Thames Baptist Church

Sunday 11th November 2018
Celest at her Baptism
Celeste taking a step of obediance to Jesus and being baptised by Pastor Brian. Congratulations Celest

Brian and Zoe

On Friday the 16th of November the church held an appreciation part for Brian and Zoe. It was with a heartfelt thanks that we celebrated their time with us. They started their time with us in a 6 month temporary call which eventually was extended to a three and a half years as interim pastors

Both Brian and Zoe contribution to the church has left it with a spiritual expectancy of greater things in The Lord. Some of the growth that has arisen during their time here is two Baptisms and at least seven commitments to Jesus through the ministry of Community Ministries of the church. We give thanks and praise to Jesus our Lord for this wonderful increase.

Appreciation Party
At the party we shared a desert with each other and played several games. Above is some of our children getting ready to win a box of chocolates.

Matai Whetu Marae visit  Matai Whetu Marae visit

A Visit to Matai Whetu Marae

Nau te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.


Recently representatives from several of the churches in Thames were invited by Kaumatua of Ngati Maru. to visit the local Marae,"Matai Whetu".

Abbey Namana on our behalf responded to the Karanga and Brendon Wilkinson local Anglican Vicar and Ngati Maru himself explained to our hosts that we were there to listen and hear their story.

Kaumatua  Wati Ngamane  started from where it all began with Tīpuna Hotunui.

Then we were introduced by name to the ancestors whose beautiful carvings surrounded us on all sides of the whare hui.

We went away hungry for more and look forward to further unpacking of a story that we all need to share.

In answer to a question about time, our host Wati explained that what we had heard so far was not about years but about twenty four generations of people.


He aha te mea nui o te ao?  He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! 


Elizabeth Jones

August 2018

Women and Girls Conference

Hannah Shelling and helpers did an excellent job organising a women and girls conference. Joyful

living was the theme and one session was doing some beautiful craft work. The food was plentiful and

delicious too. Well done Hannah! A most enjoyable and worthwhile time together.

Operation Cover Up Blankets etc

The Wednesday morning womens craft group have enjoyed having fellowship together each week while

they have made beautiful couloured blankets and garments for children in Eastern Europe to be sent through

Operation Cover up. Well done! A great ministry.

July 2018

2018 Winter Christmas Dinner

A great time was had by all who attended the mid-winter Christmas Dinner in the church lounge. Organised by Shaz
 and the Eldership team there was plenty of delicious food, great fellowship and much fun and games

Parihana - Social Worker
Parehana Ehrhorn

(March 2018)

We are delighted to welcome Social Worker, Parehana Ehrhorn to the staff
of Thames Baptist Community Ministries.  She is a member of Waihi
Baptist Church and will travel over on her work days. She joins Abbey
(Manager) and Pauline (Admin-Coordinator) making a strong team working
for the Lord reaching out to those in need.

Farewell cake for Rainbow Connection

February 2018 

A major change has been the sale of our RAINBOW CONNECTION CHILDCARE CENTRE...

Certificate of appreciationPress release

(February 2018)
Abbey Namana, our new TBCM manager, is taking a series of ten lessons in
Te Reo Maori in two weekly classes. For free!  A good number are
attending and finding it very helpful.  All are welcome.  Thanks Abbey!

Curch in the park
(February 2018)
TBC took part in a combined Thames churches event: Church in the Park. 
Wonderful opportunity to get together to socialize, do fun stuff for the
children, have live music and a gospel presentation - with follow up.  A
very worthwhile time.

(February 2018)
It was great to welcome Roger, Carolyn, Tai and Jethro back to NZ from
East Asia where they are serving with Tranzsend, for a brief family
visit.  They did a very informative slide show and Roger brought a
challenging message on Sunday.

(February 2018)
We were very sad to have to farewell Sebastian Kerebs to Victoria
University.  We will miss you on the bass!  God bless you as you start a
new life in Wellington.

(February 2018)
We are delighted to welcome two new staff to Thames Baptist Community
Ministries, our church family and Thames itself.

Manager, Abbey Namana (right) and
Administration Co-ordinator, Pauline Weeks
Doing a wonderful job already!

(September 2017)

Display of dresses (for girls 1 - 10 years) made by a small group of 
women in Thames, to be sent to India to help prevent girls being stolen 
or sold into prostitution. A great work being done.

(August 2017)

Brian's Big Bash – a church family fun night!  Celebrating our creativity in concert items and crafts.

Admission: wear a hat!

Brians Birthday Aug 2017

Zoe Kenning: superb organiser of BBB!

Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Daniel Shelling: In Christ Alone
Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Gael McInnes: a thought provoking poem
Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Olive Yates: stories from the Solomons
Brians Birthday Aug 2017

Brian Kenning: surprise birthday card and cake at supper :-)

Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Kerebs family: ‘Yellow’
Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Eddie Churton: song and jokes man!
Brians Birthday Aug 2017

24/7 HG: the sandwich skit!

Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Jan Kitchen: Mozart's variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Shelley and Zoe: Melody/rap duet
Brians Birthday Aug 2017

Shelling family bring us a song

Brians Birthday Aug 2017
David Shelling:amazing whip cracking!
Brians Birthday Aug 2017

Crafts stall filled with home made items

Brians Birthday Aug 2017
Plenty of delicious home made food!

A great time was had by all!

Jim Patrick

Early in August the current President of our Baptist family of churches, Jim Patrick, came with his wife Lois, and brought an encouraging and inspiring message.  Thank you Jim!

Pat G Heritage service
(Thames Heritage Week Sunday March 2017)

Pastor Brian Kenning interviewed longterm member, Pat Griffin, about how she became a follower of Jesus, met her husband Gane, and came to live in Thames over 60 years ago. Great memories!

(March 2017)

Pastor Brian Kenning and wife Zoe officially became members of Thames Baptist Church. We are delighted they have found a home in Thames and have decided to settle here with us.

Offering bowls Feb-17Offering bowls Feb-17

(February 2017)

Pascal D-B recently completed two beautifully shaped and polished offering bowls for the church. We appreciate all the time and care that went into making these items. Thanks Pascal! The block of swamp puriri was donated by Buck Pound. It had been a special gift to him some decades before. Thanks Buck!

Baptism of Margaret

(February 2017) 

It was a joy to see Margaret Sinclair baptised by Brian Kenning and supported by Lynette Mill. Many brought Scriptures and words of encouragement. Carolyn D-B, a long term friend, was skyped into the service from East Asia to make her contribution – much appreciated!

Two weeks later Margaret was welcomed into the membership of the Thames Baptist Church.

TBCM Appreciation dinnerTBCM Appreciation dinner
TBCM Appreciation dinner

TBCM Appreciation dinner

(February 2017) 

The church pastor, elders and council organised an appreciation dinner for the staff, volunteers and Trust Board of Thames Baptist Community Ministries. A great time was had by all! The delicious food was provided and served by people of the church. Paul Silvester, Trust Board Chair, addressed the group. We appreciate all the good work done by these people.

D-Bs commissioning

On 22 Jan 2017 Roger, Carolyn, Letitia and Jethro D-B were commissioned for work in East Asia by Tranzend Leader Andrew Page and our Global Missions Deacon, Elizabeth Jones. It was a wonderful service with folk attending from far and wide to pray for and encourage the D-Bs in this major step of obedience to God in their lives. They flew out from NZ later that week. Their four oldest children remain behind in NZ – Frith, Connor, Arden and Pascal. A big wrench for all.

Pascal spent the first three weeks with them in East Asia, then returned with a slide show and stories to update us on where they live, what they are doing etc. Very helpful and interesting. They seem to be settling in really well.

Christmas play

(December 2016)

Dianne V, our Children's Church Convenor, wrote a most enjoyable Christmas Drama from the perspective of onlooking angels. Jethro and Daniel performed their parts with great verve and it was appreciated by all. Thanks Dianne for all the excellent work you have done with the children.

Staff, trustees and elders enjoyed conversation together


 Leisa (Manager – second from left) with Trustees Frances, Rose, Judith and David

The food was plentifuland delicious.


Elizabeth Jones organised a fun game (5271)

November 2016

the church elders hosted a dinner for the Rainbow Connection childcare centre staff, partners and trustees. It was great to get to know one another better in an informal setting. A good time was had by all.

Topsy and david's wedding  Topsy and David's wedding  Topsy and David's wedding

 In March 2016 we celebrated the wedding of two of our Lifestylers, Topsy and David.
Many members and staff from the Hauraki Lifestyle Trust attended along with family and our own folk. 
We all brought contributions for the lavish afternoon tea and it was a wonderfully joyful occasion.
Every blessing on your marriage, Tospy and David!

Church painting 1  Church painting 3  Church painting 2

Recently a team of hard working folk came together under the leadership of Kevin Miller, our property deacon, to paint the interior of our church auditorium. 

They did a great job, and we are enjoying having it so light and fresh.

Letitia's baptism

Letitia's baptism

It was great to gather at the Kauaeranga river on the afternoon of Sunday November the 8th 2015
to celebrate with Letitia D-B as she was baptised.

A good crowd of church family, her own extended family, and friends cheered her on from the bank.

We mourn the sudden and unexpected loss of Gane Griffin 23/4/1932 - 3/11/2015
"Kua hinga te totara o te Wao-nui-a-Tane"

Arthur's Pass in the rain Gane with Roger at James Lee's baptism 7th August 2011 Griff's van Griff's van first at the tea table Griff's van at Paul and Anna's

1. "Arthur's Pass in the rain" - Gane was always very much in the driving seat of so many projects and causes both local and overseas.
2. "Gane with Roger at James Lee's baptism 7th August 2011" - Gane, always the evangelist, keen to see people come to know Christ as Saviour and Lord.
3. "Griff's van" Pat and Gane loved time out  with their friends in their motorvan but used this as a means to advertise and support the work of Freeset bringing freedom to women from the slavery of the sex trade in South Asia.
4. "Griff's van first at the tea table" Gane loved to work with young people and especially the younger members of his own family whom he supported with deep love and compassion.
5. "Griff's van at Paul and Anna's" Everyone loved Gane because as Pat says, "He was  a humble man." He was also very practical and constantly used his time and talent in the sacrificial service of others.

Hui, Commisioning of the Driver-Burgess family
It was a great privilege for a number of us to be at the Hui in Tauranga
to support the D-B family as they were commissioned for work
in East Asia with Tranzsend.  Here, Elizabeth Jones gives the speech on
behalf of Roger, Carolyn, Letitia and Jethro - and the older ones being
left behind - Frith, Connor, Arden and Pascal. May they know God's rich
blessing as they prepare to leave mid 2016.

Henryk's Baptisim

It was a joy for our church family to see Henryk witness to his Lord in
Family and friends from Australia and NZ joined in the celebration!

Commisioning Brian Kenning with his wife Zoe

On Sunday July 5 we commissioned Brian Kenning with his wife Zoe as our
interim pastor - at least until December 2015.  Welcome Brian and Zoe!!

On Saturday 30 May 2015 we had an Appreciation Party for our pastor, Roger D-B (and family)

Roger is stepping back from being our pastor to prepare to go to China on mission work next year with Carolyn and the two youngest of their six children. We are glad they will remain part of our congregation in the meantime.
We had a great  evening with invited guests from the many different groups
Roger has been involved with over the years as well as our own folk expressing appreciation for his ministry among us.
Many special tributes were brought, including an original song about the family by  Shaz.
The D-B Bingo game had us all mixing  and  mingling with plenty of laughter.
Roger had right of reply and the family sang a song in Maori for us.
A delicious dessert and coffee time followed.

Roger replies Saturday night              Driver-Burgess family singing He Honore                Bernard MC Saturday night                        

May 31 was the final Sunday Roger was with us as our pastor.
He brought an insightful message taking us back to the basics of who Jesus is , what He has done and the need to love one another.
As part of the service Rev Ian Brown, Waikato Baptist Association Consultant,
led a time of RECOGNITION and RELEASE.
 A delicious morning tea and time to chat followed

             Roger's release service

Children's Church Presentation and End of Year Picnic

The children and their leaders took the service on the third Sunday of Advent.  They removed all the pews and sat us around tables, cafe-style.  The service was filled with bright singing and story-telling, with the children demonstrating a gospel rap with cup accompaniment, and teaching us a rock-style carol from Hillsong Kids.  We then got to discuss Christmas together in our small groups before making, decorating, and hanging pennants that each proclaimed, "Jesus is...."
Children perform a gospel rap song to cup accompaniment during the 3rd Advent service, 2013

After the service, during which children moving on to Youth Group were presented with age-appropriate Bibles, and we all shared communion at our small tables together, we adjourned to Victoria Park for a Picnic in the sun...
Picnicers relax in the shade at Victoria Park, Thames
Where we enjoyed wheelbarrow and egg-(marshmallow) and-spoon races...
Wheelbarrow Race
Marshmallow-on-a-spoon race
The final event, after the water-ballon toss, was an all-out water-bomb war!
Two lines of people toss water balloons to each other, moving further apart each time, until the balloon bursts.
Adults and children throw water-filled balloons at each other on a sunny day.
It was a beautiful afternoon, and a great way to spend the day together; worshipping, fellowshipping, and sharing God's good news of Jesus with our neighbours.

Advent Began

a little bit earlier for us than usual.  Because this year we had a small group of knitted figures moving through the congregation, going to a different household each week, and then returning to the service on Sunday with pictures (and sometimes mementoes) of where they'd been.  Because they had so far to go, the wise men actually started first, with a household in Paeroa, way back in November.  In December they were joined by the shepherds, with a flock of sheep (one of whom stayed behind at each household visited - and one of whom sneaked into a travellers suitcase and ended up in Hawaii!) and then by Mary and Joseph and their donkey as they made their way to Bethle-Thames.  Along the way they visited with their hosts friends, family, and work-places, talking about the king they were seeking at each stop.  And each Sunday there was a high degree of anticipation to see where they had been and what they had got up to on their travels.  Here they all are at their last stop before Christmas morning:

Knitted nativity figures; sheep and their shepherds, Mary and Joseph and a donkey in a stable.Knitted nativity figures; wise men with a wooden camel

The Annual, National Baptist Gathering

was held this year in near-by Manukau and the location leant itself to a celebration of the diversity of the churches that are part of our national family.  This image is of one of the many different cultural groups who performed at the celebration dinner that was a culmination of three days of debate, inspiration, careful work, and prayer.  Samoan Cultural Group at the National Baptist Gathering, 2013

Guy Fawkes Night

provided an opportunity for the youth group families and one of our homegroups to get together with some other familes and let of fireworks.  A pleasant, relaxed time had by all.  

Members of different groups and familes gather around a bonfire.

Saints and Angels

is the combined churches' Halloween alternative event for families hosted each year by St James Parish.  We provide equipment from our Toy Library, Youth Group members to do face-painting and to help out with various activities, and the full suport of our children's ministry.  This year was as busy as ever!Children play with Toy Library equipment at the annual Saints and Angels' party.

Labour Weekend Picnic

On the Sunday before Labour day we enjoyed a visit from one of the families we support overseas, and so we took the opportunity of the Monday holiday to take them to the beach and give them a Kiwi good time on the shore, with sailiing, kayaks, swimming, cricket, and of course lots of picnic tucker.  

Church families gather with a family of overseas workers on Labour Day for a picnic

The Music Team

gathered for their end-of-year baarbeque lunch early last year so that we would have the opportunity to farewell Lynette, our leader, who has gone on to Bangladesh to provide relief for one of our overseas workers.  The sun shone, the sausages sizzled, and the prayers flew as we gave thanks for a wonderful year of growth together and sought God's blessings on a very special woman going into a new area of ministry.

The Music team gather around Lynette and pray for her

25th Wedding Anniversary

Pastor Roger, and his wife, Carolyn, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary together, so the church elders took them out for an afternoon tea with their two youngest children at a local cafe.  They still have a way to go to catch up with our longest-married couple who clocked up over 65 years together!

Pastor Roger and Wife Carolyn cut cake

Our English Language Class for New Kiwis in May, 2013

English Language Class, May 2013

Garage Sale

One of the fundraising events for our trip to India next January was a giant garage sale - in the church lounge.

Garage Sale organisers disply their wares

Chief fundraiser, Bev, takes a breather in the furniture department of the Garage Sale.  No pews were sold!

Bev takes a breather

Resurrection Sunday

Pascal's Baptism

(Easter 2013)

Besides our usual dawn service (and breakfast) on the beach, and the 10.30 Communion service, we celebrated the new life of Christ with the baptism of Pascal - whose name comes from the Latin word for the Easter season.

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

quickly follow the glee of Palm Sunday with their more somber notes.

We did Maundy Thursday services this year in individual homes, each one slightly different.  The family and friends shown here read the scriptures together, washed one another's feet, and then enjoyed roast lamb leading into communion.

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday the following day began with a fully lit church, but as we read Good Friday 2013 through the scriptures describing the events of that aweful day, and as readers responded with prayers relating those events to our own lives and actions and attitudes, placing icons of each event on the table as they did so, the lights were slowly turned out, one after the other, the last one being the Christ candle on the table, leaving us all in darkness.

There were a few moments for reflection in the darkness, before we closed the service with the invitation to reflect on the ways in which what we'd heard was our story as well.  

Most of the icons seen on the table are self-explanatory (if you know the story) but I should probably tell you that the TV represents the roar of the mob.  

Heritage Sunday, 2013

was also Palm Sunday!  A great chance to do some old-fashioned stuff like process in together (yes, waving palm branches) and sing some of those old hymns with whole choruses of Hallelujahs and Hosannas.

Heritage Sunday, 2013

The David Lyle Morris Experience...

DLM in Concert

David perforomed a beautiful set of very diverse songs from his albums to a good crowd in the warm atmosphere of the Kauaeranga Valley Hall.  

DLM in Concert 2

and then the next day...

DLM teaching

presented a full day of teaching about worship and worship leading.  

There was plenty of chance for practical application.

Workshop participants jamming

The key outcome for us was real renewed vitality as a worship team - and the congregation responded with great enthusiasm that Sunday, as David led us, and since.  Two new initiatives that came out of this visit are a monthly song-writing seminar and a worship dancers group. 

Questions of Homosexuality

have been thoroughly debated and researched by the congregation over the last six months of 2012.  With a gay couple worshipping among us, we needed to discover what the scriptures say to us about the issue, and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit among our members.  Our pastor presented a detailed document covering social, legal, cultural, bio-psychological and, most importantly, scriptural aspects of the debate, and then the church council considered the responses of the congregation through questionaires before presenting a draft statement.  This was amended at a church meeting, and then adopted as our guiding statement on the issue by the next meeting.  Our stance can be described by the phrase 'welcoming, but not affirming'.  Holding the tension between those two aims is tricky, and we pray we can follow our Lord in every way.  

The Pentecost Art Gallery, 2012

Pentecost Art GalleryThe variety and quality of the art works loaned for our Pentecost Art Gallery was stunning; one family, especially, went all out, providing four beautiful mini-tabpestires, three extraordinarily intricate quilts, an acrylic tryptich, and a print, covering a wide vairety of themes.  Others brought in Acrylic paintings, photographs, a slide-show of very innovative photography with a musical accompaniment, ink wash drawings, and more!  

The really fun part, from my point of view was considering how each work spoke about the Holy Spirit, and creating interpretive captions for each one.  Several artists spoke with me afterwards to say how much they appreciated my commentaries - which was a real relief given that I took some real liberties with some of them!  

Thanks to all the artists who contributed, and to those who took the time to contemplate these images of the invisible!

Remembering Christchurch

On Sunday the 27th, Feb 2011 we lit candles amid rubble to remember all those dealing with the effects of the Feb 22nd earthquake in Christchurch.  The table has been left set up for people to come and pray throughout the week, and today, one week from the quake, we gathered around the table again for two minutes silent prayer at 12.51 and listened to the church bells tolling as we recalled all we have seen and heard of loved ones lost and traumatised by this cataclysm. 

In September, 2010 we farewelled our dear friend Gordon Mill, who finally lost a long battle with cancer.  Gordon was the senior pastor here from 2000 - 2007 before retirement.  His legacy of loving pastoral care, careful planning, and great preaching continues to bear fruit today among us.  We were greatly helped in the (rather large) funeral by our friends from the Elim church who made their facilites available for our use.

Our August church meeting, 2010, discussed the question of how children should be involved in communion.  The question had been raised by parents in the Family Faith Forum who wanted guidance as to what was expected and how they could best instruct their children.  As a result we adopted a new policy by which children are accepted at the communion table when their parents/caregivers believe they have an adequate understanding of communion, and have started on the journey of personal discipleship.  The process of nutting out what we believed about these things, how our beliefs here mesh with other beliefs (specifically, about Baptism), and how we can best include our children was a really positive one.  Since then we've run some classes for the children who want to begin receiving communion. 

The 2010 year started with our church camp at Waharau.  Here Howard, the student we had for the summer who actually organised the camp, takes us into the Exodus story, helping us to find our own place in its pages.

The weekend of the 26 - 27th September 2009 was our 140th Anniversary as a church.  We cut cake, let off party poppers, gathered together with old friends and told the stories of days gone by, and sent a big birthday card full of blessings 10 years into the future to the 150th birthday of the church!  A highlight of the weekend was the return of Don and Olwyn Dickson who ministered here in the 1990's, and who have been working on a history of the church.  We managed to get that published in time for the anniversary and sold much of the first run (there are still a few left if anyone missed out!).  Don preached on the Sunday morning, and Olwyn spoke at the Saturday evening book launch and memory-fest.  There are still some photos to come, but I've put a first few up on Flick'r if you'd like a peek: 
Click Here for more pictures.