God looked down on the ordination of Bishop Brian Tamaki in Manukau yesterday afternoon and lo, he was much pleased.
Or so thought the 3000 Destiny Church faithful who paid up to $70 a ticket for a seat at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, only to be reminded again that moral crusades can’t be waged on the cheap.
“We don’t come to the house of the Lord empty-handed,” prompted Destiny political party leader Richard Lewis, as he began the ceremony. “There’s Eftpos available out front.”
It was the seventh birthday of Destiny Church, and Brian Tamaki was being bumped up from pastor to bishop – the first bishop of a pentecostal church in New Zealand.
A Saturday it may have been, but the predominantly Maori flock was dressed in its Sunday best: women in sedate church hats, men in gaudily-coloured three-quarter length suits and snakeskin shoes.
They were encouraged to celebrate with cash. If, after the entry price and collection baskets, the followers still felt flush, they could empty their wallets at the merchandise table. There were Destiny umbrellas, pens, T-shirts – even signed posters of the holy man himself in full warrior mode: tunic-clad and clasping a broadsword.
After all the hype it was anti-climactic when Pastor Tamaki took to his feet, dressed in a modest sleeveless black jacket and white shirt, to be anointed with oil by Destiny kaumatua Manuel Renata. Holding his new bishop’s staff and wrapped in a cloak of native birdfeathers, the Lord’s willing servant looked more like a shepherd than a soldier.