In this regular column, our Baptist National Leader, Charles Hewlett, keeps us posted on the happenings in Baptist faith communities across Aotearoa. The original Charles Mail is emailed out on a Friday and reproduced here the following Monday.


Last week was so good that I could't help but send you a Charles Mail from the beautiful city of Christchurch!

Our God is alive and active and is clearly working through Baptist people and faith communities in the Upper South Regional Association

The valuable contribution of our retired people

On Tuesday I had the enormous privilege of having lunch with 30 retired Baptist leaders, pastors, chaplains and overseas workers (photo below). We talked together about the Baptist purpose of bringing Gospel renewal to people and places in local neighbourhoods and the valuable contribution our retired leaders can make to this. And then we talked about some of the barriers that stop this from happening. Do you have retired people as part of your faith community? I encourage you to put on a luncheon for them and listen carefully to their wisdom - I hope you will come away as encouraged as I did!

Happy birthday Murray Robertson!

How cool to be in town to sing happy birthday to Murray Robertson. Not sure about letting him loose with that knife though!

All I can think of when I look at Murray is Luke 4, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come”.

Thank you Murray and Marge for the significant way your leadership has, and continues to, shape the gospel work of New Zealand Baptists.

With anticipation 

On Tuesday evening Joanne and I had dinner and conversation with the leaders and pastors from Oxford Terrace Baptist Church. We celebrated how God had actively used this faith community to bring gospel renewal to people and places over many decades, and then we talked with anticipation and expectation about how this will continue in the years ahead. Canon J John recently wrote in his Lament for the Church of England about how the church needs clarity, coherence, confidence, charm, and Christ - this faith community has it in truckloads!

Project Esther

And what a privilege to have Daphne Marsden (founder and manager) show me around Project Esther - a ministry based in Canterbury that must bring enormous joy to Jesus. Project Esther’s work in seeing women valued, respected and reaching their full potential is such significant Kingdom work. I came away inspired - this is an initiative well worth your support. 

A posture of gratitude and thankfulness

On Wednesday I loved spending time with leaders, pastors, and chaplains from the Upper South Region (photo below). We observed together how the Apostle Paul lived with a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness, and how such a posture might bring renewal to the Baptist Union of New Zealand. We celebrated together the unique giftings of our own faith communities and gave thanks to God. 

Tuesday Christian Fellowship

Being in Christchurch meant I got to bump into my hero Andy Carpenter - pastor of the Tuesday Christian Fellowship (a faith community with a primary focus on people who have special needs). Is the National Leader allowed to have a favourite congregation? Talk about Heaven on Earth - Jesus must be smiling! Below is their verse for the year - a beauty!

Our elders

On Wednesday evening, I had dinner and conversation with 30 elders from the Canterbury region (photo below). Wow!! Elders are the backbone of our faith communities, and I came away feeling even more appreciative for the contribution they make. And I gave thanks to God!

I love being part of the Baptist family. And I especially love our brothers and sisters in the Upper South Baptist Association. Thank you for all that you do. 


Dear God

Today we give you thanks for our brothers and sisters in the Upper South Association. Their love for you and commitment to being actively involved in your mission inspires us. And we give you thanks.

We give thanks for the retired pastors, chaplains and overseas workers who are continuing to serve you with their lives. Bless them for the way they have honoured you with their lives. May they overflow with your joy. 

Please provide Daphne and Andy with the resources they need for the ministries they lead. Fill them with your love and compassion.

Give wisdom to the elders of this region. Help them to be courageous and strong in their decision making.

For the pastors and chaplains at the coalface of ministry and mission - may they see people trust in Jesus for the first time as a result of their hard work.

Please give the Upper South Association, and Chris Chamberlain their Regional Leader, a big vision for this region. May they have a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo.

We ask these things in the name of Jesus


Additional celebration!! (Monday 9 October)

The Baptist Union of New Zealand turns 141 today! - A very good reason to have cake for morning tea at the Baptist Support Centre.

Unfortunately some of the team missed out on this photo - But they didn't miss out on cake.

Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

Add comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read More Articles

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.

Lessons from the 1880 Arrowtown Chinese settlement mission Image
April 17, 2024 | Jonan Castillon Channel: 2144749

Lessons from the 1880 Arrowtown Chinese settlement mission

How can the stories of the Arrowtown Chinese gold miners challenge and inspire multicultural ministry in our church today?

Charles Mail: Healthy faith communities Image
April 15, 2024 | Charles Hewlett Channel: 2144749

Charles Mail: Healthy faith communities

Journeys to baptism that began at eCamp 23 | Over 100 attend free English class bringing gospel renewal in Christchurch | Influencing change for people…