Andrew Baldwin, Interim Pastor at Petone Baptist Church, shares a different way of rocking up to church and demonstrating God’s love for the world. 

On a sunny Sunday in January, around 50 people from Petone Baptist Church gathered at the church building at the usual service time of 10 am. But they weren’t dressed in their Sunday best. Instead, they were equipped with sunhats, gloves and rubbish bags. All set to leave the building to pick up rubbish along the street outside the church and at the nearby local beach. 

Church member and event coordinator Andrea Bolton explains what they were up to: 

“Our aim was to pick up large and small pieces of rubbish – especially all the tiny bits of plastic, paper, bottle tops, broken glass and other rubbish that present a serious danger to our local birds, small animals, waterways and aquatic life.” 

“It’s also good to remind people they can play their part in caring for our world just by picking up rubbish, individually or as part of a larger event.”

The group picked up six large full rubbish bags, numerous plastic cans and bottles for recycling, and a third of a bucket of broken glass and sharp objects.

Interim Pastor Andrew Baldwin says, “As a church, we want to be connected with our local neighbourhood, so when Andrea approached me with the idea of doing a street clean-up, I was keen to get in behind it.”

“Picking up rubbish is one small way that we can remind ourselves, as well as telling the people around us, that the world is important to us because the world is important to God.”

“It’s a small act that helps to let people know that they live in a world that is created by God, loved by God and is being rescued by God.”

The church partnered with the Hutt City Council, who provided rubbish bags and took the rubbish away the next day, and the Petone Beach Clean Up Crew, who provided hi-vis vests, grabbers and gloves. 

“Building these sorts of connections with other groups in the community was an added bonus of this event,” says Andrew. 

“We hope we will be able to build on these connections with similar sorts of events in the future.”

Image supplied by Andrew Baldwin

Inspired? Hear more stories from other Baptist churches in New Zealand who have connected with their community in caring for the environment:

Eastview Eco Group pitches in

Invercargill Central Baptist 'Serves the City'

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