Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Church as community partnership: great article on Opawa Baptist

We got posted over the weekend a Christchurch newspaper article (thanks Mum), profiling Opawa Baptist. It’s a neat snapshot, so encouraging, that is some evidence of what God’s been up to the last 6 years at Opawa – partnerships with local community groups, new initatives, an outward focus.

Church has long-established partnership with community (Observer, Sunday February 21)
By Nick Tolerton

Opawa Baptist church will celebrate its centenary next year, but there is nothing old fashioned about what it offers the community.

And the completion next month of a new $500,000 seminar, office and kitchen facility will make its partnership with the community even stronger.

The church and its neighbour Waltham Community Cottage (two doors away), are the heart for one of Christchurch’s poorer communities.

Associate pastor Paul McMahon points out that Waltham, slashed by the Brougham motorway, lacks a hub.

The church and the Community Cottage worked together to build on the strengths of Waltham, and tried not to duplicate what the other offered, he said.

He is proud of Waltham’s strengths: “The good thing about Waltham is that people have time for one another and people have time for community stuff, “ he said. “We have no real gang problems. We’ve got a great pool – the most well used community pool in Christchurch – and we have a really good school.”

And school, church and Community Cottage have worked together for Waltham, he said.

Hundreds of residents enjoy the church’s weekly English classes, craft classes, music classes, and indoor bowls for only $2 or $3 a session. And its monthly movie night – BYO dinner 0- draws dozens of people who can’t afford to go to the cinema. Women’s groups and a book club also meet monthly.

Last year the Shiloh programme to teach life and relationship skills for nine to 12-year-old girls from Waltham School also [re]started (editor correction) and has proved a big success, and the church is also the home for Koru (year seven to eight) and boys and girls brigade programmes for Waltham youngsters.

The church also hosts six-week courses blending both religion and life skills, including parenting.

And with the new facilities set to be completed early next month as well as its old hall across the road, the church is now even better placed to be a strong partner for the Waltham community.

For more
for more on the building project go here.

Posted by steve at 08:49 AM

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