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Where Have We Come From

January 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. J. Russell Grave).—We welcomed our Union President, Rev. F. A. Parry, when he conducted our morning worship and spoke at our mid-week service. We are indebted to Mr H. H. Burns for service rendered. Opportunity was given at a Sunday evening "social hour" to give words of encouragement to some of our "boys" home on leave. Our combined annual thank-offering and Union appeal was a happy time of sacrificial giving by our people. It was with much pleasure that Miss Gwen Gill, of Gisborne, was welcomed into our membership. A family rally service was largely attended, when our minister preached a heart searching message. A parade of our Boys' Brigade, under Captain Hawkes, was good to see. The Bible Class Union badge for 20 years' leadership service has been awarded to Mr Duke Maddox. Congratulations. Mr Paul Westerman has left us for military camp. We wish him well. A Bible Class rally and tea addressed by Major Mahaffie of the S.A. was enjoyed by all. We pray for a speedy recovery to health of Messrs J. Hall and I. Kemp.—P. W. L.


February 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—A successful parents' evening was held to celebrate the closing of our Boys' Brigade year. Mrs Downes brought her infant son to the House of God for dedication. We are indebted to Messrs J. H. Thorp and A. E. Morgan for occupying our pulpit. Our minister and family are enjoying a well-earned rest at the beach. We were pleased to welcome Mr and Mrs J. Bewley, of Palmerston North, while on holiday. The continued serious illness of Mr J. Hall is causing his friends much concern. Our prayerful sympathy goes to Mr and Mrs Deeley in the "homegoing" of their young son.—P. W. L.


March 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. J. Russell Grave).—We have welcomed back Rev. and Mrs Grave after their annual leave. To Messrs H. H. Burns, J. Bedbrook, R. Baker, R. E. Barley, and Rev. Ridland Jameson we tender our warmest thanks for supplying our pulpit. The youth organisations tendered a farewell evening and presentation to Miss Joyce Cummins, who has left us for Wellington. Joyce has rendered splendid service in all departments of the church life. A much appreciated carol party collected £11 for our Manurewa Home. We are pleased to see Mr Ken Halstead after his serious illness. Our young people's work has commenced in good heart, and promises well for a successful year. Our Bible Classes have changed over to Sunday morning for their time of meeting. Mr and Mrs Hodson brought their wee daughter to God's house for dedication. Our prayerful sympathy goes to Mrs J. Hall and family on the home call of Mr Hall.—P. W. L.


April 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—A most successful and happy event was our Harvest Festival Sunday. Special floral decorations added beauty to a bountiful display of fruit and vegetables tastefully arranged by the S.S. teachers. Our minister preached powerful harvest addresses to large congregations. A social evening to dispose of the gifts was held. The proceeds of same, £14, will be forwarded to our Manurewa Children's Home. In keeping with others, Family Pew Sunday was observed and enjoyed by all. A most enthusiastic church annual meeting showed all departments of our work in a very healthy condition. Spiritual tone high and our finances in a flourishing state. Mr Howard Paynter was warmly thanked for his past services on our Deacons' Board and Mr Les. Spurdle welcomed to fill the vacancy. Our Boys' Brigade has commenced activities for the year under promising conditions. A quiet but pretty wedding was solemnised in our church when Mr Grave united in matrimony two of our young folk. Mr Norman Taylor and Miss Dot Fowler. Hearty congratulations.—P. W. L.


May 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—A most successful mission, conducted by Rev. Cliff Raey, is reported elsewhere. Our thanks are also due to our minister, Rev. Grave, who worked untiringly to make the mission a success. It is with great joy that we have welcomed Gunner Ted Church home from active service. A social was held to welcome Ted and bid farewell to another of our Bible Class boys, Dudley Lean, also to do honour to Dot Taylor, recently married. Our Boys' Brigade, under Captain Hawkes, attended morning worship, when our minister spoke words of advice and encouragement and dedicated both officers and boys to the year's work.—P. W. L.


June 1943

Hastings' Week

Maytime in Hawke's Bay—poplars like golden fingers pointing skywards, "and every common bush afire with God." Within the Baptist community, a warming of hearts and expectation of a "Golden Offering" as our May week draws near. We have not been disappointed. Sunday services which opened and closed the week were amongst the best of the year. In the church and homes of our people, prayers for India and our work at home have made "hearts brave and arms strong." An offering of nearly £200 has doubled the previous record."—Russell Grave.


HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—Times of blessing were experienced during our week of prayer and preparation for our jubilee thank offering. Cottage meetings held in the homes of our people were enjoyed by those who attended. Mr and Mrs D. Lennox have linked with us in membership. A well-attended Bible Class tea was addressed by our minister, and opportunity was taken to farewell another of our boys, Mr Ken Halstead, who leaves us for an Air Force camp. An inspiring address was given by the Rev. Mr Grave when he preached on General Montgomery's favourite text, found in I Cor. xiv, 8. Our sympathy goes to Miss Heaven in the home call of her mother.—P. W. L.


July 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—Our minister has completed his first year with us, and we give thanks to God for the way He has led and guided and the manifest tokens of His Presence. A meeting to discuss ways and means of liquidating our church debt was largely attended. Keen enthusiasm was manifest, and a substantial amount was promised in the meeting. A committee was set up to further the objective. We are grateful to Colonel Burton, of the S.A., and Mr J. H. R. Thorp for occupying our pulpit during Mr Grave's absence at Auxiliary meetings. Our minister had the joy of baptising four candidates. The 1st Hastings Company of the Boys' Brigade celebrated the diamond jubilee of the movement with a thanksgiving service in the church, on Sunday evening, May 31, when over 50 boys paraded through the town, accompanied by representatives of the Boy Scouts and the Girls' Life Brigade. The service was conducted by our chaplain, Rev. Grave, who spoke on the text, Ecclesiastes xx, 1. Captain F. Hawkes spoke briefly on what the movement stood for. After a very inspiring service the congregation adjourned to the S.S. Hall, where a ceremonial parade was held, the inspection being made by Scoutmaster Dutton. The evening concluded with church members and visiting friends enjoying a sing-song and partaking of supper. It is with deep regret we record the passing of Mrs C. Higgs. Mrs Higgs was one of our foundation members, and during her lifetime has been an ardent worker. Our sister suffered a long illness, borne with Christian fortitude; her bright and sunny disposition will be remembered by all. Our sincere sympathy is extended to Mr Higgs and family in their sad loss, praying that our Heavenly Father may be their constant companion.—P. W. L.


August 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—A special church social was held to further our "Debt Reduction Scheme." An interesting programme of musical, elocutionary items and games was enjoyed and opportunity given for members and friends to play their part in the special effort. We are hoping before long to be able to report a debt-free church. An instructive and interesting series of morning talks on "Elijah," by our minister, have been appreciated. A visit from Dr John Laird, of the C.S.S.M, and his lantern lecture were much enjoyed. Missionary fellowship meetings held at the manse and conducted by Mrs Grave are a source of inspiration to the girls who attend. Our monthly Bible Class teas are gaining favour and are an aid to increased interest in our youth work.—P. W. L.


September 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—Our Sunday School teachers and youth leaders gathered round the tea table to welcome the Rev. and Mrs P. L. A. Crampton and to listen to their words of counsel and advice on the problems and possibilities of our youth work of to-day. An after church social hour was held to bid farewell to Sub-Lieutenant Will Kean, who has left us. Mr Kean has been our church organist and treasurer for a number of years, and his keen interest in all things pertaining to Christ's Kingdom has been most marked. Presentations were made from the church and choir. We wish our friend Godspeed and a safe return. A "snowdrop" service, to mark the advent of spring, was of interest to young and old. The snowdrops were later distributed by our minister to sick folk. We had the pleasure of a visit from Chaplain Major Day who conducted a morning service and spoke of his work among our boys in the Middle East. Hearty congratulations to Miss Joyce Gigg on her attaining the Holy Memorial Essay prize. We were sorry to have to bid farewell to Mr and Mrs W. Shakespeare, who have left us to take up their residence in Wellington after many years of faithful service in our church. We give thanks to God for answered prayer, and sparing the life of our sister, Mrs Gwyn. Prayer alters things. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Lennox on the birth of a bonny son. Ron Shakespeare has left us for an Air Force camp. We wish him well.—P. W. L.


October 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—A high light of our months activities was a visit from Rev. W. Haydn Mellsop, whose stirring story of his work in China, and the glad tidings of so many turning to Jesus Christ, roused us all to greater missionary effort. A visit from Wellington representatives of our B.C. Union, headed by Rev. E. F. Sherburd, opened our winter B.C. offensive with a rally and tea, where foundations were laid, and plans made for future work. Later we had the pleasure of hearing Rev. Sherburd at our evening service. In connection with the Campaign for Christian Order, we, in common with our sister churches, conducted a week's Children's Mission. This proved a most beneficial time for our Sunday School scholars, who entered heartily into the venture. At the request of His Majesty the King, we gathered for prayer to seek God's guidance and help during the coming days. Every day should be a day of prayer for the Christian. Our Union secretary, Rev. P. F. Lanyon, was warmly welcomed when he presented his lantern lecture on our mission work in India. Our broadcast service was conducted by Rev. Ridland Jamieson, whose message on "The Greatest Election in History," left a lasting impression. Our social hour is growing in popularity. Extracts from numerous letters received from our boys were read, and much enjoyed. Mr and Mrs Dave Armstrong had the joy of bringing their wee daughter to God's House for dedication. Our sincere sympathy goes to Mrs R. Sutherland on the Home Call of her husband after a long illness borne with Christian fortitude. —P. W. L.


November 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. J. Russell Grave).—Our Boys' Brigade had a visit from 25 boys of the Palmerston North Battalion. A football match and competitive games were played on Saturday afternoon and evening, and a Church Parade of over 80 attended the Sunday morning service, when our chaplain. Rev. J. R. Grave preached an inspiring sermon entitled "Four Anchors." The Bible Classes celebrated Youth Week recently. The classes met at 7.30 on Sunday morning for the opening day, and several young people spoke on "Mountain Top Experiences." This meeting was followed at 8.30 with breakfast and our usual Bible Class at 9.45. At the morning service, three of the ladies' intermediate class assisted. On Monday evening a social was held, and on Tuesday three of the young men gave brief talks to the combined Prayer and Christian Endeavour meeting. Thursday was the mystery outing, and although the weather was wet, several of the young people went on bicycles to the Karamu Methodist hall. Following tea a debate was held. Our Sunday Bible Class tea was addressed by Mr A. Hoskins of the Salvation Army. The evening service was especially for young people. The Bible reading was taken by Mr Doug Bewley, and the choir was composed of Bible Class members. Opportunity was taken to make a presentation to Leading Aircraftman Rex Helm. The annual meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society was held in our church, when the Rev. David Calder, B.A., the secretary of the Society, and Miss E. Berg, organising secretary for this district presented most encouraging reports. We congratulate our choir mistress, Miss M. Sowersby, on the very excellent rendering by the choir of the Cantata, "Darkness and Dawn." We extend our sympathy to Mrs J. I. Beilby on the "Home Call" of her father.—P. W. L.


December 1943

HASTINGS (Rev. Russell Grave).—It is with hearts full of joy and praise to our Heavenly Father that we report a debt-free church. During a mission conducted by Rev. Cliff Reay, the missioner expressed the opinion that a church debt was a hindrance to the working of the Holy Spirit, and suggested we make an effort to free ourselves of this burden. The challenge was readily accepted and a committee appointed to handle the situation. Response was magnificent, God answered prayer and touched the hearts and pockets of our people, and no less a sum than £530 was contributed. A thanksgiving service and social was arranged to show our gratitude to our Heavenly Father, the Giver of all good gifts, in freeing us as a church from our financial obligation. We look forward to happy times of spiritual blessing and pray that the harvest of souls may too be a rich one. Praise the Lord. We are indebted to Colonel C. Burton, of the S.A., who conducted our services during our minister’s absence at Assembly. During a visit to his home town Rev Stuart Wyness, a former member of our church conducted our evening service. Our S.S. anniversary was an outstanding success. The singing of the children assisted by the choir under the baton of Miss M. Sowersby, was of a very high standard, and reflected great credit on our conductor. A special feature of the occasion was the artistic decoration of the church which had been arranged by Miss Sims and her assistants. Rev Ridland Jamieson and Rev. Russell Grave conducted the services before crowded congregations.—P. W. L.

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.