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

This time next week (1-4 November), over 500 of us New Zealand Baptists will be worshipping God together in South Auckland. I can't wait!

Some interesting Hui 2023 facts:

> 58% of our churches will have a delegate representing them at National Hui.

> 7 Attendees are aged five or under – we’re shaping their future.

> 43% of attendees are coming to a pre-Hui event!

> 24 people have been nominated for governance roles in our movement – read their profiles here.

> 4,410 words are in John Tucker’s pre-Hui read, A Baptist way to make decisions.

> 100+ people will be on stage at Hui over the three days.

Please take some time each day to pray for our Hui. May God continue to use New Zealand Baptists to bring Gospel renewal (the restoration of all that sin has marred and destroyed) to people and places in our local neighbourhoods. You can see the Hui programme here.

Revising our ethical practices

On 20 November, I met with the Code of Ethics and Conduct Advisory Group (see the photo below). They have been tasked with revising our current Ethical Principles and Guidelines document. The work this team is undertaking on our behalf is hugely important.

As a collective of churches and faith communities we want to be known for our high ethical standards and practices, and our emphasis on upholding the safety, dignity and wellbeing of all people in our spaces. You are going to hear a lot more from me over the next twelve months in regard to this vital work.

Identifying the pastoral leaders of the future

My monthly opportunity to meet up with John Tucker, Principal at Carey Baptist College, is a real blessing to me - especially when we decide to have it over breakfast. On Wednesday we mostly talked about how we need the leaders in our movement to help us identify the pastoral leaders of the future. Do you know someone you can encourage to train at Carey Baptist College? Please start praying for them today and give John Tucker a call - he would love to help you see them discover their calling.

Carey birthdays

Talking of Carey, how nice it was to be invited into their staffroom on Thursday morning to celebrate Chris, Glenn, Jacqui, and Siong's birthdays (photo below). I led the staff in a fun activity and then prayed for the birthday people.

Te Pouarataki mō te Hīkoi

From our Treaty Guide

One of our key-note speakers at Hui is Cliff Thompson.

Cliff is a Lead Pastor in The Render Gathering, Manurewa, Tāmaki ki te tonga (South Auckland), and this week I’ve been particularly praying for him and Lisa. I was going to say that Cliff is bi-vocational. However, I note that he has any number of roles that support his ministry. He is also on our Carey College Board and active within the Sports Chaplaincy world. I'm really looking forward to hearing him speak at Hui.

My prayer has also been for him and his whānau this week in the loss of his beautiful grandmother, Isabella Paul Phillips, who, as his wider whānau have commented, has been promoted to glory. A praying grandmother whose legacy is carried with such dignity in Cliff. No reira, e kui, e te pononga o te Atua, moe mai i roto i te pūāhurutanga o te runga rawa.    

From Luke Kaa-Morgan

Karakia

This week I invited one of our newer pastors, Josiah Carr, to lead us in prayer for this week's National Hui. Josiah has been the pastor at Te Puke Baptist Church for a few months now.

Please do take the time to read his prayer, asking God to bless our time together. 

New Zealand Baptists, "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." (1 Chron 16:11)

Lord Jesus, as we look forward in anticipation to the Hui, thank you for the way in which you draw us together. We acknowledge the privilege it is to gather in this way, with the many faith communities represented at this Hui.

We pray for those leading us and speaking to us – would you give them a confidence and boldness.

We pray that as we look to the future, that we would lift our eyes to you, and that as we listen to those around us share, we would hear your voice.

We pray that ultimately this Hui would be a time where we would sense your nearness and be refreshed, sharpened, and inspired.

Amen

Matawhaiaro

Kia ora Baptist Whānau 

A favourite place for me to sit is under the stunning Pōhutukawa tree we have on our property in Ellerslie. 

As I sit here I am reminded of the bigness of God in Psalm 145:5, "How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!"

I feel Psalm 91:1, "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

I am encouraged to be Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

This week I am sitting under our tree thinking about Hui. 

I am praying that God would be with us as we gather together. In humility and unity, may we get lost in his bigness, comforted by his presence, and courageous in our decision making. 

Charles


Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

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