All churches have a history. God has been faithful in bringing us to this point in our journey.
Our church started back in the 1950’s in Plimmerton in the home of Mr Wally Reddit. It was known as the Plimmerton Brethren church and was part of the Open Brethren church community. Plimmerton was then quite a small beach side community before much of the local development occurred.
Soon Wally’s home was too small for the congregation. The far sighted folk purchased some land at Acheron Road, Mana and built a small church on it. Mana Gospel Chapel opened in 1962. The group met faithfully in this hall all through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Being a Brethren church they looked after themselves, providing their own leadership and church teaching. Sister churches, Porirua and Titahi Bay Gospel Chapels opened about the same time as Porirua City expanded in the 1960’s. These three churches and the Brethren church in Tawa worked together. There was often an interchange of people and support during this time.
The Move to Whitby
Over time the church leaders saw that Whitby would be one of the main growth areas of the Porirua District, particularly when the new Council was formed in 1974 and directed its growth. The Acheron Road building became too small so the decision was made to move and relocate nearer to Whitby. They set money aside and eventually purchased land on the present site in 1996/97. At that stage the site was at the edge of Whitby, it was still surrounded by undeveloped land and the bluff around the present area was covered in pine trees.
There are about 15 people in the Anchor Church today who were part of this congregation that met at Acheron Road. While the new building was being built they met in what used to be the Pauatahanui Village Hall (now the Lighthouse cinema). It was decided that the Gym/Hall (downstairs) was the most necessary building for the community. At that time there had been a spate of young people die through both suicide and accidents. There was limited youth work in the community and the church hall became the largest place around for young people to gather at.
Every Saturday the building team under Alistair Eve’s expert supervision met at the site to prepare and then build the church buildings. All the pine trees were removed and milled away from site to become the framing timber. It rarely rained on the site in 2 years on the Saturdays that building took place. Many young apprentices cut their teeth on new tools while helping build the gym, and later the auditorium. We were grateful of the huge input from Mobile Mission Maintenance coming in to support the building project. God certainly watched over its planting!
The new building was dedicated on 4th July 1999.
Over the next few years the church grew in numbers and saved yet again for the rest of the premises. The Whitby Bible Chapel Management Trust which owns the property became a registered charity in 2007 as part of the governance structure of the church. In 2003 the church was ready to build the rest of the structure and it went up in super fast time. The full buildings were dedicated and put fully to work in 2003.
It was decided that the next step that the church needed to take was to invest in leadership positions to support a growing church. We employed people in part time leadership roles to help the church through this stage and to help recruit other staff.
One of the first steps was to provide part time adminstrative support for the church. Following this, Brad de Villiers joined as a Youth worker in 2008. Brad was appointed as the Youth Pastor at the beginning of 2010. The church by that time was involved in the local college and Brad joined this initiative. This included involvement with a 24/7 joint youth outreach to a number of local schools from 2009.
Darryl Ward and his family emigrated from Adelaide mid 2010 to be our first Senior Pastor. Christine Leadbeater became our Director of Children and Families early 2013.