News Release

Interfaith Relations Blossom in Hawke's Bay


Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church and other faiths recently united in Hawke’s Bay to raise money for the poor and needy through floral arrangements.

The annual Blossom Festival in Hastings brings with it the Flowers in Praise event, hosted this year by St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church. Due to renovations being made at their chapel, the event was moved to the Sacred Heart Church in Hastings city centre.

Ten faith and other community groups prepared floral displays representing the scriptural themes of prayer, the kingdom of heaven and faith (Matthew 7:7; 13:44, 45, 47; 15:34).

Annette Taurima, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the Hastings area, prepared one of the floral arrangements with a team of women from her ward (congregation). She said it was a good experience for all involved.

“[The event] brought together lots of members of our church to minister in a unique way,” Taurima said.

The floral arrangements were on display over the weekend of 7-9 September, and special interfaith service was held on Sunday evening with many people from different faiths in attendance.

Local Latter-day Saint leaders, including Charles Ruwhiu and Farley Keenan, attended the service. Also in attendance were Hastings District Councillors Geraldine Travers, Eileen Lawson and Bayden Barber. Catholic seminarian Trung Nguyen also played a key role in the service.

Traditionally Flowers in Praise attracts an older congregation, but Councillor Barber was delighted that a group of young adults attended this year. The group included Aspen Edwards, a recently returned Latter-day Saint missionary from the Kobe, Japan mission.

“Having our young single adults there really helped bring a youthful presence,” Barber said.

The money raised at the event was donated to St. Vincent DePaul after the interfaith service.

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