Download reCharge 2023

reCharge 2023



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2. APRIL/MAY 2023

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6. DECEMBER 2023

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Expanding Horizons

Expanding our horizons

Deep ThoughtA bi-monthly feature in reCharge

Click/Tap to scroll down

    Expanding Horizons

    Interpreting Genesis in this Era

    By Tasmanian Baptists Mission Director Stephen Baxter

    Just over a year ago, images from the James Webb Space Telescope were released with great fanfare. Orbiting around the sun, the telescope began to peer deeply into outer space, capturing infrared glimpses of distant stars, clouds and galaxies formed billions of years ago.

    With the Webb telescope we can probe the mysterious structures and origins of the universe in new and exciting ways. As its website declares, “We wonder. It’s our nature. How did we get here? Are we alone in the universe? How does the universe work?”

    Imagfe from the Webb telescope.
NGC 1433’s spiral arms are littered with evidence of extremely young stars.
NASA, ESA, CSA, Janice Lee (NSF's NOIRLab)
Image Processing, Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
Expanding horizons
    A barred spiral galaxy with a double ring structure, NGC 1433’s spiral arms are littered with evidence of extremely young stars

    Since the beginning of human life, generation after generation ask these questions. And we continue to ask them in our day even as, and because of, the amazing images the Webb continues to provide.

    Astronomers estimate there are some 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, the galaxy where earth is located. They also guess there is some 2-trillion galaxies across the known universe. That’s a lot of stars. Something like one septillion, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. With a number like that, no wonder we continue to ask who on earth are we are.

    Genesis remains adequate

    For millennia, the early chapters of Genesis have inspired millions. Its proposition that our existence came about through the action of a generous, wise, and benevolent Creator is literally awesome. Those introductory chapters of the Bible are a small and unique glimpse into the intentions and desires behind life as we know it.

    Generation after generation have returned to those words for inspiration. Each has brought their own interpretation, borne out of their desires and the limits of their knowledge. Today, in the light of our increasing knowledge through instruments like the Webb telescope, it is time to do our own work of interpretation.

    It’s not that Genesis is inadequate, for it remains God’s revelation to us. However, previous interpretations can seem somewhat inadequate in the light of recent discoveries.

    Is it possible to revisit these first few chapters of Genesis and retell the story of our beginnings in a way that captures and recaptures our imaginations, imaginations shaped by the images of the Webb telescope?

    Expanding horizons

    The first hearers of the Genesis story of creation had little sense of the size, nature, and scope of our world. Let alone the Universe. Over the following centuries as human knowledge grew, each generation reimagined the story of life in the light of their expanded knowledge.

    For example, when people did not travel far from their place of birth, knowledge was limited to, and dependent upon, the place where one lived and upon the information gleaned from visitors. When explorers returned with fascinating tales of distant lands, peoples and creatures, one’s appreciation of the world grew.

    When people did not travel far … knowledge was limited to, and dependent upon, the place where one lived and … from visitors.

    For those who wrote and compiled the Old Testament, their horizon was limited to the Middle East. By the time of the New Testament writers, it had expanded to the Roman Empire.

    Around the time of the Protestant Reformation, the horizon included Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. Then, there was the significant expansion through the nautical exploration of people like Columbus. And as well, through the proposal by Copernicus that the earth revolved around the Sun – not the other way around. The reformation/renaissance period became one of rapid discovery and change. This had a profound and transformative effect on every aspect of Western culture, including Christianity.

    Around the time of the Protestant Reformation, the horizon included Europe and parts of Asia and Africa.

    Our world today is amid a similar period of rapid change. Propelled by technology and space travel, today’s horizon has literally moved out of this world. We are the first generations in human history to look back at earth from outer space. This change of perspective is having a profound and transformative effect on the life of every person living on our planet.

    No wonder we are expanding horizons!

    We are all interrelated

    The 1972 photograph of the ‘Blue Marble’ taken by Apollo 17 astronauts perhaps best encapsulates this expanded horizon.

    "The blue marble" Apollo 17 Crew, Dec 1972
Expanding horizons
    “The blue marble” Apollo 17 Crew, Dec 1972

    This picture of a fragile, vulnerable, and isolated Earth suspended amid the vast emptiness of space, changed the world. As historian Robert Poole suggests,

    “The sight of the whole Earth, small, alive, and alone, caused scientific and philosophical thought to shift away from the assumption that the Earth was a fixed environment, unalterably given to humankind, and towards a model of the Earth as an evolving environment, conditioned by life and alterable by human activity, it was the defining moment of the twentieth century.”

    The ‘Pale Blue Dot‘ is a similar photo, and just as profound. The 1990 Voyager 1 spacecraft took it when 6.4 billion kilometres away from earth. This photo, together with the ‘Blue Marble’, signifies a defining moment in our expanding horizon.

    The pale blue dot, Voyager 1,
Expanding horizons
    The pale blue dot, Voyager 1

    In the light of this expansion, many old stories we told ourselves, about who we are, no longer seem adequate. The exploration of space, the insights of modern science, rapidly changing technology and the communication revolution, contribute to destabilising old metanarratives.

    Today, for the first time in human history, and despite the remaining differences in language, customs, worldviews and religion, there is a collective “knowing” that we all share the one planet, with the one history and the one destiny. Everything is interrelated, everything is dependent. We need each other. The future is ours together. We can no longer operate in isolation.

    A stark question for Christians

    Contemporary answers to the perennial questions of “Who am I?”, “How did we get here?” and “What does the future hold?” must take the insights of this expanded horizon into account. Any spirituality or religion appearing indifferent or ignorant to our ‘fragile’ world, or displays a reluctance to work ‘together’ for the future, is quickly dismissed. It is seen as out-of-date, inadequate, irrelevant and even dangerous.

    Any spirituality or religion that appears indifferent or ignorant to our ‘fragile’ world . . . is quickly dismissed as out-of-date.

    Christians today face a stark question. Is the story of creation in Genesis capable of giving an answer that will satisfy the yearnings of those who ask them in the light of the Webb telescope? I believe the answer is yes. But we will need to do some deep reframing.

    This is not a new enterprise. The Reformers had to do something similar when they encountered new discoveries and technological advances. They reimagined and reinterpreted the Genesis creation story of their day. Like them, we need to arrive at a narrative big enough and meaningful enough to recapture our imaginations. It will provide a new vision for what God is doing in our world.

    This is the task before God’s people who live in this moment.

    I pray God will enable and equip us to develop a spirituality/theology aware of these expanded horizons which is attuned to the spiritual longings of contemporary Tasmanians. Wouldn’t it be great if this new awareness enlivened searching hearts with the hope, love and joy found in Jesus Christ?

    Stephen Baxter

    Stephen Baxter is the Senior Pastor at Hobart Baptist, and is Tasmanian Baptists Mission Director.

    More Deep Thought

    The God of Bethel by Maddy Svoboda
    Being Family Together by Christa McKirland
    The Sound of Silence by Denise Stephenson

    RESPONSE from Craig Hawkins

    8 September 2023

    Mission Director Stephen Baxter’s “Deep Thought” article challenges readers to “retell the story of our beginnings in a way that captures our imaginations, imaginations shaped by the images of the Webb telescope”. He concludes that “…we need to arrive at a narrative big enough and meaningful enough to recapture our imaginations”.

    It is an incredible claim to suggest that the truth of God’s word is merely the product of how well we can imagine what it is saying. The idea that the Scriptures are confined by human imagination is a denial of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.   God’s word is bigger and more meaningful than any human mind could have put together. When we treat it in this way, we open the door for compromise on a whole suite of fundamental doctrines. It also confuses passages that are clear in their meaning and suggests that clear statements can not be made in Scripture that are not open to reimagination sometime in the future.

    Stephen appeals to the Reformers who had to reimagine and reinterpret the Genesis creation story but fails to mention that they did so by “Sola Scriptura” – returning to scripture alone and NOT the faulty word of man. They were intent on using Scripture first to interpret the world we live in not the other way around.

    It should be no surprise then that Martin Luther concluded: “Now we know from Moses that about six thousand years ago the world was not yet in existence”.

    Augustine said as early as the 4th century AD:

    Let us then omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the origin and nature of the human race. They are deceived too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give a history of many thousand years, though, reckoning, by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed

    What has the James Webb telescope actually achieved? It has simply enhanced the Psalmists claim that the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Did mankind really discover through observation of the 1972 ‘Blue Marble’ photo that earth hangs “suspended amid the vast emptiness of space” when the oldest book in the Bible says: “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.” (Job 26:7). Doesn’t that suggest the ancients were not limited by their own knowledge in expressing God’s truth, but rather through His divine revelation to us?

    Stephen’s opening statement that the universe “formed billions of years ago”, means that Genesis 1-11 cannot be taken seriously despite his claims that it can. The second that you invoke vast ages is the moment that you must accept that the rocks are billions of years old and that the fossil evidence of death they contain is a result of the actions of the Creator Jesus, not the result of Adam’s sin. Stephen has acknowledged that he sees no problems with billions of years of animal death prior to sin.

    Theologians must realise that the Big Bang is an attempt to explain the universe without reference to God. Science finally caught up with scripture just over a century ago and realised that the universe had a beginning so they concocted the idea of the Big Bang. It has many failings as a scientific theory but for Christians we accept that Jesus Christ is creator and that “He alone spreads out the heavens” (Job 9:8). Given that we do not even understand the physics of Jesus walking on the water, why do we think we can come up with the physics of his most amazing miracle – the creation of the universe? It is a special arrogance of mankind into which Christians should not be drawn.

    So Christians take heed of Paul’s warning:

    “20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” (1 Tim 6:20-21 KJV)

    The Big Bang is false scientific babbling which Christians should avoid, relying rather on God’s power as expressed in Psalm 33:6

    By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Ps 33:6 NIV)

    The claim that Old Testament writers were limited in their knowledge to the Middle East is also false on a number of levels. Firstly, mention of Tarshish (Europe), Cush (Africa) and the travels of Solomons fleet, abroad for 3 years, suggest much wider knowledge of the world.

    However, more importantly, the Scriptures come to us as a result of revelation.

    In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV)

    In Exodus 33:11 we learn: “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”  

    Do we know more than Moses? Jesus himself gives us a stark warning about this: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” (John 5:46 NIV)

    The Hebrews 1:2 verse also highlights that God has spoken to us through His Son. When Jesus comments on marriage, that in the beginning God made them male and female, it actually means “in the beginning” not 13.6 billion years after it as Big Bang timeframes would currently require.

    Baptists have always been a movement who have highly prized the truth of Scripture. Spurgeon was one of few voices that opposed Darwin in his day. “If God’s Word be true, evolution is a lie. I will not mince the matter: this is not the time for soft speaking.” (Spurgeon 1886). It disappoints me to read an article in our Baptist news on such an important topic that includes no scripture references at all.

    Perhaps the thoughts of long-age astronomer John Eddy can shed light on why Christians get drawn into the idea of vast ages. He said:

    I suspect that the sun is 4.5 billion years old. However, given some new and unexpected results to the contrary, and some time for frantic recalculation and theoretical readjustment, I suspect we could live with Archbishop Ussher’s value of the earth and sun [6 thousand years]. I don’t think we have much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to conflict with that”. (John Eddy PhD (astrogeophysics), Solar Astronomer, High altitude Observatory, Boulder Colorado. In Geotimes, vol.23 1978)

    It is important to note that Eddy states his belief in billions of years but admits that it is not because of the observational evidence. Rather, it is due to his underlying belief system upon which he then builds his picture of history. Christians are in the fortunate position where we can rely on the words of the one who was there at the creation of the universe and who told us what He did in His word.

    The James Webb telescope is an amazing example of human ingenuity and engineering that helps us explore the wonders of creation, but it most certainly does nothing to cause us to compromise our clear understanding of Biblical Creation.

    I want to sincerely thank Stephen Baxter for a frank and friendly discussion on this topic.

    Craig Hawkins
    The Point Baptist Church | Creation Research – Tasmania | Creation Discovery Centre Tasmania

    Read More reCharge

    June/July 2023

    Recent (PDF) Issues of ReCharge


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    Expanding horizons

    ReCharge NEWS July 2023

    26th July 2023 | ReCharge News

    Click Item to Read

      NCLS Webinar for Leaders

      Thriving and Resilient Leadership, 11am and 7.30pm Wednesday 2 August 2023

      NCLSLeadershipWebinar, 2nd August 2023

      NCLS Research presents a webinar on “Thriving and Resilient Leadership: Latest findings and reflections on resilience, fulfilment and thriving in church leadership post-COVID”.

      This webinar explores how Australian church leaders are coping, and what factors contribute to their resilience. Findings are based on the results from the 2021-22 NCLS Leader Survey by NCLS Research.

      You will discover:

      • What does thriving look like and what is burnout?
      • How has it changed in Australian church leadership over the past five years? Are current practices sustainable?
      • What are the personal foundations contributing to resilience and sustainable leadership?
      • Practical ministry implications: Case studies and guiding principles for leaders.


      Sam Sterland, Senior Researcher of NCLS Research, will present research findings on leader wellbeing and resilience, and responses to COVID-19.

      Guest speaker Tim Dyer will provide his reflections on the implications of these findings for ministry and mission.

      Youth Alive Undivided

      NORTH: 6pm 18th August | NW: 6pm 19th August | SOUTH: 6pm 25th August

      In August, Youth Alive are running “Undivided”three regional youth gatherings. They would love to invite your youth ministry and young people!

      Youth Alive’s mission is to reach young people with the message of Jesus. They believe these events will see youth ministries united, faith ignited, momentum gained, and young people respond to the Gospel!

      Outreach events are a great way to unite young people, reach youth, and share the truth of Jesus. At every one of these events attendees will be invited to a local church or youth ministry as a next step of faith. They would like to partner with you to help reach the next generation.

      The Youth Alive team are building volunteer teams for each of these events. If you would like to volunteer, please click the button, below.

      Winter Heartlands

      EH Heartlands News - EmpowHer

      Heartlands, the quarterly e-news for women, was released last Friday 14th July.
      There’s lots of good reading here >

      Day of Courage well-grounded

      Day of Courage Registrations are OPEN
      Sat 18th November, ALL WOMEN WELCOME!

      Australian Baptist Women ends
      Find out what happened, and what happens next.

      Heart of God-square

      Being Transformed
      Tuning into the heart of God. By Jenna Blackwell.

      Villain-Origin Story
      Or testimony in-the-making? By Maddie Mandall

      Pastors’ and Families’ Muster

      11th-13th July, Devonport

      The July 2023 Muster was held at Oldaker Christian Church in Devonport. Here, pastors and their families found a comfortable space which was suitable for music ministry, teaching, eating and a great children’s program.

      During the Muster, guest speaker Bree Mills explained her work around the idea of “micro-church”. This included how we might better disciple people, by adding small faith-based communities to our local church contexts. Read Bree’s article about Missional Leadership >

      Wednesday afternoon free-time, brought several families together as they headed up to Leven Canyon to enjoy a bushwalk, and one another’s company.

      Thanks must go to Jenna Blackwell for organising the Muster; Bree Mills for coming from Melbourne to speak; Bryce Roberts and Nicole Mayall for caring for the children; and David Pearson and Oldaker Christian Church for their excellent hospitality!

      L to R: Bree Mills; Worship team; Leven Canyon walk; Everyone; Michael Henderson; Bryce and Nic are thanked.

      Some Impressions of the Muster

      • Putting missional intent into all my “activities” can transform them.
      • Great connection and relationship.
      • The overall highlight for me was being with other pastors and families and having a chance to share life.
      • Be Discipling.
      • Motivation to support pioneers and keep them linked onto and supported by the church.
      • Being Together, kids and all. To be intentional Living in the tension of a ‘hybrid’ model.
      • Good tools with implementation guidance with safeguards are always welcome.

      EmpowHer Day of Courage

      Registrations now open!

      On Saturday 18th November, all women are welcome to attend the Day of Courage at Riverlands Longford. The speaker is Karen Wilson, President Baptist World Alliance Women, and CEO of the Gobal Leadership Network Australia. She will explore the topic of being well-grounded.

      Already there is interest across the state, from a broad cross-section of the community. This will be a special day – not to be missed! Postcards are now available to invite your friends and family. If you cannot see them at your church, contact

      Registration covers morning tea, lunch and all materials.

      EARLYBIRD: $45/person – Until 30th August
      FULL PRICE: $55/person – From 31st August

      Day of Courage 2023, register now

      SparkLit Awards Night

      Thursday 31st August

      The 2023 Australian Christian Book of the YearYoung Australian Christian Writer and Australian Christian Teen Writer Awards will be announced and prizes presented during this year’s SparkLit Awards Night on Thursday 31 August. Join in online to celebrate the courage and endeavour of Australian Christian writers! 

      Register now to receive the livestream link (free of charge) to watch the in-person event at St Alfred’s Anglican Church, Blackburn North.

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

      Intergenerate Conference 2023

      9am-4:30pm, Friday 18th August

      There is a great national conference coming to Hobart (via satellite). This year the theme is: A Gospel for all Ages.

      The conference comes highly recommended by Anthea Maynard (City Baptist, Launceston):

      “I have been part of the national intergenerational resourcing group for a number of years. The speakers are excellent and have practical and thoughtful ways to explore intergenerational faith formation and community engagement. “

      Find out more at the Intergenerate Facebook page >

      Intergenerate - a Gospel for all ages

      NCLS Update

      Checking-in on your church’s health

      Did you know you don’t need to wait five years for the next National Church Life Survey to listen to your church?

      The Church Life Survey, by NCLS Research, is one of the church survey tools available to local churches and can be done anytime. It is an opportunity to check-in regularly and receive updated feedback and insights into church health and vitality, including your congregation’s experience of church life, discernments for the future and willingness to be involved.

      Both paper and online survey options are offered, with a quick turnaround of results. After completion of the Survey, churches will receive a Church Life Profile that provides insights into the life and experiences of church attenders and provide indicators of church health and vitality which can inform and equip future directions for ministry and mission.

      For more information, please visit

      NCLS Survey - Listen to your church attenders at any time

      Hold Fast Outreach

      The Point are hosting a 25-day Texan Partnership Mission

      Hold Fast Outreach at The Point, ReCharge News July 2023

      Four Texans have arrived in Beauty Point, three of whom have partnered with the church ten times in the last 14 years! The outreach began on 23rd June, and will continue through until 19th July.

      There will be a number of events ranging from Men’s, Women’s, and Kid’s outreach events, including a holiday club and basketball clinic. there will also be Bible studies and several family events.

      CONTACT Rachelle Hawkins for more info on 0409 272 877. 
      DOWNLOAD the brochure, which includes a short bio on the Texans.

      All are welcome to come and be part of it!

      School Chaplains

      Positions Vacant with Scripture Union Tas

      Provide emotional, social, and spiritual support to school communities…

      Scripture Union has multiple chaplaincy positions available across Tasmania. Chaplains provide emotional, social, spiritual, and often practical support to school communities. They are in the prevention and support business: helping students find a better way to deal with issues ranging from family breakdown, loneliness, depression and anxiety.

      SU Chaplaincy models the compassion and unconditional love demonstrated and taught by Jesus, as recorded in the Bible. Chaplains will be sensitive to, respectful of, and available to all regardless of beliefs or religious affiliations. All SU Chaplaincy staff and volunteers are champion a child-safe culture, and commit to the highest standards of safety and care in their work with children, young people and families.

      See positions available in Tasmania >

      Read More ReCharge!

      June/July 2023

      DOWNLOAD Recent (PDF) Issues of ReCharge

      Recharge news July 2023

      Subscribe to ReCharge Here!

      Keeping you updated with Tasmanian Baptists latest PRAYER, STORIES and NEWS

      We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

      ReCharge News July 2023

      Missional Leadership

      Bree Mills Missional Leadership

      reImagine Church

      Leadership For a Changing World

      At the July 2023 Pastors and Families Muster guest speaker Bree Mills spoke about her work and research with micro churches, and what it means to be a missional leader.

      Leadership in churches is evolving in response to an increasingly complex world. Traditional leadership models, including corporate strategies, are revealing their limitations. While we might be growing resistant to the term “missional” from overuse, missional leadership is gaining traction in academic and practical ministry contexts, demonstrating it has some valuable insights to offer to our current circumstances.

      What is missional leadership?

      Missional leadership reframes a leader’s role by shifting from organizational leadership to participating in the broader mission of God.

      It directs our attention away from budgets and buildings, and towards observing and engaging in God’s work around us. According to Nelus Niemandt, missional leadership involves the “the Spirit-led transformation of people and institutions by means of meaningful relationship to participate in the mission of God.”[1]

      This approach not only models the leadership of Jesus, it resonates with the aspirations of young leaders who seek to make purposeful impacts in their world.

      In my opinion, there are five elements of missional leadership:

      1. It is Spirit-Led

      Missional” often spurs images of something action-orientated. Yet, missional leadership is primarily fuelled by a deep abiding in Jesus (John 15). This deep connection shapes, empowers, and directs the missional engagement.

      To participate in the mission of God we must first know him deeply, seek to discern where is already at work, and then engage in ways he leads us to.

      2. IT is change-orientated

      It is all about transformation. We are constantly desiring to change and to grow as disciples of Jesus, to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

      Not only should we desire this for ourselves, but for our churches and our communities. We are invited to be agents of His change in our community, working for His justice and mercy as we abide in Him (Micah 6:8).

      3. IT is both individual and communal

      This style of leadership is not for the individual superhero wanting to make a name for themselves. Missional leadership thrives in collaborative teams, driving transformation in individuals and institutions.

      It recognises that the church can change and has continued to change throughout the centuries. Missional leadership is concerned with the interplay of both people and institutions.

      4. IT prioritises people over programs

      Programs do not bring about life change, people do. Missional leadership prioritizes authentic relationships over mere programs. It acknowledges that people drive genuine life change rather than initiatives.

      Programs support relationships but they don’t take the place of them.

      Missional leadership prioritizes authentic relationships over mere programs
      5. IT results in purpose-driven action

      Missional leadership helps people to participate in the mission of God in tangible ways. Not just by praying for or paying for someone else somewhere else, but by engaging in small ways in the here and now. This style of leadership believes God calls every person to be a missionary where they live, work and play.

      Every person is gifted and skilled for the work God has prepared for them to do (Eph 2:10), missional leadership release people into that purpose. 

      A redefinition

      Missional leadership helpfully redefines church leadership, emphasizing a Spirit-led approach, openness to change, the value of relationships, and the empowerment of individuals to fulfill their purpose in God’s mission.

      By embracing these principles, we can navigate the complexities of our changing world and foster vibrant, impactful communities of faith.

      Bree Mills is an ordained Anglican minister and doctoral student in the area of Missional Leadership, focusing on innovative leadership in the Australian context. Until the end of 2020, she was Senior Associate Minister at Glen Waverley Anglican Church, Melbourne. Now, along with her husband and kids, they are part of a new micro church network church plant and lead a community called The Village. She loves to read, wakeboard, and go for long walks in new places, preferably near the ocean!

      [1] C. J. P. Niemandt, “Discerning Spirituality for Missional Leaders,” in Leading in a VUCA World: Integrating Leadership, Discernment and Spirituality ed. J. Kok and S. C. van den Heuvel (Switzerland: Springer Open, 2019).

      Read ReCharge

      June/July 2023

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      Keeping you updated with Tasmanian Baptists latest PRAYER, STORIES and NEWS

      We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

       Missional Leadership

      Heartlands Winter 2023

      Heartlands Winter 2023 is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of Tasmanian women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

      Table of Contents


        EmpowHer Day of Courage


        Karen Wilson

        Saturday 18th November 2023 | Riverlands Baptist (Longford)

        Speaker: Karen Wilson, President of the Baptist World Alliance Women, and CEO of the Global Leadership Network Aus/NZ.

        Join the EmpowHer team and women from around the state as we gather for the Day of Courage. This will be a 21st-Century gathering (not a Conference!)

        THEME: Well Grounded | Postcards now available to invite your friends!

        Day of Courage


        The end for
        Australian Baptist Women

        Jenny Baxter

        Did you know Australian Baptist Women has been ‘a thing’ since the 1930s? But as all things begin, so all things must end.

        By EmpowHer State Leader Jenny Baxter

        Australian Baptist Women ends


        Being Transformed

        Jenna Blackwell

        Jenna Blackwell, a member of the Tasmanian Baptists’ Mission and Leadership Development Team, gives insight into God’s amazing heart of grace.

        Inner Critic: Why don’t you have everything together?
        Jesus’ gentle voice: Did you hear about the disciples I chose?

        Tuning in to the Heart of God-Jun23


        Villain-Origin Story?

        or Testimony in Progress

        As the EmpowHer Day of Courage nears, Heartlands News will feature some deeper thinking articles for readers to press into the idea of being “Well-Grounded”.

        Maddie Mandall (Queensland Baptist Women) writes: If we allow our wounds to fester, they end up driving us and defining us in monstrous ways.

        Heartlands Winter 2023, Villain Origin story, or Testimony in the making?

        To find out about EmpowHer events and activities for women in Tasmania, please subscribe to HEARTLANDS!


        Heartlands Winter 2023

        Australian Baptist Women Ends

        Australian Baptist Women ends
        Heartlands News

        Tasmanian State Leader Jenny Baxter explains why Australian Baptist Women began, and how things have changed.

        In the early days in Tasmania, there were some heroic women who led the ministry in during the depression when cars were still few, telephones a luxury item, and most communication was done by mail!

        Setting the scene

        Australian Baptist Women (ABW) has been an entity since the 1930s. When the national body began, it aimed to provide opportunities for Baptist women to gather and connect. ABW was formed separately to the infant Australian Baptist Ministries, which began a few years earlier in 1926.

        Nationally, ABW State leaders were appointed. This handful of women oversaw the ministry in each state and territory, gathering annually until 2020. Around that time, independent of one another, the states/territories gradually ceased those positions, with the exception of Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.

        20th-Century ministry?

        No thanks!

        After over a decade with no Tasmanian leader, I was appointed in 2017. By then, many Tasmanian Baptist women’s ministries had wound down. I soon discovered there was little appetite for returning to 20th Century-style women’s ministry.

        Nationally, things were moving. Covid disrupted plans for the ABW national meeting in 2021, and then came a series of online discussions, think-tanks and brainstorms. But nothing seemed to fly. The question was: How do we continue to support Baptist women, when state Unions are less inclined to appoint ABW state leaders?

        THE QUESTION: How do we continue to support Baptist women, when state Unions are less inclined to appoint ABW state leaders?

        Moving onto 2023

        Mark Wilson

        In May this year, the National Council Taskforce gathered in Sydney. There was intense and robust discussion about women and women’s ministry. However, good decisions were made.

        Soon afterwards, National Ministries Director Mark Wison, made an official announcement.

        As a result of this announcement, ABW officially ceased to exist:

        The clear decision of National Council is that ABW, as a delegated body, is not the desired way forward for the State Leaders and National Council Taskforce. This decision is due to a number of factors including lack of agreement on purpose/scope, lack of buy-in from state associations [unions], changing understandings of needs and the inconsistency with how other delegated bodies operate. National Council has a desire to bring this group to an end well and recognises there might be different responses from current ABW group members. Some may feel disappointed or hurt, others relieved or even excited about the change.

        Mark Wilson continued …

        I want to affirm that this in no way says National Council is not committed to developing and supporting women leaders . . . National Council is creating a new delegated body, specifically focused on Women in Leadership. This is a new group and will involve representatives appointed by each state association [union].

        What does this mean for us?

        In God’s goodness, we Tasmanians were ahead of the curve!

        Since 2021 a statewide team consisting of Wendy Marston (Newstead), Jenna Blackwell (City, Launceston), Gabe Fife (Ulverstone), and myself (Hobart) have met, mostly on Zoom (and very rarely in-person!)

        EmpowHer became our new name.

        EmpowHer Team Sept 2021
        The EmpowHer Team: Jenna, Jenny, Wendy, Gabe (Sept 2021)

        EmpowHer Vision:

        A network of women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

        EmpowHer Mission:

        Providing community, training, and support for Tasmanian women to empower them to move into leadership, and to take their God-given place within the Baptist churches of Tasmania.

        I look forward to this new era as we further develop EmpowHer.
        Here is what’s happening next …

        Day of Courage

        The Day of Courage in November will be the first statewide event in this new paradigm. We are looking forward to hosting as many women as possible at Riverlnds (Longford). All women are welcome!

        Women’s National Taskforce

        I will also work with the National Taskforce to help develop the newly delegated body, focussing on women in leadership.

        The team and I value your prayers as we lead and encourage women around Tasmania.

        Jenny Baxter

        Jenny Baxter
        State Director, EmpowHer

        Scott Pilgrim

        Scott Pilgrom Baptist Mission Australia

        Baptists Nationally

        Ministry Profile

        In previous years, Scott Pilgrim was the Executive Pastor at Crossway Baptist Church (Vic), and had senior roles in BaptistCare NSW-ACT, and Baptist Churches of NSW/ACT.

        But what does Scott do now, and why does that matter to Tasmanian Baptists?

        I was born and grew up in Newcastle. So, although I love living in Melbourne and it’s home, I will always be a “Newy boy”. It’s one of those types of places.

        Newcastle was a great place to grow up, close to family, and actively engaged in sporting teams as a child/youth. Newcastle is home to some great beaches and so we spent a lot of time at the beach, then heading back to my grandparent’s home five minutes away. As a child, Newcastle was an industrial city – home to the BHP Steelworks, where my father and his father worked. These industrial roots kept the city grounded and authentic.

        I lived in Newcastle through all my schooling days and then landed my dream job as a cadet journalist at The Newcastle Herald.

        I grew up in what I now understand was a “God-fearing” home, rather than in a family that had a deep personal relationship with Jesus. In my teens, I started attending a Presbyterian Church. The ministers of the church – a young husband and wife ordained couple – influenced me greatly. They gave me opportunities to explore ministry at a young age and encouraged me in my journey with Jesus.

        In my late teens I started attending a Baptist church and for the first time in my life met a male mentor figure, who clearly and passionately loved Jesus. He had a significant impact in my life, and during this period in the 1980s, Jesus became real to me!

        A national spread

        I am married to Megan, who is a nurse. We are a blended family (a Brady Bunch family for those old enough to know the show!) All up, Megan and I have eight children.

        We have five adult children who live in NSW and the Northern Territory, aged from 31 to 20. And we also have three children with us in Melbourne, a 13-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son, and a 10-year-old daughter. It’s delightful to see how our younger kids engage so regularly with the benefit of technology in staying connected to their older siblings.

        Scott Pilgrim with Megan, and his three youngest

        After growing up in Newcastle, I moved around in my young adult years living in a few different places in NSW, working as a journalist. I then spent most of my adult years back in Newcastle.

        Megan and I with our three youngest children moved to Melbourne at the beginning of 2017 as I took up the role of Executive Pastor at Crossway Baptist Church.

        Melbourne is a great city to live in. [Better than Sydney, but don’t tell them that!] It has so many things you can do, and I love the culture and diversity of the city. Although it’s not the beaches of Newcastle, I love relaxing and walking along the bay and in the eastern suburbs where we live. We are spoilt with so many beautiful green spaces. And yes, the food is great – so many good options to choose from.

        It’s also very much home for our younger kids. Melbourne is home for them and they all love playing basketball.

        Scott’s work now

        I serve as the Executive Director of Baptist Mission Australia, our movement’s international intercultural mission agency. In my position, I head up our work across the world, and our National Team is spread across Australia. And yes, I do travel a lot! I am currently writing from Norway where I am attending the Baptist World Alliance Gathering.

        Most of my travel is to places well off the tourist maps, where our teams and partners serve in communities in Africa and Asia. And we’re growing our ministry in Australia, including our partnership with Citywide in Hobart. It’s good to see many different parts of the world – but it’s always great to get home to my family.

        I’m privileged to lead a team – that’s the real joy of what I do. And I was invited to step into the position in a time of rapid change around the world and with Western mission agencies like ours needing to re-imagine and re-invent who we are and what we do. It’s why I resonate with the journey that you’re on as Tassie Baptists.

        So, when people ask me to summarise what I do I like to use these images – team leader, pastor of global teams, cultural curator, Spirit-seeker and change agent. And I get to lead alongside a great team, including Suse and Caryn, two outstanding younger female leaders who serve with me on our Leadership Team.

        A global perspective

        I get excited when with others we can share in missional imagination and look to the Spirit to lead us in new ways. As well, I get excited that God would graciously invite me to share in his mission, in the joy of pursuing shalom in our broken world.

        There are also wonderful possibilities of partnership and innovative collaborations, which will be at the future of global mission. And one last thing which excites me – I get encouraged every day that the organisation I lead only exists because of the partnership we have with Baptist people across the country.

        The biggest challenge I have comes because we live in a rapidly changing world, and the face of world Christianity and international mission is experiencing seismic shifts. The days of the “West to the rest” are behind us, but we can get trapped in this traditional paradigm.

        By the year 2030, 70% of all followers of Jesus will live in the global south, and we have the opportunity to explore what new polycentric partnerships will look like as we move ahead. We must face up to these changes in our world, while also celebrating all that God is doing among our current inspiring and passionate team members, serving around the world.

        The days of the “West to the rest” are behind us. We can get trapped in this traditional paradigm. 
Scott Pilgrim

        The wounded healer

        My best piece of advice? Wow that’s a hard one. How about the learning from a number of authors, including Henri Nouwen, that a theology of brokenness helps us best understand leadership.

        I love Nouwen’s image of the “wounded healer”. We can try to hide our wounds and scars, but I am so glad that I have come to see them as very much a part of who I am as a broken person, and that I am in absolute need for the Spirit to be at work in my life. And while he restores me, I am graced with the privilege of standing alongside other broken people, seeking to bring hope, love, acceptance and care.

        Please pray for wisdom as we seek to discern the ways of the Spirit in this changing context. Pray for courage in the decisions we need to make. And I would value prayer for my on on-going health challenges as I navigate a pain management journey.

        Short ‘n’ Sweet

        am looking forward to . . . A holiday with my wife in Italy! 

        I am worried about . . . followers of Jesus who can’t respect the views of others.

        I am confident that . . . the Spirit is at work across the world!

        I am joyful about . . . people passionately committed to missional re-imagination and justice!

        I would like to change . . . where the Sydney Swans are on the table.

        I am at my best when . . . I trust God, be myself and act courageously!

        Scott Pilgrim BMA

        Scott Pilgrim
        Executive Director
        Baptist Mission Australia

        Scott Pilgrim

        More Ministry Profiles

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        June/July 2023

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        Around the Churches, June-July 2023

        Around the Churches June-July 2023

        Every two months you can catch up with the latest news in Tasmanian Baptist Churches.



        New Youth Group

        Every third Friday during term, Riverlands has recently offered a youth group for those in and around the church. The youth group is focused around church-encultured teens and giving them activities through the week.

        Our goal is to develop a thriving youth ministry, where the youth can share life and have Christian discipleship. It’s had a strong reception as we’ve gathered together and enjoyed the company of one another whilst playing games, having snacks, and doing small devotions.

        Craft at Riverlands Youth Group; Around the Churches June-July2023
        Our most recent Riverlands Youth group was a (not very) messy night much to the chagrin and the disappointment of the youth!

        Whilst only small we are having a lot of fun and the group is developing well in line with our goals. We would appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we continue to develop the program and its structure.

        The youth group has been running in co-operation with the other churches around Launceston where we have been gathering on the Fourth Fridays of the month for larger games, larger connections and better connections between churches and youth in the Launceston and Northern Midlands area.

        CITY BAPTIST, Launceston

        In the news

        Our recent move to the Boathouse Centre received media attention, and, given events in the Southern Baptist scene, they chose to focus on our female leadership. We are enjoying the wonder-inspiring views of the city of Launceston from within our new gathering space, and also creating a partnership with the owners. We are greatly appreciative to Worldview for accommodating us so well during our previous transition.

        The Examiner, 18th June 2023; Around the Churches June-July2023
        In The Examiner, 18th June 2023

        Radical Hospitality

        Over the month of June, we focused on the theme of hospitality – the gift of giving and receiving hospitality, and how it can be as simple as a smile. We continue to explore this theme of ‘radically ordinary hospitality’ in practical and life-giving, everyday ways.

        The Saturday night drop-in centre meal continues each week, nearing capacity in the new space at Pilgrim Uniting. Stephen Avery’s presence in the street community furthers the connections.

        Over July we will look at the theme of Seeds – seeds of faith, hope, justice and love – and how City can help germinate these seeds in the city of Launceston.

        The City Seed Community Garden at St Leonards continues to welcome new members.  

        Supporting others … in Launceston and beyond

        Members of our community hosted a fundraiser afternoon tea and raised $2000 for Betel Ministries in India (Betel International: Break free from drug and alcohol addiction).

        Northern Refugee Support continues, with a recent long-awaited breakthrough.

        We are also pleased to support outside ministries, such as SU’s upcoming camps, allowing children and families to attend who would otherwise be unable to.


        Alpha Underway

        We have had a great start to the Alpha course with 24 people attending. Alpha is an evangelistic course which seeks to provide a space to ask questions through a series of talks and discussions. We wil be running Alpha for the next three years, and although this year we planned to first become familiar as a congregation with the course, we are excited to already have cross-over from other ministries during the week.

        Week of Prayer and Fasting

        It has been very encouraging to hear how many in our congregation during our week of prayer and fasting swapped-out something they loved for precious time in prayer. We had people go without food or a meal, coffee, alcohol, social media, and even the Chase (Aus. and British edition), and instead, spending time praying for our church’s strategic goals, church family prayer points, and our other Baptist churches around Launceston.

        Friendship Lunch

        We had a great turnout for the Friendship Shortest Day Longest Lunch with the Wentworth room filled with Friends. A delicious selection of BBQ meat and salads for mains, with sweet stuff to follow. Finally, a cake to top it off to celebrate a birthday. Geoff Marston shared on friendship and encouraged ‘’to have a friend; be a friend”. Thanks to the drop-in centre team for a great lunch.

        Friendship Lunch; Birthday cake for all! Around the Churches June-July2023
        Friendship Lunch; Birthday cake for all!


        New Youth and Children’s Leader

        Hold Fast Outreach at The Point Baptist, 23 June to 19 July 2023

        The most exciting development for our little church is the induction of our new Youth and Children’s Leader last Sunday.  Dempsey Horton from Texas is our new youth and children’s leader for the next 12 months.

        Texan Outreach
        Friday 23rd June to Wednesday 19th July

        We are midway through our regular Texan Mission, with four Texans visiting for almost four weeks. 

        Events include women’s coffee and dessert night, Bible studies for women, men and youth, Primary school youth group, Hope Night and more youth events to come. There will be a holiday kids’ club and five-day basketball skills clinic. 

        All events are free and designed to reach the North Tamar population with Hope found in Jesus Christ. If you live nearby you are welcome to attend!

        See Info BROCHURE >
        OR Contact Rachelle on 0409 272 877

        Around the Churches June-July 2023



        Volunteers Honoured

        On Saturday, 20th May, the Latrobe Council presented special awards to volunteers in their community.

        Mayor Peter Freshney handed out over 30 awards, and amazingly Latrobe Baptist Church received seven of them!

        1. Latrobe Baptist church for its many community programmes
        2. Latrobe Baptist Chat ‘n’ Choose 
        3. Latrobe Men’s Shed
        4. Glenis Smith – 30 years of volunteer service, Chat ‘n’ Choose 
        5. John Langmaid – 30 years of volunteer service, Chat ‘n’ Choose 
        6. Glad Purdy– 20 years of volunteer service, Chat ‘n’ Choose 
        7. Fay Horne – 20 years of volunteer service, Chat ‘n’ Choose 
        • Award winners at Latrobe Council awards afternoon; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • Ralph, award for Latrobe Baptist; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • John and Fay with Chat n Choose award, Latrobe; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • John and Ralph for Latrobe Mens Shed; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • Glenis, 30 years service award with Chat n Choose at Latrobe; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • John, 30 years service award with Chat n Choose at Latrobe; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • Glad, 20 years service award with Chat n Choose at Latrobe; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        • Fay, 30 years service award with Chat n Choose at Latrobe; Around the Churches June-July 2023


        Winter Service

        This annual event is always a success because it  is always so cold and the hot chocolate always so welcome.

        The real reason is, of course, to bring to mind that Jesus is the light of the world John 8:10, “Ï am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.

        A few Sunday School children play their part by reciting a relevant poem they wrote and sing a children’s hymn. As always Cathy, Ruth and Max lead and inspire.

        This event is always the simple reflection of children, though lead by adults, it is always a real blessing to us all, in the pews!  Some of the hymns we sung were ” Showers of blessing”, “The Light of the World” and “Jeus bids us shine”. The inspiring message was from Ben Hallam followed by the three “S’s”, Soup, Sandwiches and Savouries!

        Every one left the service fed in “Body, Mind, and Spirit!” It was great.

        Winter Service at Sassafras Baptist
        Winter Service at Sassafras


        Vale Mrs  Beverly Duff

        On 3rd June, the Lord called home to glory Mrs Beverly Duff who was a stalwart of the Sheffield Baptist church for over seventy five years. Mrs. Duff (nee Irvine) was baptised in 1947, and from that time took an active part in the church.

         In 1953 she married Bruce Duff, and together  they played a major role in the Church. In the late 1970’s  Mrs Duff became church organist. She played for both the morning and evening services, as well as playing for funerals and weddings in the Sheffield Baptist church.  As  well, she often  played for the West Kentish and Paradise churches. 

        When then church commenced our monthly fellowship teas and singing your favourite hymns in 2005,  Beverly played until  ill-health took its toll.

        Mrs Duff  was actively involved in the Ladies group, and was a keen supporter of the overseas missionary work of the church. She loved CWA and craft  groups, and was a highly respected lady in the Kentish community.

        Mrs Duff was truly a fine Christian  lady who is now resting in the everlasting arms of her Saviour. The Sheffield  Baptist church extends to Stephanie, Ashley, brother Desmond and their families our deepest sympathy.



        Our church continues to support two children, Tithi and Rafin, through Baptist World Aid with the proceeds of our cappuccino sales on Sunday mornings.


        This is a quarterly gathering of men from the community when they enjoy a pizza and an interesting speaker. Greg White who  works in the engineering department at Caterpillar was the speaker in June.

        JUST GIRLS

        The girls met recently for fellowship where they were able to enjoy some Filipino food. The afternoon was spent making a fridge magnet with Beth and Kester.

        Wynyard Baptist Church


        Mother’s Day

        Inviting our friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunties, our UBC ladies enjoyed an evening out dining at Café RA. After our Mother’s Day service, and to honour the women in our midst, our UBC men provided morning tea. This was a bake-off competition from which we have now discovered we have a number of very capable and talented cooks at UBC! Prizes were awarded to Matt Cox for his macarons, Robbie Cunningham for his savory toast and Andrew Gurr for his apple cakes.

        May Mission Month

        May Mission Month was embraced as we listened and were challenged by guest speakers Paul Manning from Baptist World Aid, and Geoff Maddock from Baptist Mission Australia

        Table Tennis

        Our winter table tennis competition has once again commenced on Monday evenings with 27 registered players. Table tennis at UBC has been running for about 40 years.

        Men’s events

        Our recent Men’s Events have included go-karting, indoor cricket, a men’s breakfast, and an evening of carpet bowls and pizza. These events have been well attended by a variety of ages and has been a wonderful opportunity to reach out, encourage and strengthen relationships.

        Dylan Standridge

        In June we were privileged to spend an evening with Dylan Standridge. Dylan partners with Iris Global Ministries, he has a heart for Tasmania and has a prophetic call upon his life.

        Home to Glory

        Our church family have mourned the passing of three dear ladies and sisters in Christ.

         Nalda King passed away on 19th March aged 85.  Margaret McCall passed away on 18th June aged 94, and Pauline Beasley passed away on 22nd of June. Our thoughts and prayers continue for their families.

        Around the Churches June-July 2023



        Special Service

        On Sunday 11 June we had a special combined service which included several aspects:

        • Four Baptisms – what a delight to hear the testimonies and share in the faith journey of 4 people.  As a result another person gave their life to the Lord that night. 
        • New Members – four people were received into membership.
        • Dedication of Nepalese Outreach Ministries  – Both the Community Bus and the Driver Mentor Car which were donated through BMA grants were in the auditorium and dedicated to the Lord’s work among the Hindu community.
        • Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal  – in support of our local Salvation Army Corps, everyone was encouraged to wear something red and bring a donation towards feeding children at our local schools as well as supporting families who are struggling. Almost $1000 was raised.
        • Healing Prayer – At the close of the service 20 people came forward for anointing with oil.

        Future Proofing your Life: 14th June to 12th July

        A new initiative from our Pastoral Care team has seen the development of a three-part program for people both in their senior years, as well as for the families of seniors.  Over 40 people registered from both the community and local churches. 

        Future proofing your life; Around the Churches June-July 2023

        Week of Prayer and Fasting  – 18th-24th June

        A dedicated week to draw closer to Jesus, to pray for our outreach into our local suburbs, and to pray for Hobart and people in need.  A booklet with guidelines to aid our focus is provided for everyone to help engage us in praying together.

        Table top Sale at Citywide; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        Citywide held an indoor Table Top Sale on Saturday 1st July


        Combined Pentecost Service

        On the afternoon of the 28th May, Claremont Baptist hosted a combined Pentecost Prayer Meeting with Edge Anglican and Claremont Uniting to pray for unity and our community.

        After sharing in reflective prayer, communion and corporate prayer we had some good chats over light refreshments. Good to meet and greet our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

        The Luthys Visit

        Missionary family Chris and Amy Luthy and their family will be leading our service on 16th July.  They serve with Pioneers and will share some of their experiences. 


        Esteem. Coffee Shop

        After a month or so of trials and waiting for final council approval, our coffee shop is now open! Volunteers will staff the coffee shop with a community focus and strong leaning towards supporting and training ex-refugees.

        Thanks to Kelvin Smith for his work in the final stages of getting the coffee shop up and running, well over a decade since the dream began.

        Esteem. Coffee Shop, Hobart Baptist; Around the Churches June-July 2023
        Esteem Coffee Shop

        Luminous Festival

        Thursday 8th to Sunday 25th June

        Over two weeks, the Luminous Festival at Hobart Baptist hosted various activities, lined up to coincide with Hobart’s mid-winter festival, Dark Mofo.

        1. An art installation by Michael Henderson, The Seed of Life Weighed Down, on display in the foyer of The Tab. The display generated well over 100 faith-conversations with passers-by.
        2. Three “Conversations”, which provided a space for thought and discussion. Speakers in the Conversations panels brought expertise on topics asking:
          • Is Tasmania A Place for Everyone?’
          • How can we help Tasmanian Children flourish?
          • How Do We Create Healthy Families?
        3. The festival culminated with Christmas in Winter, when we celebrated Christmas within its original context of the dark, cold mid-winter.
          • Luminous Carols, Friday 23rd June
          • Christmas Day service, Sunday 25th June

        Art by Michael Henderson questioned ‘what the nativity scene represents, and whether it has an ability today to help us enter the mystery of God and faith’.

        Luminous Festival at Hobart Baptist, Around the Churches June-July 2023
        L to R: Michael Henderson opens his artwork; The art exhibit; Soundy building’s lit-up entry; The Tab lights; Speakers John Kumara and Zelinda Sherlock; Stephen Baxter instroduces the Hallelujah Chorus community choir at the Luminous Carols event.

        Long Table event

        Members of the church, and many others, attended this wintry meal on the 25th June. Over 50 people enjoyed Eritrean food together. Thanks to Kelvin Smith and others for organising.

        Farewell Margaret Baikie

        Margaret Baikie, Around the Churches June-July 2023

        Our dear friend Margaret Baikie went to be with her Lord and Saviour on Wednesday 14 June 2023. Margaret was a member of HBC for 55 years, and until fairly recently, in a very active capacity.

        Loved and loving wife of Albert, mother of Margaret (Luckman) and Gordon, mother-in-law of Greg and Angie (Read). Adored Granny of Gordon James, Alistair, Hamish, James and Sunday Clare.

        Around the Churches June-July 2023

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        Around the Churches June-July2023

        Around the Churches June-July 2023

        Mentoring with Fostering Hope

        Mentor training for foster kids

        Foster Care

        Fostering Hope partners with Tasmanian Baptists to help Christians provide stable families and church communities for foster children.

        Grow your Faith as a Mentor

        Are you looking for a way to live out your faith? Do you think about foster care and how you could be involved, but not sure how? Do you have time to mentor a child who needs a caring adult?

        One 15-year-old in care in Tasmania said (from Ok, so a Nest is a Home):

        “Having a supportive adult to be able to talk to [is important]. So being able to share if you’re upset, in trouble or whatever … it doesn’t really matter who they are, just as long as they have someone who is there for them.”

        This is what the Fostering Hope Mentoring Program is about. Christians voluntarily meet regularly (perhaps weekly, fortnightly or monthly) with their special mentee to do an activity together and build relationship.

        Here are two stories

        Kylie* is a mentor to Rachel, an 11-year old girl in care, they meet once a month on a Saturday afternoon and do lots of different things together.  Kylie is there for Rachel if she wants to talk about what’s going on for her or just to have fun! Kylie says:

        “I just can’t thank you enough for this opportunity. It’s great for her to have the special time, it’s great for her carers to have a little break and it’s great for me to get out and do things I wouldn’t normally do!”

        The second story is yours!

        Compassion might look foolish to the world, but it is God’s way and the way we are called to live as well.  Loving the orphan, the outcast and the widow may not be the usual way of the world, but we know it is God’s wisdom.

        Learn to do right; seek justice.
            Defend the oppressed.
        Take up the cause of the fatherless;
            plead the case of the widow.

        Isaiah 1:17 NIV)

        But sometimes we don’t know what that looks like on a practical level. We may feel a disconnect between the faith we talk about with friends and we hear about at church, and the faith that we are living each day. We see injustice and know that God’s way is compassion, but what does that mean for us?

        Living out compassion

        At Fostering Hope we want to help you work out how you can show compassion to the often outcast kids in care. This might be through becoming a mentor or a respite carer. It doesn’t need to be a burden, but like we heard in the first story, it could be an incredible joy. It also means you will no longer wonder how you can live out compassion.

        We are running a mentor training day in Launceston on Saturday the 29th of July.

        If you are interested in becoming a mentor, or know someone else who you think would be interested, we’d love to connect and have you come along to the training.

        If you have questions or want to find out more, visit our website or reach out to us! Ellie is in Hobart ( and Anthea is in Launceston (

        Fostering Hope is a charity whose work comes from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus to ‘visit’ and ‘care for’ orphans and widows, to put the lonely in families, to love the fatherless, to care for children, and to love the neighbours in the communities.  

        Our vision is to reflect Christ’s love by supporting at-risk children and those who care for them

        Our vision is to reflect Christ’s love by supporting at-risk children and those who care for them. We work to raise awareness about this need, equip communities, and support foster, kinship and informal carers. One of the ways we provide wrap-around support for carers is through our mentoring program for their kids in care. We recruit, train, screen, match and support volunteer Christian mentors (like you!)

        *names changed for anonymity

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        June/July 2023

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        ReCharge News June 2023

        Mentoring with Fostering Hope

        Tuning in to the Heart of God

        Tuning in to the Heart of God-Jun23
        Heartlands News

        Being Transformed

        For us. For everyone!

        Jenna Blackwell, a member of the Tasmanian Baptists’ Mission and Leadership Development Team, gives insight into God’s amazing heart of grace.

        Inner Critic: Why don’t you have everything together?
        Jesus’ gentle voice: Did you hear about the disciples I chose?

        We are all too familiar with our inner critic. And in the midst of our humanness, Jesus whispers, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). God’s grace is not sufficient for just some people. It’s sufficient for you.

        This might seem like an odd transition to talk about hospitality, but if we can’t accept God’s hospitality toward us, I fear we have little hope to offer the world.

        "God’s grace is not sufficient for just some people. It’s sufficient for you." Jenna Blackwell

        In my recent ponderings about hospitality, I have felt God’s invitation to stretch and challenge my preconceived ideas. I am still learning a lot, but I offer to you a few key thoughts thus far:

        Hospitality is a heart posture, not just an act or series of acts

        Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) says, “guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Hospitality is not just having some friends over for a meal. It is welcoming the stranger with the love of God. It is listening to one another’s burdens with the compassion of Jesus. And it is creating margin to be interrupted by Holy Spirit.

        All our human effort cannot make us do this with longevity. It must be an overflow of the heart of God.

        Our God is the King of hospitality

        God’s heart is for the stranger and the outcast (in other words, for everyone). We particularly see this in the life of Jesus.

        I love Jesus’ interaction with Peter in John 21. Peter, who boldly proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, also denied knowing Jesus in his time of betrayal. But here, resurrected Jesus meets Peter once more on the shore. Following a failed fishing trip, Jesus shares a meal with Peter, restores his identity and invites Peter into greater transformation.

        Jesus’ heart is for Peter.

        If we want to extend hospitality, we must learn how to receive.

        Like Peter, we must learn how to receive from God. Similarly, Martha’s sister, Mary, gives us an example. Luke 10 invites us to wonder: What was so good about sitting at the feet of Jesus?

        But we must also learn how to humbly receive from each other. When we learn what it is like to receive grace without merit, gifts without the ability to repay, and hospitality when we feel like we have nothing to offer, then we can learn to extend hospitality with humility, gentleness and radical love.

        All of this has me wondering, if the people of God embraced ‘radically ordinary hospitality,’* how might our wider communities be transformed with the love of God?

        Radically ordinary hospitality can indeed be used by the Lord to grow his people in grace and sacrificial living, to preserve practices, ideas, and cultures… to change the world… but (it) must be rooted and steeped in grace.

        Rosaria Butterfield

        When you think about it, we all often have opportunities to share radically ordinary hospitality – in a friend’s home, for a colleague having a rough day, for the stranger on the street, for your neighbour … for someone in need of God’s radical grace.

        God’s gentle invitation

        I’m learning how to practice hospitality in community. But in a simple way, I see the hospitality of God in the people I mentor and coach. In my privilege of being present and creating space, people find invitation to show up courageously. And as they do, they experience God’s gentle invitation to deeper transformation. They experience the whispering invitation, “my grace is sufficient for you, my child.”

        It’s quite simple, quite every day, but it’s far from ordinary. In fact, it ends up being quite radical.

        * Termed by Rosaria Butterfield in her book The Gospel Comes with a House Key.

        Jenna Blackwell

        Jenna Blackwell
        Mission and Leadership Development Team

        If you’re interested in exploring coaching, Jenna welcomes you to reach out:

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