Howick Baptist’s first meeting

As we look ahead as a church family to the mission of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes it’s worth being reminded of what’s happened in the past. On the evening of 16th November, 1950, a group of people met in the Howick Postmaster’s home which was then situated behind the Post Office in Picton St, Howick.

Here are the minutes from that very first meeting.

Minutes of the first meeting of the Howick Baptist Fellowship, held on 16th November, 1950, at the residence of the Postmaster, Mr L.N. Clarkson.


Rev. Ridland Jamieson, minister at North Memorial, Mr C.T. McRae, president of the Auckland Auxiliary, Mr & Mrs J. Kemp, Miss O. Kemp, Miss Earl, Mr G. Greenman, Mr & Mrs N. Nicholson, Mr & Mrs L. Clarkson, Miss A. Clarkson and Mr A. Clarkson. 

Mr Jamieson opened the meeting with prayer, followed by the hymn “Jesus we look to Thee, Thy promised presence claim”, sung from the Baptist Hymnal.

The Bible Reading was taken from Acts 3:1-18.

The next hymn to be sung was “I Need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord”, followed by a period of very fervent prayer for the work of God in and around Howick.

A challenge, based on the Bible Reading, was then delivered by Mr Jamieson. He drew attention to the fact that immediately the Christian Church was formed it faced a challenge – the challenge of all the misery, physical and spiritual, which abounded on every side. It was soon after Pentecost that Peter and John were confronted with need in the shape of a lame man. But they had a message for power and hope for him, and were able to restore him to full spiritual and physical vigour. Today we are in a world which is just as needy as the lame man. The physical need may not be so great, but all around us are people who need the message of power and hope which we possess. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth we can command them to “rise and walk”.

Mr MrCrae, on taking over the second part of the meeting, said how pleased he was that a Fellowship was being formed in Howick. There was a need for a Baptist cause here because of the distance from Baptist Churches and because of the need of a more evangelical witness. There was no need to fear that the Fellowship would not grow, because the population of the area was quickly increasing and other Baptists would be moving in. He then opened the meeting for general discussion.

Mr L Clarkson described the way in which he had been led to suggest the organisation of a Fellowship. He said the progress being made in the district was very rapid indeed. Someone had prophesied that the population would reach ten thousand within a few years. It behoved the Baptists to “get in on the ground floor” and seize the opportunities now present.

It was moved by Mr L Clarkson that a Baptist fellowship should be set up in Howick. This was seconded by Mr N. Nicholson and carried.

On the motion of Mr Jamieson, seconded by Mr Kemp and carried, it was decided that Mr A Clarkson should be appointed Secretary.

It was decided to hold monthly meetings, the next to be held at the Postmaster’s residence on the 14th December, the Auxiliary to supply a speaker.

After a hymn and benediction, a pleasant social intercourse was experienced over a cup of tea.

Signed: Ridland Jamieson, Chairman (14.12.50)

A message from Richard Cutforth

To my brothers and sisters in Christ at Howick Baptist,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome we have already had in your church. Donelda and myself already feel at home in this church and we look forward to meeting many of you and having fellowship with you.

As the interim pastor, I want to be able to provide some form of continuity over the next few months as you look for a new pastor. My prayer is that you will continue to be taught the Word of God well – that the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will be proclaimed and that you will continue to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

While I am here part-time, I want to be able to shepherd the flock and for people who want to come and have a chat, I will endeavour to be here on Tuesday and Thursdays.

One of my favourite verses is found in Colossians 1:28-29:

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

This I will endeavour to do while I am here.

Please pray for me and Donelda as we serve you. Please make yourself known to us for we love getting to know people. Even though Donelda is unable to speak, she can communicate and so would love you to come and talk to her.

We pray that God will bless our time with you –

Ministering together for the gospel,


A farewell message from Peter


As I look back over the years that I have ministered at this church there is one dominating theme that comes to my mind: God’s faithfulness. Throughout all the difficulties and trials, triumphs and blessings, times of need and times of abundance, God has been faithful. He has been faithful to his people, faithful to His Word, and faithful to his promise to build his church and bless those who are part of it.

There has been much good that has happened. A lot of ground has been taken for the Kingdom of God. People have been equipped, souls have been saved, new ministries have developed, pastors have been trained, and more recently – a missionary has been sent. There is no room for boasting here – from me or anyone else. One plants and another waters but it is God who causes the growth (1 Cor 3:7). Not one ounce of growth, not one inch of advancement for the Kingdom of God happens unless the Lord initiates it. I’ve seen hard work done for the Kingdom with practically no results and I’ve seen hard word done with wonderful results. The difference lies not with the labourer(s) but with the Spirit of the Lord who empowers and prospers His work.

People of HBC: thank you for your support over all these years. Thank you for your faithful service week in and week out. Thank you for your love for the truth and your eagerness to have it faithfully proclaimed and taught. Thank you worship leaders, for enriching our church with Christ-exalting, soul enriching, Gospel-centered songs week in and week out. Thank you Sunday School teachers, for putting effort into your preparation each week so that our children may grasp the greatness of God, the depth of their sin and their need for a Saviour. There are many more who should be acknowledged and one day will be acknowledged by our Lord and Saviour before the eyes of all.

Elders of HBC: thank you for your faithful service. It’s been a privilege to serve alongside of you these years. Thank you for your tireless service (and the many late nights), your love and commitment to God’s church and your deep care for his people. Thank you for your patience with me and the gentle and caring way you addressed my blind spots and weaknesses (particularly my impulsiveness). Under God, you have helped me to grow. HBC Staff – Ray and Geoffrey: thank you for sacrificing personal time and energy – going beyond the call of duty time and time again, so that the people and work of HBC may prosper. Yours is a labour of love. Your servant hearts shine you through for all to see. You are both a great example to us all.

I will miss you all dear friends. Please pray for me, that I may stay faithful to the preaching of God’s Word and that I would remain humble and teachable so that God can grow me into the pastor He wants me to be. I have such a long way to go and there are many things I still need to learn. I know that the Lord will take care of you. He will supply you with the right Senior Pastor, who will continue to feed and nourish and build you, and even take you where I could not lead you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Peter Somervell, Senior Pastor (2006-2014)

Notice of 2015 Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given of the 63rd Annual General Meeting which will be held in the Church Auditorium on Wednesday 25th March 2015 at 7.30pm. For your information, the agenda is included below. Printed copies will be available in the church foyer on Sunday morning.

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 2:1-5

Interim Pastor Candidate and Notice of Special Members Meeting

Update 12/3/2015: At a Special Members Meeting on Sunday 8 March, the members of HBC voted in favour of appointing Richard Cutforth as interim pastor. We thank God for His faithfulness and provision.


In November last year, our Senior Pastor Peter Somervell announced that he had accepted a call to serve as Lead Pastor in Grace Church in Richmond, Nelson. Peter, Francelle and his family will be greatly missed as they begin a new chapter of their ministry at the end of March.

As per Section 5.1.1 of our Constitution, the Church may, on the recommendation of the elders, appoint an Interim Pastor to temporarily oversee pulpit arrangements in consultation with other pastoral staff and elders. An Interim Pastor helps to prepare the church by providing leadership and stability while the Search Committee looks for a new Senior Pastor.

Some of you are aware the elders have been working with a possible candidate to take up a role as Interim Pastor at HBC. They are now able to make their recommended candidate public: he is Richard Cutforth, pastor of Papakura Baptist Church.


The pastors of HBC have enjoyed a long and happy relationship with Richard over the years and he is held in high regard by many in our gospel-preaching network.

A full profile of Richard, along with his proposed job description, can be found below.

In light of this, the elders give notice that a special members meeting is scheduled for Sunday, 8 March to vote on whether to accept this appointment. If you have any queries or concerns regarding this, the elders encourage you to speak to them prior to that date. Please continue to pray for us as a church, that God would be glorified and the gospel would advance through the upcoming year.

(Click here to view the candidate profile and proposed role description.)