Wow, what an interesting season for all of us!
Following on from the letter above, Cara and I wanted to share a few words.
After a conversation around the financial challenges facing the church and pressure of sustaining staffing was had with me, and also after a personal stocktake of giftings, pastoral heart and fit, Cara and I made the decision to be open to the possibility of being released from my role at Hutt City Baptist Church.
While there is a level of sadness that comes with this, we also feel a sense of release and of God’s hand being with us, that he is faithful, and that this will be best for us moving forward.
We are not too sure what lies ahead for us. But we want to thank the eldership who have been loving and supportive towards us through this process and who have also offered financial and relational support for a season as we process next steps.
While the opportunity to continue working for a season did exist, we were offered the opportunity to finish sooner, and in processing next steps and our own well being we decided to receive this offer. Had we not been going through unprecedented circumstances, we would have loved to have talked with more of you in person so that this did not come as a shock or disappointment.
With that, we have been so grateful to have had this season at Hutt City Baptist Church. We are grateful for meeting so many quality people and also hearing of the stories of how people out work their faith in their day-to-day lives, Monday-Saturday. We have also been grateful for the opportunity to serve the church through the facilitation of our Sunday gatherings, through being part of the conversations that led to the church being willing to consider a cinema running in its building and the missional possibilities this could bring, through holding the fort so Pastor Rob could have a sabbatical and also being able to hold together our gathered worship in a season where we could not physically gather as a church.
I have been grateful also for the many people who week after week have put their hands up to serve, help and share gifts and talents, whether this has been in more visible upfront ways or whether behind the scenes. Thank you.
Since arriving at Hutt City Baptist Church, people have welcomed us as part of their family. We have been particularly blessed with the support, care and generosity people have showed us through the arrival of Rawiri into our lives. And we have been blessed by the joy he has brought you too.
Our heart and prayer for Hutt City Baptist Church has been that people are encouraged in their relationship with Jesus, that Jesus is lifted up, the gospel proclaimed and that people are encouraged in how God would use each and every one of us in our day-to-day lives when we are open to his leading. While our relationship with Hutt City Baptist Church now changes, our prayer for the church doesn’t.
We love you and are grateful for this season. And we thank you.
Gareth, Cara and Rawiri Wood