Hillcrest Chapel, Northgate Community Church and Chapel Hill Community Church shared a hangi prepared by the community at Rukumoana Marae.
Over Matariki weekend four Waikato churches held a shared dinner together: Hillcrest Chapel, Chapel Hill Community Church, Northgate Community Church and Rukumoana Marae.
They were welcomed by Rukumoana church leaders, while the Rukumoana church family provided the Hangi.
There's an amazing story behind the relationship these four churches share. Less than a year after Kemp and Anne Pallesen came to Hillcrest Church, it outgrew its newly extended building. In the late 80’s/early 90’s the church then planted Chapel Hill. Within five years they outgrew that and they in turn planted Northgate. The journey continues today as Kemp and Anne, along with Paul Samuels and others, replant the Rukumoana Church.
Philip Renner, Pastor at Chapel Hill Community Church, writes:
“We owe a debt of thanks to Rukumoana Marae for blessing us with a hangi, and to Kemp and Anne Pallesen who are the common thread through all four churches for their years of service to Christ.
"If unity always tastes this good, we should do more of it.”
The team from Rukumoana Marae welcomed attendees into the building, while Paul Samuels opened with a mihi whakatau.
John and Wendy Buchanan from Chapel Hill Community Church, Frank Scrimgeour from Hillcrest Chapel, Kemp and Anne Pallesen, who have been involved in all the churches represented, and Jenny and Graham Jacobsen from Northgate Community Church formed a panel to tell the shared history of their churches and the different ways God has moved over the years.
Chris Chalmers from Hillcrest Chapel (pictured above, left), Philip Renner from Chapel Hill Community Church (above, middle) and Jonathan Ruthven from Northgate Community Church (above, right), who are currently serving as pastors of these churches, also answered questions about their shared value of working together in greater unity.
Sarah Chalmers (youth pastor at Hillcrest Chapel) writes:
“It was a great time of shared connection as people remembered the journey so far and dreams for the future.”
Julie McKinnon (Hillcrest Chapel and CCCNZ Children and Family Ministries Enabler), who was also present, said:
“It was a very special event. It was so good to reflect on God’s faithfulness to our churches through the years and hear both the struggles and triumphs of church planting.
"It was great to celebrate and catch up with old friends and meet new people and wonderful to see a renewed desire to work together and build connections across the three churches and also to build relationship with Rukumoana. It was a blessed time.”