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Dennis Richards

Home City: Palmerston North
Member Since: 2002
Pastoral Representative

Occupation: Presently employed by Grace Communion International church as a senior pastor (Wellington, Palmerston North and Hawkes Bay, and with oversight of South Island congregations), and as National Pastoral and Congregational Development Coordinator.

Personal & Church History

Born in Melbourne, Australia but grew up in Auckland. In 1963, my parents made contact with the church. Following a year at Auckland University I studied at Ambassador University in the UK, graduating in 1974. Returning to Auckland, I completed the Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)(Hons) begun in 1969, graduating in 1978 and going on to work for the Ministry of Works and Development (MWD) as a design engineer.  Registration as a professional engineer was achieved in 1985. Married in 1977 to Sue (nee Macdonald), we moved to Wellington in January 1978 to begin my engineering career, where also I was ordained as a lay elder in July 1979.  Moved to Dunedin in 1980 as part of professional training within the MWD, my duties ranged from bridge and road construction to irrigation design. Our son Graeme was born in Dunedin in 1983. Late in 1985 we were invited into full time ministry and moved north, serving first in Tauranga (2½ years) then Auckland (3½ years) and finally in 1991 to Palmerston North. Currently I pastor the Wellington, Palmerston North and Hawkes Bay congregations, supervise the South Island congregations and oversee the activities of pastoral teams throughout the country where they exist. The financial downturn and retrenching of the late 1990s resulted in my shifting to half time employment in 2000 and taking up studies in information technology at UCOL in Palmerston North. These were completed in 2003. In 2004, I resumed full-time employment in the church. I have been a Board Member since its inception in 2002 and have served as chairman of the National Pastoral Team since 2004.


  • Commitment to furthering the work of the church (have attended GCI since its establishment in 1967 in New Zealand) and an extensive understanding of its roots, history and traditions
  • Basic theological training (graduate of Ambassador Univisity, 1974)
  • Contract management and planning skills (graduate of Auckland University's Engineering School, 1979, 8 years experience in that field and certified as a registered civil engineer)
  • Wide experience over nearly 30 years in various pastoral roles within GCI
  • Information technology skills (BAppIS degree from UCOL, conferred 2004)
  • Teaching experience, both in the church and in the tertiary education sector
  • Will complete a graduate diploma in theology from Laidlaw College in 2014.


  • To promote the highest spiritual, ethical and moral standards in all church and governance functions
  • To maintain and build the spiritual health and integrity of the church.
  • To resource pastoral teams and small congregations, and encourage growth within these bodies.
  • To ensure high quality personnel resourcing and leadership is deployed in the church.