Around the Churches April – May 2024

Around the churches


Deloraine Baptist

Passover at Deloraine 
Monday, 22 April was the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the biblical date for Passover. Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples at the meal we call ‘the Last Supper’ (Luke 22:15). Although Holy Communion (aka the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist) is a very ancient and appropriate Christian tradition, it was within the context of the Passover meal that Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  

Accordingly, twenty-three Christians enjoyed a traditional Passover meal at Deloraine Baptist Church on the evening of 22 April. The meal included roasted year-old ram lambs and all the traditional trimmings.  

From a Jewish perspective, the Passover commemorates their redemption from bondage to Pharaoh through the shed blood of the lamb without blemish. As Christians, we also see its further application to our own redemption from slavery to sin through the shed blood of our perfect and sinless Messiah (1 Corinthians 5:7b). 

Passover at Deloraine 

Although (for now) the Jewish people remain blinded to its significance, the traditional Passover meal is replete with Christian symbolism. For instance, three matzot (unleavened bread) are placed in a special ‘three-in-one’ bag. During the meal, the middle matzah is broken (“this my body”), wrapped in linen and hidden away. It is later ‘discovered’ – a prophetic picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  

Four cups of wine are traditionally consumed, representing the four promises God made to Israel in Exodus 6:6-8. They are the Cups of Sanctification, Deliverance, Redemption and Restoration. The third cup is not drunk until after the meal. It was this one (Luke 22:20) that the Lord referred to as “his blood.” However, Jesus deferred drinking the final Passover cup until his return (Matthew 26:29). In fact, our Lord is currently teetotal while he serves as our great High Priest in the Heavenly Temple (e.g. Hebrews 9:11 cp. Leviticus 8:8-9). 

The event lasted two-and-a half hours and was enjoyed by all participants. Many agreed that it was a more meaningful commemoration of the Master’s death than the traditional hot cross buns and chocolate eggs.  

Lifeway Devonport 

Social activities 
The vibrant Lifeway worship community is busy throughout the week, with Monday Tribes for kids after school, Converge for young adults on Tuesday evening, Men’s Coffee and Cheese Wednesday afternoon, Seniors’ Bible Study Thursday morning, Prayer Group Thursday evening and Fellowship Group on Saturday. There are also Pulse small groups, which meet regularly to support and pray for each other.  

Visiting Chaplain 
On Sunday 28 April the Chaplain of the Adelaide Crows Football Club spoke at the morning service and gifted a guernsey to Pastor Nicholas and longtime supporter of the crows Bill Magor.  

May Mission Month 
During May Mission month the dedicated Mission Team have worked hard to form study groups for most days of the week, set up a wonderful interactive display in the auditorium and, after worship Sunday morning in the Café, provided a guest to speak in the Human Library about a chapter in their lives connected to mission.  

Recently, Alec Small from the Karingal Community and Trevor Levett passed away.  

Sheffield Baptist Church

Membership Increase 
We are pleased to say that our doors are open each Sunday to witness and share the gospel with locals and visitors alike. In February we welcomed two new members which was a real encouragement.  

To us long term attendees, we are thankful for speakers from different churches making themselves available to preach each Sunday, it is a special blessing. Our fellowship teas continue to be well supported on the third Sunday of the month at 5:30 pm followed by singing of hymns and favourites for approximately an hour.  

Sheffield Baptist Church Photo: Duncan Grant
Sheffield Baptist Church

Ulverstone Baptist Church

Social activities 
UBC Seniors continue to meet on the first Friday of the month for fellowship and morning tea. The have enjoyed guest speakers, Ian Pickford with a display of various flags; Josh Skeat from the Ulverstone Anglican Church, as well as Valma and Yasmin McPherson (mother and daughter) who spoke in a morning themed “Remembering Mothers”. 

Our recent Men’s events have included riding bikes to the Turners Beach Berry Patch for breakfast, go-karting and indoor cricket. These events have been well attended by a variety of ages and has been a wonderful opportunity to reach out, encourage and strengthen relationships. 

On Mother’s Day weekend, about 40 of our UBC ladies enjoyed a scrumptious morning tea at the Turners Beach Berry Patch in their yurt.  As Mother’s Day and May Mission Month both share the month of May we were blessed on Mother’s Day to have a mission visit from Andy and hear of the work he is doing in Southeast Asia.  

Our winter table tennis competition has once again commenced on Monday evenings.  

From the pulpit 
Over the course of the last few months, we were challenged and encouraged by Pastor Louis and Lyn McKay as they preached a series titled “Called”. 

Home in glory 
We were saddened to hear of the passing of our dear sister Ivy Priestley. We give thanks to the Lord for the blessing that she was to our UBC family and all who knew her.  

Ulverstone Baptist Church
Ulverstone Baptist Church

Wynyard Baptist Church

Pastor Changes 
In 2023, Franz Brosch started the role of associate Pastor at Wynyard. Before that, he grew up in Germany in the southwest region. He always believed in God, but when it comes to Jesus and the Gospel it was in secondary school that his understanding grew. He was baptised as an adult to affirm that commitment. Recently, Pastor Owen Muskett retired after 10 years of service and the church affirmed Franz in taking Owen’s role as successor. God has led Franz and Heidi in ways that they had never expected. Pray for the church in this time of transition, and with the added challenge of Franz completing his studies.


City Baptist Church

Community and adventure! 
The City Baptist community has enjoyed a few adventures this year. We ventured out for a baptism at Low Head (see pictures), we joined the Marginata community in Evandale for a Taize gathering, and the Launceston Easter Festival happened on our front lawn.

The community garden (St Leonards) continues to flourish, providing welcome and hospitality to many former refugees. Our church is supporting an ecumenical initiative in Launceston that is focused on providing a safe space for young adults to ask faith questions and build community.

We hope to begin a new seed of faith, fun and community by welcoming parents/carers and their children to a weekly nature play space. This is in partnership with the manager of Utas Inveresk community garden; we are still waiting for the right person/people to help with this initiative.

With our emphasis on prayer lately, we welcome you to pray with us as we seek God’s direction for future steps. 

Latrobe Baptist Church 

Remembering Two Women 
It was a sad couple of months for the Latrobe Church in February and March with the passing of two of our ladies. Both ladies are very sorely missed but we know they are both now at rest with the Lord. 

Anneke Carrasco, (1949 – 2024) passed away suddenly on 26 February after a short illness. She had not been with us long, but her smile and cheeky manner is remembered by all of the church family 

Beryl Rallings (1931-2024) passed away on 26 March. She had been a member of the church for many years. Beryl had a wonderful singing voice and this was mentioned by lots of people at the funeral as something they remembered about her. She was a beautiful Godly woman who loved her Lord and showed that in her life. 

Newstead Baptist

Matu Church
There are five Baptist churches in the Launceston area. In 2020, Rodney and Maddy reached out to connect with the Matu church. That has begun a journey of coming closer into community and being on a journey of growing in relational connection. Now the Matu are based out of Newstead Baptist.  

The Matu meet on Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. The Matu Pastor has had two decades of ministering in church and he has a deep heart to connect with the Pastors around Tasmania.

Summerhill Baptist Church

We are well into our first Alpha with Session Six this Thursday, 9 May. God has blessed us with around 14 people each week, consisting of around eight from our congregation and six seekers. There are a wide range of ages, personalities, and backgrounds, all attending the course for different reasons. There have been some great conversations already, and as relationships and trust develop people are engaging more. 

This doesn’t mean it is without its challenges. There have been times when we believe there has been negative spiritual pressures brought to bear on our groups, sometimes through distractions, discouragements, physical disruptions and recalling deep emotional experiences.

But we are hugely grateful to God, not only for the opportunities to reach out and share the gospel but also in the incredible ways he is working in so many in his church here. Many supporters bring along beautiful food each week, with so many praying for the team and guests alike. May the Holy Spirit be at work through each one for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) 


Citywide Mornington, Lenah Valley, Levendale and Nepalese

We have been sad to say goodbye to three of our long-term members in April. Ed Straatsma, Patsy Appleby and Neil Broomhead all served their Lord and his Church faithfully throughout their lives.  We praise God for them and rejoice that they are now with Jesus. 

We have been blessed and excited to witness two baptisms in the last month: Anya Evenhuis and Brendan Isaac have testified to their faith and been baptised – much to the delight of family and church friends. 

We have re-launched a fellowship in Levendale under the care of Paul Dare.  They are now able to receive our streamed services from Citywide.  It’s a small beginning and we are praying for God to move amongst the people in that district. 

Again, this year we ran a fun festival for the community at Lenah Valley.  It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of connections.  Each year we are encouraged by the numbers of people who express their appreciation for the opportunities they have to express their thanks to people who have served our country and to celebrate together our freedoms and culture.  The morning is a good expression of community. 

Dinner Together 
For the rest of this year, we have offered an invitation for other Baptist churches in Hobart to join us in our monthly Dinners Together.  Our goal in this is to build a stronger community across our churches and get to know each other better. This month there were 65 involved which included 11 from Hobart Baptist.  

All southern churches are invited to join us as we run the Foundations course again. The course runs over 12 weeks, offering both lunch time and evening classes weekly.  This is a discipleship journey looking at God, Ourselves, Others and the World. Register on our website.


The church is growing by 10 percent every year, and we’re up to 90 people at services, but we only have 70 chairs, so this is a good problem to have. 

Claremont Baptist Church

Window on Witness
Last Christmas time, we wanted to make a display that would draw people back to the “reason for the season” so we set about to make a nativity scene outside the church. Everyone was involved, the men with bits of wood and things, the ladies with craft materials. The stable, a donated cubby house, grew to accommodate wisemen and shepherds, a sheep and donkey. Time came to dismantle the display and we found the stable was now too heavy to move!  
We now have a window to dress, and this has opened up a range of creative ideas. We try to change the display every six weeks. Dog walkers, people waiting at the bus stop and cars passing by are looking in the window and taking notice! 
The church asked for poppies to be made for an Anzac Day tribute, below, and over 900 knitted, crochet, paper and felt poppies were made by the ladies!

This Easter, beside wonderful worship services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday we reintroduced the Dawn Service on the Montrose Foreshore. We’d like to call it a “sunrise service” but clouds shrouded the sun. Nonetheless it was a wonderful morning with participants from five different churches in the Northern Suburbs, worshipping and praying for our community together. 

We have been blessed over the past six months to see a gradual increase at Sunday morning worship services from around 25 to well over 40 some mornings. Our Sunday School is active and vibrant again thanks to a new dedicated teacher. God hears and he answers prayer! 

Hobart Baptist Church

Luminous Festival 
Winter is when things generally get quiet. At Hobart it is our busy time. It is a positive way to interact with Dark Mofo in a positive way. Theme is Sacred Tasmania the links between sacred and sustainability in Tasmania. We have representatives of Parliament coming to our church. To register, visit the website.  

Esteem Coffee Shop 
Esteem Coffee’s customer base has been growing, but somewhat incremental. Starting this week the coffee shop will be offering all hot drinks for $3 for everyone. And… in July they will trial a ‘pay it forward’ scheme. This will begin with 100 hot drinks to give away.
So, if you would like a drink, you cannot pay for your own cup because it is already paid for! But if you would like to pay it forward for someone else, they will add it to the running total and keep offering everyone free cups of coffee until the running total lowers to zero.

Luminous Sacred Tasmania poster

Around the Churches April-May 2024

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    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 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 >> 


    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: 

    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 .

    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 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 

    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 or call 0487 343348. 

    Read More ReCharge!

    ReCharge News May 2024

    Recharge Articles 2024

    Assembly Report 2024

    Mid-year Assembly Report

    Mid-Year Assembly

    It was a good mid-year Assembly, with an update from Scott Ambrose on the search committee process, input from Scott Pilgrim, Executive Director at Baptist Mission Australia (BMA) and with a significant focus on Boreham College provided by Matty Coppin. The Boreham College brochure is now available on the Tas Baptist website. 

    Maddy Svoboda spoke about the new discipleship coaching course staring this June. At last year’s muster, Tim Piesse from Crossway Church in Victoria spoke about discipleship. He explained how the Crossway congregation felt they didn’t have a clear idea of how to make disciples. As a result, the church formulated the course, ‘Building a Discipleship Culture’. This course outlines intentional ways to put the mission of God back into the hands of everyday people.  

    Maddy is starting a Tasmania cluster for this course that will involve fortnightly, group coaching calls from June. The course will go for one year, with an option for a second year. IT will cover how to embed discipleship practises in the life of our churches. Churches participating include Newstead, City, Riverlands, and Summerhill. If this sounds like something you want to be part of, there’s still time to join, contact Maddy for more information. 

    What God is Doing

    The Assembly provided a great opportunity to see what God is doing amidst our Tasmanian churches.  

    Nicholas Alexander from Lifeway Church spoke about the two new Student Pastors at their church Stuart Crabtree and Morgan Read. For more info see our recharge articles on each. 

    As Franz Brosch takes the helm from Owen Muskett at Wynyard Baptist church, he shared some of his interesting back story.  

    Anthea Maynard gave an update on Fostering Hope. She shared about the ongoing need for mentors and how Fostering Hope’s Mentoring program and training provides kids in care a “friend with purpose” and offers them another positive relationship as part of their therapeutic web. Tas Baptist strongly supports Fostering Hope in several ways, including financial assistance that comes from a generous gift from Baptcare. 

    A Reimagining Journey

    Scott Pilgrim spoke on the ‘reimagining journey’ in the context of May Mission Month. He pointed out that with BMA on their own reimagining journey, both groups can share the synergies and learning opportunities with each other in this rapidly changing world time we find ourselves in 

    His talk was timely for both Tas Baptists and BMA, especially with May Mission Month underway, and for Tas Baptist as we celebrate a significant step forward with the launch of Boreham College. 

    Scott Pilgrim considered the current global context, along the changing nature of our Tas Baptists context, and proposed we re-imagine what God’s Spirit can do in and through us as we take intentional steps on the journey that includes: 

    Re-affirming and celebrating “Missio Dei” and reframing change, for example, embracing a default attitude of expectancy in God as a people of faith, rather than suspicion, uncertainty and fear.  

    Courageous Questions

    Scott posed several courageous questions:  
    – How does the decline of Christianity in the west impact the future of western mission agencies?
    – How does Jesus’ new wineskins metaphor speak to us about mission opportunity in existing and potential locations?
    – Are we willing to let go of power and control in genuinely embracing global south partnerships?
    – What is the future of sending from Australia?
    – How does Jesus’ turning the tables metaphor challenge us in our approach to mission?
    – What is our future in an increasingly culturally and religiously diverse Australia?
    – Where are we stuck and what do we fear?

    Over the past 18 months Tas Baptists have done a lot of Looking, listening, learning – looked back … looked to each other … looked to others … and looked to the Spirit … 

    Scott finished his talk by highlighting the importance of contextualisation in a changing world and by providing quotes and examples of innovative, collaborative expressions. 

    “Contextualisation is a very difficult thing to do. It challenges deeply ingrained understandings and practices and demands radical and uncomfortable shifts in mindsets. But it’s so desperately needed in our changing world if people are to experience the good news of Jesus in ways they understand.” Claire TC Chong

    He pointed out that Boreham College is a good example of Innovation and collaboration going hand in hand with contextualisation

    Paul Manning (Baptist World Aid) spoke about some of his recent experiences visiting Nepal.

    “Innovation and collaboration go hand in hand with contextualisation… Across the globe, God’s Spirit is raising up new missional partnerships and collaborations. Let’s be a part of what the Spirit is doing!” Steve Sang-Cheong Moon

    Assembly Report

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    ReCharge Articles 2024

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    Leaning on God

    Blog header face with name

    Through all my seasons

    Ministry Profile: Hazelyn Mohan

    ‘I am leaning on God for His strength, His peace and His provision.’ 

    Tasmanian Baptist Council Southern representative, Hazelyn Mohan, serves on the music team at Claremont Baptist. She has a heart for Christians who have lost their first love – God. Read on to find out more . . .

    I am originally from Singapore and came to Tasmania 14 years ago to pursue my Bachelor of Laws at UTAS (does this make me a Tasmanian now?). I still am unable to get used to the weather and I often wear bright coloured coats, different coloured socks and shoes on each foot and layers and layers of clothes. 

    Evelyn Mohan shoes
    No one has time for same colour shoes on each foot! 

    I currently work full time for the State Government (and that in itself was a journey of faith for me!). I am also pursuing my Masters in Cyber Security with UNSW online and on a part time basis. 

    Family life

    I come from a small family and have an older brother who is four years older than me. He is married and lives in Singapore as do my mom and dad. I am the only one in my family who has moved out of Singapore.  

    Leaning on God shows Evelyn Mohan family
    Left to right: Here are the Mohans: Mum, Dad, Hazelyn, sister-in-law, and brother.
    Faith Seasons

    My own faith journey has been a roller coaster, but I know that through all my seasons, God never let me go. Not once.  

    I come from a strong Pentecostal background and my dad has been in ministry for as long as I can remember. In Singapore, I attended an Assembly of God where I was encouraged to find my own faith and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour.  

    My own faith journey has been a roller coaster, but I know that through all my seasons, God never let me go. Not once.

    I accepted Christ at the age of 14 and was baptised several years later; I only began to truly seek Him when I was older. When my dad started his own church, I was the pastor’s kid which meant that I was the first to arrive and the last to leave. I was the usher, the Sunday School teacher, the set up and tear down person, part of the music team and everything else in between.  

    Having grown up in a home where God was always first, it created a strong foundation for me when I was ready to pursue God with all my heart, soul and mind.  

    I have a heart for Christians who have lost their first love – God. My desire to help them find God again and reconnect with the One who loves them so much.  

    When I graduated from UTAS, after being called to the Bar, I wondered if I should join my friends in Melbourne. However, doors were never opened for me and I didn’t feel at peace when making the decision to move. On hindsight, I now know that God had a greater plan for me. I met some wonderful people who I now worship with, attend bible study and do life with.

    Evelyn Mohan with a chocolate bar

    I have a heart for Christians who have lost their first love – God. My desire is to help them find God again and reconnect with the One who loves them so much.

    Church Life

    Through fellowship, prayer and support, my faith grew here in Tasmania. I love to serve people. Through Intercultural Church (IC Church), I was given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and be part of the music team, do a bit of sharing and sit on the elders board.

    Late last year, IC Church joined with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Claremont Baptist Church. At Claremont Baptist, I serve on the music team and I am also on the Tasmanian Baptist Council as a Southern representative.  

    IC Church continues to regularly meet every other month for food, fellowship and to grow our faith. I attend monthly meetings as part of the Glenorchy Churches Network, which is an opportunity for pastors and leaders to gather and pray with each other as we serve our community.  

    I am also the Secretary of the Glenorchy Community Care program which is a not for profit food program that was initiated by the Glenorchy Churches Network to show God’s love to the community doing it tough by not just meeting their physical need but also their spiritual needs through prayer.

    In my spare time, I like to read fiction stories – especially if they are of the crime and mystery genre. I listen to true crime podcasts most of the time. Mostly, if I am not at church or work, you can find me at home where I am most comfortable in my PJs and layers and layers of clothes to help keep me warm! 

    Current challenge

    I am time poor at the moment due to working full time and studying part time as well as being involved in my various ministries. I cannot wait for next year when I would have finished my studies and can get involved even more deeply into God’s work.

    Patience is not my virtue, and my mom always says that I have a patience of a 5 year old! So if anything, in this season of my life, I am leaning on God for His strength, His peace and His provision.  

    …in this season of my life, I am leaning on God for His strength, His peace and His provision.  

    The Best piece of advice?

    People don’t care about what you know until they know that you care. 

    Pray For… 

    You can pray for me that in this season and next season, I will step out in faith and keep my eyes on the Lord.  

    Hazelyn Mohan leaning on God

    Short ‘n’ Sweet

    I am looking forward to. . . the end of the year when I would have finally finished my course (God willing!)  

    I am worried about. . . my grades (currently!) 

    I am confident. . . that I may not have enough but I have a God that is enough for me (Amen!). 

    I am joyful about. . . the opportunity to serve God  

    I would like to change. . . nothing (except maybe make time move faster so I can finish my studies!)  

    I am at my best. . . when I am well rested and have chocolates (mostly the chocolates!) 

    Stuart Crabtree

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    Farewell to Pastor Owen and Dawn Muskett

    Photo of Owen and Dawn Muskett farewell community at Wynyard Baptist church

    After 10 years pastoring our Wynyard Baptist Church, Owen Muskett has handed over the reins to Franz Brosch.

    After years in business in and around Hobart, Owen put down the tools, and he and his wife Dawn packed up their lives and made a big move to the Northwest. It was Owen’s first pastoral appointment and the first time that he and Dawn had been to Wynyard. 

    His ministry over the past decade has been popular and fruitful. Owen has led many to know Jesus and, in many ways, became the unofficial chaplain to the town. He will be greatly missed, not only by the church, but also the wider community. 

    Owen with friends on ANZAC Day 2024
    Owen with friends on ANZAC Day 2024
    A Time for Saying Thank You

    Owen and Dawn were farewelled over the weekend of 27-28 April. On Saturday evening, family and friends, members of Wynyard church and people from the community — including Deputy Mayor Celisa Edwards — enjoyed dinner at the Wynyard RSL Club. It was a moving time, sharing memories and saying thank you to Owen and Dawn for their loving and tireless service.   

    The following morning was Owen’s final Sunday as Pastor. He preached his last sermon to a packed church, and it wasn’t without a tear or two. Tasmanian Baptists Mission Director Stephen Baxter formally released Owen and Dawn from their role and inducted Franz Brosch as Owen’s successor. Then the church prayed for both Franz and his wife, Heidi. It was a very moving moment. 

    Pastor Franz and Heidi 

    Franz and his wife have been at the church for 15 months, Franz as associate pastor. This blessing enabled a smooth transition from Owen to Franz. 

    The farewell concluded with a time of fellowship over lunch in the church hall. There is no doubt that our Wynyard church is very thankful to God for all his blessings over our church in the last decade. It now looks forward with anticipation with what God will continue to do in and through them in the coming season. 

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    Stuart Crabtree – Passionate About Reaching Young People for Christ

    Ministry profile blog header Stuart Crabtree

    Ministry Profile: Stuart Crabtree 

    Reaching Young People for Christ

    Lifeway Baptist Student Pastor Stuart Crabtree writes about his life and how important it is that children know and feel they belong in Church. Read on to find out . . .

    Early YEARS

    I was born in Devonport, but spent most of my childhood in South Riana, a small country town south of Penguin. I spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors and climbing trees, but I also enjoyed reading a good book. 

    My mother became a Christian in her late teens, and my father sometime after they were married. Mum was conscientious about teaching us from the Bible, emphasising the importance of believing and obeying God’s Word. Dad was a great role model of being a Christian husband (for which I am very grateful in my marriage today!). In this environment of regular exposure to the Gospel, I became convicted of my own need for salvation at the age of 10. 

    Family Life

    My wife, Melanie, is a creative soul who sings beautifully, and is an aspiring author. She also makes great coffee and works at the local bookshop. Together, we have two children, Eliana (9) and Gryphin (6). Eliana, like her mum, has a wonderful imagination and spends a lot of her time there! Gryphin loves spending one-on-one time with people and wants to be a monster truck driver when he’s older. We enjoy the gentler pace of life here in Tassie, as well as the cooler weather. 

    I am an amateur Ukulele player and also enjoy cooking. I think I’ve mastered the art/science of making panna cotta and have a number of my own recipes (with several more in the works).  

    Ministry at Lifeway

    I share responsibility for the children’s ministry at Lifeway Baptist with Morgan Read. My focus is the Kids’ Church program that runs during the Sunday morning service. 

    My first experience of ministry was at the age of 15, at Camps Clayton and Riverbend. Having enjoyed being a camper at Camp Clayton since grade 5, I was excited to progress to (being a) cabin leader. I don’t think I really got what ministry was about, though. I had a pretty superficial understanding of what made a good cabin leader and had looked up to some cabin leaders for superficial reasons – they were funny, cool, popular.

    This changed on my seventh camp leading a cabin. My co-leader didn’t really have the qualities that I thought made a good cabin leader, but he was still an amazing one to me. He cared for our kids, he spent time with them, and he shared Jesus with them. He didn’t just lead them; he led me. From that point on my approach to cabin leading was different. It was about building relationships with kids and making opportunities to tell them about Jesus. 

    Passionate About Youth Work

    The following year, I became bored at school. I was in Year 11 and dropped out to find work. Instead, I ended up getting involved with Fusion and doing some training with them in Youth and Community Work. Following this, I spent a couple of years doing voluntary Christian work in schools, churches, and campsites. Camp Clayton gave me some casual work running their activities, and about a year later I moved into a full-time position running their holiday camps. I had become passionate about reaching young people for Christ. This theme shone through the next two decades, as I have continued to work in various youth and children’s ministries (as well as being a teacher at a local public high school).    

    The Rewards and challenges

    I love it when kids have ‘aha’ moments and understand something about God that they hadn’t before. I also enjoy seeing them grow in Christlikeness, being kind, gentle and compassionate with one another. 

    It’s important to me that children know and feel that they belong in Church. For some children, this presents more of a challenge than others – their bodies or minds may be significantly different from others, and this may create a sense of disconnect between them and the community.  

    Balancing my time between church, family, ministry, work, and study can be difficult. Another challenge we have – and a welcome one – is that the number of children in the church is growing. This means we need more volunteers to help with Kids’ Church.  

    The best advice I had when I was growing up was from the Pastor of my church. He frequently told our youth group not to take his word for it (whatever he was teaching us), but to go to the Bible and see for ourselves. Such an attitude taught me to revere God’s authority over that of people. It also taught me to have my own personal relationship with God and develop my own faith rather than vicariously adopting the faith of others. 

    Stuart Crabtree family
    Pray For… 

    Please pray that these children will know the love of Christ in and through the Church. Please also pray that we can find enough volunteers to properly care for children with extra-needs as they participate in Kids’ Church.

    Stuart Crabtree

    Short ‘n’ Sweet

    I am looking forward to. . . long service leave  

    I am worried about. . . being misunderstood

    I am confident that. . . coffee is better than tea 

    I am joyful about. . . spending time with my children  

    I would like to change. . . my inability to consistently sing in tune  

    I am at my best. . . when I know what’s happening 

    Stuart Crabtree

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    Why I Value Professional Supervision

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    Michael Henderson Leadership Development

    APOLOGY: Here is the link to the article Reaching Young People for Christ by Stuart Crabtree

    Tasmanian Baptists took the step at our October 2023 Assembly of introducing “professional supervision” as a requirement for accreditation for our pastors. When I first heard this, it sounded to me like more work, and I wondered if our pastors had the time and resources to actually engage with it.  

    Then, in November, I went to a national meeting about how our churches engage with issues around safe church policy, reportable conduct, redress scheme, and so on. Heavy stuff. Many in the room were lawyers, and seasoned professionals. I was definitely the odd one out.  

    As heavy as the all-day meeting was, I found it inspiring to be in a room full of such passionate and caring people. They were working hard to protect some of the most vulnerable in our communities, while doing everything they could to help churches and pastors to flourish. 

    Being People Carers

    Then we had lunch. Our talk turned from churches and others to ourselves, and some started to share stories about the toll this kind of work has on them. They shared personal stories from the recent past about being a lawyer, about their personal struggles, and how some of them had almost broken down from the strain. One person said, “It is hard to keep caring for people when it keeps coming day after day. I don’t know how pastor’s do it.” 

    As I listened, it occurred to me how a pastor’s job is very similar. Not in direct legal matters, but in the care for people and how it keeps coming day after day.  

    Then a lady, close to retirement, shared how professional supervision had saved her that previous year. She began by scoffing at the idea: “I always fought against professional supervision, feeling like it was unnecessary. ‘I don’t need this’, I would tell people when they’d encourage me to do it. I have everything going well, thank you,” she said. 

    Then she suddenly struggled to speak, and we gathered around her to support her, and she went on.  

    “It was a colleague that noticed I wasn’t doing well. It was her that suggested I see a professional supervisor, and it was her that took me to the meeting,” and she paused again.

    “I was not aware of how much I needed it, and how much it could help me. I do not think I would be here today without it. It is one of those things you don’t notice you need until it is too late. I am really encouraged we are getting our pastors to do this.” 

    Photo of woman talking in group

    A Self-Care Posture

    This story highlighted for me why Tasmanian Baptists agreed to introduce professional supervision. Yes, there are time and financial costs involved. However, the benefits far exceed these costs.  

    We encourage everyone in our churches to take a posture of self-care in ministry. And, we encourage our pastors to do likewise with Pastoral Supervision. We want our churches to thrive, not just survive. 

    Michael Henderson

    Michael Henderson works part-time for Tasmanian Baptists and is responsible for Leadership Development and attends Hobart Baptist Church. He is an artist, with work held in private and public collections and in 2021 was a finalist in the 66th Blake Prize. 

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    Healthy Church Audit Time

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    Rodney Marshall Healthy Church Audit

    Baptist Churches are each responsible for how they operate and the policies they implement. Baptist church autonomy means it is not appropriate for a central body to set or demand that things be done a certain way. At the same time, the Tasmanian Government Insurers and the community expect that certain standards are maintained. 

    The Healthy Church Audit started because of a decision made at the October 2018 assembly. It is now in its fifth year. Some people may be very familiar with the audit and why we do it, but with changes of roles, others may be wondering what it is all about. 

    Why Audit?

    The Audit is an annual reminder to check that each church has certain things up to date and working in their context.  It offers a chance to reassess and ask: Is this still working for us? Has there been changes in the law or in the community that means we need to make an adjustment? Is our record keeping up to date? 

    Covid Safe Plans  

    This will (hopefully) be the final year that asks about Covid Safe plans. The government has now removed the mandatory requirement, but given the recent experience, having a plan on how to handle any future pandemics might be wise. 

    Pastoral Registration and Accreditation  

    Likewise, the Pastoral registration and accreditation systems are changing, and next year’s questions will be a little different. 

    Church Financial Health

    The Audit also asks about the church’s financial health. It is far better to see issues early rather than dig a hole that you can’t get out of. Having worked as an accountant I have seen many businesses struggle to get themselves out of things when a little bit of external advice could have made a big difference. If only people would ask for help when they needed it! 

    Church Financial Information Form

    The final part of the Audit is the Church Financial Information form. As part of our commitment to each other the agreed funding model is that each church contributes 5 percent of its income to keep Tas Baptists running. Over the year different models have been tried, based on attendance or number of members etc., The Assembly agreed the fairest method of funding was based on a share of income. For those churches that operate businesses, only the surplus from the business is included as income. 

    Forms are due by 30 April 2024 (along with a copy of Financial Reports for last FY) ready to report to Assembly on 11 May. If you have any questions about the Healthy Church Audit or the information gathered, please feel free to contact Rodney on 0407 903 620 or 

    Photo of Rodney Marshall

    Rodney Marshall is Operations Manager for Tasmanian Baptists, and Pastor at Riverlands Community Church.

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    Supporting the Supports 

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    Sacred Agents

    Andrew Turner of Crossover reflects in his Sacred Agents blog

    One of the beautiful strengths of the Baptist movement is our conviction that all believers are priests. Within those four words are numerous deep truths around access to God through Christ, participation in mission and ministry, and responsibility in the church. Everyone has a part to play.  

    Everyone Has a Part to Play

    But they don’t play it equally. As in a Shakespeare, one actor has a hundred lines and another has two. One may play four different parts, another is simply a tree. Jesus’ parables of responsibility often feature uneven participation, too. One servant’s entrusted with ten talents, another five, and another one. So uneven participation is not surprising – even among those who’ve been given the same amount of lines or talents, some give everything they’ve got, and some don’t.  

    We Baptists rightly love our culture of volunteerism – no one is forced to give anything – it’s all given freely from the heart. This is lovely, but it can also have a shadow side. 

    Pillars of Your Church

    There are some roles, like Treasurer or Worship Coordinator that are complex and involved and pretty much require a super-volunteer. But who has that much time to give? It’s the rich (who can live off reduced paid-work hours), the active-retired, the under-employed, uni students during summer, and those doing court-ordered community service.

    These are the ones who have the time to be pillars of your church. Not so much the single parent, the small business owner or the full-time worker. Now there are some beautiful saints among the former list. But the criteria you really want to be using for such important roles has more to do with spiritual maturity and gifted capability than simple availability. 

    Photo of stone pillars for Sacred Agents Supporting the Supports

    Supporting the Supports That Need Support

    So a church can look wider in its search for pillars, if it is willing to look for supports that need support. If your church pillar needs to be so strong they can stand alone, you’re building a culture of self-sufficiency and stoic independence – not conducive to healthy church community? 

    Staffing is not the only alternative to this. That single parent may be able to serve as a Worship Coordinator if the church provided them with some babysitting. For some roles the church may be able to provide an expense account, or pay for training, or carry some of the load in a hundred other possible ways. 

    Asking ‘Who is God calling to this Role?’

    It’s more complex than simply asking ‘Who has time to do X? Only Jenny? Well, Jenny it is then.’

    It begins with asking ‘Who is God calling to this role?’ and then ‘How can we release them into it?’ It’s complex, but so it the body of Christ. Beautiful community is quite interdependent, and it is a witness in itself.    

    Andrew Turner, Director of Crossover.

    Andrew Turner is the Director of Crossover for Australian Baptist Ministries. Thanks so much to all who have supported the Australian Baptist Easter Offering – which funds Crossover to Help Australian Baptists Share Jesus.

    Photo by Diogo Nunes on Unsplash

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    Demolishing Barriers, Crossing Divides

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    Deep Thought

    Easter has come and gone for another year. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the heart of our faith—the death and resurrection of Jesus and the hope that comes with it.  

    Now that Easter is over, it’s valid to ask, “so what?”

    Sure, it’s a reassurance that death is not the end of it all, but what difference does it make to your life today, tomorrow or next week? 

    At Hobart Baptist Church, on Resurrection Sunday, I focussed on the event recorded in Matthew, where the Temple curtain is violently torn, from top to bottom. This happened the moment Jesus died.  

    The curtain was a massive fabric barrier made of purple, blue, and scarlet material, interwoven with fine linen. It was about 18 metres high and 100cm thick. Its presence was to set a boundary between the Holy of Holies, the most sacred space where God was present and humans were not, from the rest of the Temple.  

    Although God put this barrier in place in the design of the tabernacle, now God sets about destroying it. That’s the significance of it being torn from the top. 

    A Holy Place

    The Jews thought they understood holiness, and the temple was central. Jesus, however, had a very different vision and that’s what got him killed. He was Immanuel, God with us, crossing that barrier that divides. Sure, God is holy, righteous and pure, just as the curtain illustrated, but not in a way that makes God distant and hateful of whatever is unholy. God is love, pure unadulterated love.  

    Image of torn paper with quote: Jesus was Immanuel, God with us, crossing that barrier that divides.

    But that’s not all. The gospel writers record a second important event. At exactly the same time Jesus died and the curtain was ripped, the Centurion executing Jesus had a profound “ah-ha” moment.   

    As high-ranking officer in the Roman army, he had most likely witnessed hundreds of crucifixions. Yet, this one was somehow different, and he was deeply moved. 

    This is profound. Not only because he responded, “Surely this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39), but because God met him in a most unholy place. Here, in a pagan setting outside the temple and the city while executing God’s specially chosen Messiah, God is still at work, demolishing the barriers, crossing the divides.  

    Image of torn paper with quote: God the Centurion in a most unholy place. Here, in a pagan setting outside the temple and the city while executing God’s specially chosen Messiah

    This changes everything and should change our tomorrows. The God who is there, who Jesus revealed through his death and resurrection, is most surprising. Contrary to our expectations… if God can meet the centurion while he supervised the crucifixion of the beloved son, God can meet you anywhere. Your ordinary life, no matter where it is at, is no barrier to God meeting you, if you are willing to meet God.  

    This is a “so what” worth celebrating every day.

    Stephen Baxter

    Stephen L. Baxter is Mission Director for Tasmanian Baptists

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