Palmerston North Central Baptist Church welcomes new senior pastor


Stephen Fail and his family have been welcomed to the Palmerston North Central Baptist Church.

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Stephen Fail and his family have been welcomed to the Palmerston North Central Baptist Church.

Palmerston North Central Baptist Church has welcomed new senior pastor Stephen Fail.

Recently, more than 400 people attended a special morning church service to mark the commissioning.

Following a mihi whakatau led by Rewai Te Kahu, which included a karakia and welcome speech on behalf of the church elders and wider church membership, Fail and wife Lesley, along with their teenage children Hanna and Joshua, were welcomed by members of the Filipino and West Papuan church communities as well as a large group representing the Chinese congregation that meets on site each Sunday.

Over a shared lunch, leaders of close to 30 church activities and community programmes introduced themselves and their areas of ministry to the new pastor, including Meal on Wheels, Te Aroha Noa, Mainly Music and the recently formed practice of Nga Kaitiaki o te Taiao, environmentally sustainable practice.

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Fail brings to the church a wealth of experience, having spent 21 years in leadership roles in Germany and the United States with Youth With a Mission before returning to New Zealand to a senior position with Crossroads Church in Palmerston North in 2012.

His years of international experience and leadership have prepared him for his new role in one of New Zealand’s largest Baptist church congregations.

A large group of friends and supporters from the Crossroads Church, led by one of its pastors, Craig Fluery, was present to provide a sense of handing over their beloved leader and family.

Fail filled a position left vacant when the previous senior pastor, Bill Dewar, departed in January to take up a senior role within the pastoral team at Whenuapai with the New Zealand Defence Force.

In his speech to the meeting, Fail acknowledged the competent and caring way pastor Tim Hart had led the church as interim senior pastor during the past eight months, especially when faced with the challenges the Covid-19 lockdown period presented.

Fail will be assisted by associate pastor Tim Hart, Chinese congregation pastor Akang Ko, youth associate pastor Kate Dunstan-Brown and children and families pastor, Julie Christie.

The church has two English services on Sundays at 9am and 10.30am, and a Mandarin service at 10am.