A Rural Community That’s Really Rocking!
Well, a very exciting and innovative initiative has begun in one of our rural Parishes in the Diocese. In the Manawatu Archdeaconry the Parish of Pohangina with a regular congregation of about 50 people is setting up a Trust under the auspices of the Parish to be the driving mechanism for servant-hearted outreach into the wider community of Pohangina-Ashhurst.
The Parish’s vision began with a needs-assessment survey to better understand the hopes, the desires, and the social agenda of the people in their community. Such connection and involvement of the Parish with the surrounding community highlighted for them the importance of connecting faith with good works (James 2:14). Such helpful and practical deeds are now offering very meaningful ways of networking and witnessing to the public, allowing the church’s caring actions to speak in their own right. Parish Priest Rev Julia Budd speaks of one gentleman from the community who started asking questions about what the church was doing. Then, after being invited to one particular event he was so impacted that he asked if he could begin attending church which he duly did! Getting people into church is not driving the agenda of the Parish though. Rather it is to simply be there for the people they feel called to serve if for no other reason than to be the feet, hands, heart, and mouthpiece of Christ sharing unconditionally in hospitable and loving ways.
The Trust will be responsible for funding a wide variety of projects which will focus on the social needs and wellbeing of the community at large. Some of these projects and activities, which are underway or planned, include Seasons (in partnership with the Diocese of Waiapu), an annual free hangi to which the whole community is invited (350 people turned up for the last one!), Side by Side Parent Mentoring, Messy Church, Playgroup, Loved4Life (impacting families), and Ezee Meals.
This practical, caring approach providing social services on an as-needs-basis is opening up exciting possibilities for the church in Ashhurst as it partners with its local community. Support from the Diocese has been given to the Parish by way of the Diocesan Social Services Community and Development Board, the Diocesan Funding Manager, and the Archdeacon for Children, Youth, and Families. The ACROSS social service agency in Palmerston North has also been very supportive.
For further information about this initiative feel free to contact Rev Julia Budd on email
or telephone 06 326 8543.
To find out about the Pohangina-Ashhurst parish- click here