The Waka Whakamua is made up of 30 providers, businesses, churches and organisations focused on working together to deliver services supporting and strengthening youth, whanau and the wider community. Scott Clifford is the Pastor of Ascend Church and also the representative of the faith-based collective, he chatted with Andrew Urquhart on Rhema. Interview with Scott Clifford on Radio Rhema
We have seen a continuation of our traditional strengths: the Christmas Day Community Lunch (put on by the combined Churches, local businesses and the Mayor’s office) served over 500 of the most vulnerable in our city, and the Combined Good Friday Service saw about 700 Believers from dozens of different Churches worship together once again (not even a tropical storm could put us off!).
Two new opportunities presented themselves to the Rotorua Association of Christian Churches this year that were unique and timely. Waka Whakamua and Te Hāhi.
A community trust based on collective impact was officially launched (after 2+ years of dialogue and strategy). Waka Whakamua (meaning: Moving Forward, Together) is made up of 6 community collectives, including a Faith-Based/Church Collective. The vision of Waka Whakamua is “Transformed communities, full of hope and prosperity!” Having just received significant funding for this charitable trust at the end of 2017, the future is bright for the Church of our city to continue to impact those around us!
When former policewoman Tui Keenan moved to Rotorua last year our city was blessed! Tui had started a cooperative between local Churches and local Police to help curb incidents of ‘domestic harm’ (including domestic violence) in her hometown of Gisborne and wanted to help facilitate the same thing here in Rotorua.
Te Hāhi (meaning: The Faith) began over the holiday period 2017 and is seeing the same fruit in Rotorua as it has in Tairawhiti. Local pastors, current and former Area Commanders, parishioners, chaplains and many others are banding together to help shift the atmosphere of our city and region!
The other significant event we participate in together is the Christmas Day Community Lunch. In partnership with churches (providing volunteers and organisation), government (the Mayor provides the Events Centre out of the Mayoral Fund and local MPs get involved), business (donating food and gifts) and the community (with volunteers and participants) it is truly a cooperative effort!
Last year over 400 folks who would have gone without on Christmas received a top-notch meal with all the trimmings and presents for the children. As I was leaving I noticed one of our MPs still vacuuming away as almost everyone had gone home. Everyone chipped in. We would love to model more events on this type of collaboration in the future!
There is a sign on the way into the city of Rotorua along the State Highway that reads, “Feel the spirit!”. The churches of our city are working together to make sure this happens!
Chairman RACC, Pastor – Ascend Church Rotorua
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