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

Celebrating 100 years

How awesome for Reti Ah-Voa (Regional Leader - Northern Baptist Association) and I to be at Liberty to celebrate 100 years of being a Baptist church. Congratulations!

The dinner, the opportunity to reconnect, to hear so many stories of the supernatural power of God at work, honouring previous pastors and elders, and committing the future to God - so inspiring! 

Thank you, Pastors Trent and Sue Hodson (photo above), for your deep love for Jesus and your commitment to the mission of God.

Preparing to meet with the Prime Minister

Early last week I attended 'The Church Leaders Group' meeting in Wellington. The group consists of the Heads of Churches of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army churches (the churches whose social services join together in making up the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services). Took the opportunity to wear my Iriiri t-shirt :)

We spent our time preparing for an upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister. What an honour to have Lisa Woolley (CEO VisionWest) as my advisor. 

A nice surprise at the meeting was bumping into Melanie Wilson from Northpoint Baptist Church (photo right). Mel is a Senior Policy Analyst with the NZCCSS. So proud to have Baptists working in this space! 

What does self-care look like?

I liked the fact that people engaged with me over my personal comments last Charles Mail about the importance of the leader surrounding themselves with good people – an important part of self-care. 

This time I asked two of your pastoral leaders what they do regularly to look after themselves – 'self-care actions' it's called. Here is what they said:

Chriselle Lees-Thomas, Associate Pastor Youth and Pastoral Care at Village Baptist

“For me, self-care looks like remaining grounded when everything can seem chaotic. A simple rhythm I found helpful is going into my garden every morning, feeling my bare feet on the ground, and practicing breath prayer – inhaling and exhaling as I meditate on short and simple promises of God.”

Jeremy Selfe, Senior Pastor at North Porirua Baptist

"After 17 years in full-time pastoral ministry one of the things I think is so important for self-care is to guard your day off as well as your leave. I’ve taught my church and leadership to protect these spaces (I don’t even check emails or texts) and I have found these re-charge times so valuable.”

Under review

There are many purposes for Charles Mail. A major one is to keep you informed on some of the things we are working on.

I asked the Lead Team to list for us some of things they are currently reviewing. I thought you might be interested:

Wayne Schache (Finance and Operations Director)

1. Big Bite 2 – the Constitutional Review Group met again in February, with a view to finalise a proposed discussion paper for regional hui, and hui ā Māori.

2. Insurance Review Group – met in February and are exploring ways of funding an increase in our global excess, in an endeavour to arrest the increase in Material Damage premiums in future years.

3. Policy Review Group will meet again this month in an effort to prioritise a suite of policies that churches can use.

4. Development Advisory Group – will meet for a second time this month to work around robust processes to guide churches through development decisions around property.

Karen Warner (Leadership Coordination Director)

1. Code of Ethics and Conduct Review – this review is ensuring our current Ethical Principles and Guidelines for Pastors document meets the standards that we as a Union, and society at large, expect from our pastors and leaders.

2. Big Bite 3: Keeping people and places safe – following the decision of the National Hui, we are designing a mechanism that will enable us, as a Union of churches, to better handle instances of serious pastoral misconduct.

3. Pastoral Restoration Process – we are reviewing our current process to ensure it meets the needs of both pastors and churches.

Luke Kaa-Morgan (Te Pouarataki mō te Hīkoi Treaty Guide)

1. Revisiting the mission and ministry of Baptist Māori in the Lower Waikato

At last year's Hui-ā-Māori we made a commitment to focusing on the people and places where ngā purapura pai (the good seeds) of Te Rongopai were planted by our missional community and pioneers. 

2. Development and implementation of a National Support Centre Tikanga

Informed by mana whenua, we seek to honour their place and responsibility as hosts in the location of our National Support Centre. This is resourcing us in 'how to be', demonstrating our commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi.

3. Identifying and engaging with Māori leadership within our Baptist whaanau 

We will train and resource new leaders and weave them into our wider networks as they sense God's call.

Mike Crudge (Communications Director)

1. Our communication to connect the ‘Team of 40,000’ Baptists

Following on from 146 years of printed publication, we are in the middle of a 5-year plan to pick up where our print legacy finished and connect many more of our Baptist ‘tribe’ through several bits of new content every week: appwebsiteFacebookInstagram, and printable newsletters.

2. Content Creators' Network

Point 1 only happens because people in our 'tribe' share stories, articles, opinion pieces, podcast episodes etc. If you or someone in your church likes creating content let us know about it. Email the comms team [email protected]

3. Internal church communication

This year all of our churches will be able to get their own EzyChurch app for free!! ($100 setup), as part of the Baptist NZ app through the Christchurch based company EzyStream. Our deal will enable a savings of between $1000-$2300 per year for each church and will provide the current best form of connecting/communicating within a local church congregation.

Article by air force military Chaplain Bill Dewar

Have a read of this article in Air Force News by air force military Chaplain Bill Dewar, who is based at Whenuapai Air Force Base. Bill writes (pg. 46) about the importance of chaplains for the military. A glider pilot and a former pastor, Bill has been a full-time chaplain for 12 years and was a reservist chaplain at Ohakea Air Base for eight years.

Being Baptist at its best!

Te Pouarataki mō te Hīkoi

From our Treaty Guide

As mentioned above we’ve been developing tikanga guidelines for the National Support Centre.

The concept is derived from the Māori word ‘tika’ which means right or correct. So, to act in accordance with tikanga is to behave in a way that is culturally appropriate – to do the right things, with the right people, in the right way.

We introduced them to staff this week, and we’re excited about the journey we’re on which has been informed by people and place. - From Luke Kaa-Morgan

Matawhaiaro

Dear Baptist Whānau

Again, I find myself sitting here at my desk praying for Baptist leaders, pastors, chaplains, community workers, and overseas workers.

What difficult jobs you have.

I am reminded that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12) I am conscious that our, “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Therefore, it is my prayer that Baptist leaders would actively, “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” (Eph 6:13)

Let us remember, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:4) Jesus said to his disciples, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)

Baptist leaders, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Take comfort in the truth that, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Let's say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Thank you for all the hard work that you do. I pray that this week God would continue to bless you and the faith communities you serve.

Charles

Karakia

I asked David Baines to pray for unity for the Baptist Union of Churches - that's you! David is the Chair of the Upper South Regional Association. 

Father, we invite you to make Jesus’ prayer for unity amongst believers in John 17 to be our real life experience as Baptists in Aotearoa.

We long for your unifying work in us to bear indisputable witness of your love across our motu.

Please grant us wisdom and understanding to courageously overcome our differences and embrace one another as Your children and co-workers in Your world.

Please bless our leaders in our churches, associations, missions, colleges and support teams with humility and courage to guide us towards unity and a shared vision of gospel renewal. Inspire each of us to fix our eyes on Jesus and the common call he has for us, and to loosen our grip on our differences which our enemy loves to use to divide us.

Pour out your Spirit on us that we might be joined through love, strong in purpose, gracious in diversity and authentic in our witness of Jesus.

Amen.


Photos supplied by Charles Hewlett

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