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 Shelley Motu'āpuaka, Chair of the Northern Baptist Association and recently called Sole Pastor at Whangārei Baptist Church.

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

Find people with strong feelings about the books you have read in common. It enables great and ongoing conversations.

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

Editing. I am not very good at it, and it would make my written communication with others and any further study so much easier.

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

I enjoy new information just because – it comes in handy in quizzes, random small talk, and watching (many) sports.

What is the oddest fact you know?

A bog is a wetland that is acidic pH<7

A fen is a wetland that is alkaline pH>7

A swamp is a wetland whose dominant vegetation is trees and woody plants

A marsh is a wetland with other forms of vegetation are dominant.

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

As an externally processing extravert – a three day silent retreat.

What is your favourite way of connecting with God?

Through reading (any books/ journals/ articles) and then chewing on it with others in discussions. The hallway at Blockhouse Bay Baptist Church where I used to be has been the place for many of these discussions. As I read, I feel the conviction or pull of the Spirit, and as I speak, these thoughts get clarified and recalculated.

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

At my wedding, while I married a lovely man, the joy of a party among so many of God's people in the place where I worked and worshiped – there was what felt like a physical presence of God at that moment.

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

My husband built a pull-up bar in the front yard. Our neighbours, church friends and random strangers who run past are invited to come and struggle with it. Some are better than others, but it's a simple thing that's building community (and muscles).

What do you love most about being Baptist?

Each of the churches in each area is necessary. Our theology tells us that each congregation is gathered (by the Spirit) and is necessary to each other, the community it exists in, and the wider regional and national family. I love that we are called to be brothers and sisters to each other.

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