Three Northland projects that received grants from the Baptist Foundation have demonstrated the principle of wise investment and the big difference it can make for our churches and communities in the region.

Doubtless Bay Christian Centre

This church’s successful op shop had grown to occupy all its ancillary rooms. This meant that each week faithful volunteers would have to pack up the shop and then unpack it again so the space could be used for other purposes. 

Baptist Foundation provided a grant of $25,000 for a relocated building for the op shop (pictured below). A disused bowling club house was found in Kawakawa. After much work and submissions to Far North District Council, it was relocated to the site in February 2019. When work is completed, the church will have a 300m2 dedicated space for the op shop that will enable them to accept furniture to sell too. 

Russell Baptist Church 

The church acquired their 1913 heritage building (pictured below) from the Methodists five years ago and started work on making it a more flexible space. Baptist Foundation granted $15,000 to help them create better community use. Chairs have replaced pews and new side doors open onto an existing deck, creating flow. Shade sails and other additions have made it a welcoming space. Other grants helped convert the kitchen and provide a coffee machine.

The team were gifted paint and they redecorated all the exterior, as well as adding a storeroom for furniture. The new facility was officially opened in December 2018, with more than 60 people from the community visiting. Now the weekly programme includes games, craft, exercise classes and some music groups, along with monthly or one-off events. The numbers attending on a Sunday are growing, to nearly 40, and BF recently gave more funds so more chairs could be bought. 

Regent Community Trust partnership

As previously reported (Baptist, December 2018), Baptist Foundation recognised the need to resource fundraising applications in Northland. Through a partnership with Regent Community Trust (Whangarei Central Baptist Church), we secured Didi Skinner’s services for 10 hours a week. In the past three years she has raised more than $160,000 from a variety of sources. As she leaves to pursue a different career, we thank her for her amazing efforts and can see what a good investment this has been. At the time of writing it is hoped to continue the partnership into 2020 and beyond.

Story: Stephen Parker
Grants convener for the Baptist Foundation