by Joan Turrell
Gray spent her childhood in the little town of Patea in the province of Taranaki. She cycled three miles to the freezing works (Editor’s Note: a meat packing factory) each day to buy meat. The exercise stood her in good stead later for door-knocking and letter boxing activities. Nona went to work in Patea hospital when she left school and in 1951 she moved to Wellington. She married Peter Gray and together they reared five girls and later three grandsons.
In 1964 the Wellington church was meeting in a building in Ghuznee Street. The church at that time held their holiday Bible school in Miramar South School where Nona’s daughter Brenda attended. Brenda became close friends with Doyle Wright’s daughter who also attended that school. Doyle Wright and Eddie Cantrell, two missionaries and leaders from the Ghuznee Street church knocked on Nona’s door one day with the “good news”. Peter and Nona were baptised in the tank located in the back section of the church building at Ghuznee Street.
Later the building in Ghuznee Street was demolished to make way for the motorway and the church had to find a new home in a hurry. Nona had a lot to do with finding and renovating the old cottage at Webb Street to make it into the fine church building it is today. Nona singlehandedly ran the children’s class of two-to-seven-year-olds for 16 years until the continuing outreach into the community brought in help in the form of young mothers.
Just to name a few of the many jobs that Nona has done over the years at Webb Street, she ran the kitchen with a firm hand, preparing communion every Sunday morning, creating floral arrangements and overseeing fellowship lunches each month. Peter worked in the new building both in maintenance, preaching and teaching until his early death in 1991.
Old age has caught up with Nona in the past year, and she is now restricted by arthritis and can no longer join us in worship services or weekly study sessions. However, her presence is still strongly felt at church assemblies and her perky smile welcomes us all when we visit her at home.
Our heartfelt thanks go to a long serving, hard working, and constantly loving, dear sister in Christ.
Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.