NZCMS Board Member Reflects

Nov 29, 2023 | News

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By Rev Dr Rangi Nicholson
NZCMS Board Member

Members of the NZCMS whānau, along with inter­na­tional guests from CMS UK and Asia CMS, atten­ded the Wānanga Sym­posium on Novem­ber 16 — 18, an event held at Wait­angi. This sym­posium fea­tured leading inter­na­tional and New Zealand schol­ars explor­ing Chris­tian­ity, the Māori World and colo­ni­al­ism in Aotearoa New Zealand. NZCMS Board Member Rev Dr. Rangi Nich­olson reflects on this event through the lens of three selec­ted pas­sages of scripture.


Tēnā koutou katoa. Greet­ings every­one. The Wānanga Sym­posium held at Wait­angi on 16–18 Novem­ber this year was a hugely blessed learn­ing oppor­tun­ity and mission chal­lenge. Despite recent polit­ical devel­op­ments, this augurs well for the future of the Treaty of Wait­angi, the Church and the nation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I give thanks to God, our Medi­ator, Saviour and Redeemer, for bring­ing us safely to Wait­angi and safely home, for the will­ing­ness of NZCMS to learn more about our national church history and to commit to Te Tiriti o Wait­angi as a sacred cov­en­ant. I am also thank­ful for all those brought across our paths on this extraordin­ary pil­grim­age, includ­ing the tangata whenua, the organ­isers and the presenters.

Renew­ing old friend­ships and making new ones was a high­light for me. It was a time for build­ing rela­tion­ships with the NZCMS whānau and others. It was also a time for acknow­ledging and wit­ness­ing the Gospel of God’s love, justice and peace, the Gospel that the mis­sion­ar­ies brought to Aotearoa New Zealand.

In Paul’s first letter to the Cor­inthi­ans, he writes in chapter 13 about love which is patient and kind, truth-seeking, hopeful and endur­ing. It was evident in spades­ful in each present­a­tion that I atten­ded at this gath­er­ing.  Paul also clearly states what love is not: jealous, boast­ful, proud, rude, self-seeking, irrit­able, unfor­giv­ing and happy with injustice. I did not come across jeal­ousy, boast­ful­ness, pride, rude­ness, selfish­ness, irrit­ab­il­ity, unfor­give­ness and injustice. Instead, the fruit of the Holy Spirit pre­vailed from start to finish at this Wananga Symposium.

Justice was pro­gressed sig­ni­fic­antly by many inspir­a­tional presenters. It is not every day that you hear a Supreme Court judge encour­aging the Church to work for such justice. Te Tiriti o Wait­angi was again acknow­ledged as a sacred cov­en­ant reg­u­larly through these discussions.

As I’ve reflec­ted on this call to seek justice I’ve thought of Isaiah 42: 1–9 and asked the fol­low­ing questions:

Are NZCMS, and others who attended the Wānanga Symposium, the chosen servants who reveal a character of gentleness, encouragement, justice and truth? Are we all called by God to be servants of Jesus Christ and to share in Christ’s mission while demonstrating God’s righteousness and bringing his light? Are we willing to let God’s light shine in us before we can be lights ourselves?

In Jesus’s sermon on the Mount, he gives us the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verses 1–12. As we realise the need for God, and mourn the bad and the ugly of Aotearoa New Zealand’s history, we are called to be humble, to hunger and thirst for justice, to be mer­ci­ful, pure in heart, work for peace and exper­i­ence per­se­cu­tion. By these things, we are blessed by God. This stand­ard of conduct leads to joy and hope for the Church and Aotearoa New Zealand as a nation. Heart­felt, faith­ful obed­i­ence to God is the chal­lenge for us as fol­low­ers of Jesus. We were chal­lenged at the Wānanga/Symposium to not only listen but also be pro­act­ive as bold, loving, change agents in the future.

Finally, Bishop Te Kitohi of Te Tai Tokerau encour­aged us all to have the con­fid­ence, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the strength of God, to explore new mission and min­istry pathways.

Ngā manaakitanga/blessings.

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