The Churches of Greymouth enjoy the benefit of a number of long-term clergy and pastors who have formed good friendships and relationships with one another combined with newer clergy and pastors who are keen to connect ecumenically. The result is a strong sense of ecumenical unity that plays out in joint activities, responses to issues and good fellowship and prayer at our Minister’s Association meetings.
One example of how that sense of unity has worked out long-term has been the annual Combined Churches carol service in the local Regent Theatre which has been running for close to thirty years and is a feature for many in the community’s Christmas celebrations, Christian or otherwise. It’s always a good night of singing, dance, drama, humour and a poignant message towards the end with three to four hundred in attendance.
A more recent example of our unity was our coming together this year (2017) for the new Alpha Film Series where many of the churches were involved from hosting the starting dinner to providing venues for courses. We share leadership across the churches and joined forces for the Holy Spirit Day. We were blessed to see quite a number of people growing in their faith, experiencing healings and more.
The town has struggled economically over the last few years but the consistency and unity of the town’s churches have I believe been a point of stability for our community.
In 1999 the Anglican Church of Greymouth and Kumara appointed a new youth worker by the name of Nicky Mora. Her husband Tim had just arrived in the Parish as a trainee priest and both had had experience in youth work.
Very quickly under their joint leadership, the youth group grew and expanded into a community-based youth project for the young people of the Grey District with administration and oversight support provided by the church.
The church’s support also includes the provision of “The Shed,” a multi-purpose youth activities centre with an amazing range of facilities. The project has been very successful with around 20% of the High School aged young people in the Grey District currently on the total roll.
The project was put in place because it was recognized that on the Coast young people can miss out on opportunities and don’t always have the support they need to get through the teenage years and the struggles that brings easily. It was in recognition of this that the Greymouth Churches Community Youth Project was established and gathered together an amazingly dedicated team of volunteers.
The aims of the project are to provide weekly and other programmes and activities that meet the needs of the young people in the Grey District in a safe and controlled environment.
These programmes include social, recreational and skills learning activities. Camps and outdoor wilderness activities (often subsidized). We involve ourselves in community initiatives and run social justice projects. We are members of the West Coast Youth Workers Collective, network with DCYFS, the High Schools, the police and District Council and have twice been awarded the supreme Trustpower Award for overall best community project in the Grey District.
Tim Mora, Archdeacon
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