• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Senior 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@gmail.com

    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, Willa Hui, Donglan Zhang and Alfred Zhou.

Trust us: We’re responsible!

Impassioned pleas for trust in exchange for reduced regulatory control have been and are heard from many industries. And all sorts of regulatory bodies have heard the pleas, and reduced watch-dog duties. If this has been done not with gladness but with misgivings, never-the-less a trust that industries can and will self-regulate has come to pass. How foolish such misplaced trust has proved to be. In the oil exploration industry, the huge spill from BP’s drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is partly due to relaxed regulatory controls. Six or seven years ago, some apartment buildings in Tokyo were found to have been constructed in sub-standard ways that left them vulnerable to earthquake damage after supervision of the building industry there was relaxed. In New Zealand’s building industry, a similar relaxation of regulations has led to a debacle labeled ‘leaky buildings.’ The bill is expected to exceed that from the recent spate of earthquakes in Christchurch, itself one of the most costly insurance events on the planet. In Europe, doctors under-report the number of patients they have euthanized in systems in which they are trusted to report accurately. Turning back to New Zealand, the fishing industry has the gall to ask for more de-regulation after the exposure of illegal fish-dumping and labour practices that are tantamount to modern-day slavery. And perhaps the most scandalous of all is the trust requested by the global financial industry, a trust that has been repaid by such levels of greed and self-interested mismanagement that the world’s financial system has been plunged into chaos.

Illegal fish dumping may be common practice.

Seehttp://www.3news.co.nz/Illegal-fish-dumping-may-be-common-practice/tabid/1160/articleID/254091/Default.aspx

When will we learn that human beings are not to be trusted, especially if there is money to be made from taking short-cuts or even blatant cheating. Regulation and supervision is not the responsibility of the ones requiring the regulation, control, or supervision. It is a legitimate role of government. Neo-liberal demands for less government are naïve at best, and catastrophically destructive at the worst. When such agendas are supposedly supported by conservative Christian voices, something is very wrong. A constant refrain in the Bible is that the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized, those who in fact bear the brunt of the greed and cynical practices described above…all these are to be protected and cared for. This too is a responsibility of government. Further, we Christians believe that God does see and hold accountable all of us, and that there will be a day of reckoning. God is a God of love, and this is freely given to all (if they could but see it). But trust, no. Trust is always earned. And, as the Bible states from beginning to end, human beings are simply not be trusted. Governments must ignore impassioned cries for trust, for the common good.

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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.

Lament for Christchurch

Oxford Terrace Baptist Church in ruins...

Yesterday’s earthquake has been devastating. Unlike with the quake of September 4th 2010, when no-one was killed, this time many people have died. It’s a time of deep sadness for New Zealand in general, and Canterbury in particular. A number of us here at Epsom Baptist Church have roots in Canterbury, and numerous relatives and friends in Christchurch about whom we are greatly concerned. We are also saddened by the extensive damage suffered this time by so many iconic buildings: The old Provincial Chambers, Christchurch Cathedral, the Catholic Cathedral, Knox Presbyterian Church, and Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, among others. And the church I pastored in Christchurch for eighteen years, Bryndwr Baptist Church, has been damaged this time. People of Christchurch, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jeff Whittaker