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January 1926

Young Men's Bible Class

Mr John Fear, so favourably known to the North Island fellows through the Easter camps, is still leading this class, which continues its career of usefulness. Recently the class has taken up the Union syllabus, which the members find very helpful. The circle study system has been a distinct success. Mr Dave Armstrong is secretary, and Mr Jack Westerman is collector for "Scheme 200." The class has taken a forward move lately, and at a combined rally to inaugurate the Young People's Institute over 70 young men and young women attended and remained behind for tea. Two of the Bible Class members were baptised at the evening service. Well done, Hastings! We are pleased to learn of your favourable progress.


HASTINGS (Rev. Keith Ewen).—Our annual sale of work was held early in the month. The various stalls presented a pleasing picture, brisk business being done. Great credit is due to the women who worked so hard to make the sale a success. The satisfactory amount of £108 was realised. At the close the Doxology was sung. On the Sunday following the Whakatutu anniversary (a branch Sunday School) was held, over 50 children taking part in the singing. The members of the Young People's Institute of the Hastings Baptist Church, with their friends, journeyed out in motor cars to the service. The service was conducted by our pastor, and the singing by the children was much enjoyed. On Monday evening the parents and children gathered together to a Christmas tree celebration. Great credit is due to the workers who journey out each Sunday to carry on this good work. Last Sunday the anniversary of the Y.M.B.C. was held. A combined Bible Class rally was held in the afternoon, and at the close of an impressive meeting one young man surrendered his life to Christ, several other young people re-consecrating themselves for service. At the conclusion of the rally over 60 gathered around the tea-tables. Short speeches were given by Mr R. Price (leader of the Young People's Institute), Mr J. Fear (leader of the Y.M.B.C), Mrs Ricketts (leader of the Y.W.B.C), Mr R. E. Barley (leader of the Chinese class), and Mr F. E. Barley (church secretary). The guest of the afternoon was Mr V. Hudson, who was baptised in our church some time ago, and who has since offered himself for work in India. He gave an impressive speech. The evening service was conducted by the pastor and by members of the Y.M.B.C., a male choir leading the singing.


February 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. K. Ewen).—During the month we have had occasion to bid farewell to several of our members, Mr and Mrs Coad and family having already left for Auckland. Mrs. Coad, who has been a teacher in our Sunday School for years, was handed by our Pastor a farewell gift at the close of the Sunday School, while Miss K. Coad, who has been the Sunday School librarian, also received a gift. Our church secretary handed them a gift from the church at the station. Mr and Mrs Widdop, who are leaving for Auckland, will be much missed, Mrs Widdop being a foundation member. Mrs Widdop was farewelled by the deaconesses on Monday evening, and two suitable books were presented to her, while at the close of the mid-week prayer meeting the church tendered her a farewell, when our pastor handed her a parting gift. During the Christmas holidays several successful church picnics have been organised, the great event on New Year's Day being the Sunday School picnic, which was held at Mount Erin, Havelock North. Although the day broke cold and showery, a number of scholars, teachers, parents, and friends journeyed out in motor buses to the picnic grounds, and, in spite of weather conditions, a happy day was spent. A Bible Class social was held during the Christmas recess, at which over forty young people gathered and spent a very pleasant evening.


March 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—During the absence of our pastor on holiday the services were conducted by the following brethren: Messrs F. Barley, Sowersby, Farmilo, R. Barley, and Palmer, and their work was much appreciated by the congregation. A splendid congregation greeted our pastor on his return. The Sunday School and Young People's Institute have resumed work, the scholars attending in goodly numbers; a record attendance marked the opening of the Young People's Institute. On Friday, February 12, the Sunday School scholars were entertained at a romp. During the evening our pastor presented the prizes to the successful scholars.


April 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—After the quietude of January and February the church has settled down in earnest for the winter work. The Sunday School has been made more convenient for efficient service. The Institute, under the enthusiastic leadership of Ray Price, is doing splendid work among the young folk. Our pastor has returned from his rest with new zeal for spiritual progress. The annual meeting revealed progress in every department, and the financial difficulties, which loomed large in the earlier months, have been overcome by generous giving.


May 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—This month we report activity on every hand. The Women's Guild has opened its winter campaign to labour for the needs of the church. The Sunday School and the Bible Classes are doing valiant service for the Master. Our pastor is stirring the people to earnestness and devotion with his spirited and inspiring addresses. Our Harvest services were simply splendid, and the singing of the choir, under our able and devoted choirmaster, Mr Bewley, combined with the visit of Rev. M. W. P. Lascelles (our Dominion Secretary) made the day a real red letter day. Our pastor baptised three believers on Sunday week, and spoke of the significance of the symbols of baptism. Our young men returned from the Easter camp with a new song in their hearts, so we will be glad and praise Him from Whom all blessings flow and press cheerfully on.


July 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—During the week of prayer, meetings were held in the homes of our people in various parts of the borough. Our pastor is preaching vigorous sermons, which must bear fruit. At a special tea meeting in connection with the Institute, the young people took the opportunity of presenting a framed photograph of the Young People's Guild to Rev. T. Keith Ewen, as a tangible proof of their love and appreciation of his devotion to the young people of the church and congregation. We have been unfortunate in having to lose the help of our institute leader, Mr Ray Price. Mr Ralph Barley has been approached to take up the work, and he is giving his decision at the next meeting. The B.W.M.U. and the Women's Guild are active in their labours of love, and the Sunday School is taking up the Scripture examination with enthusiasm.


August 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—We are in the midst of our winter's work. All departments are busy. Mr and Mrs Palmer have taken over the young people's Christian Endeavour Sunday morning's service. The prize-giving in connection with the Young Worshippers' League took place on June 27. The Young People's Institute is forging ahead in numbers and spiritual zeal. On June 20 our pastor gave an inspiring address to about sixty, after which the company sat down to tea in the school room. Mr Ralph Barley was welcomed as the new president. The institute has formed a mission band and journeyed in full force to a neighbouring Bethel last Sunday, and the young men in reading, song, and address told the old Gospel. A special cottage prayer meeting was held in the home of our eldest member, Mrs Morton, who is ninety-five years of age. The B.W.M.U. were favoured with a visit from Mrs Goring, and a very helpful meeting took place.


September 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—The work of the month has progressed steadily, hampered, of course, by 'flu, so prevalent everywhere. We have added to our diaconate our esteemed brothers, Mr F. Offen and Mr C. Higgs, who has done solid work with us for the last fifteen years. Our congratulations go out to our treasurer, Mr Reg Edridge, and wife on the arrival of a daughter. Mr Leslie Scott, of Berhampore, was welcomed into membership on transfer at our last communion. Our brother Mr Percy Lascelles underwent a rather serious operation during the month. We are pleased to report satisfactory progress. All are enjoying the addresses week by week from our pastor. The Institute Mission Band is still active, and conducted the Stortford service again on Sunday, August 8.


October 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—The work of God with us is steadily progressing. The Deacons have decided to hold a 14 days' mission in the near future. We are praying that God will send us a messenger to harvest the faithful work of our devoted pastor. We have had splendid morning congregations of late. Mr Ewen has dealt with themes full of comfort for the tempted, the tried, and the bereaved. The evening has been devoted to the evangelical note. Our loving sympathy goes out to Mrs J. Bewley, the wife of our esteemed choirmaster, in the sad loss of a father and mother during the month. The Sunday School children are busy learning their anniversary hymns under the baton of Mr Bewley. The Institute was favoured by an illustrated lantern lecture by Mr Cotterill, of Napier, on "The Glory of the Gannets," the wonderful colony of birds that visit the vicinity each year. The monthly united Bible Class was addressed by our pastor, after which about 60 of our young folk partook of tea in the schoolroom. The mission work of the Institute is bringing out new workers. Max Nelson and David Armstrong gave telling addresses at the monthly mission service at Stortford Hall.


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Rev. T. Keith Ewen with 50 of his Young People's Institute, Hastings.


December 1926

HASTINGS (Rev. T. Keith Ewen).—The great event of October was the fifth anniversary of the pastor's settlement. The proceedings connected with the same were highly successful in every way. A telegram was received from Rev. M. Lascelles conveying the best wishes of the Baptist Union for the auspicious event. The pastor preached two powerful sermons on the Sunday. The evening was evangelical in the truest sense. As a result of a telling appeal, two men came out boldly for Christ, and many were moved to greater devotion and larger service. On the Monday following Mr Ewen sat in the vestry to receive thank-offerings for debt reduction. In the evening a happy social function took place. The meeting was cheered by the announcement that about £60 in money and promises had been handed in during the day—a real achievement for straight-out giving. Deacon Offer congratulated our minister on his fifth church birthday in our midst. He voiced the feelings and sentiments of all present when he eulogised the fine work of Mr Ewen during a happy ministry. The evening was spent in music, speech, and games, and proved a red letter day in the life of the church.

N.Z. Baptist Magazine

Since the first days of the church, Hastings Baptist submitted regular summaries of church life and events to the New Zealand Baptist Magazine.  As part of the centenary archive those updates have been collected and reproduced here.  It is a catalogue of people and moments that have shaped the church’s story.