Claremont Celebrates 50 Years

Claremont Baptist Church Tasmania

6th March 1971 to 6th March 2021

On Sunday 7th March past and present members joined together in a joyful service to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Claremont Baptist Church.

How it all began . .

In 1964, the Rev Mathew Francis, pastor of Lenah Valley Church, urged the establishment of a work in the growing residential area of Abbotsfield and Chigwell. The work began with six people: John and Roslein Priddle; Emma Cox and her daughter Freda Steedman. They met in the home of Ralph and Helen Tye, as the Abbotsfield Baptist Fellowship. Roslein always said the church’s foundation was prayer, and their task was to step out in faith as God led.

The Home Missions Committee secured the services of Sister Heather Hunt, a trained deaconess of the Baptist Union of Great Britain to lead the team. She arrived in 1964 and stayed for five years.

In 1966 the Glenorchy Council, recognising the need for a church in the area, granted the Baptist Union a block of land on Cullen Street. The church used the property to build a manse. It served both as a residence for Sister Heather, and as a meeting place for Sunday School and Sunday services. At about the same time, two new schools opened in the area and soon every room, with the exception of Sister Heather’s bedroom, reached capacity on Sundays. The church then began their planning to build the current building.

The new building opened on the 6th March 1971, with a new name “Claremont Baptist Church“. 23 October 1977 saw the official inauguration of the Claremont Baptist Church with 18 foundation members.

It’s a caring church!

At the 50th Anniversary celebration, foundation members Murray and Heather Hall cut the celebration cake. Heather said, “I love this church. It’s a very caring church”.

Heather and Murray Hall cut the cake

I know that their strength . . .will see them continue for another 50 years

Mayor Kristie Johnson

Mayor of Glenorchy, Kristie Johnson, was present to unveil a plaque. Kristie is the daughter of former pastor David Knox. She spoke of her memories of being a child in the church., and was enthusiastic about the church’s future. “Claremont Baptist Church has been serving the Lord through Christian ministry for 50 years and I know that their strength through faith will see them continue for another 50 years.”

Claremont Baptist Church 50th, Former Paster David Knox, Mayor Kristie Johnson, Pastor Peter Clark
Former Pastor David Knox, Mayor Kristie Johnson, Pastor Peter Clark

PROFILE: Summerhill Baptist Church

Summerhill Baptist church

In this telling profile of Summerhill Baptist in the Feb/Mar 2021 ADVANCE | step by step , read an overview from the pastor, Maddy Svoboda. Then continue scrolling for a couple of highlights from members Roger and Jess Radford.

From the Pastor: Maddy Svoboda

Maddy Svoboda
Rev. Maddy Svoboda

Hello! My name is Matthew (Maddy) Svoboda and I am the pastor of Summerhill Baptist Church in Launceston. I’ve been married to Imogen for eight years and we have three children: Evie (5), Angus (2) and we have just welcomed Reuben into the tribe 2 months ago.

I grew up in Launceston (my grandparents lived around the corner from Summerhill Baptist for my whole life) and I was not a follower of Jesus until I was 18.

Summerhill Baptist and community impact

The Summerhill Baptist building sits on the Stanley Street roundabout in Summerhill, alongside a school and a medical centre. We have a mentoring partnership with the school. People from the church are trained up to walk with a student in need for an hour a week.

We’ve run family movie nights, sausage sizzles and community fun days for the school community. There is also a high school youth ministry that engages primarily with youth from Prospect High School.

At the end of last year, we partnered with Scripture Union to run a community outreach for the Hazara (ethnic and Muslim group from Afghanistan) people in our community and will continue those throughout 2021.

We’re also in the beginning of a partnership with the medical centre as they use our facilities for ‘flu vaccinations. We would like to see this develop in order to see holistic health throughout the community of Summerhill.

Summerhill’s challenges

One of our big challenges is knowing how to navigate these new cultural waters with boldness and humility. Our society has experienced rapid discontinuous change. It can leave us wondering how we engage with our friends, family members, work colleagues and neighbours with the good news of Jesus.

Sometimes, there can be a tension between wanting our people to be involved in church community life. Plus, be invested in the relationships they naturally have with people not following Jesus. As well as taking care of themselves and their family. There are many priorities in our lives. so it can be a challenge to avoid overloading people. And at the same time, call them to service and mission.

What I see in the future
Maddy and Imogen with their growing family

I am excited by what I see taking place at Summerhill.

We have a spread of ages and generations making up our congregation. My desire is to dive deeply into the call to be a family of God. With older generations and younger generations not merely existing in the same space, but flourishing together.

To that end, I want to see us do the following:

  • Leaning into the location and place God has given us, and to seek the peace and prosperity of our community.
  • Growing and developing even more into a community, offering open-hearted acceptance to those around us.
  • Bringing God’s kingdom to Summerhill.

Members’ ReflectionsSummerhill Baptist

By Roger and Jess Radford

COVID-19 . . . all change!
Summerhill Baptist worship time
Summerhill worship time

A big highlight for Summerhill Baptist has been moving into our “New” hall. We built it a few years ago, but we’re still working through the process of using it for Sunday services.

After lockdown, our old hall no longer met our requirements as we could not all fit, under capacity requirements. With our gear in the old building, it meant we got back to basics, initially. We worked only with a small sound system, a worship leader and singer. It was very refreshing to strip worship back to a “minimum viable product” and slowly build as restrictions have lifted.

Our worship team up front has gradually grown over time. Adding members slowly gave us a chance to test and learn what works well for us in our new building.

Moving to the new building has allowed us to grow our Creche and Kidz Church program in our old building, dramatically improving the size and suitability of the area available to them.

Community fun

COVID restrictions also challenged us on how we get together after a service. Our foyer is now much too small to congregate for a chat, so we recently had our second church picnic at Punchbowl reserve. As a “Bring your own everything” event, it was a simple way for us to all hang out after church without a lot of planning and administration required.

At the picnics–through conversation, food, footy, frisbee and vortex–we’ve much fun had!

Coming up, on Sunday 7th March, we will participate in Clean Up Australia Day by cleaning up one of our local parks after our service, and then having another picnic.

Colder weather will again challenge our newfound love of picnics, but we are looking forward to seeing what we will come up with next!

The Radford Family: Back – Jess and Lily; Front – Ira and Roger

Summerhill Baptist WEBSITE

summerhillbaptist.org.au

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Approaching 2021 with Love in our Hearts

From the MD - Approaching 2021
Mission Director Stephen Baxter reflects on the year ahead

Winners and Losers …

 … Or Something More Profound?

As we are approaching 2021, the 24-hour daily news cycle reminds us we live in unsettling, even dangerous, times. But perhaps we can come with some love in our hearts?

By Mission Director Stephen Baxter

Although somewhat removed in Tasmania, technology connects us to the rest of the world. Recent events in the USA, the increasing bully-like antics of China, and a small virus that continues to bring the world to a standstill, are reminders of the unique moment we are living in.

The relative peace experienced in much of the Western World over the past 50 years or so makes it all feel somewhat “unprecedented”. Recent McCrindle research1 reveals only 10% of those over 75 feel any long-term negative effects on their mental health due of Covid-19.

Yet, among those aged between 18-40, more than half feel the affect has been harmful. McCrindle suggests those over 75 have lived through similar times, like WWII, and have a resilience not known in younger generations.

No wonder the younger ones are struggling more than the older generations.

Stories make sense of the world

Global interconnectedness, which many hoped would usher in a world of increasing peace and harmony, has delivered something like the opposite. The world is full of anxiety and fear, and social media has intensified the rage and polarisation. Now, as we begin 2021, we want to be hopeful, yet it looks like this year will contain as much disruption as 2020, and perhaps more!

In times such as these there are always different stories competing for the hearts and imaginations of humanity, endeavouring to make sense of our lives.

One such story, fuelled by fear and inadequacy, is a tale of “winners and losers”.

Driven by a sense of scarcity, life is a competition and many take sides. The world is divided into oppressors and the oppressed, aggressors and victims. When one believes the path to peace, security and happiness comes by “winning”, violence is an inevitable outcome.

Jesus’ radical contrasts

Sadly, the church is not exempt from the temptation. We too can retreat into an “us and them” mentality built on assumptions of scarcity, competition, and opposition.

Jesus told a different story. He did not view the world through the lens of scarcity, as we can do when approaching 2021, but of abundance. Instead of winning, he talked about serving, stewardship, generosity and sharing where everyone is a winner–for there is enough for all. God, he taught, is a good God full of grace and provision who causes the rain to fall, and the sun to shine, upon all people, both good and evil.

Jesus did not divide the world into winners and losers. His vision for humanity was based on acceptance, grace, and forgiveness. He called every person to love their neighbour as themselves, and even to love their enemies! Life is not a competition fuelled by scarcity, but cooperative empowered by abundance.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

The result over the ensuing centuries was a slow, gentle revolution. As people believed in Jesus and lived by his teachings, the poor were healed and empowered, and society became more like the one Jesus envisaged. Life was not a competition, and people no longer lived as victims. As co-heirs with Christ, and willing agents in the spread of the Gospel, the world changed for the better.

Love in our hearts and grace on our lips

Society was transformed not through their compliant submission to those who “lorded it over them”, nor through violent revolution and revenge, but by their nonviolent resistance to scarcity, and “winning” through a life of service and self-giving, that transformed the world.

Let’s be Jesus’ agents. This is what our troubled and unsettled world of 2021 needs. Jesus still calls us to be agents of transformation and positive change in the world. His metaphors of salt, light, and yeast help us appreciate who we are called to be. We are those who do not believe life is a competition. We are those who do not withdraw from the world but are active agents within it.

As well, we are not activists, but respectful, welcoming, loving, patient neighbours to everyone, including our enemies and call them to come believe in and follow Jesus. We don’t set out to win but to bless. We set out with love in our hearts, and grace on our lips.

As we are approaching 2021, may the Spirit empower us all to be witnesses for Jesus in Tasmania.

Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter
Mission Director, Tasmanian Baptists
stephen@tasbaptists.org.au

1 Australia in the wake of COVID-19 – McCrindle, accessed January 26, 2021

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