Today he is the pastor of the Oaks Christian Centre in Gordonton and the Nawton Presbyterian Church. It all started when he was visited by the local Baptist minister, around 2007.
“I was busy ferreting away with my own business, but subsequent to his visit, I started to explore my faith. And from there I felt led to close the business down, which I did in 2009. I then began studying on my GradDipTh, with a view to entering the ministry.”
He came to the Waikato near the end of 2009, to take up a role as part-time pastor of the Nawton Church, which began with a six-month trial.
“I offloaded everything in Northland, and moved in with my sister, who lives on the side of Mt Pirongia. I was able to park my two horses there, which was a huge bonus.”
Leaving the horses behind – a mare and a gelding – was not an option. “It’s always good to talk to horses from time to time. Hunting in the winter is my sport. I joined the Waikato Hunt fairly quickly, the Waikato countryside is great, too.”
He was confirmed in the role with Nawton mid last year, and just this month formally graduated his degree.
“And at the beginning of August, I started a six-month trial at the Oaks. The timing was perfect, as it was another half-time role to step into on completion of my study, which I was doing on a half-time basis.”
He thoroughly enjoys being involved with both churches. It was a definite change of focus and direction, and one he doesn’t regret for a minute.
“You can go through life making money or you can step aside and do something useful. Although the two are not mutually exclusive. It has all worked well, it is actually extraordinary seeing how God’s hands work, and bring things together in ways you don’t imagine.”
Such as meeting his wife Lyanne not long after the move.
“We actually met at the park by the river. I’d gone down there for a walk, and saw this woman sitting on a park bench, and thought I knew her. So I barrelled up and said ‘hi’ and she looked up, a bit surprised.”
Seizing the moment, he asked if she wanted to go for a walk. “I found out that she was a Christian as well, I invited her to come along to the Nawton Church – I didn’t mention it was a small congregation – she told me after she felt she stood out somewhat.”
But she must have been impressed, because when he proposed, she said yes. They were married at the Whitiora Bible Chapel in September 2010.
He was reluctant to leave Whangarei – “that was a major decision for me to say ‘one more move.’ I’ve had something of an itinerant history.
“Whenever I’m asked where home is, I say my mother dropped me off in Wanganui on the way through and had to turn around and pick me up. It’s an exaggeration, but with some truth in it. My parents moved around a lot, because of my father’s work. We moved roughly every two years as a result. One of the things I like about Gordonton is the stability of the people in the area, and the number of generations living here.
“Now I have a nice base, between two churches, and a home for my horses. It’s absolutely marvellous.”
- Peter Grey can be found at the Oaks on Monday from 10am to 12, and Wednesday 12 to 2pm.