top of page

Matt Chapman

2000-2005 / Bachelor of Ministries (Henderson Campus)

I loved community life, even with its unique challenges and quirks. The friends I made, the diverse range of people I learned to sit and listen with; informal sing-alongs with the guitar; watching movies in the TV room; games of table tennis, cricket on the tennis courts, and those community games of Rugby League, which gave us the opportunity to release all that pent-up tension and frustration; the cheerleading, which was bizarre, frightening and fun all at once; and living in East Wing, with all its unique qualities and personalities.

I am thankful for friends who were there through that time of formation, and for putting flesh on so many parts of the Word through their unconditional love and support… for being with me through some bleak and unsheltered times in my life. I'm thankful for the fun we had, and for the way they patiently put up with my more frustrating qualities, and had the courage to call me out on a few. I will always cherish our shared experience, and still think of them all often.

I am also thankful for my lecturers.

There was Stuart Lange, the great church history legend, who despite causing us to get cramp in our hands from notetaking, kept us fully engaged with his unique teaching style. He made history come alive.

Tim Meadowcroft, who had this wry wit about him, and this manner which made you feel both stretched and safe in his classes.

John Komene, whose belief in me that I could just come up and play a song I didn't know, was both terrifying and kind of flattering!

Denise Edwards, who taught like a wise mum, and felt like a mum to so many of us. How she is missed.

Chris Marshall and David Crawley – when they walked into the room, a holy calm would descend on the place.

Nicola Hoggard Creegan, whose teaching stretched my mind and blessed me in so many ways.

Mark Keown and Phil Church, who had just began lecturing, and who were nailing it.

Then there were the staff, who I never had as lecturers, but who taught me so much as well.

Jenny Mackie, Neroli Hodges, Esther Silai’ila’i, John Ferguson, Allan Officer, Jacqui Lloyd, and Mike the bare-footed mechanic, always willing to help out.

Christine Lange, who passed away in 2014 – her warm welcome was the first experience you had when you walked into campus. So important.

Rod Edwards, who was my small group leader and community leader, and whose example and ability with people I learnt so much from.

To me, all of these people felt like they came straight out of the Acts of the Apostles. I know they weren't perfect, and I know some would butt heads with them, as all humans do with each other, but I was inspired by them, and I want to honour and thank them for their service to God's Kingdom.

I loved that I had the opportunity to commit time to the study of God's Word, and how we express it in the world today. This place was the coming together of different people, ideas, theology, sharing the best of our humanity, and our most vulnerable and weakest parts too. All these things, in this place, gathered around Christ, relentlessly pursuing his call on our lives to follow him.

This place felt like holy ground. Not because God was more present here than anywhere else in creation, but because we were a body of people, united in a common purpose to know God more, and make him known in the world through word and action.

Going into study, I had an incredibly narrow, one-eyed view of God, shaped by a worldview that was more informed by twenty-first century pop culture than the expanse of God's engagement with humanity throughout the ages. If I was to be a servant of the church, I knew I needed to be willing to give some things up and learn. My faith was tested, stretched, humbled, refined, and strengthened.

The experience threw me time and time again into the arms of God, confessing, "I don't have you all worked out as well as I thought I did, but I need you now more than I ever have". I may never fully understand the depth of the cross, but I cling to it more than ever.

And from all this, I did come out stronger. And while it was challenging, I loved the experience, and I loved the community that nurtured me through it.

After my studies, I was ordained into the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, and I am currently serving the community of Howick Presbyterian Church.

I am thankful for the people and places God has placed in my life, like Laidlaw, to form and nurture me as I live out my calling to follow Jesus.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


How is Laidlaw College equipping leaders for Church and Society today? Click here to find out more
Laidlaw Logo-horiz-white.png
bottom of page