reCharge NEWS July 2024

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    The Day of Presence  

    Fri 20 – Sun 22 September

    Are you looking to get away for a day or two and discover more about God? 
    Do you need some time to escape the hustle-bustle of your life, to quietly rest in God’s presence? 

    “But as for me, God’s presence is all I need. I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, as I declare all the things you have done.” Psalm 73:28 

    The Day of Presence will be held in Maydena in Southern Tasmania to create space for busy women to stop, experience God’s presence, and B-R-E-A-T-H-E. 

    Denise Stephenson, an experienced spiritual director and gifted retreat leader, will lead our time together. 

    $150/person for 2 nights. If you can, bring some food to share at dinner time. (Please contact us if you have hesitations about cost. There are other ways you can contribute). 

    Register your interest in coming by emailing empowher@tasbaptists.org.au – and we’ll get back to you with more details.

    Gateway Baptist Church Special Meeting

    Sunday 4 August 

    Gateway Baptist Church is holding a special meeting on Sunday, 4 August at 10am, for Ps Noel and Beckie Eagling who are retiring from leadership at after five years of serving the church and are being released into itinerant ministry. Ps Bob Goolsby and his wife Sylvie are being commissioned as the new leaders. 

    Join them for this special time in the church family, giving thanks to the Lord for the past five years, sprinkled with perhaps a tinge of sadness in the leaving, but focussing upon celebration in the provision of what is to come. 

    Ps Maddy Svoboda will represent Tas Baptists to complete the commissioning process. The service will be followed by morning tea. They would love to see anyone from the Tas Baptists family, as they thank and farewell Noel and Beckie and welcome Bob and Sylvie.

    Gateway Baptist

    SparkLit Awards

    Thursday 22 August

    The SparkLit Awards recognise and encourage excellence in Australian Christian writing and publishing that helps people discover Jesus in a way that is authentic and culturally meaningful.  

    The 2024 shortlist is out. Ten titles have been shortlisted for Australian Christian Book of the Year Award! The shortlist this year features Christian responses to suffering, the ecological crisis and the challenges of mission. The 2024 Australian Christian Book of the Year will be announced at the SparkLit Awards Night on 22 August. 

    The following ten titles have been shortlisted for the 2024 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award. 

    Save the Date: Myanmar Sunday 

    Sunday 15 September

    Australian Baptists are joining together to support our brothers and sisters in Myanmar who are experiencing atrocities every day at the hand of the military.  

    Baptist World Aid Australia, Baptist Mission Australia and other Baptist ministries and Unions are inviting Baptist churches around Australia to join the Stand with Myanmar campaign.  

    Churches can do this by holding a Myanmar Sunday church service on September 15th (or on a Sunday between Aug 15-Sept 15).  

    Despite disappearing from our daily news reports, the situation has worsened in recent months and there are approximately 2,650,000 internally displaced people living or hiding in the jungle in Myanmar and a further 1,133,000 seeking asylum or in refugee camps in the countries surrounding Myanmar. Funds are desperately needed for education, medical supplies, food, water and clothing. 
    The ethnic people groups of Myanmar are largely Baptist and here in Australia we have around 75 Baptist congregations originating from Myanmar, 56 of which are within our Baptist Union of Victoria. 

    Please consider joining with us by adding this important event to your church calendar for Aug – Sept 2024, as we stand with our brothers and sisters from Myanmar.  

    More information will be circulated in July with some wonderful resources and ideas for how to hold your Myanmar Sunday service. 

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    But Who Are You Really?

    But who are you really

    Sacred Agents

    Andrew Turner of Crossover reflects in his Sacred Agents blog.

    We all have some fear of exposure, of being really seen. (I accidentally drank some invisible ink the other day. I went straight to the hospital, but it was 12 hours before they saw me…) Many have the occasional nightmare along the lines of going to church and realising they’re wearing no pants. 

    But doesn’t that raise the question of Who are you at the deepest level? 

    Whilst you may fear being revealed as a fraud due to your incomplete discipleship, this is not actually your deepest level. If absolutely everything was to be told about you, the main headline would be this: You’re a precious child of God, dearer to him than life itself. 

    This should not only comfort, but also embolden us. I’ve long been convinced that the #1 key to missional effectiveness is neither tools nor technique. They’re both important, and why at Crossover we invest in resources and training. But more transformative by far is identity. 

    Bringing the Kingdom

    Do we really believe that we are representatives of God’s kingdom? The name Sacred Agents came from a conversation I had with a group of 10-year-old boys who thought that being a pastor must be the most boring job ever. “No, it’s much more like being a secret agent!” I said.  

    Do we think of ourselves as ‘bringing’ the kingdom of God into every room we enter, every conversation we join, every new day we wake to? It sounds astonishingly arrogant even as I type it, except for two things: Christ himself said that he sends us even as the Father sent him (John 20:21), and the kingdom we bring is not arrogant at all – and so neither is the way we are to bring it. 

    Responsibilities in the Family Business

    Now except for very rare cases, there’s no need to be a secret as well as a sacred agent. We should be seen – and such self-disclosure can readily be navigated without arrogance. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19) – and that is not merely future-us, but here-and-now-us too by the grace of God! 

    So next time at a party someone asks ‘And what do you do?’ let’s face it, you’re not going to say ‘I’m a spy for Jesus.’ No, you’re still going to say you’re an architect (which is strange, because you’re a hairdresser). No, no, remember in true fact you’re a precious child of God. And not a baby, simply to be carried, but an heir, with responsibilities in the family business. 

    These responsibilities may include designing hotels or hairstyles, but if you’re consciously a temple of the Holy Spirit in every meeting room, classroom and chatroom, they’ll never be the same again. 

    Thanks so much to all who have supported Crossover through the Australian Baptist Easter Offering. Later-in-the-year contributions from churches and individuals are very welcome as an investment in Helping Australian Baptists Share Jesus. See crossover.org.au/offering 

    Andrew Turner, Director of Crossover.

    Andrew Turner is the Director of Crossover for Australian Baptist Ministries. Photo by Marten Newhall Unsplash

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    Consent, our Missional Gateway

    But who are you really

    Theology and Culture

    You may go to a friend’s house, and whilst you’re there you’re asked if you want some tea. You should receive tea, maybe a biscuit if they’re available. If you don’t ask for tea, and are given tea, or forced to have the tea, your consent has been ignored. At least according to one successful video, see below.

    It’s often that simple. Consent is the act of giving a free willed yes to another’s proposal or desire. This can be expressed directly and unmistakably, implied through interpreting a particular action, or fully informed through clear explanation of facts. Often consent is discussed within the context of sex, either initiating or prevention of sexual assault. If anyone doesn’t consent to sexual engagement that’s assault.

    For us as Baptists consent is key, we were born out of our church’s consent being violated. During our inception mandates were put upon the early Baptists around infant Baptism, congregational governance, and the place of the Common Book of Prayer. This led to early Baptists being exiled and developing in Amsterdam before returning to England and advocating for the freedom of local congregations.

    We Do Faith Differently

    This is shown in our decision not to baptize infants, nor force baptism upon others. We do not violate the free choice of individuals, nor do we coerce people to join the elect. Baptism is given to those who profess the creeds and faith in Christ. People must give their fully informed and explicit consent to enter the Kingdom of God. The Baptist tradition is filled with individuals who say they want to be a part of God’s mission. They consent and act towards the benefit of the Kingdom with their church.

    We do faith differently! We were among the first Christians to focus on this ancient way of Baptism rather than keeping the tradition of infant baptism. Infants and young children cannot give informed consent and so we would argue they cannot consent to entering the family of God, which is symbolised in the new birth of Baptism. Instead, we seek to introduce people to the Living God, even as children, so when they can give consent and follow him they are well informed and understand God.

    Why Understanding Consent is Important

    As we are a collection of individual churches struggling to maintain numbers, I believe this understanding of consent grants us a deeper appreciation of how our world is thinking at this point in time. Those outside churches want safe spaces where they have the ability to choose, to give full informed consent. For us we have that built into our understanding of church, that pressuring others is unnecessary, we need only show the reasons we have faith.

    Giving people reason to meet the loving God, opening the door for the Holy Spirit to meet the dormant soul and enliven it to his purposes. We must also respect the differences between people, yet offering confidence in our choices is essential. The Holy Spirit has met us, we have joined the family of Christ, and the Father guides us. Mission is the act of doing this in such a way that we can maintain consent, giving full and soulful choice to a new believer. This is the power of holding the door open and welcoming people to meet God rather than demanding conformity.

    Offering the Right To Choose

    If we’re leading ministries, giving people under us the opportunity to exercise this freedom, to give of themselves wholeheartedly without pushing them, grants them freedom to accept or refuse as they need. If we’re attending ministries, it’s important to stand up for what we can and can’t do, stating clearly our boundaries and enforcing them for the good of a ministry or ourselves, God’s image bearers. Open spaces to discuss consent, both in terms of the religious power we have of fully and freely giving of ourselves to God’s mission, but also in giving women space to advocate for their own desires, children space to speak their minds, and the elderly a chance to advocate for their needs.        

    Offering people the right to choose and honouring that, just as God does with our salvation, gives us the opportunity to be more moral people, to uphold each other’s sanctity before God, and to see each other as co-authors to the coming Kingdom of God. Will we stand beside those seeking his kingdom so they may choose him and be alongside him forevermore.

    Liam Conway is Associate Pastor at Riverlands, Longford.
    He was born and raised in Hobart, graduated from UTas with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology. He is now the associate Pastor of Riverlands community church and is studying his Master of Divinity.

    A turning of the tide?


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    reCharge NEWS June 2024

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      Winter Solstice Celebrate the Light in Hobart

      Christians of different denominations came together last week at the darkest time of the year to celebrate the light. Many different events provided expressions of love and light for the city of Hobart. A slide show from the various events is below.

      EmpowHer Day Of Wonder 2025 

      Save the date in 2025 on Saturday 29 March for next year’s EmpowHer Day of Wonder.
      Heartlands Autumn/Winter 2024 issue is out now. Read how to move from being STUCK into FREEDOM and how Breaking free from a rut can be incredibly liberating. Melissa Lipsett, CEO of Baptist World Aid and the keynote speaker for the Day of Wonder write on how women can change the fabric of local communities from poverty to cohesion. Plus Day of Presence on 20-22 September in Maydena in Southern Tasmania and other events for your calendar.. 

      Break Free - Heartlands for Women. By EmpowHer

      Hobart Night of Prayer  

      This Friday, 21st June a number of people are meeting for prayer or for prayer walks in Hobart.

      You are welcome to join other Christians or gather your own group together, to pray solo or in pairs and choose a place to pray at home, at church or “prayer walk” outdoors. 

      Below is a list of times and locations for organised prayer groups: 

      6:00 – 8:00pm – Prayer at St James Anglican Church New Town, followed by a prayer walk into St Davids Church

      7:00 – 8:00pm – Prayer at Kangaroo Bluff with Citywide Baptist Church  

      9:00 – 10:00pm – Prayer walk through the CBD. Starts at the Salvation Army Corps, 180 Elizabeth St  

      9:30 – 10:30pm – Prayer walk from Montagu Bay Primary School (Conara Rd – just under the Tasman Bridge) going across the bridge to St Davids along the waterfront.  

      *Please turn up 5 mins beforehand for prayer walks.

      More details here

      Better World Magazine June 2024
       

      The latest edition of Better World Magazine is out now.  This issue explores: 

      – What 50 years of Child Sponsorship has taught us 
      – Why disaster preparation is a justice issue 
      – Mi Kai Lagwi’s fight to end oppression in Myanmar 
      – Power: am I the problem?

      The Baptist World Aid magazine highlights pressing issues facing communities, offers inspiring good news stories, and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of local Christian Partners’ work around the world.  

      Click image below for magazine. 

      Celebrate the Light

      Christians from different churches around Hobart are coming together at the darkest time of the year to celebrate the light. Many churches are holding events during June to celebrate the winter months and spread the light and hope of Jesus. 

      Hobart Baptist’s Luminous festival is participating, along with other churches and different expressions of love for the city of Hobart. Events include: prayer walks, art installations, outreach, youth events, pancakes, hot chocolate, lanterns, hot topic discussions, midnight communion and more. These events are an excellent opportunity to invite those who don’t know Jesus yet.  

      Check out the Celebrate the Light Facebook page to stay connected over winter. 

      Luminous Festival Opens Today

      This year’s Luminous Festival at Hobart Baptist includes an exhibition of art by three artists, Karin McCormack, Joel Wybrew and Michael Henderson. They explore the theme SACRED TASMANIA and the connections between the sacred, place, and sustainability.  

      In Tide Line, a ceramic and raw clay installation by Karin McCormack, she subscribes to ‘the broader notion of sacred, that which inspires awe and deserves respect and reverence…’. 

      Joel Wybrew’s music Recording with Images is called (How) are you loving home? It’s an intimate piece of music, which seeks to provoke listeners to reflect on the land they inhabit and the community they share it with. Listeners are encouraged to pause and think about if and how they embody these values.  

      Past – Present? – Continuous? is a work of graffiti on photographs, by Michael Henderson. 

      The exhibition is open 12-15 June and 17-20 June: 10am-2pm at Hobart Baptist Church and kicks off with a panel discussion with the artists 12 June at 6pm. 

      The theme this year is “Sacred Tasmania” with a focus on “home, love and the things that unite us” and includes four conversations on the sacredness of life and how to live it well on this wonderful island Tasmania. 

      Event details are listed on the Luminous website or contact hello@luminousfestival.org.au

      PNG’s Deadly Landslide

      How Churches Can Help 

      On 24 May, a deadly landslide struck Enga Province in Papua New Guinea, possibly burying up to 2,000 people and leaving many families devastated.

      Australian Baptists have a strong history of partnership with Baptist Union PNG. Baptist Union PNG staff members have shared the devastation of the situation as they try to locate missing family members and mourn the loss of loved ones. They’ve also made known the urgent need for aid, as the landslide has buried homes, farmland, and infrastructure. 

      Baptist World Aid is helping Baptist Union PNG provide emergency food rations. BWA is also cooperating with Baptist Mission Australia to practically and prayerfully respond to this disaster.  

      BWA, in cooperation with BMA, have developed a PNG Landslide Appeal here which is now live for donations.

      PNG Landslide appeal

      Baptist World Congress

      7-12 July 2025 

      Hosted every five years in rotating regional locations, the 23rd Baptist World Congress will take place in Brisbane. Baptists from all over the world will descend on Brisbane’s Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre. This year the Congress is a partnership between the Baptist World Alliance and the Australian Baptist movement. It will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gather with Baptist sisters and brothers from around the world and learn how God is at work in and through our global family. 

      The event theme is “Living the Good News” drawn from Luke 4: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (v. 18-19) 

      For more information visit the website.

      23rd Baptist World Congress

      Library Aid International  

      Second Life Books and Resources

      Library Aid International provide opportunities for schools and others in Tasmania to give a second life to used books and educational resources so that they can be shipped to needy schools in overseas countries. heir 12th container is about to be shipped.  

      The Sheffield community has warmly welcomed Library Aid International Inc. that originated as the vision of Linda Abblitt from Tasmania. The group is now led by Leoni Read and in 2023 relocated from Upper Burnie to the Beulah Memorial Hall with new volunteers and supporters coming forward. 

      They continue to see schools, libraries, churches, organisations, and private citizens donate books, educational resources and finances to LAI. 

      Students and staff from a school recently held a Book Drive and donated 1,161 books and a generous donation of two thousand dollars was made from the proceeds of morning teas at a popular market.  

      A children’s authors’ small business in Hobart donated 100 copies each of three non-fiction educational books for young children. 

      LAI recently placed a “Book Library Fridge” in front of the Uniting Church in Sheffield for books donated to LAI that, for various reasons related to culture or other factors, cannot be shipped. The Book Library Fridge is a novel and imaginative approach that encourages the joy of reading and community engagement, both at home and abroad while promoting LAI on the volunteer-painted fridge doors. 

      To donate and for a list of preferred items visit the website.

      Library Aid International

      Building a Culture of Trust

      Tuesday, 11 June 

      Experience an engaging half-day Leaders Networking Event to workshop building a culture of trust. Presented by Dr. Henry Cloud, clinical psychologist and author of 45 books including “Boundaries”. 

      The half-day session on Tuesday 11 June will be co-hosted by GLS Next Gen on the Northwest Coast at Devonport. 

      Understanding the significance of trust within a team has profound impact on enhancing working environments. The event offers a fantastic opportunity for networking, learning, and potentially catalysing positive change within church culture. Learn, grow and connect with leaders from across Tasmania.

      The highlight of the meeting will be an insightful presentation by Dr. Henry Cloud. 
       
      Benefits include:
      – World-class insights  
      – Dynamic conversations 
      – Defined next steps to enhance trust with the people you lead.

      Costs start at $65 per person and includes GST, workbook and morning tea.  

      Find more information and register here

      Building a Culture of Trust

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      The End of Christianity in Tasmania?

      Route Options for Repenters

      Theology and Culture

      Stephen Baxter considers whether the church in Tasmania has separated from the mainstream of Tasmanian life.

      In 1971, Tasmania was the most Christian state in Australia with nearly 9 out of 10 people identifying as Christian. Fast forward fifty years and that number has plummeted to just over 1 in 3. Those claiming no religion went from 1 in 20 to 1 in 2.

      This seismic shift didn’t happen overnight. It was the culmination of a series of small cultural shifts day after day, year after year. The shift caught the church largely unaware and over the years it became separated from the mainstream of Tasmanian life.   

      Looking Like Jesus?

      The church has always been at its best when it resonated with the human condition. It started with Jesus, who met people with empathy and courage, as opposed to the religious leaders of his day who only increased their burdens. Too often in the 2000 years since, the church has looked more like the opponents of Jesus than Jesus himself. We failed to engage the real challenges people faced, and instead erected barriers. However, there have been times with the church was more like Jesus. 

      How would the people of Tasmania view the church today? I fear they don’t see Jesus. This is a challenge. If the church remains disengaged from the mainstream we will continue our decline in relevancy and number. But it doesn’t need to be that way. We are people of the resurrection. The challenge before us is in fact a real opportunity. 

      Now is the time to reimagine what it means to be the church for 21st century Tasmania. As we do, I believe there are three aspects worthy of our consideration.  

      Is the church in Tasmania known as a source of audacious hope, radical community and fierce love?

      Communities of Hope, Love and Faith

      Firstly, it is important we reclaim being a community of hope. The church is God’s pilot project for the new creation. Imbued with hope through rebirth in the Holy Spirit, the church is not about reviving old dogma but birthing a lifestyle that is dynamic, alive and relevant.  

      Secondly, reembody being a community of love. Being church was never about empty religious observance. It’s about humbly loving those around us through practical care, good works and social cohesion. Such love is always infectious.  

      And thirdly, rebuilding a community of faith. Too easily we slip into reducing Jesus followers into spectators and consumers of church services. But the church was never meant to be reduced to that. We are a body of faith-inspired, spirit-equipped people participating in God’s mission together. Here we constantly pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

      Is the church in Tasmania known as a source of audacious hope, radical community and fierce love?

      If the challenges the church faces in Tasmania are seen through the lens of these realities, everything changes. No longer are we an institution on life support struggling to stay alive. In fact, we become the vehicle God uses to bring renewal to every area of life in our communities. 

      Sure, it is uncomfortable and unpredictable, and will look very different from the church we’ve known. But that is no different than the message Jesus brought. Our calling is to be out ahead of the cultural tremors working to reshape of our world based on the dreams God for our community.   

      The Alternative?

      But what is the alternative? Simply fading away by surrendering to the status quo that rendered us culturally irrelevant in the first place? 

      No, this moment of challenge is the opportunity. What if the church in Tasmania was known as a source of audacious hope, radical community and fierce love for each other? Wouldn’t that be exactly what Jesus would want of us?

      Stephen Baxter is Mission Director for Tasmanian Baptists.

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      Craig Hawkins – Forest Seahorses and Creation

      Craig Hawkins

      Ministry Profile: Craig Hawkins  

      Creation Research Ministry Champion

      Point Baptist Pastor, Craig Hawkins writes about his life, his love for nature and how dreams of opening a Creation Museum has now become a reality. Read on to find out . . .

      Early YEARS

      My Father and Mother moved to Orange, NSW to plant a new church there for the Churches of Christ movement, and that is where I was born. Before I was six, we had moved to Gladstone, Queensland because there was a plan to close the church there, but my parents felt led to help keep it open. Praise God it is still operating to this day. These are the things remembered by young minds. My dad sold vacuum cleaners and my mum sold encyclopedias to keep the pantry stocked as I remember very few people came to the church at first and sometimes our family were the only ones who turned up.  

      Gladstone was fun to grow up in. A tough place in the 1970’s, as a coal port and aluminium smelter. We remember the excitement of someone being shot across the road from our house one night, although apparently, they survived, I’m not certain though as I was only about eight years old. One school excursion we went to the Hoop Pine forests west of Gladstone and I loved it. It was here that my passion to work in the forests was born. After five years, the church was going well enough for dad to be called to plant a new church in Maitland, NSW. This is where I spent my high school years, letting off competitive steam playing cricket and hockey. 

      Keeping Faith and Science

      Neither dad nor mum were much into science, but they were very early supporters of the Creation Science Foundation and I remember having John Mackay and Ken Ham come to dinner as a 15-year old. I became very interested in how science and the Bible fit together, and I am sure that this helped me keep my faith whilst completing a science degree at the Australian National University in Canberra. Years later I would reconnect with John and am now working full-time with him at Creation Research. 

      University and beyond

      During my university years, I was lucky enough to get a Cadetship with the NSW Forestry Commission and spent an amazing field year working across NSW in some wild areas. I met a wide range of interesting Aussie characters and learned to always connect with a local country church. What a great way to learn the importance of hospitality within the Body of Christ as many people warmly welcomed me into their homes for meals and fellowship. The practical experience in the bush helped me to do well finishing off the degree.  

      My first professional posting was in the beautiful country town of Gloucester, NSW working in the Barrington Tops region. The forest wars were in full swing at the time, and we had various incidents to deal with. I particularly enjoyed the training in wildlife research and spent many hours surveying forest owls, large forest gliders, koalas, bats and many other creatures.  

      Craig and Rachelle
      Spotlight Surveys Lead to Rachelle

      One night in the mountains we were conducting a track-line spotlight survey when we spotted some rare Parma wallabies further up the track. We were stopped and looking at them, when suddenly they began hopping down the track towards us. One after the other they bumped into the stationary vehicle before hurtling off into the dense undergrowth. No wonder they are endangered, I thought. However, it was while doing spotlight surveys that I discovered a very good way to get close to that special girl. I had invited Rachelle and a couple of her friends out to survey wildlife out in the middle of nowhere. In the pitch-black darkness, all of a sudden, a pack of dingo’s started howling a short distance away. She clung to me tightly. 

      Rachelle finished her science degree at the University of Newcastle while I was working in Sydney as the departmental liaison officer for the Minister of Land and Water. However, the city life was not for this country boy and after getting married in early 1997 we moved to Tasmania so I could work with a private forestry company.  

      point Baptist

      Rachelle did a postgraduate degree in Aquaculture and became the first biologist for the Seahorse farm which we now own. We attended Newstead Baptist and loved our years there before moving to Beauty Point with the new business in 2002. 

      The Lord has directed our paths and Proverbs 3:5-6 is a very special verse for us especially as we manoeuvred through difficult early years in the business. This passage would be the best advice I have ever received.  

      Eventually, I had to make a decision to either leave forestry or close the business as it had become too difficult to do both. By this time, I had a senior position with the Forest Practices Authority and loved the work. It needed the clearest direction I had ever had from the Lord to make me leave the profession. I am thankful that I heeded that direction. 

      While in Beauty Point it became quickly obvious how neglected the area was with Christian outreach. My parents had moved to the area to be close to their grandchildren and the decision was made, with dad’s church planting experience behind us, to begin what is now the Point Baptist Church.  

      We have six children, four boys and two girls. Our oldest son Damon also loves the outdoors and completed a forestry degree. He is married to Isabelle and lives in Queensland. All the others are still at home with two at UTAS and the youngest three at Launceston Christian School. 

      seahorses and museumS

      The Seahorse business is now going well, having survived some very difficult times through COVID and I have refocused my full efforts into the Creation Discovery Centre and wider Creation Research ministry. Rachelle and I both had a dream of opening up a Creation Museum to show how real science supports the Biblical account of history and it has now become a reality. It has already provided an extraordinary number of witnessing opportunities. 

      We are also encouraged by the church’s recent growth. There is much to be done but we have a lovely congregation with many lives changed and growing in the Lord. Tasmania is a wonderful place to live with great people and away from the rat race of the big cities of the mainland.

      Craig Hawkins - with Crinoid fossil from Africa
      Craig with a Crinoid fossil from Africa for the Creation Discovery Centre
      Pray For… 

      Please pray for our church and our area which needs an even stronger Christian witness and the Creation Discovery Centre and the many un-churched it reaches. 

      Craig Hawkins

      Short ‘n’ Sweet

      I am looking forward to. . . growing the Creation Discovery Centre God-willing.

      I am worried about. . . not diligently doing what God wants me to do.   

      I am confident that. . . Jesus has all things under His control.

      I am joyful about. . . watching my family grow.

      I would like to change. . . the impact of false science leading people away from Jesus.

      I am at my best. . . when practically engaged in the things I love.


      Craig Hawkins


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      Sacred Agents

      Andrew Turner of Crossover reflects in his Sacred Agents blog.

      I find Jesus wonderful and endlessly fascinating, so when opportunities arise to talk about him, I’m rarely at a loss for material. But yacking on about Jesus is only one part of evangelism.

      There’s another part that comes less easily to me, and I think to many across our movement. In fact, if every Australian who speaks for Christ could get together for a seminar, I reckon we should spend at least half of it on this: Inviting a response.

      The gospel is news, it’s an announcement to be proclaimed. But it’s news-with-personal-implications. It’s an invitation, it’s a proposal. So we not only seek to make plain the goodness of God, but also to offer steps of faith in response. Sacred agents are guides for others – not blind guides like some Pharisees, but ones who know the way to peace with God because we’ve taken it ourselves.

      Sacred Agents are Guides

      Inviting a response is not always about an alter call while Ira Sankey sings Beneath the Cross of Jesus. If a work colleague is curious about why you go to church, it may simply be ending your answer with, “Would you like to come along and see for yourself?”

      One challenge with this, however, is figuring out what level of response your listener/s may be ready to make. You can ask questions, read body language and look for clues. But it can be hard to know. Is this person ready to repent, be baptised, and identify fully as a Christian? Or is their next step simply to pick up a Bible or come to Alpha or watch a clip online?

      Thankfully, we don’t need to offer only one response. When Google Maps gives me directions to reigning-quiz-champions Knightsbridge Baptist, it gives me several route options. Here’s the best and most direct way, in bright blue. But here are other steps too that will ultimately get you there.

      Here’s the best and most direct way, in bright blue. But here are other steps too that will ultimately get you there.

      Being cautious, we often assume that people aren’t ready to go straight to the foot of the cross. But this can mean we offer people tiny, incremental steps that result in a circuitous and not-so-scenic route to peace with God. If we only offer small steps, it can even suggest that getting to God is like a long mountain climb, not a particularly helpful gospel image. It’s true many are not ready to go straight to Jesus, but they need to know that they can.

      Giving Options

      On the other hand, if we only offer giant steps, then the only alternative to a big Yes is a No. So why not give options? “If you want peace with God, you can have it today, you know. But if you just want to check it all out, why not come along to Alpha, or read John’s gospel?”

      We may be surprised by some who are indeed ready for a big step of faith. And we may also be surprised by some whose small steps turn into big ones.

      Andrew Turner, Director of Crossover.

      Andrew Turner is the Director of Crossover for Australian Baptist Ministries. Photo by Manfred Richter (CC). Thanks so much to all who have supported Crossover through the Australian Baptist Easter Offering. End-of-financial year contributions from churches and individuals are very welcome as an investment in Helping Australian Baptists Share Jesus. See crossover.org.au/offering

      A turning of the tide?

      Route Options for Repenters

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      Two things I’m seeing, One thing I know

      reCharge Blog Header for Jenna Blackwell article

      Jenna Blackwell Report from the MALD

      Two things I’m seeing, One Thing I Know

      From the field:

      1. People are engaging in deep transformation, 

      2. People are hungry for spiritual conversations, especially young adults,

      Known truth: God is over it all.

      People Engaging in Deep Transformation

      I think I have one of the most privileged jobs. I get to sit with people as they wrestle through the ups and downs of this journey we call life – through truth and scars, opportunities and failures, hopes and disappointments.

      There isn’t a greater privilege than being beside people in some of their most vulnerable processing. I’m not a counsellor; I’m a coach, a pastor and a friend. But ultimately, I’m a child of God and co-heir with Jesus, and none of this is possible without that being the foundation.

      Recently, I had a very odd encounter with a stranger that left me feeling quite perplexed (to say the least). On my way to my next meeting, I was praying, “God, you need to have this, because I don’t – I’ve got nothing – I need you to lead this session.” I tried to listen to Holy Spirit, I followed leads, and as we went around in circles, I felt I was leading them on a wild goose chase that would not be useful. But God knows what He’s doing, even if it makes no sense to us.

      Maybe you’ve experienced ‘a-ha’ moments when things suddenly start making sense.
      You understand why you get annoyed about something that shouldn’t bug you, or you realise how your perspective on something is hindering the very change you wish to see.

      Or you simply see the various unrelated threads that all come back to a core issue or belief.

      God’s work as Counsellor

      This is the privilege I get to see on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit prompting something in someone that takes them to a deeper level of insight, understanding and wisdom.

      It is a privilege to share a moment in that person’s journey. I say a moment, because God’s work as Counsellor is continuous. We rarely change suddenly. Change happens through a continuum of opportunities to go deeper with God, and I love walking with people as they embrace these opportunities.

      Women’s Collective

      One space that I get to see this, in addition to individual coaching, is in the Women’s Collective. This initiative started in 2023, co-created with my friend and housemate (Gabi). The Women’s Collective is collaborative and non-denominational. It seeks to encourage and equip women to lead.

      Our vision is to create a safe and empowering space for women to process life, leadership, and ministry. We gather in homes, with intentionality and vulnerability, and we share a space to process life and leadership as women in our various contexts. This is a collaborative collective that is deeply encouraging and inspiring for all involved.

      We had a hunch there was a need… We didn’t realise how right we were!

      People are hungry for belonging and community; but they are also hungry for spiritual conversation.

      Last year, some friends and I gathered with a shared heart for people to have a space to wrestle with questions about life and faith. For people to have a place to belong – a community – where no question was too silly or naïve or wrong. A place where their experience and the world’s culture could be challenged. A place that would be an initiator of community, transformation, hope and faith.

      So we joined together, from different churches, with a shared heart and a hunch that maybe there was a need for this sort of space, especially among young adults. We didn’t realise how great the need was. Since starting in February, we’ve had 20-30+ young adults coming each night. We’ve had friends bringing friends, new people at each gathering, and a core group returning.

      The process is simple, really. We share a meal, we offer a ‘thought’, and we invite discussion. It’s not rocket science. It’s genuine hearts with a genuine hope for genuine transformation through genuine community.

      Do you get the emphasis? It’s genuine. Maybe it is radical, if that’s not your norm.

      But younger generations (in particular) smell ‘fake’ and ‘programs’ from a mile away. If their radar senses you’re not authentic, you’ll only see the back of them. But genuine connection – real hearts of love and compassion – this is what they’re craving.

      Young people are hungry for spiritual conversations. The great thing is that you don’t need to facilitate a group like this. It doesn’t have to be a big thing.

      Over to You

      Who do you know that you could come alongside? Who are some people you can invite over for dinner? Or have a cuppa with? Who are the young people you know? Invest in them.

      A Few Points of Advice:
      – Listen more than you talk
      – If you don’t agree, wait, listen, ask ‘wondering’ questions
      – Avoid yes/no questions
      – ‘Could you tell me more about that?’ is a great invitation

      Two things I’m seeing, One Thing I Know

      God is Over it All 

      This shouldn’t have to be stated, but let the record show:

      It is God who works in us (Phil 2:13) and,
      It is not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph 2:1-10)

      We have the privilege to partner with God; we have the invitation to know God.
      And, we have the responsibility to reveal God and God’s heart.

      Jenna Blackwell


      Jenna Blackwell works part-time for Tasmanian Baptists and is responsible for Leadership Development. She is a Christian Coach, with a particular interest in spiritual and personal formation. Jenna also pastors part-time at City Baptist Church Launceston, as their formation pastor. She’s currently involved in the Women’s Collective and Re-Imagine – the two initiatives mentioned in this article.


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      reCharge NEWS May 2024

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        Free Trauma Awareness Training

        Launches 19 June 2024

        Fostering Hope is a Tasmanian, Christian organisation seeking to support at-risk children and those who care for them.  

        One of the ways they do this is to increase understanding of the impacts of unsafe beginnings on children and young people. Many of these children and young people interact with kids that go to church, youth group, playgroup, and other programs.  

        Their behaviours can be challenging, yet everyone has a role to play in showing them God’s love and acceptance. This can be so powerful in their healing.  

        With the support of the Tasmanian Community Fund, Fostering Hope partnered with Dr Suse from Shine Through Psychology to develop easy to understand, free, online trauma awareness videos. These videos encourage people already working and volunteering with children and young people and increase their understanding of the impacts of unsafe beginnings.  

        The course consists of six engaging and easy to understand sessions designed to help you bring compassion and care to children impacted by trauma. The videos take about an hour total.  

        Book video sessions here on their website

        Luminous Festival

        12-23 June 2024

        Hobart Baptist Church is again challenging Hobartians in the middle of winter with the Luminous Festival. Sacred Tasmania is the theme, exploring the connection between the sacred, place and sustainability.  

        There will be: 
        – Four Conversations about home, love and the sacred things that unite us
        – Three incredible art installations
        – Two inspiring events with Scott Darlow, indigenous musician
        – Two Christmas in Winter events to celebrate the coming of light into darkness
        – One Multicultural Market with a feast of food options!

        TICKETS: Sat 15 June, Scott Darlow in Concert $10/adult (free for kids 0-14). Profits to World Vision. 

        FREE WITH REGISTRATION: All other events. 

        You are spoilt for choice – have a look at dates and options here:  luminousfestival.org.au 

        All Welcome! Invite your friends and family! 

        Changes At Hobart Baptist Church 

        HBC’s Stephen Baxter Concludes in the Role

        On Sunday, 12 May, Scott Ambrose shared the news that, Stephen Baxter would be concluding his time as Senior Pastor at Hobart Baptist Church later this year. Stephen is leaving the role after 14 years and is the longest serving minister in the 140-year history of Hobart Baptist Church. Stephen indicated that he felt a clear sense that God was calling him to conclude his period of service as Senior Pastor. Consequently, his final Sunday will be 1 September 2024.  

        This is not necessarily the end of Stephen and Jenny’s time at Hobart Baptist Church but, rather, the conclusion of serving as Senior Pastor.  

        HBC will celebrate Stephen and Jenny and their pastoral ministry over the coming months and invite everyone in the Tas Baptist community to join in as they honour them. 

        The HBC community are incredibly grateful to God for the leadership of Stephen and the support and work of Jenny over many years. Stephen and Jenny have responded faithfully to the call of God to serve Him through Hobart Baptist Church, and it is fitting that they are now responding to His call as they seek His will for the future. The changes in the Church in both the physical buildings and in the pastoral team approach and missional outlook, are a testament to Stephen’s ministry. 

        The Diaconate will be meeting to prayerfully consider future pastoral leadership and invite all members of the Tas Baptist community to thank God for the provision of Stephen and Jenny for this period in the life of Hobart Baptist and, to pray for God’s will for the HBC community.  Watch the announcement below from HBC’s YouTube site.

        impress: passing faith onto our kids

        New book, impress by Ainsley Freeman

        A new book explores sharing faith with our children in the context of busy, modern households.

        With the pressures of our modern world, parents are struggling to find the time, energy and tools to talk about and demonstrate faith to their kids. impress is a book written for these parents in the “drowning years” of raising children and is part encouragement and part how-to when it comes to sharing faith to the next generation in the context of our modern households.  

        Mother of three sons, author, media professional and church pastor, Ainsley Freeman, says the book represents much of her life journey to date.  

        This book is a call back to the primary task for any caregiver to pass the baton of faith in a compelling, meaningful, and relevant way in the context of our families. It’s a call back to evangelism and sharing the good news with people we’ve been entrusted.  

        Reflecting on her new book Ainsley says, “It is imperative that we talk about and live our faith in a way that leaves a real impression on the next generation and this book will help and inspire parents to do just that.” 

        impress is available through the Olive Tree Media online store and instore or online from Koorong bookstores. To find out more about impress visit the @impress.daily Instagram page or go to the website www.olivetreemedia.com.au/impress and be sure to sign up for Ainsley’s 52-week devotional accompanying the book called impress weekly

        National Volunteers Week  

        20-26 May  

        Next week we notice and celebrate our volunteers. Notice – because volunteers are often the quiet and generally unnoticed people making things happen in the background.
        They are rarely recognised for their work, and rarely expect to be – because it’s in their nature to help others! How do you let your volunteers know that they are so very valued? Send a free e-card or appreciation certificate

        Micah Australia

        2024 Budget Night Response 

        In the wake of Budget night, Micah Australia have created a Budget response as part of their joint campaign – ‘Safer World for All’ – run with the wider Australian International Development sector.  

        They have also developed an Advocacy Plan to help churches advocate for an Australia that acts justly for country neighbours and the most urgent global justice issues facing the world today – extreme poverty, rising conflict and climate change.  

        Further resources unpacking the need to advocate for a generous aid program from a Christian perspective can be found here

        Baptist World Aid Matching Grant Appeal 

        May-June 2024

        Support the work of Baptist World Aid before the end of the financial year   

        Inspired by Isaiah 61 and God’s infinite kindness to those who are suffering, May-June will see Baptist World Aid launch their annual Matching Grant Appeal. 

        Donations made to this appeal will be combined with government funds and invested in specific community development projects.  

        Current projects funded through the Matching Grant Appeal are in Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Lebanon.  

        For over 10 years, they have used the campaign as an opportunity to raise the funds needed to access additional financial support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). All donations are tax-deductible.   

        For further information visit the website or read BWA 2024 FAQ document here. 

        Youth Alive UNDIVIDED!

         24, 25 May and 21 June 2024  

        Youth Alive Undivided is a state-wide event for young people and youth ministries and are perfect for teenagers to bring their friends along. Tasmania is holding three events with over 1000 young people gathering! Dates for the Undivided are: 

        24 MAY – Launceston, 6pm At Door of Hope Christian Church 

        25 MAY – Devonport, 6pm at Gateway Church 

        21 JUNE – Hobart, 6pm at Hillsong Church Hobart (New Venue). 

        To book tickets or volunteer, visit the website for more information

        Baptist Mission Australia

        May 2024
        It’s still May Mission Month!  Is your church following along with the four key themes?  

        1. Renewing: It starts with us (Galatians 5:16–17, 22–26) 
        1. Relating: It’s always about relationships (Matthew 4:18–22) 
        1. Restoring: It’s about the whole Gospel for the whole world (Luke 4:14–21) 
        1. Responding: It’s about availability (John 1:35–42) 

        These can be run as a four-part series, or each theme can be used a standalone theme.

        Explore this year’s theme, through the video Mending!

        This video offers a big picture understanding of how God is at work – restoring and renewing – as well as tangible examples of how people around the world are joining with Him as co-menders of a beautiful, broken world.  
         
        Explore the full suite of Mending! resources >> 

        BMA

        2024 Tas Baptist Handbook

        Information for Tasmanian Baptist Churches 

        At the May Mid-year Assembly, the 2024 Tasmanian Baptist Handbook will be released. The Handbook contains important information for Tasmanian Baptist Churches, including contact details for pastors, churches, Baptist agencies nationally, church statistics for the past year and much more. 

        The Handbook will be distributed in both printed and electronic form…  

        Printed: At Assembly, two printed copies will be available for each church. To save us postage, please make sure you pick up your church’s Handbooks! 

        If your church requires more than two printed copies, please contact Anna-Maree Richardson at the Tas Baptist office: anna-maree@tasbaptists.org.au 

        Electronic: The final e-version will be distributed as a PDF to Secretaries the week after Assembly. As well, a link will be included in reCharge, distributed on Wednesday 15 May. 

        Please note that for privacy reasons we no longer publish the Handbook on the Tas Baptist website. If you need a copy later, you can always contact the office.  For the same reason, do take care with the distribution and availability of the Handbook. It would be wise to carefully destroy past copies of the Handbook you may have in your possession! 

        IMPORTANT! Quite a few churches and pastors have not yet submitted their details, and it is now becoming urgent.

        If you need to be reminded how to access the form, or if you have any questions, please email the Tas Baptist office on info@tasbaptists.org.au .

        Caring for People Workshop

        Wednesday, 22 May 2024

        Tasmanian Baptists are running a workshop on the process of caring for people through these four significant life events: Marriages, Funerals, Baptisms and Dedications. 

        These events require more than just conducting a ceremony or giving a talk. They require pastoral care from leaders who journey with people and families and support them to navigate some of life’s most emotional and challenging events.  

        To do well, they require involvement, including before, during, and after the event. This might sound like a lot to do, but there are ways to manage time and emotional investment AND truly bless families. 

        The workshop will discuss some practicalities around relevant documents and legal responsibilities. But, the majority of the time will focus on ways to balance a pastor’s or leader’s regular responsibilities with the additional responsibilities that come with these significant events.  

        Open to any pastor or leader that wishes to attend. We recognise that many different leaders are involved in these activities in a church. 

        Morning tea, espresso coffee and tea, and lunch will be provided.
        Please note: no live-streaming or recording will be offered at or after this event.

        LOCATION: Riverlands Baptist Church, Longford. 
        DATE: Wednesday, 22 May 
        TIME: 10:00am to 1.30pm 

        COST: $20 per person, payable to
        Name: Tasmanian Baptist Union 
        BSB: 704-922 
        Account: 100007060 
        Reference: WEDDINGS 

        Register by 10 May by emailing Anna-Maree at Anna-Maree@tasbaptists.org.au with all the names of those attending at your church. Please let Anna-Maree know of any food related needs as you book. 

        Any questions, please email Michael Henderson at michael@tasbaptists.org.au 

        Reflecting Forward Conference

        Monday, 13 to Tuesday, 14 May 2024

        Your Church Tasmania is hosting the Reflecting Forward conference for ministers and other pastoral care workers. Spiritual Care is a growing and vital part of any organisation that cares for and about people. The conference will cover Spiritual Care: Personal, Professional & Political Perspective and Harmony in Thought: Resolving Dissonance and Reordering Cognitive Schema with an option to attend dinner on Monday evening at Government House with a reception with the Governor beforehand. 

        Located at RACV Hotel, 154-156 Collins St, Hobart, keynote speakers include Michael Paterson, Scotland Director of the Institute of Pastoral Supervision and Reflective Practice along with Susan Marcuccio, President of the Australian Association of Supervision.

        Elective/workshop topics: 
        Susan Marcuccio – Using practical models and tools in our supervision, mentoring and chaplaincy 
        Michael Paterson – Brave Space  
        Tim Dyer – Supervising individuals in conflict 
        Sean Conry – The transferrable core of Spiritual Care across sectors 
        Paul Hueston – Supervision in groups 

        REGISTRATIONS CLOSE: 9am on Monday, 6 May

        More info and a full list of speakers and session topics HERE  or register HERE 

        Building a Culture of Trust

        Tuesday, 11 June 

        Experience an engaging half-day Leaders Networking Event to workshop building a culture of trust. Presented by Dr. Henry Cloud, clinical psychologist and author of 45 books including “Boundaries”. 

        The half-day session on Tuesday 11 June will be co-hosted by GLS Next Gen on the Northwest Coast at Devonport. 

        Understanding the significance of trust within a team has profound impact on enhancing working environments. The event offers a fantastic opportunity for networking, learning, and potentially catalysing positive change within church culture. Learn, grow and connect with leaders from across Tasmania.

        The highlight of the meeting will be an insightful presentation by Dr. Henry Cloud. 
         
        Benefits include:
        – World-class insights  
        – Dynamic conversations 
        – Defined next steps to enhance trust with the people you lead.

        Costs start at $65 per person and includes GST, workbook and morning tea.  

        Find more information and register here

        The Point Baptist

        Part-time Youth Pastor wanted at The Point

        The Point Baptist, at Beauty Point in Tasmania, is looking for a part-time youth pastor to take over from the current pastor who is returning to the USA in June.

        For more information, please email Craig Hawkins at hawkthe32@gmail.com or call 0487 343348. 

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        ReCharge News May 2024

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        National Baptist Senior Pastors Gathering

        National Baptist Senior Pastors Gathering group

        Hosted by Citywide, 21-23 May 2024 

        Citywide Baptist church hosted the pastors of Baptist churches (bigger than 300 attendees) from around Australia for the annual Baptist Senior Pastors Gathering.   

        Seventy people were part of the gathering hosted at Citywide on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, before moving to Hobart Baptist church for the final morning session on Thursday. The Gathering has been going on for about 20 years, although, this is the first time it has been hosted in Tasmania.

        Designed as a chance for peer learning and fellowship, the gathering featured workshops and sessions led by the pastors themselves, with intentional space made for the pastors and their spouses to connect. Wednesday afternoon was set aside time for Rest & Recreation, where half the group went bushwalking on Mt Wellington and the other half touring Richmond and Puddleduck Vineyard.

        Pastor Paul Rai personally cooked an incredible Nepalese buffet dinner for the whole gathering on the first night.

        The only external speaker was Minister Guy Barnett, who shared personally and inspirationally at a dinner on Wednesday evening.

        At the end of the gathering, pastors were asked to write down a word to capture their experience and came up with a telling Word Cloud.

        Word Cloud from National Baptist Senior Pastors Gathering group
        Word cloud generated by Pastor feedback from the event.

        A smaller gathering of multi-site churches met from after lunch Thursday to lunchtime Friday to discuss this model of church and share what they have been learning. 

        National Baptist Senior Pastors Gathering group
        Time for some R&R

        Behind the Scenes

        The Citywide team worked very hard to host the event, with Jess McEldowney and Peter and Janine Collins coordinating a team of volunteers at Citywide and Matt Henderson and Kelvin Smith managing things at Hobart Baptist. Dan Hutchison (from Newstead Baptist) and Dan Evenhuis (Executive Pastor at Citywide) helped lead different parts of the gathering. 

        National Baptist Senior Pastors Gathering

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        When is a person ready for baptism?


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        When is a person ready for Baptism?