Baptist churches to merge
A Baptist church administration merger will help to meet demand in fast-growing southwest Christchurch, church leaders say.
The Spreydon and Halswell Baptist churches said yesterday that they had decided to merge.
Between them, the two congregations have more than 1500 people attending their Sunday services and hundreds more using their preschools, youth groups and other community services.
Spreydon Baptist senior pastor Alan Jamieson said the move would allow the churches to pool their resources and deal with the estimated 20,000 people expected to move into southwest Christchurch over the next decade.
''Especially post-quake, we realised there were opportunities to do more in the southwest,'' he said.
''We talked about it and decided to become one because we'll actually achieve more if we work together.''
The churches were considering whether to build on a third site in Wigram to house after-school programmes, other social services and a new church.
Jamieson said the churches would hold a combined service at the Air Force Museum in Wigram on Sunday to celebrate the merger.
A new name for the church will be chosen in April, with Southwest Baptist Church the current frontrunner.