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Presbyterian Church General Assembly

10 September 2004

Presbyterian Church General Assembly

What: Around 500 Presbyterians will gather in Christchurch from 19-24 September for their biennial Assembly. Both ministers (ordained) and lay people from parishes around New Zealand will participate in deciding the future direction of their Church.

Major items for discussion will include:

Installation of new Moderator (national Church leader), Rev Garry Marquand.

China/Taiwan relations - Assembly will be asked to reaffirm its commitment to working with the Christian communities in China and Taiwan, so that the tension can be resolved without violence or the threat of violence.

Keeping children safe - Assembly will be asked to urge Government to develop resources to support the education of new parents who are most likely to lack the necessary skills for keeping their children safe. The Churches Agency On Social Issues (CASI) report says that poor parenting skills underlie the suffering of children that persists in New Zealand.

Foreshore and seabed legislation - A resolution will also be put to Assembly to ask the Government not to proceed with the Foreshore and seabed legislation, but to engage in further discussion and consultation and ensure any legislation is the minimum required to deal with immediate issues of inalienability and public access.

Civil Union Bill - CASI will also ask Assembly to urge MPs to pass the Civil Union Bill into law.

Assembly process - This year there is a diverse range of topics, including several papers questioning the direction of a recent Judicial Commission ruling regarding homosexuality in ministry. It will be up to Assembly to decide if it wishes to debate these proposals and what happens to them.

When: Sunday, 19 September – Friday, 24 September 2004. With the exception of opening and closing days, sessions generally run from 8:30am until 9:30pm. Further information about the dates/times on which specific topics will discussed, will be made available next week to those who have registered interest.

Where: St Andrew’s College, 247 Papanui Road, Christchurch.

ENDS

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