John 1:29The LionThe LambAmbasador's WrapWho are you?Who is He?John 1:21-221 Peter 1:13Psalm 13:11 Peter 1:1-2God's realitySober-mindedFrustrationPastorCampsCycloneCampsiteHowick Community ChurchHaggai 1:3-4Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strengthLuke 2:10Good NewsIn the beginningJohn 1:1-5Luke 1:27Titus 1:9MarkLuke 1:28Psalm 31:1-5Romans 12:15Matthew 1:1Road to EmmausLuke 24:29John 20:16Mark 10:45Queen Elizabeth IIHorizon of HopeThe Mark DramaLamentationsGraceSecond windSwedish Method1-2-1 Bible ReadingPreach the WordRiccarton Community ChurchInternshipsPsalmsCreativityHoliday CampRiverbend Bible ChurchPaengaroa Bible ChapelPalmerston NorthChurch on VogelThe House Next DoorSchoolLaunchpadLifewalkAmos 5:8MatarikiBad GuysTitus 3:1-2Auckland Bible ChurchDarrell BockLeanne BrownCrossroads ChurchKaipara Bible ChapelDargaville Gospel ChurchMarsden Bay Christian Camp2 Timothy 2:21 Corinthians 1:18-31James 1:2-42 Timothy 2The Orchard Church Te PukeEvangelismChurchesSupport MinistriesEasterThe cross-shaped life2 Corinthians 1:8-9IsolationLast SupperWestChurchGeoff StarkUkraineRobert MitchellTasman ChurchChurch LeadersRevelation 2-4Psalm 31Ezra 31 Timothy 6:11-21Galatians 2:10The gospelThessaloniansAotearoa, NZEphesians 2Waitangi Day 2022Working TogetherCCCNZ AucklandAmatakiloa Bible ChurchTongan TsunamiLeslie ScottRebekah ReeveConnectionsSummitTop of the SouthEaster CampRegional ConnectionsCCCNZ Children and Family MinistriesRutland Street ChurchManawaru Bible ChapelYouth Reachout RoadtripWord of LifeConnectionPartnershipRichard DavisLawson ScottRegionalChristchurchEphesians 12 Timothy 2:1-131 Peter 12 Peter 1HarvestActs 8Psalm 24:1-2Acts 27:23–26Resurrection1 Corinthians 15:14Ezra-NehemiahPsalm 231 Corinthians 15:8-111 Corinthians 15:3-81 Corinthians 15:3-5CCCNZ PrayerHillcrest ChapelPeaceConflictWearyEldershipCOVID-19 Protection FrameworkWoven TogetherAnnual Report 2020-21FaithfulnessAPARichard FountainIndianChristian radioJeewan DhaaraPsalm 146Ambassador's BlogHeavy ladenEmily TylerBaptismWhitiora Bible ChurchLifeChurch ManurewaQSMNational CCCNZ Youth TeamRob MortonWhat Comes Next?BoardAbortion Legislation BillPandemicMark GraceResponsePhilippiansChurch response to COVID-19Church response to coronavirusCoronavirusCOVID-19Worship EnablerYvonne HengNorthcross ChurchGC3AppealBushfiresSophia McCrindleCCCAustAustralian BushfiresPacific CommunityAne PonifasioLui PonifasioQueen's Service MedalNew Year's HonoursPasifikaTāmaki Community ChurchThe Riverside ClubIdeasIntergenerational ministryMassey Community ChurchBirkenhead Community ChurchBitternessThe Greatest SaviourPrayer GatheringCCNZChristian Camping NZTeapot Valley Christian CampNancy Jean Forbes Training CentreWoodend Christian CampCanterburyChurch PlantingJackie MillarPrayingDanielle DiproseAdministrationFinance60 yearsCamp ministryChristian CampingLakeland Park Christian CampPreparationChristchurch Mosque AttacksHealingTraumaWhat's Next?Julie McKinnonUnityHospitalityCultural diversityOrosiusImmigrationTeenagersGiftsYoung leadersSummer SchoolChildrenParentsChildren and Family Ministries75 JubileeGirlsBoysNZ RallyRestCCCNZ PastorLinkGrowthOrewa Community Church2019God StoriesChapel Hill Community ChurchEncouragementFriendshipEldersSuccessionGod's faithfulnessGospelFireHope Community ChurchNelsonTogether Works BetterFIRST TrainingYouth SummitCampingCommunity MinistryChildren's MinistryRallyAuthenticityMillenialsMinistryYoung AdultsLeaving HomeStudentsCampusStudent ministry at OtagoUniversity of OtagoO WeekJesus ChristStudent LifeTSCFStudent ministryTreaty of WaitangiPākehāMāoriTreatySpiritChristianityWaitangi Day 2019ColombiaRosedale Bible ChapelSouthlandInternational StudentsTimaruChurch Street ChapelIan ElliottTeensCalledTauwhare Gospel ChapelCompassionWaikatoRefugee MinistryCambell ForlongCity Bible ChurchInternationalLiving GodGlobalisationDr Merv CoatesEngagingRongopaiMulticultural ministryHaggaiPlanningPrayerJeremy SuistedInconvenienceJosephMaryLoveSaviourO Holy Night LyricsLyricsChristmas CarolO Holy NightDiscipleshipClark Road ChapelVolunteerEducationCitizens Advice BureauTe Ao NgākauCommunity CentreJames 1:26-27OutreachMaungarei Christian Community TrustMt Wellington Community ChurchMurray BrownChrist-centredHealthy youth ministryYouth leadershipHukanui Bible ChurchBible readingFreshLearningDevotionsFamilyCommitmentBible in a yearCarolsLightsOnslow Community ChurchMusicTheologyPathwaysWorship leadingWorshipPathways School of Worship LeadingSOWLChristmas messageJesusEventsAucklandGlow in the ParkAdventChristmasSupportRespiteCareRetreatLeadersPastorsPastorLinkKerry RickardSpiritual formationCross-culturalChristianGap YearHeadspaceKiwi24-7 YouthWorkCommunityFaithYouthTrainingCCCNZ YouthYoung peopleChurchChristYouth ministryCCCNZScriptureLeadershipChristian CoachingCoachingBiblePaulFaithfulOrdinary ChristianExtraordinary GodComfort ZoneGodHadfieldMissionNZWellingtonRegional Enablers

How God used an earthquake to bring two churches together

Sharing worship together at Rutland Street

Sharing worship together at Rutland Street

Immediately after the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, Rutland Street elder Lincoln Rout attended a gathering of pastors and church leaders. During the meeting Baptist leader Murray Robertson encouraged leaders in the west of Christchurch to connect with leaders on the east—where quake damage was the greatest, and the communities hit the hardest.

“As I looked across the room it occurred to me that I knew of assemblies out east, and their leaders typically wouldn’t have been present at any of these meetings,” says Lincoln, “after the meeting I looked up and just went through the list, calling each one. I rang the number for Ekalesia Au Uso Kerisiano Samoa (EAUKS), said hello and asked how the church was.”

At that stage the EAUKSS church building was doing fine, but many from the assembly were without power, and were staying with Pastor Faafetai Vaoga. “I asked if they could use some supplies to keep everyone well-fed, so those of us from Rutland Street helped out by taking them some meat and some chilly bins to keep everything cold.”

Pastor Faafetai says it was the beginning of their unique, God-ordained partnership, “God had put Mark Broughton on our journey to assist us with necessities and continuing God’s work. We were also very fortunate to have been blessed with Lincoln and Rutland Street Church at this time as well—the beginning of a great family.”

Then, just before Christmas, another big aftershock hit and damaged the EAUKS church building—making it unusable: “At that stage we had one big combined service together,” says Lincoln, “and EAUKS began meeting at Rutland Street every Sunday afternoon after we’d finished our service. Sometimes people would travel across town several times to transport their whole family to church.”

This began the tradition of the two congregations gathering together once a month for a combined service—something they continue to do, even now that EAUKS has moved back to Linwood for regular Sunday worship.

EAUKS members perform at a CCCNZ Regional Conference in 2017

EAUKS members perform at a CCCNZ Regional Conference in 2017

Coming together has encouraged people to look forward to where God will take them, says Pastor Faafetai: “The effect on the people is amazing, they just want to experience the new challenge. On Sunday worship we respect each other's way of worship and we have to go with the flow. Although hard at times—when it comes to dancing and different types of music—both sides are learning from each other. Worshipping with Rutland Street Church really make us feel welcomed, allowing us to be free with our culture, which I believe is what makes our worship time together work well.” 

Lincoln says the greatest impact has often been for others looking on: “We have become a much more multicultural church since beginning our partnership with EAUKS. Since that time, we’ve had people from India, China, Korea… and many others join us. When people see the warmth we have towards EAUKS they conclude they’re welcome too. We’d like to think we were always welcoming, but there was nothing to indicate that in the past.”

Lincoln says there here have been other changes too:

“The most obvious thing for Rutland Street—a happily conservative Open Brethren church, typical South Islanders—has been a change in emotional expression. Reserved emotions are just not the Samoan way, and we’ve learnt that it’s fine to be excited about church on Sunday! We’ve changed as a church to honour God in a more extroverted way.

“Now, at the end of a sermon the audience will clap, this is an outward expression of the Samoan heart honouring God for his word declared. There is also a willingness to show appreciation and enthusiasm.”

Meeting together has helped ground the global nature of Christ’s Church in reality and relationship, says Lincoln: “There’s been more conversation in terms of multiculturalism, mission and the gospel. I’ve been reflecting on Scripture differently, seeing it through another mindset. The Western mindset of the gospel typically sees ‘guilt and innocence’, while an Eastern mindset sees ‘shame and honour’. I wouldn’t have had the interest to look at it this way if it wasn’t for walking alongside our Samoan brothers and sisters.”

There has also been a partnership in outreach, says Pastor Faafetai, “Outreach is something that we work together on; raising money for good causes and people in need. Rutland Street has always come to our aid since the earthquakes and continue to do so—whether it’s church events, supplying equipment and just making the time to help us out in the community giving to those who are in need.”  

Crossing cultures means navigating language and cultural differences. Lincoln says that over time the different congregations have adjusted, “if we were going to do anything differently, I think Rutland Street could have asked more questions to try and uncover cultural no-nos. For example, our combined service is always followed by a lunch; one of the elders picked up a broom and was cleaning, and I picked up a tea towel… We were firmly discouraged by some unhappy women from EAUKS—cleaning up was not the place for the elders! We hadn’t considered their view of how to honour people and show respect in that context—and that it might be different from ours. Our EAUKS brothers and sisters have been so gracious with our blunders.”

It is an understanding that God is at the heart of this family that has enabled people to work through differences, says Pastor Faafetai. “Language is difficult, but we believe God is with us and anything is possible. We are touched to have folks greet in Samoan and really give our culture a chance and once again making us feel very welcomed. Having both churches really give each other’s culture a good shot is both hilarious and a blessing.”

Combined services include everyone singing songs in both languages, and screens featuring the Bible in English and Samoan. Where possible, leaders have communicated face-to-face or via text messages—limiting the difficulty of phone conversations.

When the relationship has hit cultural barriers, one of the things both sides commit to is hearing and listening to those who are unhappy, then addressing the problem immediately. “We choose not to sweat the small stuff and to just get on and look for the good God has in this,” says Lincoln.

And it has been good!

Pastor Faafetai says: “I believe, that if God did not have his hand over this partnership, this partnership would have been over before it started. It’s truly a miracle for us to have been blessed with Rutland Street Church—their time, resources and caring hearts have made this journey together an experience so great. All we can say is ‘faafetai, faafetai lava (thank you) to Rutland Street Church and, most importantly, our Heavenly Father.’”

Lincoln says: “God has blessed us greatly with our EAUKS family and the partnership we share. We feel very clearly that God had brought us together to be a help and a blessing to each other, that allows us to think and look for the good.” 

Story by Sophia Sinclair.


This product has been added to your cart