The short answer is ‘we are all in charge’!
We firmly believe in encouraging “each person to develop his/her full potential by accepting and nurturing each other, developing skills and providing resources, challenging and enabling for service in the Church and community.” This idea is sometimes called the “priesthood of all believers” or “every member a minister”. For us, this really does mean all believers – women and men, gay and straight, transgender, young and old, and those with various disabilities, are all able, not only to participate, but also to exercise many different forms of ministry and leadership in our church community. And we do – in practice, not just in theory! Check out this Blog if you’d like to think a bit more about why God shows no partiality. This idea is far more radical in practice than we might imagine.
As we are all ‘ministers’, Methodists formally call their ordained clergy Presbyters (which comes from a Greek word meaning ‘elder’ see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyter) – but don’t get too anxious about terms, as often in practice we still mostly use the word ‘Minister’ to describe them.
Rev. Philmeno (Philo) Kinera has been our presbyter (minister) since February 2019. New Zealand has been Philo’s home for the past 25 years, having migrated from Singapore and beginning a new journey here with her Kiwi husband, Jeff. She lives with Jeff and their cat, Tamby. Philo can be contacted on 021 521118 or email@example.com.
The Parish Meeting (which all members can attend) and the Leader’s Meeting have the final say on most issues within our local church community. We have combined the two into a joint meeting of everyone involved in the life of our church community, and usually meet four times a year – generally after a Sunday Gathering.
In between our quarterly meeting of all members, a Parish Council is responsible for the governance of the Parish, and overseeing congregational life and work. They are also responsible for keeping the official records of our parish. Our Parish Council meets monthly, includes leaders of all groups, two parish stewards and two or three representatives elected by the congregation. We currently have 10 members, including our presbyter (Rev Philo). The Chair is Lucy D’Aeth and the Treasurer is Hugh Mingard.
Two Parish Stewards are usually appointed – one by the Parish Meeting and one by the Presbyter. Their role is officially to be “watchful servants” on behalf of the whole church community. While volunteers, they are considered the un-paid ‘Executive Officers’ of the Parish Meeting – responsible for ensuring its decisions are carried out. They are expected to have regular discussions on parish life with the presbyter and provide pastoral support to the presbyter and their families. They are also expected to facilitate communication within the Parish and hear and act upon any concerns. Our Parish Stewards are currently Pauline McKay and Garth Nowland-Foreman.
We are a Registered Charity CC48261, and a very open and accountable group. Our most recent financials and other reporting information is regularly posted on the Charities website under our legal name (get ready its a mouthful!) The Methodist Church of New Zealand Te Haahi Weteriana O Aotearoa Christchurch Central Parish.
Ultimately, under what we call the ‘connexional’ system, we are also mutually accountable to other Methodists around Aotearoa New Zealand – particularly though the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church of New Zealand Te Hāhi o Aotearoa. You can find out about some of our wider relationships and local connections at We are not alone.
It can all sound more complicated than it is. But in practice its really just a case of everyone trying to work together for what’s best for our church community, and as we serve the city and beyond. If anything is confusing, just ask questions till you find out. If you are really into trying to keep awake at night, here is a copy of the MCNZ Law Book – the formal Rules that govern how we operate.