Invercargill celebrates a century of ministry

Due to the pandemic, the celebrations were delayed but they were finally able to celebrate this milestone together. 

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Invercargill Adventist Church celebrated 100 years of ministry in Southland, New Zealand, on February 10. 

Due to the pandemic, the celebrations were delayed but they were finally able to celebrate this milestone together. 

Pastor Victor Kulakov, the director of missional development strategy for the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference, gave the address, referencing the southern lights that are often visible in Invercargill, encouraging attendees to continue to be a light to the community.

There were special messages and greetings from many of the pastors who have served in Invercargill in recent years.

“Celebrating the incredible century-long journey of your beloved church,” Pastor Jonathas Newlands reflected. “My heart overflows with gratitude and nostalgia. Your commitment to service has touched lives beyond our church walls, through Meals on Wheels, random acts of kindness, walking groups, and wellness and prophecy seminars.” 

Pastor David Pearce also reminisced on his time at Invercargill church, being appointed there as a literature evangelist from 1962 to 1964, and he shared that his first sermon was preached there. 

“My stay in Invercargill was a pleasant experience,” Pastor Pearce said. “I felt part of the church family as we worshipped and joined in the various activities. As you celebrate 100 years of the Invercargill Seventh-day Adventist church may the Lord richly bless you each one.”  

Attendees on the day were given a detailed timeline of the history of the church, from the original church site to the subsequent rebuilds needed due to growth.

They also heard how the Southland Adventist Christian School has been ministering alongside the church over the years.

The celebrations continued with a shared lunch at the school hall, followed by the cutting of a celebration cake by the oldest and youngest serving church members.

The first Adventist to work in Southland was William Redhead, a colporteur who sold literature there in 1905, and again in 1906. After the North and South New Zealand Conferences were formed, an evangelist began preaching in the area.

The core of a church was formed in 1920. The first baptism of seven people was held on Christmas morning, 1921.  The new converts, along with some others, were formed into a church and the first meeting was held on Sabbath, December 31, 1921.

The first meeting place was in the UFS Hall, which was rented. Then, in 1925, a church was built in Esk Street. In 1955, a school was built behind the church.  Eventually, the congregation outgrew the church, and in 1964 a new church was opened across the road. 

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