Nazarene pastors and their families from the New Zealand District gathered together for their annual retreat 20-22 April 2023. New Zealand District Superintendent Paul Talluri, along with his wife, Sowbhagya, hosted the Kiwi pastors and their families at a camp on the eastern shores of Lake Taupō.

The New Zealand District is made up of nearly 30 churches spread across the country—from Whangārei in the north to Christchurch in the south. Many pastors drove long distances, others took intercity buses, and one flew up from the South Island to attend the retreat.

The pastors and their spouses gathered in the mornings and evenings for prayer and worship while their kids played ping pong or foosball. Former district superintendent Neville Bartle led devotions on Friday morning. Talluri summarized the weekend as “a time of rejuvenation, reflection, and recommitment to our faith.”

Rob Fringer, principal of Nazarene Theological College Australia New Zealand, led four services with the theme “The Power of Love.” 

“As a district, we are learning to lean more fully into the power of God’s love and to trust in His unfailing goodness and grace,” Talluri said.

One of Fringer’s emphases was the self-sacrificing love of Christ described in Philippians chapter 2. As a real-life example of the servant leadership that Christ modeled, Talluri and network leaders Filipo Lesatele, Tau Maiava, and Faapepele “Pele” Taituave put on hairnets and served food to the attendees and cleaned up after each meal.

“Throughout the retreat, we were reminded of how God’s love can transform lives, heal brokenness, and bring about redemption in even the most challenging circumstances,” Talluri said. “We were also challenged to deepen our understanding and experience of God’s love and to share it more freely and generously with those around us.”

Prayer is requested for the New Zealand District. There are several pastors in new assignments, and several churches currently need a pastor. Pray that God would use the Kiwi pastors, their families, and their churches to share the love of Christ with their communities.

Contributed by: Andrew and Jenna Stout