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 

I have thought of this well-known whakatauākī a lot over the past week:


He aha te mea nui?

He tangata.

He tangata.

He tangata.

 

What is the most important thing?

It is people.

it is people.

it is people.


When it comes to the Baptist family of churches in New Zealand, it is the people. We have so many amazing people serving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. And our purpose is to see the people around us thriving in the gospel of Jesus. It is people.

Here are just a few of the amazing people I have met over the past seven days…(and a couple of others too :) )

Gary Grut (Glen Eden Baptist Church)

Thank you VisionWest and Glen Eden Baptist for your ‘Christmas from the Heart’ initiative - providing gifts and food for children who will otherwise miss out. "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Hebrews 13:16)

The people of South Dunedin Baptist Church

Thanks heaps for inviting Joanne and I down to help you celebrate your 150th anniversary over the weekend. You guys are amazing!

Back in 1873, William Ings preached South Dunedin's first Christian service in a small school building in a swampy, tussock-covered area called The Flat. Thank you for 150 years of loving Jesus and being committed to the mission of God. "Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:16)

Susan Osborne (Baptist President)

Thank you Susan for agreeing to be our President - your leadership is already pointing us to the heart of God. "No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Baptist Women Pastors

Thanks Rachel for this photo of some of you having lunch together this week. We are so much better because of your leadership. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

Dave Tims - Urban Neighbours of Hope

Thank you Dave and Denise and all the Baptist people bringing gospel renewal from the edge. Your prophetic words and actions are helping us to understand the heart of God better. "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." (Proverbs 29:7)

Andrew and Jo Reyngoud, pastor (Flaxmere Baptist Church)

Thank you Flaxmere Baptist Church for serving your community through the 'Christmas Cheer' appeal - again providing gifts and food for children who will otherwise miss out. "I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy." (Psalm 140:12) 

Helen Brereton (Transitional Pastor Glenfield Baptist Church)

Thanks Helen for taking the time to talk and pray with me this week, reminding me again of how beautiful the local church is, and the wonderful privilege of being a pastoral leader. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

Trent Hodson (Liberty Church)

Thank you Trent for the tears that filled your eyes on Thursday as you told me stories of the transformational power of the gospel in both people and places. "...but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us." (Titus 3:5)

Katie and Dan Cuttriss (new Intermission Coordinators at Carey Baptist College)

Thanks Katie and Dan for giving your lives to the development of young people and young adults in our family of churches, "...so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ." (Colossians 1:28) 

I had to press record on my phone - click here to get to know them! 

Glenn Melville and Sarah Axford (Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning)

Thanks for having lunch with me and Karen on Wednesday. The work you do in overseeing our registration process is quite outstanding! "He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands." (Psalm 78:72)

Te Pouarataki mō te hīkoi 

From our Treaty Guide

Manakinui Te Kahu, one of our Māori leaders has been very much on my mind and in my prayers over these past few weeks. 

As a graduate of Carey Baptist College and of Ngā Pou Amorangi, he went on to join the Carey staff team and has made valuable contributions to Carey's culture particularly in teaching the Te Ao Māori paper. He is leaving the staff team to further study Te Reo Māori at Te Wananga Ihorangi. He will continue to teach the Te Ao Māori paper as an adjunct lecturer which the team at Carey are very grateful for. Manakinui examples the hopes and aspirations of our whaanau of churches for Baptist Māori. He loves Jesus, loves the church and loves the Bible. He is a humble man of good character. Would you join me in praying for him and Leah, Manakinui's wife, as they continue to discern the will and purpose of God for their lives? Whakamoemititia te Ariki, he pūmau tonu hoki tāna mahi tohu. - From Luke Kaa-Morgan

Matawhaiaro

Dear Baptist Whānau

This is my last Charles Mail for 2023. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my writings over the year. Your friendship, support, and prayers are greatly valued.

As I started, “It is people. It is people. It is people.”  And I am surrounded by some incredible people. I am so thankful for my colleagues at the National Support Centre – Carl, Catharina, Charis, Christine, Ethan, Frances, Karen, Liz, Luke, Marianne, Mike, and Wayne.

I am thankful for my Regional Leader colleagues – Chris, Peter, Mike, Rachel, and Reti.

I am thankful for my colleagues Alan and John and the leadership they give to Carey Baptist College and Arotahi.

And as I sit here this morning, I am very thankful for our Baptist leaders, administrators, pastors, chaplains, and overseas workers. Thank you for all your hard work this year. I pray that in the busyness of this season there would be plenty of fun and resting with your family and friends.  

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling amongst us”

May God bless you heaps

Charles

Karakia 

Our prayer this week is from Neil Perry (pastor - Whakatane Baptist Church). In the busyness of this time of the year, may you personally experience the love, peace, and joy that Neil prays about. 

Lord Jesus, the Christ of Christmas;

May we recognise afresh that you are the Christ, the King, this Christmas and always.

May we know in new ways Your amazing love that overcomes fear and anxiety.

May we know Your peace which passes all human understanding, stilling our inner most parts.

May we know Your joy welling up from deep within our being even in the midst of life’s challenges and uncertainty.

May we worship you Jesus as Lord and Saviour this Christmas.

Amen.

 

Photos supplied by Charles Hewlett.

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