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.

Kawepūrongo | News

Charles Mail is very much focused on me and the things that happen in my week. Over the years I have been keen to give you information and give me accountability. But as someone in my family correctly pointed out, “Dad, there tends to be a lot of photos of you!”

So this week I decided to change it up a bit. I asked a couple of our leaders to send me a photo of an activity from their week and to write a few sentences of explanation.

Here goes…

From Murray Gordon (Pastor - Caversham Baptist Church, Dunedin)

What a difference a year makes. I’m so encouraged by the leadership of our Playgroup. Last year we were thinking it’s time had come – this year with fresh leadership & vision, things have taken off. We are averaging 27 kids a week, plus parents – we are full to overflowing. Jenni & her team are wondering about starting a second session. We have retirees from Church helping with the intention of being a friend to the younger parents and sharing the love of Christ with them – what we call hovering with intent. God is doing something new in the Caversham community and it’s exciting to be partnering with Him in it.

From Wendy Budge (Pastor - Rotorua Baptist Church) 

One of my roles is helping curate and lead the Sunday morning service. As part of being an "authentic Church family" we create spaces for celebration and fun. Each year we hold an annual Dad joke competition on Father's Day. The winner is decided by the loudest groans from the congregation. 

All the men in the church were also recognised and prayed for and received a gift of home-made chocolate fudge. 

While celebrating is fun - it is way more than that... it is part of hospitality - creating joyful spaces, meaningful moments, tenderness and care, belonging and value. It is bringing a sense of community and generosity to the people at Rotorua Baptist. 

And what about this photo and paragraph from Edmonds Namburi! (Pastor - Dargaville Baptist Church)

I am thankful for Madeline, our church secretary, who obeyed her calling to this role more than twenty years back. I am thankful because she is absolutely stunning at her job and her love for Jesus which started 65 years ago, keeps increasing each day. I am thankful to God, for her commitment to her Saviour, her church and her role. I am thankful to God, as she keeps me ‘on-track’ but she is also one of my greatest supporters, so I can stay committed to my calling.   

My weekly Charles Mail is so much better when it is about you!

Kupu o te wiki | Word of the week

He Tongikura | A prophetic, proverbial saying, usually associated with the second Maaori king, Kiingi Taawhiao.

Ki te kotahi te kaakaho ka whati, ki te kaapuia e kore e whati.

If there is but one reed it will break, but if it is bunched together it will not. A tongikura in reference to strength in unity.

- Kiingi Taawhiao Pootatau Te Wherowhero

Matawhaiaro | Personal

Kia ora Baptist Whānau

I have been thinking about you a lot this week.         

I am incredibly thankful for Baptist pastors, chaplains, and overseas workers. My primary gifting is encouragement and I believe my calling is to help Baptist leaders thrive for Gospel renewal. 

Don't you love the Apostle Paul’s spirit of thankfulness:

>> He thanked the Romans for being famous (world-wide) for their faith in Jesus (Rom 1:8)

>> He thanked the Thessalonians for their hard work, and steadfastness even in the difficult times (Thess 1:3) 

>> He never stopped giving thanks for the Ephesians and their deep love for the church (Ephesians 1:15-16)

>> He thanked the Philippians for their partnership in the gospel with him (Phil 1:3–5). 

>> And he thanked the Corinthians for being prepared to use the good gifts God had so graciously given to them (1 Cor 1:4–9)

Sitting here at my desk this morning I give thanks to God for our leaders – for exactly the same reasons!

Thank you for publicly declaring your faith in Jesus in very secular situations. Thank you for working hard at your jobs and being steadfast in the difficult times. Thank you for loving, and being committed to, the people of God within your faith community. Thank you for being so capable and willing to use your God-given gifts so generously. Thank you for working alongside me (partnering) in seeing Gospel renewal come to people and places. 

I love New Zealand Baptists deeply. Thank you for your love for Jesus and your commitment to the mission of God.

Stand firm in your faith and be strong and courageous.


p.s. "Go the AB's" and "Up the Wahs"

Karakia | Prayer

Last week I invited Kelly from Arotahi to write a prayer for us - especially for the young adults within our Baptist world. 

We invited some of the young adults in our office to pray it. Click here to watch.

Can I encourage you to pray along with us and maybe think of a young adult you can pass it on to. Let them know you prayed for them!

Click here for more Charles Mail.

Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett


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