Getting to know David Bruner - Pastor of City Presbyterian Church

David was a “nerdy kid” growing up in North Carolina. He played with dinosaurs, rahhh, and was fascinated with space and animals - all those boyish fascinations. He had a happy family life, he went to church on Sundays and during the week he attended a school with programs for academically gifted students. Some of David’s fondest memories were the fun things they did to encourage their imagination like making their whole gymnasium into a rainforest.

At middle-school the pressure to be ‘cool’ got him into soccer and like many of his obsessions, he was actually decent at it and travelled to many other states for tournaments. It was at this time where David lost faith and thought it was a bit of a drag to go to their family baptist church.

David explains, “I don’t do things by halves, I have an obsessive-type nature. It’s usually all or nothing with me.” After highschool he got right into another hobby - music. He learnt guitar while he studied philosophy and economics at the University of North Carolina. He was particularly fascinated with the Bible and deep questions like: “do we or don’t we have free will?” After University he pursued a campus ministry internship where he continued to explore religion and philosophy.

While enjoying one of his other passions, mountain climbing in Colorado, David and some friends decided to climb a rock face on a whim in the dark with no ropes. Every slip was life-threatening and they were really testing their faith. They got lost and finally found their way out.

In the campus ministry internship David felt like he was on cloud nine. He described it as “absolute bliss.” He was studying theology, constantly having amazing conversations, and enjoying heaps of adventure. The overwhelmingly positive experience led him to pursue further study in theology at Westminster Seminary in San Diego. It was during this time he met his now wife Gretchen. “My wife is extremely extroverted, which I am not. She’s not into talking about my deep analytical thoughts,” David laughs, “but our faith and love for adventure bring us together.“

It was this love of adventure that ultimately brought them here to New Zealand to visit Arrowtown. Shortly after their visit in 2015 his Pastor position at a church in Seattle ended and David’s heart was redirected to New Zealand. He became pastor of City Presbyterian Church which was meeting on K Road but a search for a new location led them to The Workshop shared space.

So yes, now we have Church every Sunday evening at The Workshop. “The church blends modern sensibilities and concerns with ancient resources of wisdom and grace, love and truth, found in Jesus,” explains David. The church is made up of all walks of life, the majority of them young professionals from all different cultures. Everyone is welcome whenever they wish to come. They also have a band where David plays the guitar.

David chose The Workshop because it’s a pleasant space to be. He likes connecting with the people here. “The acoustics of the space for singing are awesome!” and David gets to work and meet members of the church here during the week for one-on-one spiritual counsel. We love having David’s smiley bliss-face around too.

City Presbyterian Church is 4pm – 6pm every Sunday here at The Workshop.

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