Photo Credit: Anglican Taonga
The head of the New Zealand Church Missionary Society, Steve Maina, has been elected as the next Bishop of Nelson. The Bishop-elect was born and raised in Kenya, where he was ordained a priest in 2004. After serving in the Anglican Church of Kenya, where he planted a new church as Missions Pastor at Nairobi Chapel, he was appointed General Secretary of Church Army Africa before being recruited to lead CMS in New Zealand.
“Steve brings a proven mission focus to all aspects of his ministry and is widely respected for his energetic and innovative proclamation of the Gospel”, the three Archbishops of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia said in a statement. “His leadership of NZCMS has revitalised its response to the sending of mission partners around the world, dramatically increased the numbers serving overseas, and involved a significant number of young people in mission initiatives.
“We look forward to sharing with Steve in the leadership of our Church at a time when the challenges of presenting the Gospel in word and action require creative responses, alongside confidence in the enduring and simple Gospel message of God’s love for all people made known in Jesus Christ. Steve brings both a pastoral heart and a clear-thinking strategic approach to all that he does.”
The Bishop-elect, who will succeed Richard Ellena when he is consecrated, said that he was “overwhelmed and absolutely humbled” to have been chosen as Nelson Anglicans’ new leader.
“I would also say that I feel terrified!”, he told Anglican Taonga. “Can a son of Africa really do this? Someone from Kenya? But I also feel absolutely excited, and expectant – and full of hope, because I believe that the Gospel gives hope.
“Jesus is in the business of transforming people. And I can’t wait to see what He will do.”
Bishop-elect Steve was born in 1970. He is the son and grandson of Anglican priests. He is married to Watiri; and the couple have two teenage daughters, Rinna and Tanielle.
“My heart has always been to see the church in New Zealand passionate about mission – so, this is really an extension of what I've been doing in CMS”, he told Anglican Taonga. “Mission begins from the local church.
“My reasons for considering the Nelson role were seeing, first of all, the challenges that Western Christianity is facing in the 21st century. Challenges from secularism, individualism, materialism and consumerism – we have a society which is ‘pushing God out’.
“We are seeing God at work in many places within the church – but I also see the challenges of apathy, decline and lack of confidence in the Gospel. I yearn to see the gospel proclaimed, and to see Nelson’s Anglican churches growing and thriving.
- This article is an edited version of a more in-depth report by Anglican Taonga.