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Building the Future on Past Experiences

By Fritha Tagg | Waihi Leader, 26 September 2013 Issue

Waihi Baptist Church is celebrating 110 years in Waihi and is looking at the different eras it has been in existence. The church started back in 1901 when two services were held each Sunday in the Foresters' Hall in Upper Haszard Street. By September 1903 the church was 'constituted' with a foundation membership of 27. In 1904 the church acquired its own property, purchasing the Miners Union Hall which was at Waitekauri and moving it to a site in Seddon Street. After renovations and alterations, it was opened Sunday December 4, 1904. This is the building which is now the Waihi Art Market.

The opening services of the Waihi Baptist Church in its new premises were conducted by the Rev. William Perry. Present day pastor of the Waihi Baptist Church, Tim Palmer, said the celebrations this year will be carried out over four weeks.

"Our approach for this 110 year occasion is to focus on several different eras in our past, and incorporate it into our Sunday morning service over a month. We're attempting to have a bit of fun as we relive some of those times, bringing back old fashions, music styles, stories, and a past minister each week," he said.

He is excited about Don Hopkins coming next weekend.

"He is an incredibly lovely man, now in his 80s. He was the minister at Waihi Baptist from 1953 to 1957 (when the church was still meeting on the main street in the building that is now the Art Market) and is the oldest previous minister of our church.

"He was in his 20s at the time, got married and had his first two children during his time in Waihi. Some of our older church members were teenagers while Don was here. He is bursting with memories and stories about Waihi. I'm looking forward to spending some time with him and his wife."

Waihi Baptist is now a thriving contemporary community with over 200 regular attenders of all ages.

Mr. Palmer said he wanted to explore what it means for the church to continue to adapt its style and approach to the way we do church, while still holding on to the timeless truth and values of our Christian faith heritage.

"We want to be a church that continues to make a positive impact in our community in the future."

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