Who We Are

Covenant Grace Baptist Church logo


Covenant Grace Baptist Church is located in the suburb of Marchwiel in the town of Timaru, New Zealand. We are a Reformed Baptist church, and therefore are part of the Fellowship of Reformed Baptist Churches in New Zealand, and are also members of the Baptist Union of New Zealand.
As a Reformed Baptist Church, we subscribe to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith as a clearly articulated statement of what we believe about God, the gospel, the church, and the Christian life.
Covenant Grace (formerly known as Marchwiel Reformed Baptist Church) was established in 1956 as a church plant from Wilson Street Baptist in Timaru.

10:00 – Prayer Meeting
10:30 – Morning Worship Service
16:30 – Afternoon Worship Service
20 Archer Street,
Timaru 7910


We recognise that visiting a new church can sometimes be daunting; no two churches are the same, so it helps to know what to expect when you arrive. We look forward to your visit and want you to feel welcome and at ease. Expect to be welcomed by one of our friendly greeters upon your arrival, and please allow us to give you introductory pamphlets about our church.


Our Sunday morning Worship Service is at 10:30am, preceded by a prayer meeting for the service at 10am. Our afternoon Worship Service is at 4:30pm each Sunday.


Our 10:30 AM service usually ends around 12:00 PM. Our evening service which begins at 4:30 PM usually ends around 5:30 PM.


We have a family-oriented worship service with a mix of old and new songs. We encourage parents to sit with their children during the services, however if necessary there is a cry-room and creche available.

We participate in the means of grace where God serves us, so that we might then serve Him.
The WORD calls us to worship
The WORD is sung
The WORD is read
The WORD is prayed
The WORD is supported through giving
The WORD is heard in expository preaching
The WORD is seen in baptism and the Lord’s Supper
In order that the WORD might be obeyed
After the morning service, people enjoy sharing informal fellowship and conversation with one another over a cup of coffee or tea.


As part of our regular worship every Lord’s Day morning service, we bring our gifts for the Lord’s work. On the first Sunday of the month we encourage our congregation to especially remember the needy by bringing an extra gift for the Almoner’s box at the rear of the church. As a visitor, there will be no expectation for you to bring a gift.


We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the morning of the first Sunday of every month. As a visitor you are welcome to let the bread and cup pass you by, or you can partake with us providing that you are presently trusting in Christ for your salvation, and are in good standing in your local church. Please contact the elders before partaking.


Fellowship lunches are also on the 1st Sunday of every month following the morning service.  All are welcome to stay and eat; you are welcome to bring a plate to share, however there is usually more than enough food for everyone.


As a Reformed Baptist Church, we are a confessional church, subscribing to the relevant confessions and creeds found in Christian history. We acknowledge that these documents are not equal to Scripture, however they are useful summaries and clearly articulated statements of what we believe about God, the gospel, the church, and the Christian life.


The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the Biblical Disciples; the name refers to the sum and substance of the early Apostolic teaching to which the disciples would have held. The earliest version found is A.D. 215, and the current version is circa 542 A.D.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.1
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;2
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
1. “Descended into hell” does not refer to literally going down into the bowels of hell itself to be subject to the devil; rather, it is a poetic way of stating that Christ truly and assuredly died on the cross.
2. The word “catholic” refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.


An orthodox creed on the Trinity and the Son, Circa 381 A.D.:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic1 and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
1. The word “catholic” refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) was held in order to settle a serious controversy in the Dutch churches initiated by the rise of Arminianism. Jacob Arminius, a theological professor at Leiden University, questioned the teaching of Calvin and his followers on a number of important points. After Arminius’s death, his own followers presented their views on five of these points in the Remonstrance of 1610. In this document or in later more explicit writings, the Arminians taught election based on foreseen faith, universal atonement, partial depravity, resistible grace, and the possibility of a lapse from grace. In the Canons the Synod of Dordt rejected these views and set forth the Reformed doctrine on these points, namely, unconditional election, limited atonement, total depravity, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of saints.
Read the Canons of Dordt here.


The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation “Confessio Belgica.” “Belgica” referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession’s chief author was Guido de Bras, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.
Read the Belgic Confession here.


“This little volume is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of the Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them. Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail. Let your lives adorn your faith; let your example adorn your creed. Above all, live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you.” – C. H. Spurgeon
Read the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith here.


Therefore, we sinners saved by grace and immersed in the likeness of Christ’s death and resurrection, do hereby unite in church fellowship so that as a holy brother-hood we may advocate the truth of God, proclaiming the riches of His sovereign mercy to the lost and perishing, and by counsel and sympathy help one another in the Christ-like life. We solemnly undertake by the Spirit’s help, to bear one another’s burdens and in the exercise of a tender-hearted, tolerant, forgiving spirit to avoid everything of harsh and ungenerous criticism, recognising each other as fellow members of that mystical body of which our Saviour is the head. We seek to maintain in basic simplicity, the purity of worship and communion, regarding it as an essential feature in the teaching of our Lord; who said the redeemed souls should walk in newness of life and holy separation from the world. While loving all Christians and permitting to the Lord’s table only those whose sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ and whose lives are in harmony with that great truth, yet we cannot admit into church membership any unbaptised believer. We desire to live in love and harmony with all followers of our Lord, and hope that the establishment of this church may be alone to the furtherance of His glory, the edification of His dear people, the salvation of the lost and the overthrow of unholiness and error. Looking to God alone for strength and blessing, we pledge ourselves to work together, each according to his or her ability for the attainment of these objectives in love and brotherhood. While desiring to extend to all believers the fullest and freest liberty of conscience, we yet expect from all who join our fellowship an adherence to the following doctrines…

Read the Covenant Grace Baptist Church Constitution here.


The purpose of the church is to obey the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in the evangelising of unbelievers in order to make disciples and see them edified in the context of a local church. Our goals are as follows:


We desire as individuals and as a Church to seek God’s glory in all we do. (1 Cor. 10:31; Romans 11:36; Eph. 3:10)


We place the sufficient Christ of the Gospel at the centre of all our thinking, speaking, and acting, endeavouring to imitate Him as the shape of our holiness. (Romans 8:29; 1 Cor. 2:2)


Because of our continuing indwelling sin and human feebleness, we depend in all things upon God’s Spirit in prayer for grace to enable our obedience where God commands. (Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Cor. 15:10)


We desire to base all that we do and believe on the inerrant 66 books of the Bible and to preach that Word expositorily for the feeding of God’s flock. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Matt. 4:4; 2; Tim. 4:2)


We want to utilise the rich deposits of God’s grace given to the church throughout the ages in the various universal Christian Creeds (Apostle’s; Nicean; Chalcedonian), seeing especially the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith as a fallible but representative summary of the system of doctrine taught in Scripture. (Prov. 11:14; Eph. 4:11-13)


We submit to God’s will for the local church, uniting together in committed, loving fellowship to minister to God in combined worship, to each other with the spiritual gifts given for edification, and to the world in faithful witness. (1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Cor. 12:7; Matt. 28:18-20)


We desire to uphold God’s will for the family, both in the home and the church, teaching male headship, encouraging and equipping parents to teach their children biblical truth, providing age specific ministry, and a family oriented worship service. (Eph. 5:21-6:4)


We are committed to fulfilling the Great commission both locally and abroad, with an emphasis on church planting and unreached people groups. (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:21)


We desire to make the eternal truths of God’s word and the gospel relevant in our 21st century New Zealand context, communicating and contextualising them without compromise. (1 Cor. 9:19-22)


Nick Clevely


Nick was born in Scotland, was raised in South Africa, lived a few years on the island of Saint Helena, and has been at Covenant Grace since 2010. He's married to Lynn, and has two teenage boys, Caleb and Aaron.

Rene Kempf


Rene was born and bred in Timaru, and has attended Covenant Grace since his teenage years. He's a stone mason by trade, is married to Bronwyn, and has three grown children, Jesse, Sam, and Hannah.



Graham grew up in Christchurch, and has lived in Timaru since 2007. He's worked as a software design engineer and website developer, and has been married to Liz since 1997. They have ten chickens, and half a dozen sheep.