New Assistant Pastor for St Alban’s

Sunday, November 9, 2014

For the past 18 months I have been serving as the Convener of our new regional body called Presbytery Central.  This is the senior leadership role in the Presbytery which has paid St Albans for 10 hours per week of my time.  This has allowed the Church Council to employ Alison Angel as my assistant.  I have greatly valued the cheerful and willing assistant she has been, doing tasks as diverse as visiting newcomers, typing, organising events and cleaning auditorium chairs!  Alison finished her role this week.

At General Assembly in October, Presbytery Central was officially established, and Wellington joined the other four regions which have been working together for 18 months.  The Coordinating Team asked our elders if I could be released for a further 5 hours per week (15 hours in total) and the elders agreed, provided we can find a good assistant pastor to serve St Albans. 

The elders believe that Paula Levy would be a very suitable person for this role, initially for one year, starting on February 1st 2015.  Our reasons are below.

It is the Church Council’s responsibility to make decisions about the employment of staff, other than the Minister.  After serious and prayerful consideration, we invited Paula to be the Assistant Pastor.

Paula has a Bachelor of Ministries Degree from Laidlaw College, has worked as a youth pastor and student counsellor/advisor at UCOL, has excellent people skills, a passion for teaching and facilitating discipleship, is an experienced worship leader, and has a long involvement with St Albans.  She was ordained as an elder here in 2000.  Her skills fit the Job Description we have developed very well - in the areas of welcoming and incorporating newcomers, oversight of small groups and discipling ministries, pastoral visiting and some preaching  It would be of real benefit to add a younger woman to our staff team.

Paula has also sensed a call to ordained ministry, has tested that call by applying to the Presbytery and has been accepted to attend the National Assessment Course in May next year.  Being Assistant Pastor will provide her with valuable experience as she explores this call.

The elders have been in discussion with Paula and Roger about their return to NZ in January, after six of the last seven years in Vanuatu.  We are very conscious of the challenges they will face in their re-entry to NZ life.  Many missionary families find it extremely difficult to settle back into their own society because their mission experience has changed them, their home society seems to have changed, and their fellow citizens are generally continuing their lives as before.

The elders believe that we have “a duty of care” towards the Levys as their sending church.  We need to do all that we can to help them have a positive re-entry.  We believe, in discussion with them, that it will be best for them to return to their most familiar environment – their house and schools, church and friends here in Palmy.  Employing Paula as Assistant Pastor is a wonderful fit, which meets both our current needs as a church and helps meet their needs as a returning missionary family.

Roger will be looking for employment on his return.  Please keep alert for any possibilities in building work, house maintenance or mechanical repairs – a maintenance guy with a house rental company or an equipment hire company.

We also want to ask if any of you would be willing to provide some financial support for Paula, either weekly or monthly, so that we could extend her hours from 15 to 20 per week.  Please tell Jennifer Shaw or me if you can offer financial assistance.