Anglican Financial Care Celebrates 50 years

Anglican Financial Care Celebrates 50 years

Photo of the Board meeting in Wellington in March 1992

 

This year, Anglican Financial Care (AFC) celebrates its 50th birthday. The 1972 General Synod of the Anglican Church approved a Church Canon to establish Anglican Financial Care, originally known as The New Zealand Anglican Church Pension Board (“Board”). The General Synod of the Anglican Church also approved the establishment of The New Zealand Anglican Church Pension Fund (“Pension Fund”).

Over the past 50 years, AFC has developed into a multi-faceted and professional organisation that provides a multitude of financial services to the Anglican Church and other Christian denominations, including the administration of three separate retirement savings schemes (Pension Fund, The Retire Fund and Christian KiwiSaver Scheme). AFC has also provided other financial services such as a welfare fund, a health fund, a supplementary support fund and mortgage finance.

Anglican Financial Care also provides ancillary services to the wider Church including the administration services for the Anglican Insurance Board and the Baptist Union Superannuation Scheme, as well as a role coordinating the Inter-Church Bureau (an inter-denominational body tasked with monitoring the impact of legislation on the wider Church’s affairs).

While our services have grown over time, our mission and purpose have remained the same. We hope to tell you more about our story over the coming year as we celebrate this amazing milestone. For now, if you would like to learn more about Anglican Financial Care click here. We are very proud to have served our members for 50 years and look forward to continuing to serve you in the years ahead!

Christmas message 2021

Christmas message 2021

Dear friends,

It is a pleasure to bring greetings to all who are members of Christian KiwiSaver Scheme, the Anglican Church’s clergy Pension Fund, the Retire Fund, and all our friends and supporters. May our infant saviour give you the joy of the Bethlehem shepherds, the awe of the sages and the humility of the holy family.

It is likely that by the time you read this message you will have sung a Christmas carol or two. There tend to be three kinds of carols. One is: “Isn’t it time we stopped and had a jolly good time?” This is the category of “We wish you a merry Christmas,” and “Santa Clause is coming to town.” Then there is the kind of carol that says, “Isn’t the baby sweet?” of which there are many including “Away in a manger” and “O little one sweet, O little one mild.” And then there are the carols that contain some pretty incomprehensible ideas that should have us trembling. You will be pleased to know that if, as Christians, we wish to keep a good Christmas, it is to these carols we need to turn.

Take, for example, verse two of “O Come all ye faithful”:
 

God of God,
Light of Light
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God,
Begotten not created.

 
These are ancient words dating from the fourth century and that, amazingly, we are still singing today. They set out who is at the centre of the Christmas story. The answer, of course, is God. In the birth of Jesus, the life of the eternal God is born in time. The fourth century teachers of the faith were trying to explain how the life of God could flow into creation in human form, and yet leave God undiminished. The answer, they said, was like lighting a candle from another candle leaving the light of the first undiminished; “Light of Light”. A Christian Christmas celebrates God’s divine life coming into the world in a whole human life, hallowing our humanity, transforming creation, and uniting us to God.
 
At Christmas, then, we celebrate God being present in a new way. God’s way of making a difference is by living as humanly as you and I do. God doesn’t work by ‘breaking in’ to the world from the outside, but by filling it from within, by filling creation with the divine life of God, so that there is no place where God is absent. For in Jesus there is no gap where humanity stops, and God starts. The birth of Jesus, the birth of the divine life into our world, proclaims that all creation is soaked through with God’s life. The carol, “Hark the herald angels sing” puts it this way (using an inclusive language version): “Hail, the incarnate Deity, pleased in human form to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.”
 
Jesus, however, is no superman. He is dependent. He weeps. He is tested. He faces death. His will sometimes wobbles, but the decisions are made, and his mission moves forward. In fact, the message of Christmas is that God takes massive risk to be in relationship with us, entrusting himself to unreliable human beings, to bring fullness of life and love into the world. In the birth of Jesus, God says, each human life is so valuable, that you and I are worth risking everything for, that there is no risk too great to take or gift too big to give to bring fullness of life to you and me. God thinks every single one of us can reflect the life and generosity of God and that each of us is worth risking everything for. Jesus is born into this world because God thinks our humanity, and the humanity of every person, is supremely worthwhile.
 
If we are to keep a good Christmas then, we have to ask hard questions of ourselves. Because if God thinks so highly of each person, how do I overcome my fears of those who are ‘other’ to me? How can I feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, give clothing to the naked, care for the sick, and visit those who are in prison? (Matt 25:34-36). For Christmas declares that God’s solidarity with us is so deep and total, that when we see Jesus in the manger, we not only see the fullness of God, but we see God valuing our humanity beyond our imagining.
 
And because of that, we come before the new-born Christ filled with wonder and awe, and with humble and repentant hearts.
 
May I take this opportunity to thank the Board and the Investment Committee of Anglican Financial Care, our new Chief Executive, Margaret Bearsley, and her team, for their amazing work supporting all of us this year. And may God give us all the gifts and the grace we need to keep a good Christmas.

The Very Rev’d Lawrence Kimberley
Chair of Anglican Financial Care
Dean of Christchurch

Introducing Anglican Financial Care's new Chief Executive

Introducing Anglican Financial Care’s new Chief Executive

Anglican Financial Care (AFC) recently appointed Margaret Bearsley as Chief Executive. After being in the role for a month we decided to sit down and have a friendly Q&A with her.

What excites you about this role?

It completely aligns with my professional experience, my faith, and my skills and strengths! It means I get to work with other people with similar values to my own. Moreover, as a practising Roman Catholic, I am very excited by the ecumenical experience of Church that I am now living professionally. You know, we pray twice weekly with the team in the Anglican Missions Board—how ecumenical is that! I love it!

What are your biggest strengths?

First and foremost, my deep commitment to Christ and his Church. Secondly, my commitment to supporting the team. I believe profoundly in the strength of teams. In my view, if you have the right people doing the right job for the organisation, we can achieve anything! So, I love walking with my team-members and supporting each person to be and to do their best to achieve the organisation’s goals.

How has your first few weeks been?

It’s been a total joy to get to know the people here and the Board members. I have been well supported by the Board and by the team helping me to get up to speed. I can see how committed everybody is, and how competent everybody is in their role. So, it’s a real delight to come to an organisation that is functioning so well and thinking maybe I can help to achieve even more. Just to support what we’ve got and aim for the stars.

What is your vision for AFC?

To proclaim its Christian character as our competitive advantage, and to be seen to be serving the People of God, and all people of goodwill who want to align their saving and investment decisions with their values. And that’s us and that’s who we are.

Anglican Financial Care welcomes new Chief Executive

Anglican Financial Care welcomes new Chief Executive

Anglican Financial Care (AFC) recently announced the appointment of Margaret Bearsley as Chief Executive. Margaret is expected to take up the Chief Executive Role on 13 September 2021.

Margaret will be succeeding Mark Wilcox, who has served as Chief Executive at AFC for almost eight years.

Margaret is an experienced senior executive and Chief Executive with a strong record in her legal and regulatory roles. This includes many years at the Takeovers Panel which regularly engaged with financial services and capital markets issues.

In addition to this experience, she has led the Corporate Secretariat of the Accident Compensation Corporation. This gave her exposure to the ACC Investment Committee which oversees ACC’s $52 billion fund.

Dean Lawrence Kimberley, Chair of AFC, said: ‘Margaret is a well-respected and proven Chief Executive who has a strong track record delivering strategic and operational progress, while developing a culture focused on care and service. I am confident she will have the same focus for our members.

‘She is also a committed member of the Catholic Church which is demonstrated by her original degree being in Theology from Holy Cross College and Otago University, and she is continuing to maintain her theological reading.

‘Her legal studies at Waikato University had a strong focus on Te Tiriti and she is continuing to deepen her understanding of Māori spirituality. I am excited that Margaret will be leading the AFC team.

‘I would also like to thank Mark Wilcox for his outstanding contribution to AFC over the last eight years. Mark joined us in 2013 and has led the organisation through a period of significant change developing a strong commercial discipline during which funds under management have grown by 50% and organisational capacity and capability have been significantly enhanced. Mark is committed to leading AFC until Margaret takes up the position.’

A head start in life

A head start in life

Here at Christian KiwiSaver Scheme we are so blessed to be able to help families invest in their future. Did you know that you can start up a KiwiSaver for your young ones?

In recent times we’ve had more children join Christian KiwiSaver Scheme and it is very exciting for us! We love knowing we can help empower whānau to think about the finances of their young ones. We don’t charge any fees for anyone under 18 and you can put as little or as much money in as you want.

It’s great to see these children not only starting small, but starting early. Setting up a KiwiSaver with us might begin by putting in the odd one-off deposit but by doing it this early – and with some consistency – you can help children get an exciting head-start in life.

Opening a KiwiSaver with us also enables you to have some very practical conversations with your young ones as they grow older, which you may not otherwise have: 

  • Starting to think responsibly about finances – You may have been in a position yourself where you’ve thought “if only I had started to save for my house earlier”. By setting up a KiwiSaver for young ones early, you can help them on their way to afford their first home later on in life. This can also help form good investment habits and you can start healthy conversations about finance as they grow up.
  • Raising awareness about investing ethically – We’re committed to responsible investing and we have a solid ethical investment policy. This is at the heart of what we do and if you would like to read more click here.
  • Showing that Christian values can be practical – With Christian KiwiSaver Scheme, you can trust that you are signing up with a provider that has a strong Christian history. We want the Church’s mission to be positively expressed in our investment activity. Partnering with us can show your young ones that Christian values can be practical in the real world.

By signing them up to Christian KiwiSaver Scheme and putting in a little deposit on a regular basis, you could be building the foundations of their future.

We would love to support you as you think about Christian KiwiSaver Scheme. Please contact us so we can find out we can help empower you to think about the finances of your loved ones.

Thoughts for this Easter season

Thoughts for this Easter season

I have been invited to contribute some thoughts for the Easter season, on behalf of the Board of Anglican Financial Care. The first thing that came to mind is that our members and customers are a mixed bunch. Some lay, some ordained, some Anglican, some from other denominations, and some affiliated with the Christian message via their workplaces or their connection with how we work. We’re also spread across Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the Pacific. It’s unlikely that Easter will mean the same to even some of us, let alone all of us.

Lent, the 6 weeks leading up to Easter, has sometimes been a time to fast or give up something. I found the words of Pope Francis entitled “Do you want to fast this Lent?” to be a refreshing approach. They’re easy to find online if you haven’t come across them. My takeaway was rather than focussing on negative thoughts and actions, we can choose to focus on positive thoughts and behaviours, somewhat like Phil. 4:8-9.

What does this look like in practice when we are surrounded by challenges? The wider church, faith, and community context is quite different this year to others. Many of us are somewhat over the impact of Covid-19 on our lives, even while being grateful we live where we do. Our Christian Church leaders have just had their annual meeting with the Prime Minister and focussed on Welfare, Income, and Wellbeing; Covid-19 and Vaccinations; and Housing. The issues they raised are what some term “wicked problems” i.e. thorny, complex, seemingly intractable realities. And faith communities are in the process of reporting to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. We, collectively, are having to account for our past transgressions. These are just a few of the many issues on our radar as Christians.

The community of Mangere that I live in is diverse, complex, exciting, young, challenged, and challenging. The media usually choose to portray the challenges rather than the strengths, talents, and opportunities that exist in abundance. As I write this, I am looking at a stunning, multi-coloured sunrise. It could mean rain if you believe the shepherds. And it could mean the sky was painted with such beauty to remind us that, in the words of the poem Desiderata “with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

As Christians we are all called, whether lay or ordained, to share God’s love with others. Sometimes the “sham, drudgery and broken dreams” can feel overwhelming. And that’s where the hope of Easter comes in for me.  Easter reminds me that there is always the possibility of a new beginning. God is available to me in my life just as God was experienced by Jesus’ first followers, both before and after his death. The forces that killed Jesus, were unable to stop the ongoing experience of God in our lives that we name resurrection.

So, amidst the busy Easter services for some, the last of the summer holidays for others, the pastoral challenges you may face, the Easter eggs, and the Easter sales, I wish you an encounter with the God of resurrection; an encounter that surprises you, maybe startles you, refreshes you, and then excites you with the possibilities of new life.

Blessings

Vicki Sykes
Deputy Chair, Anglican Financial Care