The Church Council governs the life of the congregation, provides spiritual oversight and pastoral care and leads in mission including in the wider community.
Meet our Church Council…
Alison Tait – Council Clerk
I initially trained and worked in the area of Human Resources. Of latter years I have returned to educational administration and am currently Department Manager for the Pathology Department, Dunedin School of Medicine. I have been a member of Knox since arriving in Dunedin in 1989. Prior to coming to Dunedin I lived in Christchurch where as a child I attended with my family – St Andrews Church (now St Andrews at Rangi Ruru) and as a teenager and Young Adult at St Stephen’s, Bryndwr (now The Village Church)
My involvement in the life of Knox has been as a Convenor of Worship Committee, Convenor of Friends of Choir and a member of the choir. I served briefly on Council some five or six years ago. My election to the Council and to the position of Clerk in 2015 has provided an opportunity to use my skills and work towards my dream for a vibrant, energetic community who share a belief and faith. On a wider church front, I am Deputy Chair of Workplace (Southern) Support Board (ITIM) and a member of the Presbyterian Church’s Assembly Business Committee for the 2016 Assembly. A number of years ago I served on a Presbyterian Church Working Party for Conditions of Employment for Ministers
My relaxation time is spent pursing musical interests, and doing various handcrafts, reading and taming a rather unruly garden.
I am a singer, singing teacher and mother to Margaret, aged 3 years. I was born in Dunedin and apart from three years in London, have spent much of my life here in Dunedin. My family were members of West Harbour United Church, and we attended services there infrequently until the church had to close its doors when I was around 15. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother rushing us out the door to get us to Church in time! After West Harbour United closed, we occasionally attended services at Maori Hill and First Church, before we discovered Knox through the evening musical services.
While at University I became involved in student politics, with particular interest in feminism and the growing issue of student debt. I met my husband, Simon, through student politics and we made to decision to be married at Knox in 2010. When we returned to New Zealand in 2014 with our five-month-old daughter it was University Chaplain, Greg Hughson, who reminded us of our strong feelings of attachment to Knox and encouraged us to have Margaret baptised here. This set us on the path towards membership of Knox.
From the middle of this year I have occasionally assisted with Sunday School which has been a fun way to do our small bit for the church. Outside of Knox, I have previously been the fundraising coordinator for Roslyn/Maori Hill Playcentre, and I am the current Convenor of the Dunedin Junior Vocal Competition and sit on the executive of both the Dunedin Branch of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and Opera Otago. I am also heavily involved in the planning committee of The Little Box of Operas.
I am interested in issues of social justice and how churches can lead the way in public action and discourse on the issue of poverty and inequality. I am particularly concerned with the problem of how we ensure that all children, no matter who their parents are, are given the tools they need to achieve their full potential. I am keen to see Knox continue to expand on our engagement with the community and as a church in the centre of Dunedin and close to the University I think we are in a fantastic position to be at the heart of our community, both physically and spiritually. Practically speaking, from my volunteer and professional work I have skills in managing social media profiles, fundraising, event organisation and management and working with young people.
David was born in Timaru and attended Chalmers Church until his family shifted in 1950 to Hanmer Springs. He was a member of St Andrew’s Church, Hanmer Springs until a move to Christchurch in 1960 where he attended Shirley Boy’s High School. During that time he attended Bible Class in parishes in Richmond and Shirley.
David has had a life time interest in Scouting where he has had Leader and Commissioner roles. More recently his involvement has been with the administration of scouting real estate, helping to secure a funding base. He has been a member of the Lions Club for 40 years and is presently Secretary of the Otago Peninsula Lions Club. David has been active in relation to Antarctica since visiting there as a Queen’s Scout. This has involved various roles including as officer-in-charge of the NZ Antarctic Research Programme and as Chairman of the Antarctic Heritage Trust. He has been active as a climber and in related organisations.
On graduating with a LLB from University of Canterbury in 1971, David worked as a solicitor. For 35 years he was principal and partner of a Rangiora legal firm. In 1979 David was appointed Coroner for North Canterbury. Subsequently he was appointed Coroner for Otago/Southland in 2007; retiring from that position in 2016. David was involved in the development of the coroner legislation and the promotion of coroner education and training as Secretary of the Coroners’ Council.
David has been a member of Knox since 2007. His involvement has been somewhat limited because of the demanding nature of his coronial work however Janice and he have tried to be as active as possible including in the walking group. He is a member of the Knox Foundation.
Marita and I shifted to Dunedin in May 2016 from Staveley, Mid Canterbury. We lived there for 18 years and ran a nature tour business, Tussock & Beech Ecotours. Our programmes covered the conservation and national parks of Canterbury as well as Banks Peninsula. Our speciality was alpine flowers. We are now enjoying retirement but twice a year guide 18-day birding tours through New Zealand for keen American birders. Our previous careers have been in teaching – in Matamata, Christchurch and Fairlie. Marita taught Home Economics, Science and Tourism. I taught Science and latterly, for 9 years, was a secondary school principal. We have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. All live in New Zealand.
Since my baptism as a young child, the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand has been my faith family. I confirmed my baptism as a teenager when I felt God’s personal call on my life. Having studied theology at Otago, I commenced my ordination studies, interning at Hope Presbyterian in Christchurch. After becoming ordained in 2015, I stayed on at Hope in a transitionary ministry role for one year. I began attending Knox when I moved back to Dunedin at the beginning of this year. I am currently a full-time student, writing my doctoral thesis on the pastoral theology of Eduard Thurneysen. I also live at Knox College (the other Knox!) serving as the Ross Fellow. This year the World Communion of Reformed Churches awarded me the Lombard Prize and I was flown to Leipzig to participate as a guest in the General Council.
It is an honour to be nominated to serve on the Knox Church Council. Besides youthful exuberance (I think I can still use that word to refer to myself!), I have a passion for theology and worship. I enjoy getting to know people of all ages and value intergenerational and diverse community. In particular I would love to see the young adults ministry thrive at Knox. I also have an interest in environmental justice. I am committed to Knox for the next period as we worship and pray together and serve the wider community in love and hope.
I am in my mid-thirties and proud mum of Vanessa (18) and Lydia (2) and wife of Stephen. I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and currently working full time at Dunedin City Council in the Water department. Stephen, Vanessa and I moved to Dunedin from Bangor, Northern Ireland in 2010. Stephen and I have just applied to become New Zealand citizens to match Lydia. Vanessa is completing her first year at Otago Uni and is now flatting.
I was raised in the Catholic Church and attended mass weekly up until my early twenties when I met Stephen and became involved in the Presbyterian Church. Vanessa attended Girls Brigade and I was a Sunday school teacher at our previous church Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church. Stephen and I did an Alpha course together and I then became part of a home group.
When we first moved to Dunedin we tried various churches and felt that Knox was the best fit for us. In 2015 we welcomed Lydia into our family and later that year into Knox Church. Since the beginning of this year I have been involved in Sunday School as I want Lydia to grow up with church life.
Growing up I attended a Presbyterian church in Belfast, where I loved being involved in Girl Guides and church pantomimes. Northern Ireland is a challenging location for living out faith because of the history of conflict; being in this context has given me a heart for ecumenical community. Throughout my life I have been involved in these communities, being raised as a Corrymeela kid. Corrymeela is Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation. I am currently President of the Student Christian Movement Otago, and together we have run events this year on the themes of suicide and sexual violence awareness. In 2015 I was sent to Bangladesh to attend the SCM regional women’s programme on Violence against women and the sexual minorities. I believe the church is as much about what happens outside its doors as inside. I am a big fan of findings ways to do this.
I am in my second year of a BA in History. I am interested in the history of New Zealand, migration, church histories, and many more stories that the past can tell us. I work part time for Presbyterian Support in their Op Shop warehouse, sorting items and helping with their social media page. I am passionate about women’s sport, politics, ice cream, recycled clothing and lifting the voices of young people in the church.
I have been in New Zealand and at Knox for two years. In this time my favourite thing has been leading/hanging out with Ahi youth group. I have attended national youth leadership conferences and was a commissioner to the last General Assembly. In March I presented at a local presbytery event. I work closely with other youth leaders through the Combined Christian Groups network and Presbyterian Youth Ministry. I am keen to freshen up youth ministry at Knox and create more opportunities for intergenerational fellowship.