9th February 2015 CATERING FOR LITTLIES: Laraine Bennett, president of East Auckland Aglow, is glad of C3 Church senior pastor Wayne Peat’s offer of crèche accommodation for the women’s group monthly meetings. Times photo Wayne Martin FORMER kindergarten teacher Laraine Bennett, conscious of the need to provide environments conducive to mums and their littlies, has found a new home for a women’s group that will accommodate a crèche.
Loraine is president of East Auckland Aglow, part of an international multi-denominational network that gathers monthly for meetings and prayer groups. Mrs Bennett says the group provides encouragement, support and friendship for women of all denominations. While the movement was started in New Zealand 40 years ago, the East Auckland group is just two-and-a-half years old and until now its members have met at Te Tuhi in Pakuranga. But the contemplative nature of the arts and boisterous worship do not always mix. And littlies running about the room can be a distraction for young mums looking to nurture their spiritual and their emotional development. Mrs Bennett decided a crèche was needed.
Enter Wayne Peat, a C3 Church senior pastor, who was guest speaker at an Aglow meeting. On hearing of Aglow’s dilemma he offered the facilities at his Highland Park church, already well geared up for mums and their little ones. “The music is all here – contemporary and meaningful worship facilities which allow us to be more upmarket.” Mrs Bennett joined Aglow in 1978, by which time her children were older. But, she says, as a former kindergarten teacher, she retains an intense interest in young mums and music. “I like my contact with the older people as well,” she says. “It’s important for mums with young children to be able to inter-relate with the older ones and hear their stories. “We encourage women of all ages to join us. But we can’t have the little ones running around the room, hence the need to have a crèche so that the mothers can relax.” Pastor Peat says a sense of family is generated, “a cross-generational activity where people can give support to each other”. “I felt we could provide a safe environment for women engaged in their spiritual and emotional development. “This organisation [Aglow] helps them on the journey and some good life transformational stuff takes place.” Mrs Bennett says women of all ages are invited to share “our worship, stories, tears and laughter, and meet other women from our surrounding suburbs”.