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2002-2005 / Bachelor of Divinity (Henderson Campus)

I began a Diploma for Graduates in 2002, but later in that year switched to the Bachelor of Divinity - hence the four years. My wife (Heather - also a Diploma Graduate in 2002) and I lived in the married quarters which occupied the current library complex.


A significant feature of the married quarters was its paper-thin walls - at least that's what they sounded like!


Lunchtime cricket had to be a highlight. I also recall the year Wynton Rufer came and joined in a game of football.


Study life was very challenging and difficult for us as a family. Our first child was born in December of 2002, our second born in May 2004, and the third one was on the way when we left at the end of 2005. In 2004 I was elected Men's Student President. This was probably one of our toughest years there as we had run out of student allowance entitlement, I had no job to support us, and our savings were pretty much gone. A multitude of factors meant that I was under enormous stress and felt like I was at a breaking point. I recall one staff member, Gordon Stewart, being so gentle and understanding at this time. The support of a couple of other families helped us through too. I can look back now and see God's hand forming me in the midst of difficulty, but at the time it seemed far from certain that we would make it as a couple, as a family, in faith, and even at times in life.


What I appreciate from lectures is the ability to handle God's word, and the confidence to find out what I didn't know. Out of the challenges and difficulties of college life, I have an empathy for those in our community (not only the church community) who struggle. Out of experience of struggle comes a level of understanding that doesn't come from academia.


Living in the family flats brought us into direct contact with multiple people, of multiple ethnicities, and often from multiple denominations. Knowing that we are all different but serve the same Lord has prepared me well for my vocational moves post study. The first three years after study I was the children and youth worker at St Stephen's Anglican Church in Christchurch. The next two years were spent working as a Schools Coordinator for World Vision, managing the 40-Hour Famine in the South Island with one other person. My time there also involved a trip to Cambodia to see where 40-Hour funds had been spent, and where they were planned to go in the following year's 40-Hour Famine.


The following two years we moved to Dunedin so my wife could go back to study and become a medical doctor. While there I was the Field Officer for the Otago Multiple Sclerosis Society. After the two years in Dunedin, we moved back to Christchurch where I took up a role as Assistant Pastor at St Albans Baptist Church. I have been there ever since and after two years changed the role to Children and Families Pastor. This role came to an end at the end of 2021.


Currently I am a Community Development Worker at The Neighbourhood Trust (www.nht.org.nz). I have been doing this for just over four years now, which overlapped with my Children's Pastor role at St Albans Baptist Church (SABC). The Trust is based at SABC. In my role as a Community Development Worker, I am engaging with members of our community in suburbs near SABC. One of the first points of engagement is through kai boxes, where a need for additional food support often leads to awareness of other needs that local families may have. This can include things like financial mentoring, budgeting, work readiness, parenting strategies, etc. I am also leading a couple of new projects in 2022 which include a community garden project focussing on teaching and learning garden skills so that members of our local community can put gardening skills into practice where they live. I have also started a fathers’ parenting course to support dads who want to be better fathers. There are so many pastoral opportunities when we get alongside people in our community. In our current climate many are struggling, hurting, looking for hope and connection. Our programmes provide spaces where we can meet some needs and journey with people as we support them in their goal of seeing transformation for them and their families.


I have a huge heart for men and especially for dads who need support. I meet regularly with men who are struggling and simply need someone to talk to, and to walk with them through their journeys. I've sat with men over a coffee as they pour their heart out over child custody issues, parenting issues, drug rehabilitation issues, relationship issues - the list is long. Sometimes I can give advice if they ask for it, but mostly we chat about what they want to do next, and together we look at how to tackle it. I refer to expert advice where I need it. In quite a number of these conversations there is an openness to prayer for God's hand to sweep over the issues.


I’m grateful to God for the people I've met; gaining tools to understand God's word and to apply it; and for the difficulties and challenges (not that I wish for them) because out of them I can empathise with so many.







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