Monday, November 22, 2010

New era for Churches Together in Northland?

The Council of Churches Together in Northland has accepted that the Presbyterian Church has merged Northland Presbytery into the new, huge “Northern” Presbytery (South Auckland to the Cape). But it seems that the move which was pessimistically heralded as “the end of CTN” a year or two ago might not be as threatening as it appeared.
Three Northland representatives have been appointed to attend Northern Presbytery meetings but these gatherings will be only twice a year. Those representatives will also contribute to work groups and committees. Our district’s two Presbyterian Parishes will link with the new grouping for governance matters and some other parishes may also elect to do this.
However, probably most of Northland’s parishes will continue to find their “district” affiliation with Northland rather than with the new Super-Presbytery. A careful analysis of the formal constitution of CTN suggests that very few significant changes will have to be made to accommodate the duplicate structure.
Of course, the devil may yet be in the detail, but the signs are that some of the best elements of CTN can continue. And some of the Presbyterians who have to work with the Super Presbytery have already indicated their interest in continuing fellowship links in Northland.
All in all, it seems possible that the meaningful "regional" body for Northland's scattered, small parishes may still be quite close to home. Let's hope so.