Seventh-day Adventist congregations from throughout the South Auckland region came together for a regional worship service comprising 800 people at the Mangere Samoan Adventist Church on Sabbath, September 28.
With the theme of “Unity”, the morning Bible study was led by Pastor Paora Teaukura, who encouraged the congregation to be servants in the community. Recognising the differences of the many parts of the body all needing each other, Pastor Teaukura concluded “God’s love moves us to love others”.
The preacher for the day was Pastor John Browne, who recently moved to Mangere and Otara churches from Western Australia. He shared illustrations from his work among the Martu Indigenous people of how a community can come together in support of each other.
Drawing lessons from the Israelites leaving Egypt (Numbers 31 & 32), Pastor Browne took the congregation through the split of Israel’s tribes, challenging the congregation to recognise that behaviour among church members can create disunity. Moving from disunity to unity, Pastor Browne offered the way forward in unity is possible when people live out the fruits of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
“It is when we stay together,” concluded Pastor Browne, “that we are able to serve God with greater strength.” He illustrated this point by demonstrating how one straw of a broom can be easily broken off the stick, while all straws of the broom are difficult to break in one attempt.
Reflecting the diversity of the region’s churches through various musical items, a richness of praise was heard, mostly in English, with Te Reo Maori and Cook Island Maori items added.
Interwoven in the worship service, Pastor Keli Pepa and the Mizpah church led the congregation skillfully and beautifully in praise, enhancing everyone’s experience of worship.
“It was good to see this region coming together in worship,” said North New Zealand Conference lead pastor Ben Timothy. “It’s good to see our newest pastors to the cluster being so involved,” referring to Pastor Pepa and Pastor Browne, both of whom joined the area within the last year.
The newly established regional youth choir sang “Alleluia, for the Lord God Almighty Reigns”, singing the chorus in various languages—a beautiful and befitting closure of a Sabbath celebration for the region.