One aspect of Carey Baptist College life that we value highly is our commitment and calling to train women and men for pastoral leadership. Over a three-year period, our Baptist training pastors commit to a deep, personal and relational journey of formation. They commit to profound life change, to risk-taking, and to faith stretching in service to Jesus and his church. 

On 14 October, we celebrated our 2023 graduates of Carey’s Youth Pastoral Leadership & Pastoral Leadership formation programme. 

These trained pastors have given themselves – on top of their academics – to personal formation, mentoring, cohort peer development, and supervised service within their communities and churches.

On behalf of her cohort, Katie Cuttriss had this to say…

Kia ora koutou, Ko Katie tōku ingoa. My name is Katie, and I have the honour of speaking on behalf of our cohort tonight. Thank you all so much for coming to help us celebrate the last three years of our training! 

Through this process, each one of us has been called, welcomed, equipped, cared for, and challenged. Even this week, as we have been led to reflect on the last three years, which produced the 8 of us standing here, I have been taken outside of my comfort zone and into the world of maths.

I’ve taken out my abacus and done some work. By my count, we have spent 132 hours together on Tuesday mornings, 19 days together at intensives, and we’ve had roughly 15 guest lecturers in that time. We have done nine integrated presentations for each other, including one this morning. And we have participated in many, many personality tests, reflective essays, and mid-year and end-of-year reviews. 

There have been 13 churches served through our placements, each contributing to our formation. Now, if we all did what we were supposed to, there would have been approximately 144 mentoring sessions and 264 supervision meetings throughout those placements! As a cohort, we’ve journeyed alongside one another through two weddings, one baby, a few job changes and relocations! 

It has been a long journey to get to this stage tonight, with twists and turns and lockdowns along the way. The maths I’ve attempted to do has largely focused on what we did to get here, and that, of course, is only part of the equation. It is unquantifiable; it is simply beyond measure to record the support, grace, and encouragement given to us by many in this room and beyond, which has meant the eight can be standing here tonight. 

Firstly, we acknowledge our God, our Creator, to whom all honour, glory, and thanksgiving rightly belongs. We have truly been clay in the hands of the potter, shaped beyond our comprehension and provided for in ways that never fail to amaze.

Second on the list, we want to acknowledge the Baptist Union of New Zealand and National Leader Charles Hewlett (President Ravi Musuku). Thank you for receiving us as freshly certified Pastoral Leaders and for investing in our training from day one. We look forward to our continued walk with God and with one another in the Baptist whānau, the team of 40,000. 

We acknowledge Carey Baptist College: our Principal, John Tucker, the staff and the teaching team. We have benefitted immensely from your friendship and investment into us, whether through classroom debates, chats over lunch, library support or yet another assignment extension. Thank you for your valuable insight and guidance in teaching us how the theology of our textbooks applies and integrates into our practice of ministry. We are better off personally and pastorally because of the way you have walked with us. 

There are some Carey staff members in particular who need to be thanked. That is our ministry training team. Our fearless leaders holding our hands and, at times, dragging us through. Jonny, your casual and adaptive attitude has been a gift, and we thank you for your ability to dream big for us when we haven’t been able to dream for ourselves. We look forward to our ongoing friendship.

Sam, your example of vulnerable and passionate leadership has been inspiring, bringing fun and good times to all you do while also caring deeply and intentionally about the process that forms us. 

And the brains behind the operation, Morgan and Jess. The cups of coffee, words of encouragement, chocolate, lollies, and admin skills you have offered us over the years have brought nuance and beauty to our journey. 

But of course, all of this training would just be talk if trusting churches from within the Union hadn’t boldly taken us students in, putting our theory into practice, to let the rubber meet the road. This is where the gold lies. The learning we have done sitting in pews, in elders’ meetings, sitting around the table for Sunday lunch or over a cup of coffee, or playing games with your youth has been invaluable. It has been our joy and privilege to serve as student pastors in the various church congregations and youth groups around the country. Thank you for the trust, opportunities, and stories you have gifted us with. Your collaboration with us and with Carey has equipped and shaped our hearts as we prepare to step out to serve the collective church. 

And to our families, friends, and loved ones. We are indebted to you. Thank you for your sacrifice in supporting us and listening to us rehearse our sermons! I managed to fall asleep while Dan was reading one of his drafts to me, so I know some of the toll it may have taken on many of you. Thank you for the allowance you have given us to commit ourselves to this journey of formation, even when it has cost you. Thank you for walking with us and cheering us on while we’ve pursued this call on our lives.  

And to our friends who have been a part of our formation for different seasons along the way. Viv, Ben, Marcus. We look forward to celebrating your own SENDing next year. Caleb, Jono, Neven and Blake, each of you have added to the DNA of who we are as a cohort, and while you’re not up here with us tonight, you’re still a part of us. 

My own journey to formal training began in 2018 when I was leading at Central Easter Camp, and I found myself in Sam Kilpatrick’s seminar on discernment. At Queen’s Birthday [Leadership Training Weekend] later that year, I accosted Sam with follow-up questions from his talk that I had been thinking about ever since.  

Sam, with all his pastoral sensitivity, wisdom and theological expertise… shrugged. Over that Queen’s Birthday weekend, Dan and I joined Sam for breakfast to find out about this magical place where people might actually answer these questions and help us press into new ones. And somewhere along the way, through God’s faithfulness and wisdom, we’ve ended up here – with these beautiful people. Called, equipped, and ready to keep discerning how we might best honour God in whatever the next season holds.

He honore, he kororia ke te Atua. 

All honour and glory to God. 


Photos provided by Carey Baptist College.


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