New pastor loving ‘amazing community’

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EVELYN.THORN@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

A new public figure has joined the Balclutha community recently.

Shaun Vining, who moved with his family from Queenstown after 22 years, says he and wife Melissa ‘‘fell in love with the people of the town’’ which drove them to move to Balclutha where he has taken on the pastor position at City Impact Church.

Previously an early childhood teacher in Queenstown, Mr Vining has said he had always been involved with children and teaching.

‘‘I love rural life, having grown up with my brother and sister rurally in Waikato before moving to Southland.

‘‘I’ve found Clutha to be salt of the earth people who love each other and come together as an amazing community.’’

He studied at teachers’ college in Dunedin and has been involved with teaching and leadership for more than 20 years, as well as broadcasting for mainstream radio.

Mr Vining said he loved everything musical. ‘‘I’m a member of a band under a group of bands known as LA Social, and we perform in events like weddings and gatherings.’’ He said he ‘‘thrives for the lightbulb moments when children and people click and understand things’’.

‘‘That’s one of the many reasons I decided to begin this position at City Impact.’’

He also works as a qualified financial adviser and balances the two jobs — and a family of four children — alongside his wife, who also works at the church.

‘‘The staff here have been so welcoming and have helped me to settle in comfortably.’’

Looking forward, Mr Vining said he hoped to ‘‘serve the community and change people’s worlds in a positive way’’.

‘‘My vision is to see people grow in their identities. We are all on a journey, and we need to love people like we love ourselves.’’

One of his biggest inspirations for helping people was his well›known brother Blair, who died from bowel cancer in 2019 and started a campaign to call for better care for cancer patients throughout New Zealand.

‘‘He makes me want to live a better life and inspires me to help others the way that he helped them.’’

› My vision is to see people grow in their identities. We are all on a journey, and we need to love people like we love ourselves. ›