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UPDATE ON THE NEW NATIONAL BODY, NEW ZEALAND

February 27, 2002

Press Release: Update on the New National Body, New Zealand:

A Facilitation Team was appointed by the Second National Leadership Summit in Palmerston North in September last year. The NLS had been called together initially by John Walton of the New Life movement and a group of senior pastors in Palmerston North, in March 2001. This group has met twice and reports excellent progress with the establishment of a new national body to represent the interests and concerns of Christians who would consider themselves to be orthodox to conservative evangelical to pentecostal. Briefly, they have put together drafts of the following foundational items: a Constitution, a Values Statement, a Job Description for the first Facilitator, and a list of major and minor tasks to be undertaken.

Facilitator Appointed
As requested by the Second NLS, the Facilitation Team agreed on Monday 18 February to appoint the first Facilitator. Graeme Lee is the man. This is a two year appointment during which time Graeme is to construct the Networks and the organization needed for the job. As many know, Graeme Lee led the team that put together the Evangelism 2001 conference, which was held in December last year. He was outstanding in this role. It was felt by the Facilitation Team that Graeme is emerging into his true identity in Christ, having come out of political life as a Member of Parliament for many years. They and others have been very impressed by his maturity of spirit and his leadership and management gifts, and believe the Lord has prepared him for this task. He has wide contacts at all levels, and will gather spokespersons to speak for the Network.

Graeme has started. There is much to do. It will take hours and weeks of time to lay the foundations. Graeme will be paid at the standard rate for Baptist Pastors, which is about $34,000 p.a., and may be part-time depending on funding. There will be set-up costs, but through sharing an office (perhaps at Radio Rhema) these will be kept to a minimum. Facilitation Team Chairman Bruce Patrick, senior pastor of the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle, has assured potential donors that they may have full confidence in the transparency and accountability of those who are acting on their behalf in this start-up phase. Initially at least, operations will begin under the legal auspices of VISION New Zealand\'s Trust document and Trustees.

Funds Needed
NLS attenders were sent the following message: the revolution has begun. Now is the time to give to this venture. Start-up funds are needed immediately. Your churches and agencies are invited to contribute. As suggested at the first NLS, if we each gave $1,000 we would start with about $70,000. A gift of $500, or any gift, would be helpful! In the not too distant future we will be inviting you and your agencies to become foundation members. A gift now will secure your place on that list! Annual subscription levels will eventually be set, probably sooner rather than later, and your gift will be seen as an initial subscription. Please make your cheques out to "VISION New Zealand" and send them to Shelley Gilmour, PO Box 2116, Tauranga. THANK YOU FOR ACTING ON THIS!

The Name
On Friday 15 February Gordon Stanley of Missions Interlink, Graeme Lee, Bryan Johnson of New Covenant International Bible College, and Bruce Patrick met with two leaders of the new Maori Christian Alliance, a new and parallel move among Maori. These two were Kim Workman of Wellington, leader of Prison Fellowship in New Zealand, and Rahiri Bennett, National Facilitator of the Maori Christian Alliance. They, as have other groups, expressed reservations about the use of the word "Evangelical" in the name. Then on 21 February another group of leaders with the same concern urged us to recycle the name VISION New Zealand. It has the advantage of neutrality, it imbibes the content we place into it, it is not a perjorative term that can be wielded negatively by the secular media (who can use "fundamentalist" and "evangelical" as weapons, though they have no understanding of what the words mean). Another suggestion is NEW VISION New Zealand.

Heads of Churches
Bruce Patrick met with the Heads of Churches in Wellington on Tuesday 26 February at their invitation through their chairman Steen Olsen, Lutheran President. The purpose was to inform these leaders of developments. This was an important meeting, and seemed to go well. Heads of Churches will be invited to become members of the overseeing Council of the new body. It is hoped many will accept this invitation.

World Evangelical Alliance Meetings
Graeme and Lauris Lee, and Bruce and Jinny Patrick, are planning to be in London at meetings of national leaders who affiliate with the World Evangelical Alliance, 1-5 May. Some of the costs will be covered by existing funds held in the VISION New Zealand account. This will give them an excellent opportunity to measure the New Zealand vision and plans against what God is doing through similar bodies in other nations. While in England they will also visit the Headquarters of the EAUK.

Bruce Patrick asks for prayer for these significant developments, and feedback for example on the name you prefer for the new body, to bruce.patrick@clear.net.nz