Chch church unity event postponed

Mike Stopforth


A large scale event to unite Christian congregations
in Christchurch city last month was postponed.

“Tatou Tatou, Together 19”, organised by Te Raranga, a city-wide church leaders’ network, was to take place at the new Christchurch Town Hall.

Te Raranga member and senior pastor of Kings Church Ken Shelley said the event had been planned to “recognise” the
unity of the Church.

He said the event was designed to bring people together from all denominations to celebrate the Christian faith through worship, inspiration and praise.

The event was booked more than a year ago, however, recent ticket sales were slow.

Event organiser and director of the Catholic Bishop’s Pastoral Office, Mike Stopforth, said about 450 tickets were sold from a possible 2500.

He said the organising group had met with around 450 Christian leaders in the city recently to decide whether to
go ahead or postpone the event.

“There was a sense there that there wasn’t that buy-in that we needed . . . So at one level (I feel) disappointment, but [at] the other level, this is the right decision,” Mr Stopforth

Pastor Shelley said church leaders have told him some people are anxious about attending large scale events in public following the March 15 events. He said the “mood” had changed following the attacks.

“No one was expecting the events of March 15. And I think we have to recognise how very deeply these feelings go.”

He said that a year ago the organising group was confident that church leaders would buy-in to support the event and
encourage their congregations to attend.

Pastor Shelley said some people might have also been confused about the purpose of the event.

“It kind of started to get confusing in people’s minds. Is this a response to the 15th of March? It wasn’t. That’s not what it
was meant to be . . . it was very much a celebration of our togetherness and our unity,” Pastor Shelley explained.

“The sense was ‘Yes we want to do this kind of thing. Yes, we feel together. Yes we want to stand together. (However)
no one has the energy to push really hard at this time . . . maybe the timing isn’t good’.”

The organising group had invested a $10,000 deposit to secure the town hall, which will be used for a new scheduled date in spring.

A similar event was held by Te Raranga five years ago for 5000 people at Horncastle arena.

Posted in

NZ Catholic Staff

Reader Interactions


  1. Hamish McDonald says

    Gatherings of Christians is always significant, but back up after is also significant.
    There is a fine line between witness and other things, capitalism, socialism, fanaticism.
    Most important for gatherings is that they have a sound mystical base.
    With this comes a base for asceticism.
    Without either, it means what they tend to offset is simply given leverage and a sounding board.
    Obtaining inertia is easy when the right people who tap into those who are hurting manage
    to become a voice for the marginalised, the oppressed, and most of all those whose witness
    is tested to the extreme, particularly poverty-stricken Conservative Orthodox Catholic.,
    whose reverence for Sacraments is untarnished.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *