Seed in Meadowlands yields rich harvest
Life-giving rain fell auspiciously during the official opening of Meadowlands Methodist Community Church on May 1st. The church was packed for the occasion with members of the Connexion as well as long-standing friends of the church.
Among those who took part in the opening service were Methodist Church of NZ president Rev Lynne Frith, vice president David McGeorge and Te Taha Maori tumuaki Rev Diana Tana. The new ministry team of Revs Marion and Brian Peterson led the service.
Meadowlands began as a seed congregation from Trinity Methodist Church Pakuranga in the early 1990s when a small group of people had a vision to establish a congregation in what was then still meadows and farmland.
The opening must have been hard for them to imagine when they were clearing away the tables to meet every Sunday in the restaurant of the Sherwood Arms pub in Howick South. It was the determination and vision of the former leaders Rev Ruth Boswell and Rev Kerry Taylor and the committed lay leadership team that took the congregation from the pub, to the school hall where they met for a number of years and then to the new building.
Jane St George Waugh, architect and wife of a local minister, was commissioned to design the new church. Its striking V-shaped sanctuary can be quickly transformed from use as a church to a community hall. The design of the church allows for two subsequent stages to be added, and the congregation has a vision is to add a pre school and church auditorium.
The vision statement ‘sharing Christ’s message of love and hope’ continues to inspire the congregation as they look to minister within the surrounding community.
This Meadowlands area has attracted people from all over the world. For many new residents the message of Christ may be reassuringly familiar, for others it’s refreshingly new. The congregation has been enriched by the presence of many Asian and South African immigrants.
Parish steward Graham Older says Meadowlands is a unique project for two reasons. One is that it’s the first non-Pacific Island Methodist church to have been planted and grown to the point of buildings in a very long time.
Second, it has a unique status as a covenanting congregation. In 2000 the Methodist Church of NZ and the then Howick South Congregation entered into a covenant of grace. The covenant enables its Methodist and non-Methodist members who wish to distance themselves from critical decisions made by the MCNZ to be fully involved in all aspects of the congregation’s life.
For those who have shared the journey and the dream, David McGeorge’s declaration answered many prayers. He said let the door of this building be open. May the love of Christ dwell within this house and may all who enter here find peace.
Now the journey continues as the congregation looks to the future with confidence and faith.