Kia ora koutou dear friends.
I write to inform you that the members of Tauranga Lutheran Fellowship (TLF) voted recently to close their congregation.
No doubt many of you will be sad to hear this news. However, this decision has come after much prayer and conversation as the people of TLF have sought God’s will for their future.
The decision also comes on the back of the findings of the Acts 15:36 Tour in September last year, steadily declining membership, and in the knowledge that the 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between St Matthew Hamilton and the three Bay of Plenty congregations will finish at the end of May.
The MOU provided pastoral care in the form of the Hamilton-based pastor being available for the three Bay of Plenty congregations as well as St Matthew. However, as the LCNZ wrestles with how to use resources, time, people and opportunity in the most efficient manner for the sake of the gospel, the decision has been made to release Pastor John Davison to focus on a Hamilton-only ministry.
The members of the Bay of Plenty congregations are to be acknowledged and thanked as they recognised that this was the best use of the Hamilton-based pastor. They have, in effect, given something up, so that something might be gained in Hamilton; viz. a more effective ministry there.
This coming Sunday (1st June), Pastor John Davison will conduct his last service as pastor of the Bay of Plenty congregations. This service will be held at Whakatane Lutheran Church - 27-29 Hinemoa Street, Whakatane - at 10.30am and will be followed by a “bring and share” lunch.
The closing service of Tauranga Lutheran Fellowship (TLF) will be held on Sunday 15th June at 10.00am at Leon and Carole Jurgens’ home in Tauranga. I will lead this service.
Anyone reading this with a past or present connection with Tauranga Lutheran Fellowship is invited to send a word of greeting for this closing service (greetings can be sent to my email –firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kia tau ki a koutou te atawhai me te rangimarie o te Atua; grace and peace to you all from God
Bishop of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand
Pihopa o te Hāhi Rūtana o Aotearoa