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Churches are attracting larger congregations

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

Media Release for Immediate Issue

27 September 2001

Several major Auckland Presbyterian Churches are attracting larger than usual congregations following the recent terrorism in the United States and the prospect of war.

At regular Sunday services and special services dedicated to this issue since the 11 September attack, churches are helping their regular worshippers and others come to terms with their emotions and feelings about the tragedy.

Rev David Clark at St Luke’s Remuera reported a “dramatic” growth in numbers at worship, with increases up of to 25% on normal (taking the numbers from 90 to 120 - 130). “People were in a stunned state,” Mr Clark said. “They appreciated the opportunity to light candles and remember that there is more good than bad in the world. People are also coming to church during the week, sometimes just to sit quietly and reflect.”

Rev Martin Baker of St Helliers also noted a “marked increase” in numbers at his regular service following the attacks. The several special services held that week also attracted good numbers to the church (30 - 50) . Members of St Helliers have been posting messages and emails from around the world on a large board – displaying the interconnectedness of humanity.

“The services have provided a way for the community to come together to affirm their values. They have provided people with a real sense of doing something and are a human expression of outreach and a response to helplessness,” Mr Baker said.

Rev Geoff New of Papakura East Presbyterian Church devoted the regular Sunday night service on 16 September to this topic. The number of church members who attended doubled over the regular figures (from 30 to 60). Mr New maintains that there is no distinction between practical and spiritual responses to the tragedy as some believe, “Faith does have a real cutting edge and practical element. The spiritual side is also practical.” People at the service found it useful to explore their raw emotions following the attacks, he said.

At Mt Roskill Rev Douglas Mansill opened up his Sunday morning service for the congregation to talk about the terrorism. The congregation reaffirmed its strong commitment to peace and will work on its peace-making responsibility.

Richard Davis, Media Liaison, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Office Phone: (04) 3818285
Home Phone: (04) 939 0144

Rev Geoff New, Papakura East Presbyterian Church
Phone: (09) 298 8543

Rev David Clark, St Luke’s Presbyterian Church, Remuera
Office Phone: (09) 520 0678
Home Phone: (09) 5248074
Mobile: (021) 2690942

Rev Martin Baker, St Heliers Presbyterian Church
Home Phone: (09) 575 7356
Office Phone: (09) 575 6098

Rev Douglas Mansill, Mt Roskill South – St Giles’ Presbyterian Church
Home Phone: (09) 620-8761

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