Tag Archives: community-facing ministry

Touchstone March 2015 Review of Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight

Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight
– Engaged Ministry in Avondale Union and Manurewa Methodist Parishes

By ‘Alifeleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe

2014, Philip Garside Publishing, 68 pages

Reviewer: Brian Turner

“Rev Vai Ngahe has done what many clergy intend but few actually do – that is, to reflect on past ministries in order to traverse better the pathways ahead.

Vai has done this for the first nine years of his Auckland ministries in Avondale and Manurewa and he has shared his reflections with us by publishing them…Brave man! Vai utilizes compelling images from his Tongan background as well as a presbyter/minister in Aotearoa-NZ. Drawing on his experience in relating to the community in Avondale and Manurewa, he makes a strong case for congregations and parishes to relate more closely to the communities where they are located.

This raises a number of interesting questions. In what ways should the church relate to the community?

Should it offer programmes and initiatives that the wider community can join (for example, rebuilding the Rosebank church building as a community centre or painting a public mural at Manurewa) or should a parish/congregation relate to the good it sees being done by others in the community and offer its support without seeking to take over or dominate?

And who in the church should initiate community facing or joining activities? Historically, the NZ Methodist Church has said this is more the responsibility of the laity and diaconate (deacons) rather than presbyters. However, many presbyters have (like Vai) exercised strong community-facing priorities as well as in-church word and sacrament ministries.

More significantly, is Vai suggesting that the Kingdom of God is in fact the establishment of healthy communities in which the church is an integral contributor rather than a distant outsider? He seems close to this position when under the heading of a “Theology of Transformation” (page 50) he writes:

“We are no longer focussed within the church on the inside/us only. Our focus shifts the position to facing outside, to the community. The wider community also becomes us.”

That left me wondering if the oneness of church and community is more achievable in multi-ethnic communities than predominantly mono-ethnic ones. Vai himself advocates the importance of weaving together a multi-cultural community to support members within the church and people in the community. This pre-supposes that many multi-ethnic communities, and presumably those in which Vai has worked, are more open to the place of the church than communities elsewhere. In predominantly Pakeha Christchurch, for instance, when a congregation canvassed door to door and asked what people expected of the church, the response was invariably ‘Nothing…piss off!”

This suggests that in many communities there is a widening gap between church and community. Vai Ngahe is to be commended for developing ways to help bridge this gap. It remains to be seen whether such methods will work in all communities.” Touchstone March 2015

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Avondale Union Parish launch of Weaving, Networking and Taking Flight

On Saturday afternoon 8 November 2014 Vai Ngahe, invited guests and church members, held a second launch of his book at Rosebank Peninsula Church, Cnr of Rosebank Road & Orchard Street, Avondale.

Here are some photos of this wonderful community event.

WNTF_Avondale_Youth_Group

Mother of Divine Mercy youth group get ready to perform

 

WNTF_Avondale_Youth_Susan_Adams

Rev Dr. Susan Adams – former Director of Ministry Training Unit, Trinity College

 

 WNTF_Avondale_Ruby_Schaumkel

Ruby Manukia  Schaumkel – Whau Local Board member


WNTF_Avondale_Youth_Lisa_Truttman

Lisa J. Truttman – President Avondale – Waterview Society Inc

 

WNTF_Avondale_Youth_Catherine_Farmer

Catherine Farmer –  Chair, Whau Local Board

 

 WNTF_Avondale_Youth_John_Salmon

Rev Dr John Salmon – Former President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand

 

WNTF_Avondale_Youth_Vai_laughing

Rev Vai Ngahe shares a joke with the audience.

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“New Book Takes Wings” Review in Touchstone Dec. 2014 of Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight

New Book Takes Wings

By Sophie Parish

Review published in Touchstone Dec 2014

Rev Vai Ngahe uses symbols of nature to layout strategies for ministry in today’s world in his new book, ‘Weaving, Networking and Taking Flight’. The book was launched in Manurewa Methodist Church on Oct 25th. Those on hand for the event included local parishioners, business owners, and MPs.

In his book Vai reflects on 10 years of ministry in Avondale and Manurewa and the evolution of modern-day Methodism in the community. He records his growth as a minister and how each congregation has been transformed.

Reflecting on his work in Avondale, he highlights the importance of weaving together a multi-cultural community to support members within the church and people in the community. He writes about the importance of networking as a way to help transform lives.

Vai uses the symbol of the bird taking flight to write about his ministry in Manurewa. He describes how it has enabled him to see life from a higher and more spiritual perspective, and how the placement of the church is optimal for reaching the community on many levels.

Photos and articles in the book illustrate his journey and the improvements made to the Avondale church building and the outreach events organized at both churches to promote the love of Jesus and John Wesley’s message to go out into the community.

Vai offers concrete examples of how the church can thrive through the challenges of and changes in an increasingly secular society.

Available now in Paperback and Ebook.

WNTF_front_cover_200w_sq

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See the original review on page 12 of Touchstone Dec. 2014 here:
http://www.methodist.org.nz/touchstone

 

“We can’t stop the history of this place – we’re trying to write another story.”

 

‘Mr Ngahe said providing a place for children to safely and efficiently do their homework was something that was desperately needed in the community.

“I love to see kids achieve in themselves and their education – I love to see them coming in to do their homework and achieving their goals,” he said.

“It’s not only preaching the good word, it’s about actions – how can you put that into action? It’s important to preach in a practical way too.”

The church – which is part of the Avondale Union Parish – is continuing to fundraise to help pay for the renovations.

Mr Ngahe said the church was over 100 years old and was a building that had served the Avondale community long and proud.

“Finding ways to continue to use it for the benefit of locals was the priority rather than destroying a building that had long been a part of the community,” he said.

“It’s something for the community, by the community – something that will benefit and help make our community better.”

“We can’t stop the history of this place – we’re trying to write another story.” ‘

From an article ‘New role as community hub saves church from closure,’ by Vaimoana Tapaleao quoted in Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight: Engaged ministry in Avondale Union and Manurewa Methodist parishes 2006–2014. by Rev ‘Alifeleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe

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 Join Rev Ngahe at this Book Launch

3pm Sat. 8 Nov. 2014
Rosebank Peninsula Church
Cnr of Rosebank Road & Orchard Street, Avondale.

“We need to move from an individualistic view – it belongs to me – to a more communal view – it belongs to us.”

“A key to achieving this goal was to become a community centre, by establishing working relationships with the community through pastoral care, outreach programmes and educational opportunities.

 For me, transformation is about breaking through the barriers in our own understanding. We need to move from an individualistic view – it belongs to me – to a more communal view – it belongs to us. This changed view of life that always speaks about we, is one in which stuff belongs to everyone regardless of their culture or faith perspective or economic status. This seems to be a huge challenge for many people in the church. The hard part of transformation is shifting this way of seeing things. We are no longer focused within the church, on the inside/us only. Our focus shifts its position to facing outside, to the community. The wider community also become us. The church has to step up and walk an extra distance in understanding and acceptance of diversity.”

From Chapter 5 — Theological Themes of Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight: Engaged ministry in Avondale Union and Manurewa Methodist parishes 2006–2014. by Rev ‘Alifeleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe

Order now eBooks or Print book

Join Rev Ngahe at this Book Launch

3pm Sat. 8 Nov. 2014
Rosebank Peninsula Church
Cnr of Rosebank Road & Orchard Street, Avondale.

Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight by Vai Ngahe – coming mid-Oct 2014

Weaving, Networking & Taking Flight: Engaged Ministry in Avondale Union and Manurewa Methodist parishes 2006-2014  by ‘Alifeleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe
— Coming mid-October 2014

ISBN 9781501004476. 68pp. 6 x 9″ soft cover

Tongan Methodist minister ‘Alifeleti Vaitu’ulala Ngahe has been in full-time, ordained ministry for almost 10 years. This book reflects on those years in Avondale Union and Manurewa Methodist parishes in Auckland, New Zealand.

Rev Ngahe’s approach is to create strategies for change by engaging in deep theological thinking, in networking with key local people and organisations, and in careful reflection on learnings from his ministry. He believes all people in a community have a contribution to make and hopes this book will encourage church and other local leaders to work effectively in their communities.

Church life and ministry is changing. Alongside this, our communities are changing and are often stressed. How does the Church engage effectively with the communities in which they are set?

Rev Ngahe says, “Over my years in ministry it has become clear that people are excited and enthusiastic about engaging in God-talk and living out the Gospels. …communities come together when a vision and the possibility of achieving positive change are offered.”

Using the metaphors of weaving a mat, creating a network the way a spider spins a web and a bird taking flight, he explains how he has given new life to his parishes.

  • The mat represents the history of the church. Leaving the edges of the mat unfinished allows new stories and experiences to be woven in.
  • The web represents the network that needs to be deliberately built up between people in the church and the leaders and organisations that form the surrounding local community.
  • The bird reminds us that it takes a lot of energy to take flight. But when the community is working together and heading in the same direction, we can relax and enjoy the ride, soaring through the air.

Vai_Ngahe_PortraitTwo key projects demonstrate the power of church and community working together. The run-down Rosebank Penninsula Church building has been restored and transformed into a busy community centre. The outdoor mural at Manurewa Methodist church was painted by people of all ages from within the church and the wider local community. It remains a vibrant symbol of that church’s role as the Corner of Hope.

Rev Ngahe’s enthusiastic and yet deeply thoughtful, methodical approach will provide inspiration for all who are engaged in multicultural Christian ministry.