It’s time to get ready and start planning for an exciting and life-changing time at Celebration Centre’s annual movement conference, this year between 10-13 April 2014, hosted at Celebration Centre Christchurch.
Celebration Conference is a great time for the movement churches to gather together for a time of encouragement, inspiration and challenge, as well as impartation, direction and vision from Celebration Centre founding pastors Murray and Nancy Watkinson.
Expect to encounter God as Celebration Centre people from all over the world gather together.
2014 Pastors’ conference will be held 7-9 April
2014 Movement Conference 10-13th April
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Building project – “A dream greater than ourselves”
A new premises
The damage to Celebration Centre’s facilities due to the Christchurch earthquakes over the past three years does have an upside: it’s anticipated that within the next few years the church will be able to build a brand new, state-of-the-art premises.
“The dream is really about providing a facility big enough to house the future church that we see in Christchurch,” said Celebration Centre pastor Kelly Watkinson, who is spearheading the building project with his wife Melanie.
“The vision we have is to build it big so that God can fill it,” added Melanie.
The new premises will feature 1200 seats in the main auditorium. In 2013 the challenge was put out to the Celebration Centre Christchurch congregation to “Build the house – buy a seat.” Already, more than 900 seats have been sold. “It’ great to see the church family getting behind the vision,” said Kelly.
The new premises will be built to cater for the church’s expanding ministry in creative arts – including media, dance, music and drama. Hospitality will also be catered for with a new cafe, and the facility will strengthen ties between the church and the community by functioning as a community centre during the week, and as a church on the weekends.
Further details about the new premises will be made available as negotiations progress over the coming months.
The current premises
Since Celebration Centre bought its first premises at 81 Bickerton Street in 1992, it’s had a consistent series of updates to transform it from a rundown chemical factory into a stylish conference centre.
Last year, 2013, was no exception to the rule. The Celebration Centre Christchurch church family got behind a building project to renovate the church’s entrance, foyer, cafe and cafe overflow area, as well as the stage in the auditorium, in time for the annual April conference.
Kelly estimates that as well as all the tradies in the church – plumbers, builders and electricians – at least 80 per cent of the congregation got behind the building project.
It’s been 10 years since Just Kids Community Preschool opened, and on 13 July 2013 the preschool celebrated its anniversary in style.
About 150 people from the local community joined in with the festivities, which consisted of a carnival complete with bouncy castles, donkey rides, mini jeep rides, My Whippy ice-cream, cake stall, sausage sizzle, splat-the-teacher and more. There was even a special guest performance from NZ’s Got Talent finalists Brian and Sarah: Brian’s mother Surita has worked for Just Kids for the past eight years. A fundraising auction on the day – supported by local businesses – raised more than $1200 to go into new resources for the kids.
Just Kids has grown significantly since it opened. In 2009 the preschool expanded to cater for a total of 147 children in two over 2-years-old rooms and one room for children under 2-years. Just Kids recently extended its hours of operation from 8am to 5pm. Just Kids centre manager Renee Watkinson says it’s great to have the preschool as an extension of Celebration Centre church.
“Many of our church families and families in the community benefit from our great premises and excellent staff. I am looking forward to this year and working on ways to promote and build our centre more.”
A couple of new Just Kids initiatives include hip-hop dance classes for 3 to 4-year-olds as part on an extension programme, and also the introduction of iPads and iPad Minis for use by the older children. “This is to aid children's learning and development,” said Renee. “The teachers are able to sit down with a child or a group of children and search the internet on a topic or something that the children are interested in. This helps extend their learning opportunities and also prepare them for school, where technology is readily available.”