Kaikohe Adventist Church (New Zealand) celebrated 50 years of worshipping in their building on Sabbath, July 11, with hundreds of people coming to attend a special fellowship service.
The original Kaikohe church members had dedicated their first church building 50 years before, to the day. Although the original building has been extended over the years, retired pastor Ken Curtis can still point to the places where he helped hammer nails into the church’s timber frame—timber that was donated from his father’s farm.
The original Adventist Record article reporting the dedication of Kaikohe Church is proudly displayed on the foyer wall, along with black and white archive photos from 1970 that share the story of an active church in the local community. These old photos, in contrast to more colourful photos on the same wall, depict a collage of a rich and diverse church life.
Anticipating an increase of visitors and worshippers for the celebration, Kaikohe’s fellowship hall was set up as an overflow area, and it was needed for the 200 people who joined the worship program.
Tono Mason welcomed attendees and opened the worship service in te reo. Linking the dedication Sabbath with the 50th anniversary, the congregation then joined in singing the hymn “The Church Has One Foundation”.
North New Zealand Conference president Pastor Ben Timothy spoke at the divine service, taking the congregation on a journey through how the world has changed in the past 50 years.
“We live in a rapidly changing world and the church also needs to change to be effective,” said Pastor Timothy. “The context in 2020 is different than it was in 1970, but what remains the same is God, as the hymn we just sang.”
Pastor Timothy encouraged the congregation to build their foundation on Jesus and anchor their faith in God. Speaking about 1 Peter 2:4, he expressed that, as disciples of Jesus, we are living stones, a chosen people. “When we build our foundation as a church, and as believers on Jesus as the cornerstone, we see God’s Kingdom grow around us,” he said. He encouraged people to recognise that we are created in God’s image and should see the image of God in the people we meet, and minister to them as Jesus would.
This message resonated well with the congregants, with several people recalling how, through the years, the greatest strength of the church has been the love of its members who ministered to people’s needs and welcomed them to church fellowship.
Church pastor Garry Hallmond and his wife Marianna led the day’s celebrations by taking time to recognise two of the longest-serving church members, Bella Edmonds and Jane Lorna Edmonds.
Many people from surrounding churches came to celebrate with Kaikohe church, and several pastors connected to Kaikohe took part in the day’s festivities. Pastor Hallmond shared how he has seen the Holy Spirit moving in the community and connecting people to the church during his years as the pastor there.
The Sabbath celebration saw a diversity of people and generations, from newly-baptised members, to long-standing members and first-time visitors, all enjoying the worship and fellowship experience.
Kaikohe church continues to impact the community 50 years on from the dedication of its original church building—through gospel teaching, healthy living seminars, friendship and service in the community.