At a recent meeting of the Hamilton City Men’s Fellowship, some 80 men gathered to hear Yuriy Gladun, the chair of the Ukraine Association, as he shared in quiet yet passionate tones about the conflict in his home country, Ukraine.
On the first Monday of each month, Hamilton City Men’s Fellowship meets for a ‘home-cooked’ meal and to engage in awareness of a social issue in the community. Inspired by the International Salvation Army request to pray for Ukraine, the convenor, Lt-Colonel Wilfred Arnold, met with Yuriy and invited him to share the experiences of Ukraine migrants to New Zealand.
At the end of the evening, boxes of foodstuffs were gifted to share at the gathering of the Ukraine Association in Auckland. Several pallets of goods for inclusion in a medical relief container being shipped to Ukraine have been sourced, and a survey of the ways members of the fellowship could volunteer to assist migrants has been distributed—prayer in action!
The fellowship was founded during the ministry of then-corps officer, Major Don Oliver (who remains an active member) with the dynamic leadership of Brian Smith, who provided consistent, dynamic and engaging leadership from 1991 to 2017. Spurred by the desire to ‘connect men, to inform and to inspire’, the fellowship will celebrate its 32nd birthday next March.
Since 2018, with the support of a leadership and catering team and with Lt-Colonel Wilfred Arnold as convenor, the fellowship has continued to grow in both numbers and effectiveness. The key to engaging men in a Christian fellowship are topics that are relevant to their world and worthy of engagement as a Christian man. Evenings have included: Justin and Carolyn Boswell on sexual trafficking; Professor Al Gillespie on law, policy and the world after Covid-19; Paula Salisbury on the End of Life Choice Act; Ronji Tanielu on food insecurity; and, Ants Hawes from NZ Police on a conversation about values. During Covid-19 when meeting was not possible, members received a monthly pastoral email.
Hamilton City Men’s Fellowship has over the years had a worthy record of engaging community awareness, making donations to corps and local organisations and sending a team of volunteers to refurbish the cottage at Blue Mountain Lodge. For its members, it’s a place of engaging Christian fellowship, challenge and really scrumptious food!