AGM held over lunch. Table discussion gave everyone chance to air views. Good attendance, feedback mainly positive. Graduation ceremony held to mark advancement of children/young people to next stage of youth programme or to university cities. Each departing student has mentor of their choice from church family to help with process of adjusting to new lifestyle, new church family, etc. Christmas services well attended, especially Carols & Candles service, consisting of favourite carols and readings. Christmas quiz showed we do not know as much as we thought about Christmas story.
Autumn afternoon teas at manse great for "getting to know you." Church dinner good time of fellowship. Welcomed home Shaun & Sharon Hutson, who have spent fruitful year at LAMB Hospital, Bangladesh. Easter activities included "Last Supper Meal" where appropriate (except for desserts!). Food stimulated discussion on circumstances and significance of first Easter. Good Friday combined service brought 200+ adults from various churches together for worship, and fellowship over hot cross buns, while Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday brought 200 neighbourhood children for fun, and to hear the real Easter story. Easter Day celebration service concluded activities.
To foster relationships amongst different age groups we have enjoyed times of good fellowship over meals and activities geared to both young and old. Has been a rewarding experience. Group of students from Capernwray Bible School in Cambridge spent a week with us, their preparation, leading and participation in many groups and events much appreciated. Self Denial appeal surpassed expectations with $5500 given. New toddler space fulfilling its purpose, allowing parents to hear sermon without distraction. Music and Movement group flourishing with time together benefitting parents, who enjoy coffee and fellowship, and children who enjoy the activity.
In September, Mary and Ian Grant spoke to a sell-out crowd on marriage and relationships. Light Party was most successful ever with 330 kids enjoying a positive, fun evening rather than negatives of Halloween. Good feedback from parents and children make the effort well worthwhile. Girls' Brigade had a cycling outing to Napier, a warm swim, then back to church for a sleep over. All tired and happy. Nigel Pollock, national director of Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship, spoke at men's breakfast and ladies' lunch.