On October the 14th, in Hamilton, we had the joy of ordaining five deacons and one presbyter into the Church Of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa New Zealand. The deacons were Graham Corban (Abide Church Hamilton); River Devereux (Church of the Ascension); Peter Fulton (West Hamilton Community Church); Bryce Kivell and HsiEn Soo (McLeod Bay Christian Fellowship linked in with Church of the Ascension). Matthias Loong was ordained presbyter, and he will be starting the church plant in Wellington in 2024. It was a great service and a joy to see these six take a step in their service of the Lord.
This week we will be having two more ordinations in Dunedin. Aaron Mattingly and Richard Morley-John are both to be ordained deacon and will be serving next year at Hope Church in Dunedin.
Abide Church in Hamilton start-ed in October 2018, with a group of approximately 30 leaving an ACANZP parish in the wake of motion 29 being passed. We (Graham and Sarah Corban) along with a leadership team started services on Sunday afternoons in a neighbourhood church building, and quickly felt like a tight knit family as we adjusted to our new normal together. Over the last two years we have moved twice, finally ending up in the Hamilton Bridge Club in November 2020, where we could start morning gatherings. As a church community we place a heavy emphasis on hospitality and genuine connection with one another so we regularly hold church lunches after the service, and ‘farm church’ every 6-8 weeks. Farm church is held at our (the Corbans) lifestyle block, where we have a more informal service followed by a meal together. This seems to be attractive to our non-churched family
and spouses who come along and the kids always love running amuck together. Recently we have celebrated our formal affiliation as a church with CCAANZ, as well as Sarah being ordained by Bishop Jay Behan at the North Island ordination service.
Our vision is first and foremost that we become the peo-ple and the community that God intends us to be. This means that we can articulate the abundant grace that we have received from God through Jesus, and be deeply transformed as we live out that grace through the power of the Holy Spirit; in other words, we don’t want to be the same people with the same issues in five years time. One outworking of this desire is that we value a deep level of scripturally based teaching, as we look to equip our congregation for life not only spiritually but also as we engage with the cultural climate around us. We actively
We would appreciate prayer for wisdom and boldness from God as we make plans to outreach to our local community, and that He would bring us those people whose hearts are soft towards him. As a small leadership team we are unable to offer a full range of programs (for example a youth ministry) but we are trusting that the Lord will bring along resources in time to expand in these areas. Prayer for continued growth and strength as a leadership team is always appreciated, and especially prayer for us (Graham and Sarah) as we welcome our third child in January 2021.
One of the things we have been absolutely committed to as a Diocese, from the outset, is that we are a missionary movement. We plan to evangelise through-out the nation and to plant new churches. In order to do that we need well trained leaders, who are part of a larger body (the Diocese) and account-able to/under the au-thority of a Synod and Bishop.
The two people who were ordained here on 14 November, Harold Forrest and Sarah Corban, are senior ministers in the South Auckland Anglican Mis-sion and Abide Church Hamilton respectively. These are two new congregations which have emerged out of ACANZP parish-es and affiliated with CCAANZ during the past year. Their ordi-nation is, therefore, a sign that the Diocese is growing. This growth in the North Island is matched by two ordinations in the South Island, meaning four new ministers in total – three of them under 40 years old. This augurs well for the future.
The ordinations were preceded by a church leaders gathering on the Friday at which we wor-shipped, studied the scriptures, shared fellowship and prayed for one another. All reflected on what a blessed time it was to-gether, and how we came away feeling encouraged, supported and united. I believe that Paul would have thoroughly ap-proved.
Our hope is that at some stage next year we will all be able to share in a Diocesan gathering.