In the year 2000 a few of us were worshipping in Waimauku at the local Scout Hall, when it was suggested that we change location and venue to the village of Parakai in Auckland's north west . This was projected to be a growth area in the future and there was not a single functioning church there. We agreed to wait and pray and in the meantime sought the advice of the Auckland Baptist Association and later on, the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle. When we next came together we unanimously decided to relocate to Parakai in 2001.
The enormity of that decision struck us all. After all, we were just a small group of ten or eleven people, we had no venue, no equipment, very little money, but a strong conviction that this was the Lords will for us.
A verse in Ecc.11:4 says it all, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant and whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” The opportunity to commence this fellowship was seized when there were adverse winds and clouds, but we believe we moved as the Holy Spirit prompted us.
There were no public halls in Parakai, but it was suggested we approach the Parakai School Board for permission to meet in one of their rooms. Permission was granted and we met in the resource room, our first service being held on Jan 21st 2001 with 14 present. Later we moved to the large school hall.
But what would we call ourselves? We wanted to identify with the local community and decided on the appropriate name of River Valley Baptist.
From the beginning we decided to support some in missionary service both here in N.Z. and overseas and set aside 20% of our offerings to make this possible.
At the end of 2001 the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle agreed to ‘adopt’ River Valley Baptist in a mother/daughter relationship. Dr Bruce Patrick (senior Pastor) came out on Dec 2nd 2001 to sign this agreement.
During the next few years, we were able to share in various outreaches to the community namely O.J (Operation Jerusalem) run by the Tabernacle young people's group, ‘Island Breeze’, the distribution of the Jesus Film, and the distribution of the Easter ‘Challenge’ newspaper.
We enjoyed the fellowship of several Church camps at Mangawhai and the Forty Days of Purpose studies was a blessing to us all.
We certainly will not forget our first Baptismal service held at Peacemakers, Feb. 2003, when 6 of our church family were baptised.
From the beginning, several of our ladies have felt called to hold a service at the Parakai Home for the Elderly most Sunday mornings. Three of our ladies faithfully teach Bible in School (or Religious Education) at several local schools.
In March 2005 the old Kemp property in Parkhurst Road was purchased for the purpose of building a church there in the future and it was tenanted in the meantime to help meet costs. Then in Feb 2007 there was great rejoicing when the current property on Fordyce Rd came up for sale. This property had a better location, being more central to Parakai village and closer to schools, park, rest home and other community facilities. After much prayer and discussion we unanimously decided to purchase this property.
During the second half of 2007 we decided to make the transition from a fellowship group to becoming a fully constituted Baptist Church and another milestone in our history came in November 2007 when we accepted our first constitution and became the River Valley Baptist Church.
We look with excitement towards the future to see how we can serve God and the community of Parakai.