Archdeacon Tim Mora, long time Anglican minister in Greymouth and recently elected city councilor gives us an exciting update regarding church unity on the West Coast.

Oneness on the West Coast

( Photos: courtesy Development West Coast Tourism)

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Untamed Natural Wilderness. This is the tourist tag line for the West Coast of the South Island and it’s very true of our place in the world in terms of nature and to a similar degree, it describes the people who live here where because of isolation and lack of resources, tend to be very self-reliant and independent. And from that, very community minded because they know that when the going gets tough it’s their local neighbours and colleagues they need to depend on the most.

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That same attitude is present among the church leaders of the Coast who have come to appreciate local collegial support because of distance from their head offices. Greymouth in particular has had a very good minister’s association going back decades and the churches on the whole have worked closely together on joint initiatives for years now.

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Just recently an idea was floated about having a regional gathering of church leaders, and the idea must have been on God’s heart because as a venue we pondered going to Punakaiki and maybe using the backpackers just recently taken over by the Celebrate Messiah ministry. What we didn’t know was that at their prayer meeting just days earlier they had been praying about the best way to connect with the churches on the Coast. Divine timing! So earlier this year church leaders from South Westland to Granite gathered in Punakaiki for a day of song, worship, prayer, fellowship, networking and a sharing of our challenges and joys.

What was amazing was the degree to which we were all on the same page in regards to the challenges of ministry. We prayed for each other, worshipped together and there was a strong sense of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We all went away encouraged and strengthened by the gathering and made plans to gather again in October. We chose to meet next time in Hari Hari, South Westland because it is at the other end of the region, and also because that community has been suffering from an unusual amount of tragedy and we wanted to pray into that specifically. It’s not always easy ministering on the Coast but it became easier as we came together and realised we did not stand alone in the task.

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Archdeacon Tim & Nikki Mora