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New home for Homebuilders

A cornet fanfare stirred sleepy Warkworth on the Sunday morning of May 30th. The occasion was the recommissioning of Mahurangi Methodist Parish’s old parsonage to serve as the new home for the community activist group Homebuilders Inc.

After Methodist Church of NZ vice president David McGeorge untied a ribbon, the assembled guests moved into the refurbished building singing "One more Step along the way I go, from the old into the new". An apt song to awaken the house to its new role.

Following the opening there was a commissioning service in the church. During it the history of the project was told and recognition given to those who made it possible. Notable among them was a generous grant of $50,000 from ASB Bank.

Homebuilders director Quentin Jukes talked about the group’s current work with individuals and families and about its plans for the future.

Homebuilders runs a family centre that provides counselling, budgeting advice, parenting education, and other courses on practical lifeskills. It also has a cr?che to take care of children while there parents are busy with its programmes.

Rev Michael Dymond offered the use of the former parsonage to Homebuilders when he learned they were going to be evicted from a district council building that was to be demolished. The congregation organized refurbishment of the building in consultation with builders and Homebuilders.

In his address at the service David McGeorge said the project is an example of the church looking outward to the needs of those beyond its own walls. It is also an entrepreneurial action that echoes the work of Methodist founder John Wesley.

“Homebuilders Inc is not a Christian organisation but it espouses a great deal of what we as a Church would want to be seen doing. At the opening service Quentin Jukes talked about love for fellow human beings as a central part of Homebuilders’ mission.

“Rather than rent the building out for financial gain, the parish has expanded its outreach by supporting a group carrying out service in the wider community that matches our values. They have refurbished the building so it provides better service to families and rented the property for a 10 year term to provide income for further work,” David says.

The presence of numerous visitors at the commissioning made the occasion one to remember. Visitors included MCNZ general secretary Rev Jill van de Geer, Auckland district superintendent Rev David Pratt, Methodist Mission Northern superintendent Rev Keith Taylor, Rodney District mayor John Law and Sir Gordon Mason.

The original parsonage was built circa 1952. It was used by many ministers until some 12 years ago.