Organisational Guidelines

The Wakatipu Community Presbyterian Church (WCPC) is one Church incorporating congregations based at St Andrew’s – Queenstown, St John’s – Arrowtown, St Margaret’s – Frankton, and Kingston. Each congregation is unique and has a particular call yet each sits within the governance of the whole.

Note: UPDATES: these guidelines were updated on the 14th July 2015.  
In addition to the 2015 update a name change from Parish Council to 
Church Council agreed in February 2017 necessitated the removal of all 
references to 'parish' and to replace this with 'church'.  
A small change to the role of Church Council appointees was also made 
in February 2019, refer 'NOTE 2'

The Church Council

  1. Definition

A Court known as the Church Council provides spiritual oversight, leadership in mission, pastoral care, and governance of the Wakatipu Community Presbyterian Church. The rights, privileges, responsibilities and duties of the Church Council are as contained in chapter 7 of the Book of Order, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A copy of the Book of Order (BOO) can be viewed (or downloaded) from the PCANZ website. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with chapters 6 & 7 of the BOO.

  1. Functions

Spiritual Leadership: To encourage Christian commitment and devotion within the congregation by words and by example.  The Church Council exercises rule in spiritual matters within the Congregation, and its duty is to lead in prayer and outreach and to promote Christian maturity.  The Church Council has the responsibility to determine the suitability of those undertaking leadership roles within the church.

Pastoral Care: To ensure effective pastoral care of all persons for whom the church is responsible.

Worship and Sacraments: To fix times and places of public worship, arranges for the administration of the sacraments, giving approval of baptisms and when and where communion will be shared and appoints special times for prayer or fasting.

Church Rolls: To maintain the rolls of members and associates (to be updated annually at least 4 weeks before each Annual Meeting).

Oversight of Facility use:  to determine, when necessary, the uses to which the church buildings may be put.

Records: To see that all minutes and records required by the Church are kept, secured, and produced when requested.

Denominational Church Representation: To arrange for the appointment of members to the Southern Presbytery; Synod of Otago and Southland and General Assembly. To make nominations when called for by the regional and national courts of the PCANZ.

Church Representation:  To form committees and workgroups to be responsible for particular aspects of church life. The Council establishes these groups, appoints the Chairperson, sets their terms of reference, and receives regular reports on their work. Committees have planning and defined executive functions within the policies approved by the Church Council, however, the Church Council remains ultimately responsible for those aspects of church Life.

Congregational Meetings: To encourage and promote, as far as may be possible and fruitful, meetings of the Congregation in order to foster the widest possible participation of the people in the life, concerns, and mission of the Church. As a minimum, there shall be an Annual Meeting normally held between August and October.

Accountability: To report to the whole Church at an Annual Meeting and to consider recommendations from the congregation.

Discipline: To determine matters of disagreement and discipline that affects the Church giving full consideration to the pastoral care to individual(s), the wider parish, the laws of the land and Church, and to natural justice.  This does not affect any individual(s) right to apply to a higher court of the Church.

Oversight of Election of elders: To arrange the procedure for the nomination and election of elders of the WCPC.

  1. Members of The Church Council

The ministry of the church is exercised by the whole people of God, among whom both individuals and groups may be called to particular forms of witness and service.

Members of The Church Council

The ministry of the church is exercised by the whole people of God, among whom both individuals and groups may be called to particular forms of witness and service.

The Church Council shall consist of:

  • The Minister(s) of the Church or Interim Moderator.
  • The Church Clerk
  • Congregational appointees (up to 3 per congregation)  (see note 1)

i.         Duly elected, ordained and inducted elders. (60% or greater)

ii.         Duly elected and inducted non elders. (40% or less)

  • Church Council appointees (maximum 3)  (see note 2)
  • Associate members (see note 3)
  • A Minute Clerk (appointed by the Church Council) (see note 4)

Moderator:                   The Church Council is normally chaired by the senior Minister. The Moderator cannot move or second a motion and has no deliberative or casting vote. When absent or in circumstances that in his or her opinion warrants such action, the Moderator may deputise another Minister of the Southern Presbytery or a member of Church Council.

Church Clerk:               The Church Council must appoint a member of the Council (or the Wakatipu Community Presbyterian Church) to be Church Clerk for a fixed period of not more than three years. This can be extended for further appointments up to a maximum of 9 years. After a break, a person may be reelected.

Term of Office:          Each year prior to the Church annual meeting each congregation may appoint up to three members to represent them on the Church Council. These appointments to be made at a meeting of each respective congregation. Individuals would normally serve for 3 years and not more than 6 years without a break. Each appointment would be for a 3-year term and for not more than 6 years. After a break, a person may be reelected. Note: At least two of the three appointed should be an elder, variance from this may be allowed as long as the overall council membership is at least 60% elders.

  1. Meetings
  • Meetings:         The Church Council shall meet monthly on the third Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise agreed. Meetings of the Church Council are open to members of the Church except where matters of a pastoral or confidential nature are being considered, or when deemed expedient to meet in private, in which case the meeting is open only to current Church Council members.
  • Practices:  The Church Council meeting shall be run using standard meeting guidelines and procedures. Decisions will normally be made by consensus, however, any member can call for a vote, at any time.
  • Quorum:  A quorum of the Church Council consists of one third of it’s (voting) members, plus one of the ministers.
  • Records:  The Clerk is to keep a roll of its members and associates, take charge of its papers, books and documents.  The Clerk shall keep official minutes of each meeting of the Church Council.


[Note 1] Currently this is defined as St Andrews (Manna), St Johns, St Margarets, the Wakatipu Global Community, and Kingston (as of January 2023).

[Note 2] Normally appointed to fill a perceived need; ie developing ministries, lay – ordained balance, gender or age balance, particular expertise. Church Council Appointees are full members of the Church Council, and are therefore officers of the Church.

[Note 3] Associate members will include The Treasurer, Ministry Interns, and up to two others appointed by the Church Council at it’s discretion as required. Associates have the right to speak and to move motions, but not to vote. Associates, except for the Treasurer, are not officers of the Church.

[Note 4] The Minute Clerk may not speak, move or vote, and is not an officer of the Church.

Related Images: