Last week, our church family was informed of a significant announcement.
The key details are:
- Peter Somervell (our Senior Pastor since 2006) has accepted a call to serve as the Lead Pastor of Grace Church in Richmond, Nelson. No exact date has been set for the departure, but will likely be the end of Term 1 in 2015.
- The elders of HBC will be working over the next two weeks on a transition plan, which will be presented to the members of HBC as soon as possible.
- A search committee will be established to help find a suitable individual to be the next Senior Pastor, as per Section 5.1.2 of our Church Constitution.
While most of our communication will be done with the HBC family, where relevant we will provide updates for the wider community.
We invite you to join us in praying for the Somervells, the elders, staff and members of HBC as we seek the mind of Christ, unity in the Spirit, and the glory of God in the months ahead.
Here is a summarised form of the letter Peter sent out:
Dear HBC member/attendee,
What a great joy and blessing it is to be part of a church family where there is mutual love and affection, a desire to grow in the Lord, as well as an eagerness to reach out to the wider community in which we live. No church is perfect, and we are certainly no exception, but by God’s grace Howick Baptist has become a haven for weary souls who are seeking a balance of good biblical preaching and Spirit-filled worship, along with servant leadership and a caring church family. As Francelle and I look back over the years we have been part of HBC, we rejoice in what the Lord has done and we have great hopes for what is to come.
It is with deep regret therefore, that we write to inform you that we will not be here to share that future with you. A door has opened for us to minister together in another part of New Zealand that entails a move away from Auckland. We want you to know that we were not seeking this opportunity; it was made known to me while attending a leadership course during the year. A church in Richmond, Nelson which is growing and has great potential in reaching its community and has a number of capable people is in need of a team leader who could come in and help direct and guide it forward. When we visited the church and saw the potential, the Lord made it clear to us that we have something to offer to help achieve its goals.
Most of you are aware of my desire (which is shared with the elders of HBC), to see a number of vibrant, gospel-centered, soul-winning churches that are faithful to the Word established throughout this country. We need them in Auckland and Hamilton, and we need them in Christchurch and Dunedin. We need them in every city and town of New Zealand.
Furthermore, we need greater networking of these churches to enable them to partner together in training new pastors and leaders, provide good Bible Conferences, and share resources. Here is an opportunity to bring yet another good church into that network.
Although no exact date has been set for our departure, it will likely be sometime at the end of March next year. I will be working with the elders over the next few weeks and months to ensure that adequate preparation is made for how the church will run after I’m gone. In God’s providence, we will have on board a number of new deacons that will be ready and available to step up where and when help is needed.
It is the elders’ prayer that this announcement will not hamper the good work God is presently doing here, nor derail us from our prime objective, which is to proclaim the good news to the lost, to love and serve one another and be a light on the hill on which this church is placed. I encourage you to look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, and continue to run the race of endurance that is set before you (Heb 12:1-2). The Lord is faithful, and he will establish you and guard you against the evil one (2 Thess 3:3).
With love and affection in Jesus,