The Forge Aotearoa Story
In May 2020 the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ recognised that the development of Pioneer leaders was an area that was quickly becoming a priority. In 2021 three groups within the Presbyterian church (Alpine Presbytery, PressGo and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership) hosted “Coracle” in Hanmer Springs, a gathering intended to allow for those in a pioneering or exploring space to tell their stories. As part of that gathering, the team connected with Alan McWilliam of Forge Scotland.
In recent years, Alpine Presbytery has initiated a number of missional projects to help explore new ways of being church. These have included the Prestons New Mission Seedling, Hanmer Springs Wellbeing Centre and the East Side Project. In addition to this, Alpine Presbytery have also been exploring and supporting missional work in existing congregations. Alpine Presbytery have been particularly interested in exploring ways to support and train lay leaders within these contexts.
As there seemed to be a natural alignment with the need for training in Alpine Presbytery and Forge International, in 2021 Alpine Presbytery agreed to become the “caretaker” for Forge Aotearoa and to run a pilot Pioneer Course in 2022. In this, they are supported by Presbytery Central, PressGo and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML).