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

Being chaplains

Did you see Paul Askin's article on Chaplaincy on the Baptist App? Click here to read 

I’m aware of many New Zealand Baptists working as chaplains in healthcare, education, media, military, police, prison, rest home, sport – and I am sure there will be heaps more.

Like Elesha Gordon – a media chaplain.

"My favourite part of Media Chaplaincy is the opportunity to love, bless and serve people who sometimes haven't had the best experience with people of faith. It's amazing the doors that open, the conversations that flow, the prayer opportunities, and the lives altered when we seek to simply serve and be present, just as Jesus did." 

 Like Cliff Thompson (on the right below) – Chaplain to the One NZ Warriors.

"I am privileged to see how God can use people of peace in spaces of high performance. When they refer to me as good to have around, they are referencing the nature of Jesus that dwells within us. As a lover of sport and Jesus, I am honored to be able to combine the two." 

Paul Askin writes, “Let’s see the churches welcome chaplaincy in from the cold, someplace out on the fringes, and then let’s send the church, a multitude of trained and equipped ambassadors or chaplains, back out to the fringes to bring gospel renewal.”

I encourage you to pass Paul's article onto your elders and leaders - discuss it together. What is he saying? 

Being Baptist at its best!

Hi Carey Local!

Wednesday is quickly becoming my favourite day of the week! It is so good to know that in the evening over 300 New Zealand Baptists are gathering in their faith communities to study the Bible together through Carey Local.

I was so encouraged this week to see the photo below from a group meeting together at Ōtāhuhu Community Baptist Church. Pastor Das writes:

This is the prayer and dream of every pastor. I see all students enjoying the learning, the conversation, and the interaction with the Carey Lecturer and with each other. Where this will lead to in their personal lives? - God only knows, and there are limitless opportunities and possibilities. I'm excited for their lives in the future. 

And then the photo below of a group gathering at Rangiora Baptist Church. Andrew Meek (Leadership Pathway Facilitator - Upper South Baptist Association) writes:

I love Carey Local because it has opened up our theological college to so many who wouldn’t otherwise have walked through its doors. People of all ages and stages of faith from Baptist churches right across Aotearoa are coming together to open scripture in community guided by expert teaching from Carey’s fantastic lecturing team. In my view, there’s no better way to study the Bible!

Thank you Carey Baptist College. Growing disciples will help our faith communities to thrive!

Podcasting it

I loved the opportunity this week to be interviewed by Murray Sheard (CEO of CBM - Christian Blind Mission NZ) for his podcast on the topic of faith and disability (see photo below - notice my crutches!). I love any opportunity to talk about my beautiful daughter, Janelle, who would have celebrated her 31st birthday this week if the brain cancer hadn't taken her life. 

(This upcoming podcast show is yet to be released. Turn on notifications on the Baptist NZ app or follow Baptist NZ on Facebook to see when it lands!)

Another couple of events I am keen to report on this week:

Baptist orientation and pastoral care training 

Firstly, the Baptist Orientation Day held at the National Centre on Thursday (photo below). 35 people gathering together to reflect on what it means to be Baptist and how we can be the people of God together. I had very limited input but came away so thankful for the people who spiritually lead our faith communities - like Megan Lindsay (photo below) - a pastor at Gore Baptist who travelled all the way north to participate. I love Baptist people. 

Secondly, this pastoral care training day (facilitated by Warren Read of South West Baptist Church) recently held in Nelson (with 25 or so people from Richmond, Motueka, Atawhai & Nelson attending). This is just brilliant:

Kupu o te wiki | Word of the week

Matawhaiaro | Personal

Dear Baptist Whānau

Last week I mentioned how God spoke to me through a person.

The week before that I shared how it was through Scripture.

This week he spoke to me again. But this time it was through the lyrics of worship songs (I’m so glad because right now I need to hear his voice).

Two phrases spoke specifically to me.

Firstly, my daughter plugged her play list in as we drove in the car. Jonathan David Hesler sang:

When the pressure is real

Your presence is greater

When I stand in the fire

Your glory burns brighter

You are above it all, but you stand here

“Charles, I am a God who is only close at hand (Jer 23:23). Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Heb 13:5). My grace is sufficient for you…when you are weak then you are strong (2 Cor 12).”

Secondly, at my church on Sunday night (photo below) I found myself singing these words:

Even in the waiting

The Lord is working it out for good

Charles, I know the plans that I have for you (Jer 29:11). My mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is my faithfulness (Lam 3:22). Wait on me: be of good courage, and I will strengthen your heart: wait (Ps 27:14).”

I wonder how God speaks to you?

I am so thankful my God is alive and actively speaking to me. New Zealand Baptists, let us listen carefully for our Heavenly Father’s voice…and be encouraged :)

May God bless your work greatly this week

Charles

Karakia | Prayer

This week I invited Erik Schilperoort (Church Care Pastor – Bethlehem Baptist Church) to write a prayer we could prayer for our many chaplains. Please pray this with me...and maybe you could take time to pray it within your faith community.

Heavenly Father

Thank YOU for the immense privilege it is to know You, be part of Your family and part of Your Kingdom purposes on the earth.

Father - I bring before You all of the Chaplains who serve You and also represent our NZ Baptist family.

Through them, may Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done…throughout Aotearoa, and beyond.

May the Light and Aroha of the Lord Jesus shine through them.

May people who experience their care be brought closer to You.

May our Chaplains experience Your provision for all their needs.

May Your forgiveness and kindness flow through them.

May You give them the grace and wisdom they need to bring Your hope to people who seek their aid.

May their lives always bring glory to Jesus.

In His Name

Amen.


Click here for more Charles Mail.

Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

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