A Visit to Matai
Nau te rourou,
te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.
representatives from several of the churches in Thames
were invited by Kaumatua of Ngati Maru. to visit the local Marae,"Matai
Abbey Namana on our
behalf responded to the Karanga and Brendon Wilkinson local Anglican
Ngati Maru himself explained to our hosts that we were there to listen
Kaumatua Wati Ngamane
started from where it all began with Tīpuna Hotunui.
Then we were
by name to the ancestors whose beautiful carvings surrounded us on all
the whare hui.
We went away hungry
for more and look forward to further unpacking of a story that we all
In answer to a
question about time, our host Wati explained that what we had heard so
not about years but about twenty four generations of people.
He aha te mea
te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He
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.
Wednesday morning womens craft group have enjoyed having fellowship
together each week while
made beautiful couloured blankets and garments for children in Eastern
Europe to be sent through
Cover up. Well done! A great ministry.
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
We are delighted to welcome Social Worker, Parehana Ehrhorn to the
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.
A major change has been the sale of our RAINBOW
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
attending and finding it very helpful. All are
took part in a combined Thames churches
event: Church in the Park.
Wonderful opportunity to get together to socialize, do fun stuff for
children, have live music and a gospel presentation - with follow
very worthwhile time.
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
challenging message on Sunday.
were very sad to have to farewell Sebastian
Kerebs to Victoria
University. We will miss you on the bass! God bless
you as you
new life in Wellington.
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!
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
or sold into prostitution. A great work being done.
Brian's Big Bash – a church family fun
night! Celebrating our
creativity in concert items and crafts.
Admission: wear a hat!
Brian Kenning: surprise birthday card and cake at
Churton: song and jokes man!
24/7 HG: the sandwich skit!
Kitchen: Mozart's variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
and Zoe: Melody/rap duet
Shelling family bring us a song
Shelling:amazing whip cracking!
Crafts stall filled with home made items
of delicious home made food!
A great time was had by all!
Early in August the current President of our
Baptist family of churches, Jim
Patrick, came with his wife Lois, and brought an encouraging and
message. Thank you Jim!
(Thames Heritage Week Sunday March 2017)
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!
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.
D-B recently completed two beautifully shaped and
polished offering bowls for the church. We appreciate all the time and
that went into making these items. Thanks Pascal! The block of swamp
donated by Buck Pound. It had been a special gift to him some decades
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
from East Asia to make her contribution – much appreciated!
later Margaret was welcomed into the membership of the Thames Baptist
pastor, elders and council organised an
appreciation dinner for the staff, volunteers and Trust Board of Thames
Community Ministries. A great time was had by all! The delicious food
provided and served by people of the church. Paul Silvester, Trust
addressed the group. We appreciate all the good work done by these
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
Deacon, Elizabeth Jones. It was a wonderful service with folk attending
far and wide to pray for and encourage the D-Bs in this major step of
to God in their lives. They flew out from NZ later that week. Their
children remain behind in NZ – Frith, Connor, Arden and Pascal. A big
spent the first three weeks with them in
East Asia, then returned with a slide show and stories to update us on
they live, what they are doing etc. Very helpful and interesting. They
be settling in really well.
Dianne V, our Children's Church Convenor,
wrote a most enjoyable Christmas
Drama from the perspective of onlooking angels. Jethro and Daniel
their parts with great verve and it was appreciated by all. Thanks
all the excellent work you have done with the children.
trustees and elders enjoyed conversation together
(Manager – second from left) with Trustees Frances, Rose, Judith and
The food was
organised a fun game (5271)
church elders hosted a dinner for the Rainbow Connection
childcare centre staff, partners and trustees. It was great to get to
another better in an informal setting. A good time was had by all.
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
family and our own folk.
We all brought contributions for the lavish afternoon tea and it was a
Every blessing on your marriage, Tospy and David!
a team of hard working folk came together under the leadership of Kevin
Miller, our property deacon, to paint the interior of our church
did a great job, and we are enjoying having it so light and fresh.
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.
mourn the sudden and unexpected loss of Gane Griffin 23/4/1932 -
"Kua hinga te totara o te Wao-nui-a-Tane"
"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.
It was a great privilege for a number of us to be at the Hui in
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.
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!
Sunday July 5 we commissioned Brian Kenning with his wife Zoe as our
interim pastor - at least until December 2015. Welcome Brian
Saturday 30 May 2015 we had an Appreciation Party for our pastor, Roger
D-B (and family)
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
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
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
A delicious morning tea and time to chat followed
Presentation and End of Year Picnic
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,
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...
Where we enjoyed wheelbarrow and egg-(marshmallow)
The final event, after the water-ballon toss, was an all-out water-bomb
was a beautiful afternoon, and a great way to spend the day together;
worshipping, fellowshipping, and sharing God's good news of Jesus with
little bit earlier for us than usual. Because this year we
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
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
The Annual, National
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
Guy Fawkes Night
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.
Saints and Angels
the combined churches' Halloween alternative event for families hosted
each year by St James Parish. We provide equipment from our
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!
Labour Weekend Picnic
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.
The Music Team
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
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.
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!
English Language Class for New Kiwis
in May, 2013
One of the fundraising events
for our trip to India next January was a giant garage sale - in the
Chief fundraiser, Bev, takes a
breather in the furniture department of the Garage Sale. No
pews were sold!
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
Thursday and Good Friday
follow the glee of Palm Sunday with their more somber notes.
did Maundy Thursday
services this year in individual homes, each one slightly different.
The family and friends shown here read the scriptures
washed one another's feet, and then enjoyed roast lamb leading into
Good Friday the
following day began with a fully lit church, but as we read through
describing the events of that
aweful day, and as readers responded with prayers relating
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.
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.
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.
also Palm Sunday! A great chance to do some old-fashioned
like process in together (yes, waving palm branches) and sing some of
those old hymns with whole choruses of Hallelujahs and Hosannas.
David Lyle Morris Experience...
perforomed a beautiful set of very diverse songs from his albums to a
good crowd in the warm atmosphere of the Kauaeranga Valley Hall.
then the next day...
a full day of teaching about worship and worship leading.
was plenty of chance for practical application.
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.
been thoroughly debated and researched by the congregation over the
last six months of 2012. With a gay couple worshipping among
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,
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
as our guiding statement on the issue by the next meeting.
stance can be described by the phrase 'welcoming, but not affirming'.
Holding the tension between those two aims is tricky, and we
we can follow our Lord in every way.
Pentecost Art Gallery, 2012
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!
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
how much they appreciated my commentaries - which was a real relief
given that I took some real liberties with some of them!
to all the artists who contributed, and to those who took the time to
contemplate these images of the invisible!
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
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
lost and traumatised by this cataclysm.
September, 2010 we farewelled our dear friend Gordon Mill,
who finally lost a long battle with cancer. Gordon was the
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.
August church meeting, 2010, discussed the question of how children
involved in communion. The question had been raised by
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
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
year started with our church camp at Waharau. Here Howard,
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.
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
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
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
but I've put a first few up on Flick'r if you'd like a peek:
Click Here for more pictures.