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 

Again, I come to my Friday morning and I can't believe how full my week has been with amazing Baptist people. Here are just a few...

A new venture

On Saturday evening I went along to Mt Albert Baptist Church to support pastor Steve Worsley at an event for an exciting new venture. Steve is part of the Toitoi Collective Theatre and he aims to move into half-time theatre work, writing, directing and developing.

The vision held by Steve and the Collective for the next three years includes performing the play The Way of the Raukura – A Parihaka Musical (which Steve co-wrote and co-directed with Sarah Tahere) in New Plymouth and Wellington and performing season one of a new play called Three Forty One. 

It's a bit of a step into the unknown for Steve, and I admire him for his willingness to go where God is calling him. I am keen to encourage New Zealand Baptists to get behind Steve and support him – I believe this is an important, prophetic work that he is stepping into. 

For more details on how to support Steve financially please contact Casey Knowles (email: [email protected]). 

Regional Leaders

It was great to see our Regional Leaders in Auckland on Monday for their all-day meeting with Karen Warner, discussing various pastoral placements across the country. I wasn't involved in their meeting, but I got to share lunch with them! 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

We're starting to get into the Christmas celebrations at the National Support Centre...

On Monday evening, I had dinner with our Lead Team and spouses. What beautiful people I get to hang out with each day! Thank you Karen, Luke, Mike, and Wayne for having your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus – and for being so competent!

Then on Wednesday morning, everyone who works in our building gathered together for a really special Christmas morning tea. It's such a blessing to share the same spaces with ArotahiCarey Baptist College and the Northern Baptist Association.

Encouraged and challenged 

On Wednesday I headed out to Māngere to have lunch with John Catmur (pastor - Māngere Baptist Church). Again, I came home both encouraged and challenged from spending time with a Baptist pastor deeply in love with the people and neighbourhood God has called them to serve! 

First Assembly Council meeting with new members

Thursday was the first gathering of the Assembly Council voted in at our National Hui in November. After an incredible welcome from members of Te Whāriki, we got down to business around the table (see the two photos below). Welcome to our new members: Ravanetta Sititi, Greg Motu, Sarah Beisly, Rachelle Martin, Susan Osborne (president) and Allan Taylor (vice-president).

And congratulations to Rod Robson – voted in as our new Chair. I am excited about the future!

Te Pouarataki mō te hīkoi 

From our Treaty Guide

Last week, Charles gave thanks for the innovation and creativity of our younger Māori leaders and their love for Jesus. Like (from left to right) Ruth Clarke, Caleb Haurua, Natua Kaa-Morgan, James Kaa-Morgan, Jordyn Rapana and Eugene Fuimaono.

This week we had the privilege of spending some time with them. 

Below, Ruth (from Arotahi) prays a beautiful expression of hope and justice as a Māori leader in our movement. We believe that this prayer will land prophetically on our nation. As we speak it together, we recall the words that were spoken in 1840; words vowed and covenanted. Let’s covenant again, knowing that Godhas already woven justice and mercy into the land and will continue to do so.   

From Luke Kaa-Morgan


Kua whakatūria e ia ki a koe, e te tangata, te mea pai; 

ā he aha tā Ihowā e rapu nei ki a koe, 

heoi ano ko te whakawā tika, ko te pai ki te tohu tangata, 

ko te whakaiti me te haere tahi i tōu Atua. 

 

He has told you all what is good,

and what the Lord really wants from you:

He wants you to carry out justice, to love faithfulness,

and to live obediently before your God. 

Micah 6:8 

 

E te Ariki, 

Anei ngaa uri oo teenei whenua e tuu ana 

Anei oo pononga e inoi atu ki koe. 

E tangi ana te ngaakau, e karanga ana te whenua. 

Ko koe te kaihanga, ko maatou ngaa kaitiaki. 

Whakatoongia mai too wairua tapu, 

kia tuu rangatira, me te noho whakaiti, 

kia pono te koorero, kia mou tonu i te tika. 

Mai i te rangi ki te whenua, 

mai i ngaa tuupnua ki ngaa mokopuna. 

Ko Aotearoa ko au, ko au ko Aotearoa. 

 

God, 

Here we stand as the descendants of this land, 

your people pray to you. 

Our hearts cry and the land calls. 

You are the creator and we are the guardians. 

Sow your Holy Spirit within us, 

so we can stand strong, and sit with humility, 

to speak with truth, and to do what is right. 

From the heavens to the earth, 

from our ancestors to our offspring. 

Aotearoa, people and place, we are one. 


Matawhaiaro

Dear Baptist Whānau 

I bumped into Deuteronomy 31:8 this week – what an amazing verse :)

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

I like the idea that my God will personally go ahead of me! I pray that you might be encouraged today – whatever you are currently experiencing remember that your God will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Joanne and I will have jumped on a plane to Dunedin in the weekend to participate in South Dunedin Baptist Church's 150-year celebrations. I have the privilege of speaking at their Sunday morning service. Thank you South Dunedin Baptist for 150 years of loving Jesus and being committed to the mission of God!

Have a great week of ministry and mission

Charles

Karakia

Have you been following COP28 (the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference)?

This week I asked our comms assistant Charis Fotheringham to write a prayer focusing us on our stewardship of God's creation. Charis is partway through her Masters of Management specialising in sustainability.

The photo here is of her winning the competition at last week’s Christmas morning tea! 

Lord God,

I’m amazed by the precision and complexity in your design of a planet that sustains life. Its richness and diversity display your wisdom and glory.

I’m sorry that overconsumption and hoarding of wealth have destabilised intricate environments and the livelihoods of people you love.

I cry for the many who depend on rivers and oceans now poisoned and polluted by industries bringing passing prosperity to few.

I can’t comprehend the continual mass displacement of people as extreme weather, sea level rise and drought devastate their places.

Lord, uphold the cause of those helplessly bearing the brunt of environmental degradation and the climate crisis. Please lead us in responding to this issue of injustice, and may our actions urge and inspire bolder steps nationwide towards a more sustainable future.

Amen.

 

Photos supplied by Charles Hewlett

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