In this column, we discover more about our Baptist whānau, meeting someone in our team of 40,000 each post. This week we are getting to know Jan Ozanne, Family Pastor at Ōtūmoetai Baptist Church and Children and Families coach for the Bay of Plenty & Eastland Baptist Association.

What is something you think everyone should experience at least once in their life? 

I recommend that everyone who calls Aotearoa home visit Northland and explore the story of this country, connected with this special place. Go to Waitangi, Kororāreka, Kerikeri… and experience our land’s beauty and history. 

If you could be a pro at any one thing, what would it be?

I would love to be able to play the piano. Apparently, it’s never too late to learn. Still, I wish I had been given the opportunity to learn when I was a child – when I probably would have picked it up easier than my old brain would now. 

What is a random interest that has completely nothing to do with your study or work?

I love to read; my favourite genres are science fiction and fantasy. I enjoy getting lost in imaginary worlds and dystopian futures in books and movies. We had to get Amazon just to watch The Rings of Power – which I loved! Pure escapism!!

What is the oddest fact you know?

In 1919, 21 people were killed and 150 injured in the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, Massachusetts. A large storage tank containing 8.7 million litres of molasses burst, creating a wave of molasses which rushed through the streets at 55kph. (A story my eldest daughter shared with me – I don’t remember how it came up, but I thought it was a remarkable story – and definitely an odd occurrence!) 

What is the most boring thing you’ve ever done?

When I was a student, I worked at Stephens packing felt pens into plastic tubs. I am sure this is done by machines now, but I spent hours in a production line putting the same 10 colours of felts into a tub before passing it along to the next person. Soooo boring! 

What is your favourite way of connecting with God?

I love corporate worship, singing and praying with other Christ followers. God is powerfully present when we gather together. I also find being out in creation a significant way of connecting too. 

Can you describe a significant moment when you experienced God’s love?

I clearly experienced God’s love when my children were born. I distinctly remember holding our first daughter and being overwhelmed with this feeling of love – and God saying this is how I feel about you. Wow!

What is your favourite thing about the neighbourhood where you live?

I love that I am a short walk away from a salt marsh and the sea. From where I live, I can also walk to church, my son’s school, the supermarket… What a privilege to live, work and worship in the same neighbourhood! 

What do you love most about being Baptist? 

I love that we are a priesthood of all believers. I love that we believe God speaks to us through the gathered body, not just the pastor or leader at the front. I love that at our church, we share the microphone and invite others to share stories of what God is doing in their lives and how He speaks to them (and therefore us) through a passage of scripture. What a blessing!  

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