Peter Foster is the Regional Leader of the Waikato Baptist Association and the Bay of Plenty & Eastland Baptist Association. These words are from his regional communication earlier this week following the death of Sean Schutte, co-pastor at Matamata Baptist Church.

It is with sadness that I write this current update. I received one of those phone calls on Thursday [last week, 13 October] that no one wants to get. I was informed that Sean Schutte (Co-pastor at Matamata Baptist Church) had died in a car accident.

Our love and prayers go out to Jess and Kenzy - Sean’s wife and daughter – as well as Declan Smith (Co-pastor) and Melissa, and the rest of the Matamata Baptist Church community.

I had the ‘humble privilege’ of being able to attend their church service last Sunday [16 October]. Declan, Melissa and Nigel, you guys did an awesome job in leading us through a time of grief and lament. It was very moving. The church was full of people, full of tears, and full of love.

Declan led us into the presence of God - through his own grief and loss. In between thoughtful and heartfelt songs we listened to Scripture (esp. Psalms). Through them we were ‘given permission’ to allow all the various emotions to flow - even anger!

Thank you, Declan and Melissa and your team, for leading your church in this way.

Our prayers go out to you, Jess, Kenzy, and Matamata Baptist Church as you continue to work through your sadness and grief.

Memorial Service

A Memorial Service for Sean will be held on Friday 28 October, 10am at Matamata Baptist Church. The service will also be live-streamed on the church Facebook page:

Please pause to pray

Most of our wider Baptist whanau reading this won’t be present at the Memorial Service, but could I ask that you pause and pray next Friday at 10am, pray for Jess and Kenzy. Pray for the Matamata Baptist Church and community.

Thank you to all those who have contacted me and the Church - offering support, help and prayers. Again, I am reminded of the power of Church in times like this. Baptists do support and care well - thank you so much.

I enjoyed going to visit Declan and Sean. They shared an office together and had a deep friendship. Declan reminded me last week that they had a ten-year plan to see Gospel renewal happen in Matamata. I shared with the church on Sunday that they were like the Blues Brothers – on a mission from God!

Love and prayers are with you Matamata Baptist Church.

Photo credit: taken from Matamata Baptist Church public Facebook page.

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