The Halswell Journey

Merging with Halswell Baptist

During the late 1970’s the church at Spreydon had a vision for growing churches in other areas. In 1979 there was a home group of the church in the Halswell area which was led by Jim McLean. Later the ‘Acorn’ shop was established in Nottingham Ave to sell books and crafts and provide a drop-in centre for people.

In 1980 the first service was held at Oaklands school with 25 people. It was the first daughter church from Spreydon. During the 1980’s this daughter church grew and land was found on Balcairn St, the Fraemoh’s building was built on the site and by 1983 membership was up to 85. Ivan Button joined Jim McLean as a pastor in 1984. By 1987 the Sunday school, Craft group and crèche were all growing and the church decided to build a Sunday school building. By now Jeff Holder was pastor.

In the early 1990’s the Sunday school had increased to 90 kids and 80 adults were regularly attending home groups. In 1991 the church had its first faith promise missionary giving and $9000 was pledged to support global mission work for the year ahead.

By 1992 the church family exceeded 250 people and regular attendances were over 150. By the late 1990’s the new church auditorium was built, seven home groups were operating and Alpha courses were beginning. By the beginning of the new millennium attendances had rises to an average of 217 and evening services were underway, faith promise grew to $25000 and the house next door to the church was purchased which would later become part of the pre-school.

When Jeff Holder retired Tom Scollard was appointed as the new pastor, a part time children’s worker and youth worker became part of the team. During this time fellowship groups were formed and Girls Brigade began and outreach teams were visiting Rolleston prison and Archer Memorial Home.

When Tom Scollard resigned Roger Spicer was appointed Pastor. During this time the Pre-school was upgraded and the house was included into the pre-school to provide for more children. Warren Read joined the Pastoral team in 2011.

Late in 2011, Spreydon Baptist began talking with Halswell Baptist about our shared concern for South West Christchurch. These conversations began because of:

•  Spreydon Baptist’s local community focus and the opportunities of working together in the Halswell area

•  The projected changes to this area of Christchurch post-earthquakes, as many more sections are developed and people move into the area

•  The possibility of land being available to the combined churches for the development of a new church/ministry hub

These discussions very quickly led to questions about how the two churches could best work together. After much prayer and many more conversations together, a proposal was brought for the two churches to become one.


The reasons for joining together were mission based. Neither church was struggling, so the only reason for combining was to better serve our rapidly growing and changing communities. As this was a mission-inspired merger the key questions were:

•  Could we accomplish more together than separately?

•  Would our communities be better served?

•  Could the Kingdom of God be further extended by our merger?

What followed was a series of meetings with elders and pastors, leaders of ministries, open meetings at both churches and times of prayer. Month by month the conviction grew that we were being called to merge the two churches as one, with a shared mission priority.

In November 2012, the Spreydon Elders invited the Halswell Baptist church membership to join the membership at Spreydon. This was followed by a meeting of the members of the Halswell Baptist Church who voted to close the church and then merge with Spreydon Baptist Church under a new name, South West Baptist Church. This was celebrated at a combined service at Wigram Airforce Museum in February 2013.

Being ONE church together means we have:

•  One constitution and church structure

•  One eldership

•  One finance structure

•  One staff

•  One senior pastor

•  One mission focus

•  One youth, children, worship, local mission, global mission structures

•  Two sites

Throughout 2013 work was begun at all levels to combine our ministries, structures and staff so were becoming ONE church, made up of many local communities and ministries spread across two sites.

By the end of 2014 we began to reconsider progress towards being one church together in mission as leadership changed and a decision was made not to purchase a particular piece of land that we had been seriously considering.

In 2015 after much prayer, discussion and consideration the difficult decision was made to combine together for our Sunday services to further the congregations coming together and the building of one culture as a church.

The building at the Halswell Site continues to be used for a variety of outreach activities in the local community, such as Ricecube, Keep Active, Craft Group, Foot Clinic, Youth Group and Play ‘n Music.