Northland is the birthplace of Methodism in New Zealand. The Wesleyan Mission was commenced in 1822 by Samuel Leigh. 'Wesleydale' was established at Kaeo on the edge of the Whangaroa Harbour. This mission was sacked in 1827 and another mission opened at Mangungu on the Hokianga in 1828. From this base they expanded down the west coast of the North Island.
Northland has been on an ecumenical journey since 1967. There is a Methodist component in 2 Union Parishes, 4 Uniting Parishes, 8 Co-operative Ventures and 2 Local Shared Ministry units. Dargaville Methodist is the only Methodist Parish in Northland but it is ecumenical in outlook, and deeply involved in the ecumenical events in the District.
"The Act of Commitment was entered into in 1967 by five partner Churches: the Associated Churches of Christ, the Anglican Church, the Congregational Union, the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church.
Arising from this commitment, Union and Co-operating Parishes were formed. The Churches affirmed together:
“In our faith in Jesus Christ as our one Lord and Saviour, and our concern to serve His mission to the world, we now commit ourselves in common obedience to Him and offer to Him our utmost endeavours that by the Holy Spirit we may be brought into one Church according to His will, to the glory of God the Father.
We affirm that in this Church, as it is essential to life, there will be found:
The Word of God in the Holy Scriptures as the supreme rule of faith and life.
The historic faith as expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.
The faithful preaching of the Gospel.
The divinely instituted sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
A ministry acknowledged by the whole Church.
A life ordered by the Holy Spirit in worship, godly discipline, humble service and living fellowship.
With the obedience we offer, we acknowledge our obligation to receive new insights and now to do together many of the things which in the past we have done separately."
Northland Strategy for the Methodist Church
To maintain a Methodist presence in Northland.
To find a united approach to resourcing the parishes.
To explore models of lay ministry
To work on an amalgamation of JRC and NUCC
Governance in the District
At present the District works through two ecumenical councils the Joint Regional Committee and the Northland Uniting Church Council. The work overlaps and there are moves afoot to combine the two committees. There is an Interim Standing Committee charged with this task. The NUCC is a Presbyterian-Methodist body that acts as Presbytry and Synod. The JRC involves the 5 partner Churches.
Hymn of Praise for Northland
God, creator, redeemer, life-giver
eternal, ever-present God.
We praise you in the heights of Maungamuku
the Brynderwyns and Tangihuas.
We praise you in the reaches
of the Kaipara and the Hokianga,
on the coastal land and beaches washed by the Pacific.
We praise you in the peaks
of Hikurangi and Tutumoe
We praise you in the valleys and lowlands.
You bless us in the lush forests
of Puketi, Waipoua, and Trounson
the sand-dunes on the west and the coves and bays of the east.
In the everflowing waters of the Wairoa
and its upper reaches,
and the streams that meander down a thousand valley beds.
By them the earth is watered and enriched,
And the waters below refreshed and sustained.
This land sustains us
Bears the burden of us
And offers us its fruitfulness.
We praise you God, creator, redeemer, life-giver
The source of our land and our being.
Source of our hope and our dreaming
Source of our salvation and our healing.
You call us and gather us
As the people of this place and the people of this time.
We come into your presence
celebrating your gifts to us
the gift of each other,
the gift of your Word
the gift of your Wisdom.
Accept the song of our hearts and minds.
- Rev Val Nicholls
(Acknowledgement to Bill Bennett “Seasons of the Land” for his format.)