Two hundred years of the Christian gospel in New Zealand is a major milestone – and worth celebrating.
25 December 2014 is the official date of the bicentenary when the Rev Samuel Marsden preached his first sermon at Oihi Bay in the Bay of Islands in 1814, supported by Ruatara, Hongi Hika and Korokoro.
A national committee of Church leaders is planning a number of events to mark this special occasion, beginning with a Symposium in November 2012. Many other national events are being organised, as well as displays in museums and art galleries.
COMMEMORATION - 10am SUNDAY 21 DECEMBER: The Pōwhiri for the commemoration begins at 10am.The Governor General will open Rangihoua Heritage Park, including the new building, Rore Kāhu, at the entrance to the valley and the new pilgrimage pathway, which leads down to the Marsden Cross. The development work also includes panels along the pathway that tell the history of the land and the people being remembered in the bicentennial commemorations. To register for the day and for further details that includes parking, free shuttle buses, and what to bring see: www.rangihouaheritage.co.nz
CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE - 11am THURSDAY 25 DECEMBER: The ecumenical service, at the Marsden Cross site, will be Anglican led and include church leaders from across the country. The service will remember the gift of two hundred years ago and those who enabled it on that site, as well as celebrate the ongoing work of the gospel. People are asked to make their own way to the site, by vehicle or boat, and are encouraged to bring a picnic and stay for the afternoon if they wish to. For further details on the day, go to www.gospel2014.org
Visit here to see what celebrations are planned nationally and to keep informed of what local communities are doing to mark this occasion.
Please contact the Rev Michael Hughes, email firstname.lastname@example.org to share what is happening in your area.
Download Marsden Cross 2014 Vision
Parish are encouraged to buy or view the DVD Te Rongopai http://nzchristiannetwork.org.nz/te-rongopai-dvd/ written and presented by Presbyterian minister the Rev Dr Stuart Lange, a church historian at Laidlaw College. The DVD tells the story of 200 years of Christianity in New Zealand. Its purpose is to inspire and educate. The DVD is in five parts, and is suitable for individuals, churches, home groups and schools. It is hoped that it will be shown (in revised form) on TV later this year.
A path that has many points of wonderful blessings and great joy, but it has also points of sadness and heartache. To help the Church discuss this journey in our bicentennial year, the National Church Leaders group, of which our Moderator is part, have organised the preparation of a discussion paper. It is intended that it will be published in September 2014 as a statement to mark the bicentenary of the first recorded preaching of the Gospel in Aotearoa New Zealand on Christmas Day 1814. Parishes are invited to download the discussion paper http://presbyterian.org.nz/sites/default/files/publications/bt/2014/Bicentenary-Discussion-Paper-v1-28-Feb-2014.pdf and to use it as a basis for discussion - especially between Maori and Pakeha groups, and to submit comments before 31 July 2014.
Read an interview with the Rev Dr Allan Davidson on Gospel 2014 in Spanz magazine (Summer, 2013, pg.18)
On 23 February 2014, it is the anniversary of the first Presbyterian service in NZ - 1840, Petone, Wellington. An Iona cross on the foreshore at Petone, dedicated on 23 February 1940, commemorates the occasion. To mark the 200th anniversary of the Gospel coming to NZ, Wellington Presbytery is having a picnic on the Petone foreshore and all are welcome: 23 Feb @ 2pm, then a gathering at the cross at 3.45pm.