St Heliers Church Community
Haere mai, Welcome
안녕하세요, 你好, salaam, welkom, willkommen, Здравей, hola
He whanau kotahi tātou i roto i te Karaiti. In Christ, we are one family. From the littlest to the greatest, the old and the young, every gender, culture, ethnicity, and orientation: all are welcome here.
We seek to be a thriving and diverse Christian community, reaching out and welcoming in, blessing God in prayer and worship and sharing in God's blessing of the world through loving service.
Services of Worship Sundays 10am
Our Sunday gatherings
Scripture guides our worship and our life together, cultivating our imagination of God's coming kingdom and helping us to follow the way of Jesus. We seek to be biblically faithful as well as open and inquisitive as the Spirit speaks to us ever anew.
We gather every week on Sunday morning for a service of worship followed by fellowship together over morning tea. Come as you are. No need to dress up. Our services have an informal feel with a simple, dignified flow, consisting of prayer, singing hymns and psalms together, and reflecting on scripture. The music is a mix of traditional, contemporary, contemplative, and homegrown. Services last about an hour.
Celebrating Holy Communion
We celebrate Holy Communion four times a year on the second Sunday of March, June, September and December.
Children and families
We welcome people of all ages and stages. That means children are allowed to be themselves, being inquisitive, making noise, and participating in whatever is going on!
Every week there is an address for children and an activity relating to the theme.
Tune in online
All our services of worship are streamed online. You can watch them live or browse past services on our livestream Facebook page.
Retirement village services
We offer a fortnightly service of worship at St Andrew's Village and Grace Joel Retirement Village. On alternating weeks, St Philips Anglican Church conduct worship. All welcome.
St. Andrew's Thursday 1pm
Grace Joel Thursday 2pm
Baptism and dedication
If you are interested in getting baptised or having your child baptised, please contact our minister, Jordan, at email@example.com.
He would love to meet you and talk further about is involved in baptism and the promises that are made.
Because baptism is about being welcomed into the body of Christ, the family of the church, it is a public act that takes place in a regular service of worship, usually during a Sunday morning service.
St Heliers Presbyterian Church Community
St Heliers has been part of the Eastern Bays community for over one hundred years.
We acknowledge the mana whenua - Ngāti Whatua , Ngati Paoa, and other iwi on whose land we gather. As such, we affirm that we are here as tangata whenua and tangata tiriti, bound to one another and called to journey together towards a future of truth, justice and peace for all.
We are part of an ancient story, pilgrims on the way, seeking to be faithful to the way of Jesus and opening ourselves up to the Spirit, who is leading us into God's future.
By sharing in the life, hope and way of Jesus Christ, we hope to become a thriving and diverse community, reaching out to welcome and serve all.
Our ancestor is Jesus Christ and as such the St Heliers Church community is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess in the same God as Christians all over the world. Like them, we believe God was uniquely revealed in Jesus and that we are part of his family.
Within this global movement, we stand in the Reformed stream and are part of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The PCANZ is a broad church with a rich diversity of beliefs, cultures, and styles and yet we are held together by our common commitment to Jesus Christ and our belonging in his family by the one Spirit.
Openness: We value inclusiveness, truthfulness, listening to all points of view, and searching for and learning new ways that can help people grow spiritually.
Generosity: We value friendliness, hospitality and giving sacrificially for what we believe in.
Love: We value the greatest Christian virtue of love so we can be compassionate and support and serve other peoples’ needs.
Living what we preach: We want the community to recognise that our faith in Jesus Christ is genuine and relevant both to us and all people.
Introducing Our Ministry Team
If you would like a visit from the minister or one of our pastoral care team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 027 428 5234. The minister is also available for Home Communion.
We conduct fortnightly services at St. Andrews Village and Grace Joel Retirement Village. To find out more, contact the minister.
Small groups are a great to find community and support. We currently have two permanent small groups. If you are interested in joining a group, please email email@example.com
If you would like to serve regularly in our church community, email firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you to all who make our church services possible by offering your time and gifts. Check out the 2023 Church Roster 1.6.23
Musicians and singers
Love to sing? Enjoying playing with other musicians? Contact the minister to become part of our wonderful music team!
What's coming up
For the latest information about what's coming up, follow our church community facebook page here.
Services are livestreamed here.
You might also like to follow our Community Centre page for information about other upcoming events in the wider community here.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The week of prayer for Christian unity begins this Sunday 21 May and concludes on Pentecost (28 May). Daily prayer resources can be found on the World Council of Churches website.
Pentecost, For the common good by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter 7, I am with you always by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter 6, Speaking truth to power by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter 5, The Wounded Healer by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter 4, Living Stones by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter 3, We will remember by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter 2, A new birth into a living hope by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Easter Day, The Great What If by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Lent 5, The cost of unforgiveness by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Lent 4, Learning to forgive by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
Lent 3, Becoming little by Rev Dr Jordan Redding
You can find more sermons here
The story of St Heliers Presbyterian Church begins with a newly married couple called Mr. and Mrs. Dickey. They used to travel by horse to West Tāmaki, where the closest Presbyterian service was. They asked the minister, Rev. Morgan Richards, whether services could be started at St. Heliers.
Rev. Richards took up the challenge. Alongside services at Howick and Tāmaki, he agreed to conduct regular services at St. Heliers.
The first service, consisting of 25 people, was held on 5 December 1915. The first church building wasn't a church at all, but an old furniture factory. Apparently, though the numbers were small, the congregation loved to sing hymns vigorously, led by organist Miss Pilkington. To this day, St Heliers maintains a fine tradition of music and singing.
The congregation grew and the need soon arose for a church to be built. The original site was where the St Heliers Public Library now stands. At the time it was a bit of a bog. However, the congregation made it work. In a remarkable act of industriousness, the community rallied to built the church in a day (see below)! The first service in the building was held the very next day on Sunday 10 December 1916.
A Church on the Move (1919-1927)
From 1919-1927, St Heliers became a home mission station, known as the "Somervell Memorial Outfield". It wasn't yet big enough to be sustainable, and so it was supported by Somervell Memorial Church on Remuera Rd.
In 1924, the church moved up the hill to its current site. Literally. The photo above shows the church building being transported by a sturdy steam traction engine. It was moved to make way for a Post Office, which was required for the site.
A Church Extension Charge (1927-1941)
While the congregation initially grew steadily, the years of the Great Depression hit the community hard. Attendance dropped to 40 in 1929 and the total membership was only 75. As people struggled with the cost of living, giving dropped so that the congregation couldn't pay the minister's support. Appeals were made to the wider community, who generously assisted. Notably, the ladies' Social Club gave sacrificially to enable the church to keep its doors open.
Often we imagine that the church is in much more difficult place than it used to be decades ago. However, that is not the case! Our forebears are a testament of hope and perseverance in difficult times.
As we came out of the depression years, the economic situation of the church improved. Growing attendance and an active Sunday School prompted conversations about a hall to assist with space. In 1939, after a successful fundraising effort, "Johnston Hall" was opened. Today Johnston Hall (downstairs) is part of the impressive community centre complex attached to the church.
St Heliers Becomes a Thriving Church (1942-)
In 1942, the St Heliers congregation applied to Auckland Presbytery to become a "fully sanctioned charge", which meant making St Heliers its own parish separate from Somervell. By now, the average attendance was over 100 people with a Sunday School of 103.
The congregation continued to grow. By the time Rev. E. Walsh arrived in 1951, the need for a new church building had become quite urgent. Architect Robert Spiers gifted his time to prepare a set of plans for a new building and, before long, building commenced under his supervision. The new church (which stands today) was opened on 2 September 1956.
The old wooden church was once again put on wheels and sent down the hill to Glendowie, where it continues to exist today.
Over the next few decades, the community continued to grow and thrive under a number of team ministries. The history is further recorded in our 50-year History and 75-year Celebration Record. Contact the minister for more information.
Sister Daisy Dempsey, Deaconess (1968-1973)
Sister Daisy Dempsey was a deaconess. The deaconess' were remarkable women. At a time when the Presbyterian Church didn't ordain women as ministers, these women often did many of the tasks of a minister for a fraction of the pay.
When Daisy Dempsey "retired" in 1968, she settled in St. Heliers, where she continued to exercise a remarkable ministry. These words were said about her legacy:
“[Sister Dempsey] was honorary deaconess for [St Heliers Church] – loved and respected and an example of Christian grace and dignity. It was her smile and handshake that welcomed the stranger to the Church door. It was her word of welcome to the wee children that made them love to come to Church to see that ‘Lady who knows me.’ She visited the old and shut in folk, and brought cheer and comfort to the frail and the dying.”
The church was “filled with so many of Daisy D’s Bible Class girls, her sporting colleagues and above all, so many folk who can say, ‘Thanks be to God for the life of Sister Daisy Dempsey.’”
When Daisy Dempsey died, the porch annexed to the church was named after her. Today the space is known as the Daisy Dempsey Chapel and is both a place for prayer and study as well as for children to gather during Sunday services - a fitting memory for a woman whose ministry among children was second to none.
After Sister Dempsey, Mrs. Jean West was appointed as "Church Sister" to assist the Minister with pastoral visiting and care. She was inducted in 1978 and served faithfully for over ten years.
St Heliers Today (1989-)
In 1989, the decision was made to move the church manse down the hill away from its site right next to the church building. The move enabled extensive renovations. Today, the 1956 church is attached to a wonderful community centre featuring halls and rooms as well as the Small Miracles Preschool. The centre is widely used by the community and offers programmes and activities for all-ages.
Many of the visionaries who worked hard to develop the current community centre continue to serve faithfully in the church today.
This short history was based off two more thorough histories: "Our First Fifty Years: St Heliers Presbyterian Church 1915-1965" and "Seventy-Five Years: A Celebration Record 1915-1990, St Heliers Presbyterian Church". Contact the Minister for more information.