On the 16th of December 2017 the attendance at Gisborne Seventh-day Adventist church nearly doubled for the ordination ceremony of  Pastor John Smolka.

Following his graduation in 2012 from Avondale college with a graduate diploma in theology and ministry, Pastor John accepted the position of pastor at Gisborne church. He relocated his family, wife Heather and daughters Enya and Alana, from Australia to this far eastern corner of New Zealand, where they were warmly welcomed into the local church community. Despite the remoteness of his posting, Pastor John’s ability to touch the lives of people far and wide was not hindered. This was evidenced by attendees from as far as Auckland in the North, and Masterton in the south. Together with friends of Pastor John from Gisborne’s wider Christian community, these people helped to swell the numbers in attendance on the day. Though they are not just numbers!  Pastor John chose in his response time to personally present the name of each of the 89 people present, before the Lord, acknowledging them and sharing God’s aroha around.

Presiding over the ordination was lead Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, along with pastors Ben Timothy, and Brad Kemp. Corrie Kemp, partners in ministry coordinator for the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference was also on hand to share some words of encouragement and affirmation with Pastor John’s ‘partner in ministry’ Heather Smolka.

The ordination ceremony was followed by a bountiful lunch that was enjoyed by all and for the enthusiastic,  an afternoon stroll by the  sea and a picnic tea.

– Graciously submitted by an anonymous Gisborne church member