Matua Community Baptist celebrate 30 years

Carena and Stephen Tyrrell and Sue and Roger Wilks outside the Matua Community Baptist church office and lounge. Photo: John Borren.

To celebrate 30 years in Matua, the Matua Baptist Community Church will be holding a celebration on the first Sunday in November, with the first pastor returning as guest speaker.

Known for its warm and friendly vibe, this community church has been providing a haven and place of worship for the Matua community since 1990.

In the mid-1980s Otumoetai Baptist, one of the larger churches in the area planted three new congregations in Matua, Bethlehem and Greerton. There are now 240 Baptist churches in New Zealand.

In 1989 Graham and Vicky Preston came from Mount Maunganui Baptist Church to assist Otumoetai in the commencement of the new church in Matua.

On Sunday, October 14, 1990, the church opened in the Fergusson Park Soccer Club Rooms with 77 people crammed into the clubhouse for the first meeting with Pastor Geoff and Joanne Wiklund leading the congregation. In 1991 the couple headed to Auckland to establish a church in Mount Eden.

To cope with the fast growth in the 90s, in 1992 the congregation moved into the Matua Hall.

“This provided Sunday School space in the Scout Hall nearby, and an opportunity for the young people to use Matua Park for fun and activities,” says Stephen Tyrrell, who along with his wife Carena are the current pastors.

In 1993 Jim and Kaye Hurn who had been teaching at Faith Bible College in Welcome Bay were appointed as Matua Community Baptist’s full-time pastors. They continued until 2000.

“They were an amazing couple who were much loved and deeply appreciated,” says Stephen.

The church quickly became known for its warm loving culture thanks to the leadership of Jim and Kaye, followed by Martin and Helen Armstrong who were the pastors from 2001 to 2015.

“Many kids in Matua were part of the Mainly Music group, run for almost 20 years by members of our church,” says Stephen. “Matua Primary School built a hall which was more suitable for worship, so we transferred our meeting place to there and have continued to use their facilities.”

The Armstrongs left for missions work in Azerbaijan and David and Lisa Julian were commissioned as the new pastors.

In January 2017 Stephen and his wife Carena were appointed to take an interim part-time pastorate. In 2018 Roger and Sue Wilks were appointed as part time family ministry pastors and run a children’s preschool programme on Tuesdays and an after-school club on Fridays.

“We’re all part-timers,” says Stephen. “Roger and Sue meet here at Warrington St on Sunday morning at what we call ‘family church’, while we’re up there at Matua School Hall.”

The 30th Anniversary of the Matua Community Baptist Church will be held on November 1 at the Matua School Hall, Levers Rd, Matua with guest speaker Pastor Geoff Wiklund. A service will be held at 10am at the school hall, with a programme for parents and children to be held at the same time at the church lounge at 1 Warrington St.  At the conclusion of the services the two groups will come together at the school hall to cut a celebratory cake and have lunch together.

At 3 pm a worship and prayer service will be held at 1 Warrington St with Geoff speaking. There will be opportunity to minister to those with needs.

“Everyone is welcome to attend the services especially if you have had connections with the church over the past 30 years,” says Stephen.

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