• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service [except for the second Saturday of every month when the service starts at 6:30 pm and is followed by a shared meal]. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Pastor Jeff Whittaker).

    Sunday 11:30 am for our Chinese (Mandarin) language service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

  • Contact details…

    Physical and postal address:
    4 Inverary Avenue,
    Epsom,
    Auckland 1023,
    NEW ZEALAND.

    Email:
    epsombaptist@clear.net.nz

    Telephone:
    (0064 9) 6306010

    Contacts:
    Rev. Jeff Whittaker
    Pastor Daniel Choi

  • Church Officers…

    Church Treasurer: Ann Guan

    Church Secretary: Margaret Whittaker

    Church Deacons: Anne Bartley, Ian de Stigter, Kristy Choi, Helen Evans, Willa Hui, and Alfred Zhou.

Lament, or get on with it?

Last week I was back down in Christchurch for a couple of days, attending the 2011 AGM of the Friends of Madagascar Trust (New Zealand) of which I am a trustee. While in Christchurch, I caught up with several old friends. One of these friends has lost her home to the recent spate of earthquakes. With resilient if dark humour, she was organising a gumboot party for her neighbours to farewell their red-stickered houses. (A system of colour coding has been introduced to designate the condition of buildings. A green sticker means that the building has suffered no damage, or minor damage, and can still be used. An orange sticker means damage is more substantial, but the building in question will be able to be used after repair works have been carried out. A red sticker on a building means that it is damaged beyond repair, and that entry is denied because of the risk posed should another quake occur.) This friend said to me that her church had missed the opportunity to facilitate lament for the losses some of the members had experienced.

Lament by Sya. Copyright © Stacy Reed

Meanwhile, another friend told me that his church spent too much time talking about the earthquakes, and that this focus was preventing people from moving on. Casting back to his childhood during WWII, he said that the current disasters (including an unusual massive dump of snow) should be kept in perspective. Such things happen, he said, and we should now move on.

I suspect that the pastors of the churches in Christchurch will frequently annoy their parishioners as they attempt to both acknowledge tragedy but also look to the future. The feelings expressed above may well exist within every church in Christchurch. Further, with this range of opinion, people can do funny things. In his book ‘Conflict and Connection: Baptist Identity in New Zealand,’ Martin Sutherland describes the strange case of Pastor Machattie, pastor of Napier Baptist Church in 1931 when that city was devastated  by a major earthquake. This colouful, controversial character created mayhem as the church wrestled with relocating and rebuilding, all while a substantial financial legacy lay invitingly in the background.

Perhaps all these things remind us that stressful situations give rise to many different responses. It may be that the only thing that may help us negotiate such troubled times is a commitment to forebear with one another, no matter what.

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