Extracts from Chapel History

from a presentation by John Goold

In the 1960s, Graham and Barbara Cooper ran a Sunday school in their home, and David Golding ran a youth group. Doug Stewart bought a section and the chapel opened in 1966. The chapel outgrew its initial building and built the present multi-purpose community facility in the 1980s. The life of The Chapel (originally Te Atatu Bible Chapel) has been characterised by:

  1. Youth. There has always been a strong youth focus. Historically there was a huge youth group and Sunday school, and lots of activity with youth and children and young families.
  2. Community involvement. The first full-time workers (John and Elaine Dawson) were community workers. There was a Government work scheme run by Matt Hakiaha and Sandy Miekle involving a community garden; a community housing project on Beach Rd; the 4221 Trust; Adventure Specialties Trust.
  3. The Holy Spirit. The leadership came together around the work of the Holy Spirit in the charismatic renewal period. They produced a booklet that explained the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
  4. The role of women. Church leadership and teaching roles opened up to women. Again, the leadership produced a paper to explain this shift. Woman elders were appointed.
  5. Celebration and Cells. The church grew very large and met for a time in Henderson at the civic centre. There was a duel emphasis on the large celebration and relational cell groups.
  6. Missions. Missions has always been prominent. Six couples served in Zaire. People also served elsewhere and locally. Massey Community Church was birthed as a missional church plant.
  7. Teaching. Brian Hathaway had a teaching ministry. His teaching from Romans on body life impacted many people. The church has always emphasised teaching.
  8. Bi-Culturalism. The chapel has traditionally had a real emphasis on our Bi-Cultural heritage, with songs in English and Maori, seminars, and other reminders of Maori culture.

from a paper by Brian Knolles

The earliest local work was a Sunday school run out of a family garage. A church building followed. The Chapel originally developed a strong presence in the local community, especially in the area of children and youth. Strong youth programmes in 1970’s and 1980’s involved up to 200 young people. Two vans took young people to evening activities across Auckland, and to Capital Teen Convention in Wellington etc.

The land adjacent to the church buildings has always been well used. In the 1980’s a large community vege garden was established. Many community events have used the fields as a meeting place, and over the years a number of community hangis attracted local people.In the late 80’s a significant building project underwritten by the Churches Trust saw the establishment of a number of affordable first houses on a large Beach Road site.

During the 1990’s the church helped to establish CARE Waitakere in its counselling and budgeting advisory services. CARE Waitakere operates as an independent community based organisation. The Chapel continues to assist CARE Waitakere with the provision of a long term lease on the building it uses.

In 2008 The Chapel re-established a community trust (now called the Te Atatu Peninsula Community Trust).This organisation looks after the buildings and facilities on the Beach Road / Waipani Road corner, for the purpose of local community facing programmes and initiatives. The Trust is presently upgrading the tired facilities and working to support a wide range of community programmes and partnerships that provide a place where local Peninsula people can meet, eat, play and be community together.