Resources and Training

encouragement … up-skilling … confidence in God … confidence in the Church … courage to step up and step out … swim against the flow in the life of God … get practical and get doing
Anywhere in the country where you have internet—form a group and do it together—or just sign up and join in … office@bishopdale.ac.nz

Teaching and training through 2021 from AFFIRM Affiliates:

• The Big Story of the Bible with Bishopdale College (Bible and Theology people)

6 Tuesday evenings 23 February—30 March

• Prayer and walking in Spirit with SOMA (short-term mission experts)

4 Tuesday evenings 4-25 May

• Worldviews and Communicating across cultures with BTC

4 evenings in the weeks of June 7-29

• Sharing the faith in practice with Church Army (gospel sharing experts)

3 Tuesday evenings 27 July—10 August

• Prayer Ministry in the Spirit’s Power with SOMA (short-term mission experts)

4 evenings in the weeks of September 6—27

• Confidence in the Bible with Bishopdale College

3 evenings in the weeks of October 18—November 1

How to become an Associate Member of AFFIRM

Both Individuals and Ministry Units can become Associate Members of AFFIRM

Ministry Unit (Parish) Associate Membership

Why become an Associate of AFFIRM:

Your Ministry Unit becomes part of a growing network of churches throughout the country that have joined together to support and encourage each other in their ministries. Membership leads to automatic access to all AFFIRM Conferences and day seminars aimed at strengthening the local church in its mission. The Voluntary Agencies that initiated AFFIRM offer their expertise and resources both written and staff in Evangelism, Mission Partnerships, Theological training and the best of New Zealand based world class Theological and Biblical studies. AFFIRM will assist parishes in finding staff members for parish and other ministries including assisting in the search for the Vicar of a parish. AFFIRM has within its reach people with considerable experience in leading growing healthy churches. In partnership with Presbyterian AFFIRM a steady flow of booklets are produced that will assist individuals and churches in developing their Faith and grappling with some of the issues that confront us as Christians in New Zealand.

What does it cost:

Each Ministry Unit can choose to pay from $1 to $10 per average attendance on Sunday each year. So a parish with an average attendance of 60 could pay as little as $60 or as much as $600 per year.

How to become an Associate of AFFIRM:

To be an Associate of AFFIRM a ministry unit must:

  • Be a parish or ministry unit of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia
  • Support the objectives of AFFIRM
    • to enhance the life and further the mission of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, and in particular to pursue the purposes set out in the Mission Statement, namely to call the Church to biblical faith, the life of prayer, spiritual renewal and effective mission.
  • Supply a resolution from the Vestry, or equivalent decision making body, stating that it supports the objectives of AFFIRM and wishes to be enrolled as an Associate of AFFIRM.

 

You may apply to become an associate by:

  1. Using the online form Application for Associate Membership, or
  2. Emailing a copy of the resolution to admin@affirm.net.nz, or
  3. Posting a copy of the resolution to:

AFFIRM
232 Withells Road
Avonhead
Christchurch, 8042

An appropriate resolution would be:

That [Name of Parish / Ministry Unit]

1. supports the objectives of AFFIRM, that is, 'to enhance the life and further the mission of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, and in particular to pursue the purposes set out in the Mission Statement, namely to call the Church to biblical faith, the life of prayer, spiritual renewal and effective mission';

2. agrees to the AFFIRM Covenant, namely, 

We uphold the creedal beliefs of the Anglican Church, and affirm especially:

(a) The love of God as the source and motive of our life and mission;

(b) The Lordship of Jesus Christ over the church and the world;

(c) The authority of the Bible as God's living word to individuals and communities;

(d) The Holy Spirit's gifting of all Christian women and men for their varied ministries;

(e) The centrality of evangelism within the whole mission of the church;

(f) The need for continuing renewal of local congregations as living communities of faith and love;

(g) The priority of prayer and worship as under girding all Christian life and action.

and

3. resolves to apply to AFFIRM to be an Associate member

 

The following ministry units are Associates of AFFIRM:

 

Who is AFFIRM?

AFFIRM (Anglican For Faith Intercession Renewal and Mission) is a partnership of voluntary societies, groups, ministry units and individuals in the New Zealand Anglican Church that have signed the following covenant:

AFFIRM seeks to recall the church to biblical faith, the life of prayer, spiritual renewal and effective mission.

What we hold in common:

We uphold the creedal beliefs of the Anglican Church, and affirm especially:

  1. The love of God as the source and motive of our life and mission;
  2. The Lordship of Jesus Christ over the church and the world;
  3. The authority of the Bible as God's living word to individuals and communities;
  4. The Holy Spirit's gifting of all Christian women and men for their varied ministries;
  5. The centrality of evangelism within the whole mission of the church;
  6. The need for continuing renewal of local congregations as living communities of faith and love;
  7. The priority of prayer and worship as under girding all Christian life and action.

 

Our Constitution

Christian Community

There are a number of parishes exploring becoming a member of the Christian Community.  We congratulate Holy Trinity Tauranga as the first ministry unit to join, and St. George's Papatoetoe who voted to join last Sunday. 

Why I voted against the Motion 29 recommendations, and why I’m still not leaving!

Andrew Burgess, Bishopdale College, Nelson

I am not a Bishop, or a Vicar General, nor an Archdeacon. I’m not even a member of Standing Committee. I’m just ‘Burge’ … but I want to offer my thoughts as someone who ‘represented’ Nelson Diocese at the General Synod.

The General Synod or Te Hinota Whanui of the Anglican Church in these islands voted to adopt the recommendations of what we have been calling Motion 29 report. (The actual motion at the 2018 meeting we just had was Motion 7, just to confuse things, but it adopted the Motion 29 recommendations, with some minor changes.)

I don’t want to try and go into detail on the report – for many people reading this the key issue is straight-forward, and that is the acceptance of blessings for same-sex couples in a civil union or marriage. The church, as a whole, agreed to allow Bishops to choose to have some sort of service or part of a service written, and for those Bishops to allow an ordained Anglican minister to use that material for a blessing of a civil union or civil marriage, regardless of the gender of the couple, and so on.

In doing that, the outcome includes these things:

  • No Bishop has to offer this in their Diocese.
  • No Anglican minister has to use this (ever) even if their Bishop allows it.
  • Anglican ministers remain free to teach for and against these blessings – a minister who does not agree with this decision is free to teach that disagreement in the Church.

While I am very grateful for these points, I voted against the motion.

The reason is simple: I don’t agree, because I am clear that Holy Scripture describes same-sex sexual relationships as outside of God’s purpose and call for humans. I do not agree at all with the claim that the relevant passages are about something else. In addition to those individual passages I see a wider picture of human creation and redemption toward our final fulfilment in union with Christ, and I see an emphasis on female and male together, even though some of us are called to be unmarried now and all of us will be unmarried in the resurrection.

The gospel is for every person and welcome, love and compassion are key – I want to bless every person, because God is like that. More than that, I am very well aware that I am a sinner, and that God blesses me. Within that, Holy Scripture also speaks directly about the importance of sexual behaviour and obedience, with great importance placed on what the Church holds up as fitting. So, I cannot bless same-sex sexual relationships and thus declare them ‘fitting’.

I am utterly clear that this Motion 29 decision is the decision of a Church acting unfaithfully. I am deeply disappointed. At the same time, I am at least as unhappy about our failure to obey God in mission and evangelism.

Why then am I not leaving?

Although I see myself connected to a Church that is unfaithful in this way, I see myself committed to working hard for the future of that Church, and to do so ‘on the inside’. I have many good friends who are looking to leave. Some of you reading this are in that place and although I cannot tell you what you should do, I do appeal to you: ‘Please consider whether staying is the call of God for you also.’

So …

  1. Until the rules of this Church tell me that I cannot live out and preach and teach the Gospel of God in Christ (the whole of Holy Scripture!), and:
    Until the rules of this Church tell me that I have to bless relationships which do not belong to the call of God I will not be leaving over this issue.
  2. I do not believe that God has given up on this Church. In fact, I see much evidence of God’s faithfulness and much change and growth for the good. Some parts of this Church are continuing in a fashion that (to me) does not live or proclaim the Gospel, or proclaims a very much cut-down version, and the fruit is there to see. But, new Gospel life is shooting up in a whole raft of places and it can even feel exciting to be an Anglican when you see it. Brilliant and genuine mission is taking place and faithful new leadership springing up at many levels. In fact, although General Synod just passed this motion, I see among the group at that synod many who are much more faithful than in the past. I say that, even though it did not vote down the Motion 29 recommendations.
  3. I am utterly aware that sometimes we are called to leave a group or ‘church’. (I have given some thoughts in 1. above about to when that might be – but in the end it will still be a matter of listening to God. Maybe the Lord will ask me to walk away sooner than I know.) I respect highly those who believe the call is to leave. But I am also alert to the many faithful ones whom God has called to ‘stay’. Just think of God’s prophets on the inside of unfaithful Israel. What a mess they confronted. For Elijah it meant hiding in the wilderness and great danger in turning up with the Lord’s Word. For Jeremiah it meant hanging-tough in a very public way and handling the ridicule. For all of them it meant living in a really painful place. Think too of English reformers like Tyndale and Wycliffe, who battled to keep bringing the Gospel inside the Church of their day. Way back in the mid 300’s Athanasius battled ‘against the world’ for a great truth. Eventually the Church came round (or back?) to right belief. Don’t misunderstand, I do not say that these examples are the same as it is for me – they are not even the same as each other – but I do take seriously that even when God’s people are utterly compromised God can still call me to be on the inside. (Don’t even start challenging me about my own sinfulness, that is another whole piece of writing.)
  4. Within the sense I have of a call to stay, I am intent on supporting those who are striving to be faithful, and to be with them – on this matter of human sexuality before God, but also in every way that is important. In pursuing the just righteousness of God, in partnering with members of Maori and Pacifika Anglican churches who are striving for faithfulness in the mission places they occupy. I want to walk with faithful people who find themselves mixed into a deeply unfaithful Church and who want to see God’s mercy judge and redeem all of us.
  5. I want to be part of the future God is bringing to this Church.

Don’t misunderstand, I am still deeply unhappy, deeply distressed. All the more distressed when I think of people leaving and of the bitter loss that is to me personally. But at this point I stay, I work, and I struggle to be faithful and to serve others in that way. I am committed to maintaining fellowship with those who hear a call to leave.

What about Nelson Diocese and BTC? Our stance remains and is clear: these blessings will not happen here and cannot while we hold to our Diocesan policy on human sexuality. Equally the call to love and share Christ with everyone remains absolute, regardless of every circumstance.

Finally: Someone at the General Synod asked, ‘Are you leaving then?’ My reply was grumpy but honest: ‘No, I’m not leaving – it’s my Church!’ Actually, I was wrong of course. It is Jesus Christ’s Church, and He can still work in it. Always.

Time for Love - A Response

by Bryden Black, Easter 2018

First impressions of this documentary (that is what it calls itself) are that it is first rate, well produced, and with a suitably beguiling sound track (music by Ludovico Einaudi, by any chance). As far as the medium of ‘talking heads’ go, it seeks to present a biblical case for at least same-sex blessings and ideally for same-sex marriage. Its avowed audience furthermore are those who seek themselves to acknowledge a high view of biblical authority. Does it achieve its goals? Apart from dispelling the usual miscues sometimes/often paraded in these discussions (e.g. the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen 19), frankly, in my opinion, no; it fails. Not only did we not actually hear new ground being broken here, the old arguments assembled via an array of interviewees continue finally not to convince. And it fails to convince for a number of reasons, some specifically and others cumulatively. We shall take some specific reasons first.

Read the complete article

Ongoing thoughts

Good to chat last night. I realized after the conversation that I felt sad about the state of the church in NZ. But when I thought about it, I wasn't really sad about motion 29 and it's associated changes. I'm sad about the lack of many good examples of effective mission and healthy growing churches. I really hope this becomes the focus of the Affirm Christian Community - a network of churches committing to being more effective in mission for the full biblical gospel, and willing to take risks. Imagine if the affirm Christian community became known as the church planting wing of Anglicanism in NZ. Like, the Christian Community, I think, has to push against the voices inside it which want to make the focus (in word, or in deed) to be preserving doctrine. Having good doctrine is a necessary pre-requisite of the mission, but it is not the mission. Many churches with correct doctrine have died. I think y'all should be saying, with one accord: 'we have an opportunity and authorization to come together and get serious about getting effective in the mission. Let's take that opportunity and see what God will do.

Peter Williamson
Chaplain at Harvard University
InterVarsity’s Harvard Team Leader for Post-grad Student Ministry

AFFIRM Report on General Synod 2018

  1. A team of up to 10 people met twice a day in New Plymouth to pray for the General Synod. Thank you to those of you who could not be present but prayed in support also.
  2. Despite the Conservative / Orthodox voice speaking and voting against motion 29, the motion was passed by a majority at the General Synod on the 9 th May 2018.
  3. Bishops may, when asked, agree to clergy blessing same gender couples who have had civil union or civil marriage services.
  4. The question of ordination was left deliberately vague and some Bishops will take that to mean that they can ordain someone in a same sex relationship who has been through a blessing service.
  5. Despite this AFFIRM will remain as part of this Church and continue to bring our voice to any future debates.
  6. The AFFIRM submission for new Christian Communities to be established has been accepted 
  7. Most importantly any Parish that joins the Community will be assured that future clergy appointments to that Parish MUST have the same theology as the Parish when it joined the Christian Community.
  8. A Constitution for the Christian Communities, already in draft form, is being completed.
  9. The motion from Auckland to review Christian Marriage was defeated.
  10. We will be sending more detailed information on 6 and 7 above shortly outlining where wego from here.
  11. We will be calling meetings of the various AFFIRM groups around the country in the next few weeks to share in detail what AFFIRM will be doing.
  12. In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact Paul Williamson, Lorraine or Pete Lloyd.
  13. It is of the utmost importance that we now turn our focus to how to reach this Nation for Christ and the Church. We know that this is at the top of the agenda for all of us. AFFIRM will now be able to focus on this and the Christian Community network will provide a strong new platform to unite and resource parishes in this mission.

The AFFIRM Team
11 May 2018

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