The President of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand is formally an Officer of the Baptist Union and takes on the voluntary role for a year. Susan Osborne was elected in November 2023 and is a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Titahi Bay, Wellington. For more information about the President, click here.

Well, I won’t complain about not having enough to do for a while. March has been busy. Not that I can blame anyone – it is all of my own making.

When I embarked on my year as President, I decided that one of the contributions I could make was to visit as many churches and leaders as possible. Perhaps if I had known just what that entailed, I might have made a different decision.

Apart from the two churches visited in January, I began with the churches and pastors in the Wellington area in February. That also took me into March, and I wonder if I overestimated my energy levels!! Certainly, I did for one of those weeks – I met with nine pastors in six days while organising and running the meeting of retired Baptist pastors and missionaries in the Wellington area and speaking in a church on the Sunday. No need to say I was exhausted at the end of that week.

Then, we were off to Auckland for a Mission Council meeting. It was a good time of discussions and decisions, led so capably by Ruby Duncan as Chair. On the Sunday, I spoke at Eastview, the church we used to attend when we lived and worked in Auckland. It was so good to catch up with so many good friends there.

On the Tuesday afternoon, I attended my first Carey Baptist College board meeting – a time spent mostly listening and learning.

The next day, we headed for Hawkes Bay and my meetings with the pastors there – such diversity in context and theology. I continue to be amazed at the diversity of the churches in our Baptist whānau. I met one of my heroes, Andrew Reyngoud, who is serving God in Flaxmere. What challenges he faces every day as he works faithfully where God has called him. I shared that Sunday at Village Baptist Church, a church with local and overseas missions at the heart of its community. An inspiring afternoon with Greg and Leonie Motu in Dannevirke completed our time in Hawkes Bay.

I was back home for two days, then off to the churches of Manawatu for five days. We based ourselves in Palmerston North, attending the Manawatu pastors’ cluster before visiting most of them individually over the next couple of days. Again, I was impressed by the commitment of each of these pastors to serve faithfully where God has called them. And I was challenged to appreciate those who hold different views than I do. 

The Sunday was spent with Geoff and Sonja at Hokowhitu Baptist Church and Tha Bo Kyaw at the Grace Baptist Church – a church of refugees from Myanmar. Wow! What a service! I came away so encouraged by their enthusiastic expression of their love for Jesus and their culture. Again, I enjoyed worshipping God in another language. We have much to learn from the other cultures in our churches.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and how I missed singing my favourite Bengali hymn on that day. I came home and sang along with a YouTube recording of it, “Hosanna, hosanna, welcome to the King of Peace”. I am much more comfortable celebrating Easter – and Christmas – in the Bengali culture than in New Zealand. The King of Peace and His suffering, death and resurrection get buried in the chocolate bunnies, Easter eggs, and even the delicious hot cross buns.

As we celebrate this special time as a Christian community, may we give time and effort to appreciating all that Jesus has done for us and showing the same sacrifice and love to our neighbours, near and far.

Photo: Supplied by Susan Osborne from her time with Grace Baptist Church in Hokowhitu – shown with pastor Tha Bo Kyaw.

Read More Articles

Anzac Day reflection 2024 Image
April 24, 2024 | Sam Schuurman Channel: 2144749

Anzac Day reflection 2024

Remember, lest we repeat our mistakes, writes Sam Schuurman in this Anzac Day reflection.

5-star biblical preaching Image
April 23, 2024 | Mike Crudge Channel: 2144749

5-star biblical preaching

For the fifth of people in our Baptist churches listening to podcasts, here’s a new one containing biblical preaching, and it has a 5-star rating!

Outdoor worship services Image
April 19, 2024 | Steph Wood and Sean Pawson Channel: 2144749

Outdoor worship services

Ilam Baptist Church brings their worship services out into God’s creation – An interview about the inspiration, the experiences, and the learnings.


Privacy Preference Center