a whole especially children.

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