Long life in ministry leaves a sweet taste
During his long career in ministry Rev Trevor Shepherd advised parishioners to mark anniversaries because he believes it is important for us to celebrate.
It was appropriate then, that last month St John’s Methodist Church in Hamilton East whipped up a cake to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Trevor’s own entrance into full-time service for the church.
Trevor and Gloria Shepherd.
Among the many accomplishments and highlights of his career was a decade spent in the Solomon Islands, two visits to the Holy Land, and an audience with Pope Paul VI.
One April 6th, 1940 Trevor left the family farm at Port Albert, on the Kaipara Harbour to become a home missioner at Hikurangi. The Hikurangi circuit had a central church and five country churches, and this meant doing three services on a Sunday plus Bible school…all on a stipend of £140 per year.
"After three years at Hikurangi I went to Trinity College," Trevor says. "They were war years, and I was out of college as much as in. The students were called into service at churches around Auckland, and I was at Morrinsville, Ngaruawahia, and Te Awamutu. During vacation from college, I served at Helensville, Te Puke, and Ohura."
After he was ordained in 1946, Trevor’s first appointment was at Taihape. It didn’t’ last long, however, because the following year he was accepted to serve as a missionary in the Solomon Islands. He was married by that time, and he and his wife Gloria spent the next decade in the mission field.
""There were a lot of remains of the war around the Solomon Islands at that time. I had the dubious privilege of escorting the last Japanese prisoner of war from Guadalcanal out of the Solomon Islands.
"We served at Teop for five years and then at Vella Lavella for five years. I was stationed as a minister but the work included teaching, providing medical aid, building, and helping the pastor teachers."
When the Shepherds returned to New Zealand in 1957, they had appointments at Oxford, Christchurch, Hamilton East, and Opotiki. Trevor retired in 1981.
His career included stints as a tour guide.
"In 1970 I led a tour group to Oberammergau and another in 1980. The tour went around the world and our stops included the Holy Land, Rome, and New York.
"Visiting the Holy Land was very special. It is one thing to read about Galilee, Jerusalem and Jericho but actually seeing them brought their significance home.
"Some years before the 1970 trip I had met the Catholic Church’s ecumenical cardinal in Hamilton. He told me that if I ever came to Rome to contact him. I did, and he arranged a meeting with the Pope. It was in St Peter’s Cathedral which was chocker with people. We were one of only two Protestant groups there but he came and met with us."
Another highlight of the trip was visiting a Negro Methodist Church in Harlem, New York.
Although Trevor and Gloria retired to Tauranga, they moved to Tamahere Rest Home near Hamilton two years ago. Each week they either attend services at the rest home or at St Johns in Hamilton East.