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One door closes, another opens at Methodist Mission Northern

After a recent farewell to retiring superintendent and executive director Rev Keith Taylor, Methodist Mission Northern (MMN) has now welcomed Rev John Murray into the role.

At the end of January, a formal function was held at the Auckland Town Hall, where more than 140 people gathered to farewell Keith and acknowledge his contribution to MMN. Guests included Methodist Church president Rev John Salmon, Auckland City mayor Dick Hubbard, the Honourable Judith Tizard, several Auckland City counsellors and Mission board members.

During the evening, Keith’s colleagues, fellow board members and friends spoke about the many aspects of his life, and how they have been individually inspired by his leadership and passion for addressing social injustice.

During his eight years at MMN, Keith played a pivotal role in transforming the Mission into a knowledge-based organisation with a focus on advocacy, public education and community development. He helped chart a new path for the Mission in its care for older people, and forged vital new partnerships and policy initiatives with Auckland City Council members.

Guests at the farewell event were entertained by pianist Trevor Mugridge, who has previously supported the Mission by performing a charity fundraising concert.

According to MMN chairman David Smith, the evening was a fitting way to farewell a highly respected colleague.

“Keith’s farewell was a happy occasion which rightly honoured him and his input at the Mission. The presence of the mayor, Auckland City counsellors, and other guests at the event was a true reflection of the time Keith has invested into building strong relationships in the community,” David says.

John Murray was inducted into the position Keith left vacant at a function in the Mission’s Aotea Chapel last month.

John Salmon conducted the event and guests were blessed with beautiful hymns by the Sinoti Samoan Regional Choir and spontaneous singing from 60 Wesley College boys. As part of the formal ceremony John’s supporters ‘handed him over’ to his new role.

John not only had the support of Wesley College boys’ but also his friends, family, representatives’ from the Waikato/Waiariki (Bay of Plenty) Synod, and the Birkenhead parish.

In his first few weeks on the job, MMN and its employees have already made an impression on Rev. John Murray.

“It is daunting, but also a blessing to think about the long heritage of leaders that have gone before me. However, with the help of God I believe I can build on the foundations that have been created. The induction service was a fruitful reminder that the Methodist church has confirmed my calling and I feel quite humbled to have such a job and work with such committed people”, says John.

Raised in the King Country, John has worked in forestry, engineering and truck driving. He has been in Methodist ministry for 28 years.

Among the roles John has had in the Church is director of Mission Resourcing. More recently he has been chair of the Wesley College Trust Board, a board member of Methodist City Action (a community support organisation based in Hamilton), and superintendent of the Waikato/Waiariki Synod.

Methodist Mission Northern is one of Auckland’s oldest charities. It has served and supported older people, the homeless and families for more than 155 years.