In this regular column, our Baptist National Leader, Charles Hewlett, keeps us posted on the happenings in Baptist faith communities across Aotearoa. The original Charles Mail is emailed out on a Friday and reproduced here the following Monday.

Kawepūrongo | News

Friday morning comes around so quickly. Here are just a few highlights from my past week that I am keen to share with you:

On Tuesday I jumped on the plane to attend Martyn Norrie's funeral at Rotorua Baptist Church. Thanks Angus and Wendy Budge for hosting such a large event - Baptist pastoral leadership at its best! 

And while I was in Rotorua I bumped into Heather Ameye-Bevers and some of the other leaders from the KB Leaders Training event (photo below).

It was fantastic to hear that KB23 was such a great time of equipping, inspiring and challenging our youth leaders in how they live out their faith in Jesus. Heather (KB Director) notes, "It was an incredible opportunity for youth teams to gather from all over the North Island. It was an amazing time of connection to God, connection to youth training and connection to many other youth ministries. The comment I heard often was God has filled me up."  Ethan Miller (Youth Catalyst) comments, "What excited me most was seeing a number of young people exploring the call of God on their lives." 

Check out the South Island event SYLT23 coming 16-16 June.

The highlight of Wednesday was spending time with Peter and Tanya Lameta (Hosanna Lighthouse Baptist Church) and Henry Feleti (Hosanna Avondale Baptist Church) see the photo below. I am learning so much about leadership from our Pasifika leaders at the moment. I came away thanking God for the incredibly important contribution they make to our family of churches.

On Wednesday afternoon I loved being able to join with Andrew Picard's Baptist Churches class. I shared with the students the collective vision for our movement of thriving faith communities bringing gospel renewal to people and places in local neighbourhoods. We talked together about the practical outworking of our ecclesiology and the type of leadership that makes it work. Ha, I think they gave me a B+ grade! 

And then on Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to interview four experienced Baptist leaders (see photo below) as part of the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning webinar, Learning from Pastors’ Wisdom.

From left: Glenn Meville (CCLL Director), myself, Gary Grut (Glen Eden Baptist Church), Albert Tang (Pakuranga Chinese Baptist Church), Greg Motu (Hosanna Dannevirke Baptist Church), and Michaela Vernall (Bethlehem Baptist Church).

I asked them all sorts of questions like: 

1.     What were the keys for them in walking with God and fulfilling their callings

2.     How they kept God at the centre of their lives in the busyness of church life

3.     How they maintained their well-being, and avoided, or overcame burnout

4.     How they nurtured friendships in what can be an isolating role 

5.     How they navigated conflict and controversies

6.     How they recovered and learnt from failure

7.     How they built flourishing leadership teams and congregations

This was gold. If you missed it, contact Glenn Melville.

Thursday was a biggie - Assembly Council (photo below with Carey Baptist College’s Chris Berry). They had over 120 pages worth of reading to prep for this week’s meeting:

To our Assembly Council members, I recognise that the work is full and this takes personal sacrifice. I realise the decisions you make at times are weighty. Thank you for the way you guide and steer our movement in between our annual National Hui, and for the way you so faithfully serve our wider body. We greatly appreciate you!

A highlight of this week has been receiving regular updates from the Upper South Baptist Association team—Chris Chamberlain, Andrew Meek, Mike Dodge and Hannah Cossey as they go on a road trip around their region. I particularly loved the photo below of the team meeting with the Chin church leaders in Nelson. Thank you for making Baptist ministry and mission in New Zealand so much better!

Speaking of their travels, can anyone guess where Chris, Mike, Hannah and Andrew were in this photo above?

Chris writes: "A small church with a big heart. They have 25 kids in the church! Lachlan is a great pastor."

And some more very exciting news!! On Thursday 8th Visionwest (Waka Whakakitenga) opened Manaaki Kai, the first Social Supermarket in Auckland in partnership with Food Stuffs North Island, specifically with Pak n Save Lincoln Road.

Manaaki Kai was born out of a food parcel ministry which began 30 years ago at Glen Eden Baptist Church, distributing 5 food parcels a week and has grown as a ministry of Visionwest that now distributes around 1000 food parcels every two weeks.

Congratulations Arvind Dayal (Chair), Lisa Woolley (CEO), and Gary Grut (pastor – Glen Eden Baptist) pictured below with Reti Ah-Voa (NBA Regional Leader) at the opening. This is wonderful Kingdom work!

Kupu o te wiki | Word of the week

Matawhaiaro | Personal

Dear Baptist Whānau

I must admit that at times I feel overwhelmed. There is so much to be done and so many groups to serve. And to be honest - there are many moments when I feel I am letting people down.

But at the same time, I am so encouraged! I love the local church. I love seeing you thrive. I love seeing people associate together. We are definitely so much better when we are together.

This morning, as I look at all the faces in the photos above, I am reminded of the beauty of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 paints such a stunning picture for us - why not open your Bible right now and read this passage through.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…"

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

It is my prayer that you would know today the important part you have in our body. Each and every one of you. For when we are united, we make up the Body of Christ, and this is a beautiful thing.

Please join with me in praying Kathryn's prayer below for unity.

May God bless you this week


Karakia | Prayer

Dear Lord,

I pray for unity across our movement.

Thank you Lord that each of us are unique.

Thank you for gifting us with different abilities, skills, and strengths.

Thank you for the amazing diversity amongst us.

I pray that we would truly grasp how beautiful it is when the Body of Christ comes together in unity with one another.

With honour and respect.

Appreciating our differences.

Celebrating our diversity.

I pray Lord that we would learn to associate even better together,

To support one another,

To build one another up.

I pray that those reading this today will know that they are an important part of our body.

Each and every one, a precious part of the Body of Christ.

In your name Lord we pray,



Photos: supplied by Charles Hewlett.

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