The Parish elders, (not only those elders of the Session of Coles Crescent but also the parish elders from Waiau Pa and Bombay), have been meeting to look at the current structure of our parish so that we can evaluate it in terms of our needs today. It was originally put into place, unique amongst every other Presbyterian Parish in NZ, forty years ago, so you can see that from time-to-time it needs to be looked at again.
So the thing is, at our last meeting, someone mentioned that with different people joining our Parish fairly regularly, maybe not everyone is aware of how we work as a Parish. So as simply as I can put it in a snippet, here goes.
Our Parish of First Presbyterian Church and Districts was originally made up of five distinct local churches linked together but focussed around First Church. They were Drury Church, Bombay, Waiau Pa, Rosehill and here at Coles Crescent. At the moment, due to one of those Districts no longer being sustainable whilst the other growing to a point where it is able to now stand on its own (always the original intention and hope), there are three Districts as mentioned above.
Each District has its own local leadership of elder(s) with its own finances and use of buildings. But at the same time, we also choose to network together so that we become one church but located in three distinct geographical areas. This came about because two of the Districts are too small to stand alone and be self-sufficient, therefore need to be associated with the larger Coles Crescent Church so that as a whole Parish together, the National Presbyterian Church can recognise all three as one church i.e. viable. If we were ever to choose to split apart, then Waiau Pa and Bombay would have to close as Presbyterian Churches and the Parish’s influence in the different areas would also stop.
So that’s how it works, and that is what the Parish District Elders are meeting to consider. What was instituted 40 years ago, may or may not still be meeting our current needs in what is a very different world from the one then. So we’ll keep everyone up to speed if changes do come about as we continue looking at it all.