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.

I've been thinking a lot about the many New Zealand Baptists who live in rural settings. 

Most days Joanne and I go for a walk through Cornwall Park – not too far from our home – and we often bump into the cows and the sheep! 

I am keen to start by praying for Baptists involved in farming. I invited Markus Schonberger (pastor – Putāruru Baptist Church) to help us with this. Please spend some time praying his prayer below. 

Karakia

A prayer for our farmers and those living in rural Aotearoa.

Psalm 50:10-12:

‘For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.’

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the joy of life. At this time of the year we see trees burst into blossom, calves and lambs springing about the fields and we remember the busyness the season brings for our farmers.

Lord, we ask that you sustain them in their work. May they be aware of your loving presence in all the demands this time of the year places on them. In all they do may they glorify you with praise and thankfulness. Lord protect them from harm, bless their herds and flocks and give strength and wisdom to our farmers.

Lord, we also pray for our rural Churches, that will flourish and be houses of prayer and encouragement to their communities. May they grow in unity and love for one another as they seek Your Face in this season of new life.

Amen.

Kawepūrongo

Introducing our new Executive Assistant to the National Leader

I am excited to let you know that Christine Stride has been appointed to the role of Executive Assistant to the National Leader. She will start working alongside me in the next few weeks – YAY!!

I asked Christine to answer a few questions to help us get to know her. Here's a couple of her answers...

Tell us about yourself.

My husband Nick and I have two daughters and we live in West Auckland. I've been a print journalist for most of my working life. 

What are you looking forward to with your new role?

I'm looking forward to getting to know the 'team of 40,000', and to supporting them and helping share their stories of what God is doing in their lives.

What do you love about the Baptist church you belong to?

There's a real sense of community and a servant-heartedness that sees people turn up to working bees, drive kids and gear to faraway camps and back, build things, host events, bake stuff...We have great kids and Intermediates programmes and committed Youth Ministry leaders. 

Click here to read more of Christine's answers.

God has been good to the New Zealand Baptists…and me. It’s going to be great to have you as part of our team Christine :)

A gathering of the newly established Māori governace rōpu

Last Friday evening, staff from the National Support Centre, Carey Baptist College, and Arotahi gathered with the newly established Māori governace rōpu, Te Whāriki, for kai and koorero - a beautiful expression of our covenant relationship as we continue to weave together, weaving stronger as a Baptist whānau.

Making courageous decisions at Hui 2023

I hope you have enrolled for our National Hui. On Wednesday I had a Zoom conversation with three of our leaders who will be opening the Scriptures for us.

Eduardo Mendonca (pastor – New Generation Church), Lucy Talsma (pastor – Hamilton South Baptist Church) and Cliff Thompson (pastor and chaplain – The Render Gathering) will be looking from Scripture at how the people of God were prepared to make courageous and brave decisions when it came to the mission of God. I can't wait till we all talk together about some of the big decisions we need to make in order to bring Gospel Renewal in 2023 and beyond. See you there!

Our family in the Manawatu and Whanganui region 

During the school holiday break, I had the privilege of spending some time in Palmerston North with pastors from the Manawatu and Whanganui region (see photo below). It was a highlight for me to have dinner and spend the evening in conversation with the elders and pastors from Palmerston North Central Baptist Church. I give thanks for such a generous and hospitable community of people.

Listeners’ choice awards 2023

For a bit of fun I’ve just voted for my favourite Baptist podcast show (yes, the new one on a topic very close to my heart: Faith, Church & Disability – have you listened to the first 2 episodes yet?

Can you believe what our Comms Director is calling an ‘experiment’ now has ten podcast shows, with more than 90 episodes?! It’s the season for casting votes, so do yours via this article: baptist.nz/listeners-choice-awards-2023 and we’ll find out the result at Hui. And if you haven’t listened to any, please start with the one I mentioned above.

Matawhaiaro

When this is published, I will be spending an extra-long weekend with my mother who lives in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast (I left Joanne and Jess at home!).

My mum, who’s in her 80’s now, spent much of her life as a counsellor. She has been a wonderful example to me of what it means to care for people with the compassion of Jesus. Her faithfulness journeying alongside those for whom life has been hard is second to none. I love the fact that even as a 58-year-old I can still go to her and be guided by her wisdom. My mum is very special to me.

Stand firm in your faith and be strong and courageous.

Charles


Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

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