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Some Thoughts on Hui 2019 ...

posted date: Thursday 14th November 2019

 We are one of about 240 churches that form the Baptist Union of New Zealand.  Around this time each year we gather to look at how we’re tracking and to hear what God is saying to the national Baptist whanau. In recent years these gatherings have embraced a Maori way of doing things. The Baptist Hui has replaced Baptist Assembly, Te Reo is spoken and sung alongside English, and there is decidedly more dialogue (korero) than the Assembly format allowed for. Hui 2019 was at South West Baptist Church, and Warren Judkins, Joseph Lam and I were privileged to represent our church.


The theme of this year’s Hui was Kia Tupu Whakaritorito| Positioning Ourselves to Thrive. For three days we worshipped together, fellowshipped together, ate and drank together, listened to those who lead and guide the various aspects of the denomination’s work, and debated the issues they raised. There was some hard stuff. The Baptist Union is struggling financially because some churches are cutting back on their contributions. The Missionary Society has hit a brick wall with Freeset and is having to make some difficult decisions. But alongside the pain of some of those discussions there was a real joy as we commissioned our new National Leader (Charles Hewlett) and our new NZBMS General Director (Alan Jamieson), and got a sense from them and others of how we need to position ourselves in order to thrive.


For me the panel discussions were a highlight because they continually challenged me on all sorts of issues. I kept thinking to myself, wouldn’t it be fun to put that panel in front of our church congregation. Just think of the creative ideas a discussion like that would spark amongst some of them.


It was also an absolute joy to worship God among several hundred of his people and to share communion with them at the conclusion of the Hui. Nowadays we Baptists are a multicultural lot, and that’s bringing new and fresh ways of looking at things which are being embraced by the leadership of the denomination.


I came away from Hui 2019 regretting that so few from our church fellowship got to experience it. That was bad planning on our behalf and next year we should try and do better. Meantime, why don’t you try and get a flavour for this gathering from those of us who were there?


Ian Payton

Chairman of Elders