where are they now?

This week I had the 32nd anniversary of my 21st birthday. Here is the group of friends that celebrated way back then - it was touch rugby on the tennis courts, from memory.

Gavin McConnell, together with Michelle, had a lengthy period overseas with Interserve and now run Piringa, a place people can go to process and 'de-brief' the stuff that has happened in their lives.

David Diprose - while I've lost contact with him, I remember that he knew where the accelerator was.

Jeff Turner was the most eligible bachelor in the church for many years, but he has made up for lost time as he and Melinda have the most lovely family of seven children. Jeff is the Chairman of Fresh Direct.

Graeme Thompson is my first cousin and runs his own techie(?) company from Whangaparoa (north of Auckland). I see very little of him, but he and Jenny have a son, Ben, who attends a home group that meets in our house.

Hugh Kemp has lived a remarkable life with Karen. They were one of the early missionaries into Mongolia (in the recent wave). A well-received book on the history of the church in Mongolia led on to a PhD on Buddhism in NZ. Last year they moved to Gloucester (UK) where they are both involved in teaching, with Hugh at Redcliffe College.

Ross Thompson is based in Wellington with Rhonda and the children (I took their wedding at Old St Pauls!) and Ross is General Manager of Ballentynes. Also my special cousin...

Robert Lovatt, whom I saw for the first time in about 15 years just this week, is based in Manila with Leanne and two of their three boys. He has a senior leadership role with Wycliffe globally ('strategic initiatives') and also in the Asia-Pacific region.

John Windsor is my big brudder and has had a distinguished career as a surgeon here in Auckland. Works away at the interface of the academic and the clinical (a model for most pastors, I might add!). Hear him at the TEDx conference next Saturday in Auckland! He and Chris have five children spread around the world.

Paul Kennedy (I think this is his name). He was present at the party as a friend of a friend - and a recent believer at the time. I've lost contact with him.

Philip Allen is a surgeon in Auckland whom I do not see often - but he did give me a copy of JI Packer's Knowing God for my 19th birthday!

Andrew Saunders is a Deputy Principal at Selwyn College in Auckland, instrumental in the quite remarkable turnaround in that school. We've maintained contact all the way through. Barby and I delight in the way our Bethany and Joseph have been such good friends with Andrew and Helen's Caleb, Sam and Matt.

David Allen is a special person in my life. As my youth pastor he gave me my first fumbling opportunity to preach. He worked in the Middle East with Interserve where he met doctor Helen. They have lovely Grace and now live back in Auckland.

Jim Russell was the king of strawberries in NZ at the time, working as an auctioneer at Turners & Growers. But he surpassed all that my marrying my eldest sister (Diane) and after taking early retirement, they have made 8 visits to Myanmar. They come back this week with Jim having become an itinerant preacher!

Mark Windsor is my little brudder. He and Annie are back at our alma mater in India (Woodstock School) for their third stint on the staff. I hope to see them again in January...

Andrew Becroft has gone on to become one of the most respected Christians in public life in New Zealand, as Principal Youth Court Judge. He and Pip have three kids and live in Wellington. He is also the Chairperson of the TSCF Board, the movement that so shaped him and readied him for being a Christian in that public world.

That is actually me - and not one of my sons!

David Hayes is a friend I made in my solitary year at Auckland Grammar School - bit I've lost contact with him.

Martin Lovatt is an enduring and special friend going way, way back. We were 'best man' at each other's weddings. Martin settled on a career as a graphic designer and together with Joyanne they have raised three great kids.

I am not sure many of these people will ever see this post - but if you do, a big thank-you from me for your friendship over the years. And in taking time over this post, it is remarkable to pause over how wide the ripples of godly influence have extended out from these lives. May it continue...

nice chatting



Ben Carswell said…
That's a great crowd, but you're not convincing me that's not one of your sons!
Paul Windsor said…
...and it was only a warm-up for the 50th :)
jasmine said…
Hi there,
I was wondering if anyone knows if Paul Kennedy had children?
I’m looking for my dad called Paul Kennedy. He was born in New Zealand loved photography.
Anything you know would be greatly appreciated.

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