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Our Pastor: Dirk van Garderen

Pastor Dirk Van Garderen has been here in Bucklands Beach for  7 years. He has nearly 40 years experience, and has a contagious zeal for the Lord and His work. Pastor Dirk has previously served most recently in the Reformed Church of Avondale, and he has also served elsewhere in New Zealand and Australia.

About Us

Our Pastor is Rev. Dirk van Garderen, (pictured left). Our church, consisting of about 150 adults plus children, draws it members from many of the races and cultures living in this part of Auckland.  While we use English in worship, instruction and fellowship activities, we strive to include and engage non-English speakers as well.  Many of our members have recently arrived from South Africa, Korea, China and South India.  To cater for this, special ‘language assisted’ classes are conducted each week to cater for those who struggle to adjust to the new language and culture of this country.  

Who is 'Reformed Presbyterian Church of Bucklands Beach'??

If you look around our community today, you will see quite a number of different churches. Sometimes the differences between the churches is very noticeable. Sometimes they are almost the same. What about the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Bucklands Beach? While we share much in common with other Christian churches, we are also distinct. For that reason we would like to explain who we are, what we believe and what our vision is.

Our Foundations

Our name "Reformed Presbyterian" explains who we are:

  • 'Reformed' is a name that was first used about 400 years ago in Europe. Through the centuries, the Church in Europe had become very different from teh days of teh New Testament. Many traditions, customs and beliefs had been introduced. In the sixteenth century, people began to protest and demand changes - for the Church to return to is foundation, to go back to the Bible. Those protesting people (Protestants) wanted the Chruch to be reformed! That is what happend in many countries like Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and the Netherlands. The churches that were established became known as Reformed Churches (the core of our beliefs is recorded on the Our Faith page).
  • 'Presbyterian' also explains who we are. The word comes from the Greek language 'presbyter' meaning 'elder'. Elders rule our church - mature, wise men, called by God to rule over and look after the affairs and members of the church. At Bucklands Beach we have six elders (all chosen by the congregation). The word 'Presbyterian' means that a board of elders (called the Session) rules our church.

Our Story and Vision

The name 'Presbyterian' also has another meaning here at Bucklands Beach. In 1953 the pastor and elders of the local Presbyterian church became concerned that the Church was no longer true to its foundations. They called the church to reforme once more. Sadly, they had to leave their church. This new group joined with a recently established denomination called the Reformed Churches of New Zealand. These churches were made up of mainly Dutch migrants who did not feel at home in the existing churches here. The congregation at Bucklands Beach called itself Reformed Presbyterian.

Our church became bi-cultural - Kiwis and Dutch migrants working together. It wasn't easy and the numbers remaind small for many years. Over the years many other cultures have migrated to our area. Over the years we have had quite a few migrants from South Africa, Wales, Zimbabwe, India, Egypt, Taiwan, Korea, and China. Our part of the city, Howick, is especially multi-cultural with about 50% of our citizens not born in this country! In response to this, our congregation has been driven by a vision to create a truly multi-cultural community. We believe that hte Lord Jesus is the bridge who brings us together as brothers and sisters. Language, culture and customs are important and are honoured and respected. However, it is even more important for us to become one as a community. We all share in one Lord, one faith, one hope and one baptism. Our vision is to worship together. In an English-speaking country, although English is a second language for most of us, we believe in using the English language for worship and bringing us together.


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