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Ministry is good for soul

KARINA ABADIA
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014
Evan Silva

NEW BEGINNINGS: Evan Silva, left, has started Sunday services at the church in Orakei Reserve with help from his old friend Tamaki Tumahai.

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Evan Silva is getting back to his roots.

The soul and R ‘n' B singer who grew up in Orakei has started a Sunday service in the church at Okahu Reserve.

As well as having a passion for music, he and his wife Carol are both ministers and have been giving church services since 1975.

After living in Australia for many years and performing in various bands the couple moved to the North Shore and started the slightly unconventional Harbour City Church.

"Church would happen on a Sunday morning but we would also have cafe nights. I'd perform and I'd pull other people in to do stuff. It was like a jazz club," Mr Silva says.

When the building was sold they moved to another Takapuna venue but recently the couple have felt a change was coming.

Mr Silva's childhood friend Tamaki Tumahai of Ngati Whatua Orakei was integral to that change.

When Mr Tumahai's daughter Sonia died last May he invited Mr Silva to attend the funeral at Orakei Marae. Mr Silva, 66, is of Tongan, Portuguese and French heritage and it was the first time he had been on a marae.

"I was a stranger on the marae but I was an ex-Orakei boy who had probably walked away from a lot of stuff. I guess a lot of people were saying, who was that?"

After seeing Mr Silva in action in his Takapuna church, Mr Tumahai went to his elders and suggested Mr Silva be invited to start a new service in the church opposite Okahu Bay.

A Ratana church service is held there on Sunday mornings but Mr Tumahai thought there was room for an afternoon service.

"The elders thought it was a great idea and they encouraged me to throw it in as an option. I think what really got to my relations is that we've got a guy who is from here who moved away and now he's come back and he's brought with him a group of Christians. They just can't get over the fact that we are giving the building more use."

The first service was held last Sunday at 1.30pm and about 60 people attended.

"I was probably a little nervous because I just want to do it right," Mr Silva says.

"I feel like I'm getting more accustomed to the mix of Maori and English being spoken. It's not my show as such. In amongst the service I love encouraging participation."

The beauty of the place is it provides for everything, Mr Tumahai says. Prayer meetings will be held at the church and there will be picnics on the grounds as well as baptisms in Okahu Bay.

"The doors are open and anybody who is interested is welcome to come along," Mr Silva says.

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- East And Bays Courier

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