Northern Baptist Association 

An update from Regional Leader Reti Ah-Voa for 2023.

Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. (My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.)

We give thanks for each of our 100 churches/faith communities of the Northern Association, from Doubtless Bay Christian Centre and Cornerstone Christian Centre (Kaitaia) in the north to Waiuku Baptist Church and Franklin Baptist Church in the south. We are grateful for every pastor, chaplain, mission leader and their respective ministry team who have, over the 12 months since last September, carried the heavy burden and joy of faithful service to their respective faith communities and their neighbourhoods.

The calendar year started abruptly with the extreme weather events, the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods followed by Cyclone Gabrielle. This gave us the opportunity to contact every faith community at least three times to check in on their wellbeing. A number of homes belonging to our folk were adversely impacted, particularly in Wairau Park, Māngere, Hillsborough, Rānui, Henderson, Muriwai, Glen Eden and Kamo. Some of our church buildings were significantly damaged: Te Atatu Baptist Church, Windsor Park Baptist Church, Balmoral Community Baptist Church, Hills Church, Mt Roskill Baptist Church, Royal Oak Baptist Church and Grace CommunityChristian Church (New Lynn). Our Appeal for helping those suffering the impacts of the events or to support those providing relief raised an incredible $100,400, of which we have allocated $96,000. We hope to have discharged all these funds before the end of this calendar year.

We acknowledge the efforts of all those who provided crisis or relief response to their neighbourhoods, notably Andie Davies and the Kumeū response team, Elesha Thomas & Leao Tildsley and the team at Rānui as well as Lisa Woolley’s team at Visionwest — all recognised by the Prime Minister and the government for their efforts.

We have continued to remind ourselves of our founding value as Baptists of being a covenant people and repositioning our identity as more than a collective of faith communities and towards being a biblical whānau or family of faith communities. As a whānau, we continue to bear the burden alongside the wider Baptist Union of the closure of Hillside Baptist Church two years ago. At the same time, we have also been hugely encouraged by our whānau in church contributions. We had set a faith stretch on last year’s giving (an increase of $12,000 or 8%) to $156,000, and we have achieved more than half of it, receiving just over $151,500! Amazing. Thank you to those who support our work so generously.

We have continued to press into gospel renewal as a National movement alongside Charles Hewlett (our National Leader), the Regional Leader group and the National Support team. Making inroads on our strategic areas of walking with one another (associating in unity and maturity), everyone a witness (discipleship), mission with Māori, growing our leadership base (nurturing our diversity) and managing pastoral Transition. It is an honour to partner with and champion Arotahi and Carey Baptist College as and when we are able. We also support the work of Luke Kaa-Morgan as Te Pouārataki o te Hikoi alongside Te Whāriki, formerly Te Kapa Rautaki. We particularly acknowledge Josie Te Kahu in her role here.

We celebrate the wonderful initiatives and events held in or involving people from our region, including registration training for bi-vocational pastors, managing relief in Hawkes Bay (Rānui), the Northern Easter Camp, theatre piece — The Way of the Raukura, transitional housing (Faith Family Baptist Centre, Panmure), KB Leadership Training camp, Xtend, the opening of Manaaki Kai (Visionwest), Supervision Training, the Intergenerate Conference, the Regional Hui and others – thank you to all involved!

Congratulations to these faith communities who celebrated special milestones or anniversaries: Mt Roskill Baptist Church (100th, centenary), Westgate Baptist Church (40 years), Pakuranga Chinese Baptist Church (30th), Ormiston Community Baptist Church (10th) and Hosanna Lighthouse Baptist Church (1st).

The fruit of our $500,000 invested with the National Leader in securing his leadership team four years ago is evident; we are grateful to have partnered in ministry across the motu and want to continue to encourage bold and courageous thinking and doing in our rohe as we enter into the next season of gospel renewal in the places we are planted.

Ngā manaakitanga.

Photo: Northern Regional Hui 2023. Supplied by Reti Ah-Voa.

This update is from the 2023 Annual Report of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, which you can view here.

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