The shell of an old Henderson panel beating shop will be transformed into the home base of a community-focused church.
Word of Life Church senior pastor Tavale Matai'a says the process for his parish to have its own premises has been a long time coming.
"It's been a nomadic journey. We started off at Epsom Primary School, then we moved on to Auckland Intermediate School. From there we went to New Lynn, and then on to St Pauls College," he says.
Pastor Matai'a co-founded the church 16 years ago and it now operates in the chapel owned by funeral director and former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala.
The church's new premises is next door to the funeral home.
Mr Tuigamala, manager of Tuigamala Family Funerals, noticed the panelbeaters' site was available at the start of the year.
Pastor Matai'a says a new home will give more than 150 parishioners who attend the church a sense of belonging.
"It will bring a sense of identity to the church. It will be our home base, so to speak.
"We will now be able to settle down and be more involved with the community. We are so grateful that somehow we found this place," he says.
Mr Tuigamala co-ordinates the Men's Ministry, a group within the church that empowers men to be good role models.
The new premises will allow the church to form a stronger community focus, he says.
"Gone are the days where the so-called traditional churches are just a Sunday thing. This is a bit different in that we will be more modern and accessible to the people out there. We have a real desire to be accessible to people in the area and that's what church really is all about," he says.
Pastor Matai'a says a range of exciting new programmes are set to feature as part of the church getting its own premises.
Programmes include a home-group study centre, counselling centre, and marriage seminars.
"Those things we really want to impact the community with. It's not just Sunday worship, although that's still very important and is a priority. It's going to be a busy centre," he says.
All money raised for the purchase and renovations of the 350 square metre building, has come from donations and fundraisers throughout the years the church has been in operation.
"We're very mindful that we don't burden the people financially. It's the faithfulness and loyalty of members of the church who give what they can afford, no more, or no less. It's all out of their hearts," Pastor Matai'a says.
Construction will start in late November and finish by February 2013. A concrete wall will be knocked down to create an auditorium and a toilet block, kitchen and several offices will be built.
The church is holding a fundraising spring gala on October 27 from 8am to 3pm.
The gala will include a garage sale and cake stall.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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