It was a day of celebration all around for Stratford Church on the 8th of February 2020. The mortgage on the church building had been paid off in full, which was something of a miracle for a church of 11 members with 25 regular attending worship. Under the able and passionate leadership of Pr Bruce Mason, Stratford members have worked with great commitment to reach this goal within a few short years.
Dedicating the church and giving thanks for how God is working in Stratford was North New Zealand Conference President Pastor Ben Timothy. “Dedication of a new church calls for our dedication as God’s people” was the charge given to the Stratford Church by Pr. Timothy. “The church is people,” said Pr. Timothy, as he preached from 1 Peter 2:4-5 and admonished the church to keeping the vision alive by being built as living stones founded on the precious cornerstone, Jesus himself.
The Church was originally a house and workshop, that was bought in 2014. After a year of repairs and renovations, the congregation started worshipping there in 2015, yet held off dedicating the premises until the final mortgage payment was made.
“The day was a testimony of faith of a small congregation and its pastor to proceed with purchasing and renovating a building despite shortage of funds to complete it,” Pr. Timothy shared, “ and we saw how God answered prayers here in providing.”
Taking on extra work such as painting, chopping wood and other jobs, the private contributions along with God’s miraculous provisions made it possible to pay the loan off so fast.
The church maintains an active presence in the community through its drop-in centre, where the community at large is served through meeting practical needs. Along with Pr Timothy’s admonitions to keep the vision alive, and to continue serving the community with God’s love, Regional Pastor Pr Anton Van Wyk prayed for the Church to impact the whole town of Stratford and the surrounding region.
For Pr Bruce Mason it was a joy to see the completion of the building project before he moves to his next district of churches. “We have seen too many miracles, “ said Pr Mason, “that I know it is only by the grace of God that we have completed the Church and paid the mortgage.”
Pr Kirsten Øster Lundqvist NNZC Communication and media officer, with Pr Bruce Mason
Photo Credit Pr Bruce Mason & Pr Ben Timothy