150 Year Celebrations

Here is how it all began:-

NZ Baptist Magazine in November 1881

"Soon after the opening of the Thames Goldfield, which took place in August, 1867, a number of the members of the Baptist Church in Auckland removed to the Thames, and, as soon as a convenient room could be obtained, met for worship each Lord's Day morning. Their number gradually increasing, they took steps to erect a chapel. A building fund was established, and maintained by weekly offerings, and a freehold site 66ft. 6in. x 110ft., at the corner of Willoughby and Baillie streets, was generously presented by the native chiefs Taipari and Rapana.”

“In January, 1869, the Rev Stuart Wilson, a Baptist minister from Victoria, arrived in Auckland, and having made the acquaintance of the Rev P. H. Cornford, the Pastor of the Church there, was by him introduced to the brethren at the Thames, the result being that they invited him to assist them in establishing a Church.

"By earnest and united efforts, the chapel, which seats two hundred persons, was erected, and opened for public worship on Sunday, the 9th May, 1869. On the 27th of September in the same year the members, numbering 25, were formally united as a church by the Rev P. H. Cornford, a letter of dismissal for that purpose having been obtained from the parent church in Auckland."

The 150th year Sesquicentennial celebrations held on  Friday 24th may to sunday 26th may 2019.

A good time was had by all.

We began with a Whakatau at the church led by Waati Ngamane on Friday night.

Saturday morning was spent sharing stories and memories from the past and renewing old acquaintances.

Paul Silvester explained the history of Thames with reference to his exemplary woven panels from the arrival of the first waka to.the early days of gold mining and kauri felling.

Local storyteller, Rosalie Steward continued the narrative in which she described the grace of local iwi towards the early settlers despite the horror of recent attacks by soldiers in 1866 at the Pa in Rangiriri. Land was granted by local chiefs Hoterini Taipari and Rapana Maunganoa to the settlers to build churches schools and a Hospital.

Pat Griffin and Jesse Carey cut the cake and, after morning tea was served the President of the Baptist Union, Dr Beulah Wood interviewed four people who gave an outline of their involvement in the life of the church and the Thames Baptist Community Ministries over the last four decades which was informative to all.

Two books were launched - these being "In Search Of The City of Gold" by Don Dickson and "The Ministers Of The Thames Baptist Church" written by David Cooper.

David Cooper researched and gathered a large amount of the church history from the last 150 years. This was made available during the weekend and will continue to be available to those who are interested.

On Saturday evening a catered dinner was enjoyed.

A short drama "Votes for Women 1893" researched and written by Elizabeth Jones was presented. Several of the actors were direct descendants of the founding members of the church and who had been active in the Womens' Christian Temperance Union as signatories on the Electoral roll of that year. The drama proved to be both an informative and humorous taste of history.

Dr John Tucker, historian and Principal of Carey Baptist College was the keynote after dinner speaker and also brought a challenge at the Sunday service.

Dr Wood quoted from the Apostle Paul's letter to Philippi, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

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