Reformed Churches of New Zealand

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Reformed Churches of New Zealand
Reformed Churches of New Zealand.jpg
Classification Protestant
Theology Reformed
Polity Presbyterian
Origin 1953
Congregations 19
Members 3,921
Official website rcnz.org.nz

Reformed Churches of New Zealand is a Reformed Christian denomination in New Zealand. The denomination is constituted of 19 member churches, the first seven of which were formed in 1953. Total membership as of 2011 stands at 3,291.[1]

Form of doctrine[edit]

The doctrine of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand is expressed in the four confessions of faith to which it subscribes. These are the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), Belgic Confession (1566), Canons of Dort (1619) (known collectively as the Three Forms of Unity), and the Westminster Confession of Faith. Also recognised are the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed, all of which summarise the churches' doctrines.

The Reformed Churches of New Zealand are one of the few Reformed churches internationally to subscribe to both the Three Forms of Unity (common among Reformed churches with origins in the European continent, especially the Netherlands) and the Westminster Confession of Faith (common among Reformed or Presbyterian churches with origins in the British Isles).

Form of governance[edit]

The Reformed Churches of New Zealand hold to the system of Presbyterian church governance. Each church has a ruling Session composed of elders, one of whom is the church’s minister (also known as the teaching elder). Churches which have no minister are said to be vacant. Each church also has deacons who are charged with maintaining the temporal well-being of church members and with alleviating social distress. In larger churches deacons meet in their own Deacons’ Courts, while in smaller churches they meet together with the rest of the Session. Only men are eligible to serve in the offices of minister, elder, and deacon.

Churches belong to one of three regional Presbyteries which meet three times per year to discuss matters of common interest and to provide mutual oversight. Churches also meet in Synod once every three years to discuss matters of joint interest and to manage activities pertaining to the denomination. Rights of appeal are available to presbytery and synod.

Constituent churches[edit]

Church Year
Formed
Current Minister
Auckland Presbytery
Reformed Church of Avondale 1964 Peter Moelker
Reformed Presbyterian Church of Bucklands Beach 1953 Dirk Van Garderen
Reformed Church of Hamilton 1953 Michael Willemse
Reformed Church of Hukanui 2002 Leo de Vos
Reformed Church of North Shore 1980 John Rogers
Reformed Church of Pukekohe 1989 John Haverland
Wellington Presbytery
Reformed Church of Foxton 1984 vacant
Reformed Church of Hastings 1960 vacant
Reformed Church of Masterton 1987 Peter Kloosterman
Reformed Church of Palmerston North (including a group in Wanganui) 1953 vacant
Hans Vaatstra
Reformed Church of Silverstream 1967 Paul Archbald
Reformed Church of Wainuiomata 1975 Pieter van Huyssteen
Reformed Church of Wellington 1953 vacant
South Island Presbytery
Reformed Church of Bishopdale 1982 Robert van Wichen, Andrew de Vries
Reformed Church of Christchurch 1953 David Waldron
Reformed Church of Dovedale 2001 Andre Holtslag
Reformed Church of Dunedin 1955 Erik Stolte
Reformed Church of Nelson 1953 Daniel Wilson
Reformed Church of Oamaru 2013 Bruce Hoyt

Ecumenical contacts[edit]

The Reformed Churches of New Zealand is a member of the International Conference of Reformed Churches[1] . Sister-church relationships are held with churches abroad which hold to similar doctrine and practice.

History[edit]

Reformed churches have their origins in the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. In the late 1940s a wave of migrants from the Netherlands settling in New Zealand expected to find their spiritual homes in existing churches of Reformed persuasion. Instead they found departures from Reformed doctrine and practice that they could not overlook. Discussions began in Auckland in 1951 with a view to establishing an indigenous Reformed denomination. A minister from the Netherlands, Rev J W Deenick, arrived in 1952 to support the fledgling group. The official establishment of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand took place in 1953 at a synod in Wellington, with churches from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch represented. By the end of that year further churches started operations in Bucklands Beach, Hamilton, Nelson and Palmerston North. A further 12 member-churches have since been formed.[2]

Worship[edit]

The churches hold worship services twice each Sunday and generally on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Ascension Day and New Year's Eve. Preaching from the Bible is the central element of worship. Preaching is by ordained ministers, or alternatively sermons written by an ordained minister may be read by a lay male Session appointee when a minister is not available. Sung praise and corporate prayer are the next most significant elements of worship. The Christian Reformed Church in North America's Psalter Hymnal is the main source of hymnody, however the compilation and evaluation of a denominational psalter/hymnal is currently in progress. The singing of the Psalms features strongly in the hymnody. Corporate confession of sin and the assurance of God's pardon are an integral part of Sunday morning worship, while in the second service one of the creeds is usually recited in unison.

The sacrament of the Lord's Supper (or Holy Communion) is celebrated at least three-monthly. The sacrament of baptism is administered to new converts and to the infant children of confessing church members.

List of synods[edit]

No. Year Venue Moderator and General Adjunct Clerks
1 1953 Wellington R E Dijkstra, Wellington
J W Deenick, Auckland
1: A van Gelder
2 1953 Auckland J W Deenick, Auckland
E Dijkstra, Wellington
1: Th Althuis
3 1954 Wellington E Dijkstra, Wellington
J A Scarrow, Bucklands Beach
1: A van Gelder
2: F Channing
4 1955 Auckland B Boelens, Christchurch
J W Deenick, Auckland
1: F Channing
2: P G van Dam
5 1957 Hamilton J W Deenick, Auckland
E Dijkstra, Wellington
1: W In’t Veld
2: J Kleinjan
St: F Channing
6 1959 Dunedin J A Scarrow, Bucklands Beach
R J Venema, Dunedin
1: H van der Pols
2: P G van Dam
St: F Channing
7 1961 Wellington R J Venema, Bucklands Beach
J W Deenick, Auckland
1: P G van Dam
2: W van Rij
St: R J Venema
8 1962 Wellington S Cooper, Christchurch
P H Pellicaan, Dunedin
1: D G Vanderpyl
2: R O Zorn, Hamilton
St: R O Zorn, Hamilton
9 1964 Wellington R O Zorn, Hamilton
P van der Schaaf, Christchurch
1: A I de Graaf, Wellington
2: F Channing, Nelson
St: R O Zorn, Hamilton
10 1965 Christchurch G I Williamson, Mangere
P H Pellicaan, Dunedin
1: A I de Graaf, Wellington
2: F Channing, Nelson
St: R O Zorn, Hamilton
11 1967 Avondale H L Hoving, Silverstream
R O Zorn, Hamilton
1: A I de Graaf, Wellington
2: T E Tyson, Bucklands Beach
St: C J Reitsma, Wellington
12 1969 Nelson C J Reitsma, Wellington
T E Tyson, Bucklands Beach
1: D G Vanderpyl
2: F Channing, Nelson
St: D G Vanderpyl
13 1971 Wellington H L Hoving, Silverstream/ Wainuiomata
A W Palmer, Mangere
1: W Wiersma, Christchurch
2: F W Kroon, Bucklands Beach
St: D G Vanderpyl
14 1974 Silverstream W Wiersma, Christchurch
W A Davies, Bucklands Beach
1: D G Vanderpyl
2: H L Hoving, Invercargill
St: D G Vanderpyl
15 1977 Hamilton G I Williamson, Silverstream
A W Palmer, Mangere
1: M Schwarz, Hamilton
2: L Reurich, Hastings
St: D G Vanderpyl
16 1980 Palmerston North M Schwarz, Hamilton
J Goris, Avondale
1: J C Williams, Nelson
2: L Reurich, Kerepehi/ Tokoroa
St: D G Vanderpyl
17 1983 Christchurch P D Stadt, Christchurch
J E de Graaf, Bishopdale
1: B U Kuipers, Palmerston North
2: C A R Larsen, Dunedin
St: D G Vanderpyl
18 1986 Mangere D J van Garderen, Bishopdale
P R Flinn, North Shore
1: B E Hoyt, Silverstream
2: L Draijer, Nelson
St: D G Vanderpyl
19 1989 Silverstream W Wiersma, Hamilton
B Kroon, Christchurch
1: J A Haverland, Bucklands Beach
2: D van der Vecht, Avondale
St: D G Vanderpyl
20 1992 Bishopdale W Wiersma, Hamilton
J A Haverland, Bishopdale
1: M A Flinn, Pukekohe
2: B E Hoyt, Masterton
St: J Ploeg
21 1995 Avondale J A Haverland, Bishopdale
M A Flinn, Pukekohe
1: B E Hoyt, Hastings
2: W Walraven, Silverstream
St: J Ploeg
22 1998 Wainuiomata J A Haverland, Bishopdale
G H Milne, Wainuiomata
1: B E Hoyt, Hastings
2: M A Flinn, Pukekohe
St: B E Hoyt, Hastings
23 2001 Palmerston North M A Flinn, Dovedale
M Capill, Bucklands Beach
1: S Bajema, Mangere
2: J van Rensburg, Bucklands Beach
St: B E Hoyt, Hastings
24 2002 Christchurch W Wiersma, Hamilton
J A Haverland, Bishopdale
1: B E Hoyt, Hastings
2: W Walraven, Silverstream
St: B E Hoyt, Hastings
25 2005 Hamilton J A Haverland, Pukekohe
M A Flinn, Dovedale
1: B E Hoyt, Hastings
2: R de Vries, Christchurch
St: B E Hoyt, Hastings
26 2008 Hastings J H Rogers, North Shore
D J van Garderen, Bucklands Beach
1: P van der Wel, Hamilton
2: A Nugteren, Wellington
St: B E Hoyt, Hastings
27 2011 Bucklands Beach B E Hoyt, Dunedin/Oamaru
P Kloosterman, Masterton
1: P van der Wel, Hamilton
2: M Willemse, Hamilton
St: P van der Wel, Hamilton

Latest synodical appointments[edit]

  • Standing committees
    • Church Extension Committee
    • Church Order Committee
    • Emeritus Fund Committee
    • Education Resource Committee
    • Inter-Church Relations Committee
    • Overseas Mission Board
    • National Diaconate Committee
    • National Publications Committee
    • Reformed Theological College and Student Assistance Committee
  • Study committees
    • Committee to Update Forms and Confessions
    • Psalm and Hymnody Selection Committee
    • Sexual Abuse Study Committee
    • Bible Translations Committee
  • Other appointments
    • Stated Clerk
    • Synodical Treasurer
    • Deputies for Theological Training
    • Synodical Archivist
    • Year Book Editor
    • Synodical Liaison to Calvinist Cadet Corps
    • Webmaster

See Acts of Synod 2011[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yearbook 2011 of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand, May 2011, ISSN 1173-0617
  2. ^ For more detail see Dick G Vanderpyl's article.
  3. ^ http://www.rcnzonline.com/synodical/synod-minutes-2011.pdf

Further reading[edit]

  • Dirk Vanderpyl (ed) Trust and Obey: A History of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand: Hamilton: Reformed Church Publishing Society: 1994.

External links[edit]