There's no "I" in Clutha - 29th Mar 2018

The unforgiving cold of South Otago made it’s presence known in the house of a young Balclutha Presbyterian family, last winter.

Desperate for warmth, a call by the Minister of the Balclutha Presbyterian Church to the Owaka Presbyterian Church.

“Can anyone please tell us where we can find firewood?”

Unbeknown to the caller, the receiver had a personal stash of dry wood, that was kindly offered.

The good Samaritan immediately loaded his twin-trailer, drove 50kms and restored the heat of the chilled house.

Selflessness, such as this, is part of Balclutha Presbyterians Churches’ new relationship with Owaka Presbyterian Church.

It continued after Balclutha decided to help resource Owaka, early last year.

Reverend Rob Pendreigh, Minister at Balclutha Presbyterian Church, says their church wanted to help another.

“We had three options, and we chose Owaka. Mainly because most of our congregation have strong ties with Owaka” he said.

Because Balclutha’s church demographic is older, physical work like lifting bricks wasn’t on their capability-list! Instead they offered less intensive resourcing.

“We asked them, ‘what do you need help with?’ They said they needed a minister, now I preach there once every couple of months. We also help them with the everyday stuff too,” He said.

With Owaka’s lean congregation numbers, of 20, Balclutha’s support was received well.

“I think they feel hopeful now. They only have three leaders, which makes them feel less alone too,” He said.

“We want to uplift them. They have desires to set up a youth group and we want to help. Although, in small towns, it can be hard. If one family leaves the whole congregation can drop.”

Rob appreciates being able to bless Owaka with advice and guidance, but he ensures that he doesn’t overstep.

“We aren’t trying to take over. We want them to hold their identity and dignity.”

Robs congregation extend their helping-hands too, saying we “pray for them often.”

“This whole thing has given our church a sense of satisfaction, we love knowing that we’re doing something Kingdom building!”

The blessing isn’t one-sided either. Balclutha and Owaka have adopted a serving relationship – both churches seek to selflessly help one another.

Along with Owaka’s help in restoring one of Balclutha’s families’ warmth, they have offered prayer for times of need too.

“Owaka pray for their community, and now they’ve started asking me if there’s anyone in Balclutha that they could pray for,” he said.

“We had an older lady that needed healing. There was no blood flow in one of her legs. The doctors said it had to be amputated.”

“Owaka prayed every day for a week! Miraculously, the doctors found a vein, they hadn’t seen before, and she kept her leg!”

Support for one another will continue this year, with Rob suggesting that they might look at combined services as well. 

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