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Inclusive community in the heart of Mangere

Guest blog from pastor Keli Pepa, Mizpah Community SDA Church based in the heart of Mangere

Many would agree that it is an absolute joy seeing things work together in such a way that it creates something beautiful. 

A conversation with Le Va’s Ben Tameifuna, who plays a major roles in facilitating the #WeAreChurch programme, and other activities and resources supporting people with disabilities in church, tied in with the vision of “EMBRACED” which is a movement led by a group of young leaders from the Mizpah Community SDA Church based in the heart of Mangere.

This Church is also home to Ben and his family. His father Ika Tameifuna is one of the founders of the church and has for many years been one of the leading Elders. 

Accepting people regardless…

The #WeAreChurch initiative is what “EMBRACED” is all about. It’s about the acceptance of all people regardless of ethnicity, physical appearance, status or background. It is also about creating a safe space and an environment where people do not feel judged and where people feel a sense of love and community.

Many would agree that it is an absolute joy seeing things work together in such a way that it creates something beautiful. 

It just so happened that our Bible study group had been looking into the book of John in Chapter 5, 1-15 where it speaks about a pool called Bethesda where a great number of people with disabilities used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralysed. There was a man present who had been disabled for 38 years. Many people were heading towards the temple and passing by, yet Jesus took the time to have a conversation with him. Not only did he take the time to hang out with him, he healed him as well.

Look around… 

This same message was preached behind the pulpit at “EMBRACED”, with the sermon entitled “Look Around”, encouraging the congregation not to have tunnel vision and walk our Christian walk, while missing those who we may pass by and simply neglect because we are focussed on our own private issues. Jesus had huge love and empathy and took time to express that to others in society that were in need. 

I believe these are the crucial elements that Church should naturally provide.

The stories and testimonials from the #WeAreChurch promotional clip resonated with our congregation in a very special way. It was a timely reminder of the fact that the spirit of Church is found in an inclusive community, and that at times traditions, formalities and set programmes can only do so much. The heart of the church is when the spirit of Jesus, one of love, compassion, and empathy is found in every individual inside and outside of the church gates.

The heart of the church is when the spirit of Jesus, one of love, compassion, and empathy is found in every individual inside and outside of the church gates.

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From time to time news is provided by guest contributors.

Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.