ADVANCE November/December 2021

Advance step by step NovDec 2021
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The November/December 2021 ADVANCE | step by step is being released on
Thursdays 4th and 18th November, and 2nd December.

This is the final Tasmanian Baptist ADVANCE | step by step

A new publication will be available from February 2022

No. 3: 2nd DECmber 2021

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ADVANCE November/December 2021 No. 3


No. 2: 18th November 2021

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ADVANCE November/December 2021 No. 2


No. 1: 4th November 2021

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ADVANCE November/December 2021 No. 1


Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, 2021

Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast 2021
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prayer for the state:

Wednesday 24th November, Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart

This year’s Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast brought together like-minded people from across Tasmania to pray for our State, our leaders, parliamentarians, businesses, schools, communities, and community organisations; our families, youth, and children.

Over 400 people attended this, the 16th annual Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. It was attended by Church and business leaders, aid agency representatives, and many other Christians from across the state.

A record number of State and Federal politicians attended, 26 out of a possible 40. This included the Premier Peter Gutwein, the Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff, and Leader of the Opposition Bec White. Jacquie Petrusma MP welcomed all as the Parliamentary Host.

Tasmania’s Young People

Prof. Patrick Parkinson speaks at the Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast 2021
Prof. Patrick Parkinson

The breakfast was chaired by Stephen Baxter (Tas Baptist Mission Director), who oversees the TPPB organising committee. The newly formed Calvin School Choir, pictured below, performed for those gathered.

Prof. Patrick Parkinson, the speaker at the recent Tasmanian Baptist Annual Assembly, gave an overview of some of his achievements. He spoke about the care and nurture of young people in Tasmania, and presented some concerning statistics. Having suffered childhood abuse, and his current blended family, he spoke into those numbers with heart-warming vulnerability and authority.


Stephen Baxter

As usual, Stephen Baxter gave a very insightful framing to begin the morning. It is reproduced here for you . . .

Let me take a moment to explain why I believe we are here.

We gather in the name and spirit of Jesus to pray for our state and its people. From the oldest to the youngest, those doing well and those not so well, those who lead and those who serve.

Across this room we are a rich and diverse tapestry of culture, experience, outlook and belief, believers and non-believers alike. We do life together on this magnificent island, Tasmania – lutruwita. We are wrapped in the world’s purest air, graced with magnificent forests and magical lakes, lined with epic coastlines and surrounded by crystal clear water. It is a slice of heaven. We are truly blessed.

Yet, our lives, public and private, could be better. Perhaps, more than ever, we are rightly aware of the wrongs of the past, sensitive to racism and injustice, and conscious of the need to care for our environment. But the same time we are distracted by fear and anger. It shapes our lives.

A damaging polarisation is at work. We see it in the rage and resentment that prioritises victimhood and grievance over community and resilience. We see it in the violence – verbal, written and physical – that seeks to silence the opinions of others. The result sadly, is division, conflict, and animosity, even between good people. And it solves little.

At the same time, we are losing the art of forgiveness. We dredge up things from someone’s past suggesting it defines them today – conveniently forgetting each of us is more than the worst we have done.

Some advocate the removal of faith from the public square. They do so unaware that true faith nurtures confession, repentance, and the potential for redemption and restoration. If we are to overcome the significant challenges we face, I am convinced we need to include faith.

As a spiritual leader I appreciate you might be sceptical. I am deeply aware the Church, in its various forms, has let our community down in so many ways. I know I speak for many when I say I’m sorry.

Churches are not exempt from the need for confession and repentance. We are always learning and relearning how to follow Jesus. His execution by the authorities of the day, which included the religious, was a brutal form of cancel culture. They did not like what he said so they silenced an innocent man.

We all can learn from his response. It was not resentment or rage, but a cry, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”. We all need forgiveness. The resurrection of Jesus reveals God is willing to give it.

Love, acceptance and forgiveness. It’s what holds our lives and families, our communities and our future together. Every day, inconspicuously and unheralded, thousands of Tasmanians just ‘do it’. They don’t seek wealth, power, or fame, but quietly do what needs to be done: lending a hand, sharing a meal, volunteering at emergencies, caring for the forgotten, and courageously standing for what they believe.

It’s spiritual. It is what lights and sustains the fires of excitement, passion, vision and sacrifice.

It is the spiritual that will help us learn afresh how to respect one another, how to engage in civil dialogue, and how put aside our differences for the sake of the common good.

That’s why we come to pray.

Stephen Baxter, Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast 2021
Calvin Choir sing at the Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast 2021
Calvin Choir sing


Mary’s First Christmas Ponderings

Mary’s First Christmas Ponderings, Ray Hawkins
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By Ray Hawkins, Beauty Point

Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:51
Mary’s First Christmas Ponderings

Mary pondered so many things in her heart
That very first Christmas day:
Shepherds arrival and delight
As they saw Christ that night
Enthroned in the manger!
Angels’ words they’d relayed
With joy and faith displayed.
The Saviour had been born,
The Bread of Life had come,
As foretold, to Bethlehem.

Mary pondered disturbing things in her heart
That very first Christmas time!
Simeon, one of the prophets,
Stood upon the Temple steps
Speaking words of future things,
The child’s fame through suffering.
Mary’s joy one day would mourn
For this promised one now born.
The Light to the Gentiles had come
As foretold, to Bethlehem.

Mary pondered personal things in her heart
That very first Christmas night!
Anna, a widow of many years
Saw in Him that mercy was here
With a song of thankfulness
Celebrating God’s faithfulness
She shared the news of God’s grace
Which had come to the Human race,
As foretold, to Bethlehem.

Mary pondered so many things in her heart
That very first Christmas morn!
Told that her heart would be pierced
As though by a sword sharp, fierce.
This child, when grown, would be rejected
Though no fault in Him was detected.
Jesus would taste the people’s scorn
By whip, sword and a cross torn,
And yet to triumph, He had come
As foretold, to Bethlehem.

© Raymond N. Hawkins. Dec 2017

Need to Know

Mary’s First Christmas Ponderings, Ray Hawkins
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news Nov-Dec 2021:


Safer Spaces Toolkit

On 22nd November 2021,  Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) released the Safer Spaces Toolkit. This is a  resource to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.

Safe Spaces toolkit

The Safer Spaces Toolkit is an endorsed project of Australian Baptist Ministries aimed at resourcing pastors and church leaders to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.

The project working group is made up of Baptist women from around the country who have expertise in pastoral leadership, theology, teaching, domestic abuse and project management.

This project started because ABM recognised that domestic abuse resources were often available only by region, and wanted to create a resource that could be accessed by any pastor anywhere, with access to the Internet.

The Safer Spaces Toolkit is a work in progress and feedback and suggestions are welcome. To get in touch please send an email via the CONTACT PAGE

The Safer Spaces Toolkit is available HERE 

GIA change their name

GIA become BMA

Global Interaction have got something exiting to share… they are changing their name! Global Interaction is becoming Baptist Mission Australia.  

This is not something they undertake lightly. Over the past year they began implementing the 2021-2025 Strategic Roadmap. With this came big questions about the future direction of GIA.

While listening to the Spirit, they saw it was time to refresh the name and brand for a new and exciting season of ministry.  FIND OUT MORE

Christmas Poem

Mary’s First Christmas Ponderings
Mary's first Christmas ponderings

A poem by Ray Hawkins of Beauty Point


Based on Luke 2:51

Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

READ MORE: NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | step by step

18th November 2021

Big Hearted Gifts

Gifts that end poverty

Baptist World Aid (BWA) Big Hearted Gifts do much more than meet immediate needs like clean water, food, health and income. At their heart, these gifts are an expression of God’s extraordinary love at work in the world. They allow people to live with dignity, and they end poverty. Not just for individuals, but for whole communities. These are gifts that give hope.

Each gift supports the community-driven work run by BWA’s Christian partners. It’s about making a bigger, lasting difference by helping individuals and families develop long-term livelihoods, health, education and leadership skills.

Thanks to the lasting impact of your Big Hearted Gifts, along with the wonderful work of people on the ground, you help end poverty.

How it works

When you select a gift card for a family member or a loved one this Christmas, you’re also making a donation to a community development project. Your tax-deductible donation will fund vital community development projects that include the activity featured on your card.

  • You can give an eCard, a Gift Card (which is mailed to you for your use), or do a last-minute-dash and print your own as a PDF file.
  • Perhaps you need help working out what sort of gift to give? Use the Gift Generator to help you pick the perfect gift card, and make a difference on behalf of your loved one.

Tasmania Celebration Launch

Launceston and Hobart moments
A Time to Dedicate the Outreach Events with Will Graham, in 2022
Tasmania Celebration Launch, prayer events
  • LAUNCESTON: 6:30-8pm Friday 19th November Door of Hope Christian Church South Launceston
  • HOBART: 6:30-8pm Saturday 20th November C3 Convention Centre South Hobart
  • More info:
Tasmania Celebration Launch

Converge Tasmania 2021

On the 17th August, 23 Tasmanian Baptist leaders from around the state met in Longford to prepare to speak out for the needs of the global poor, refugees and survivors of domestic violence.

Our church has been talking for some time about what it means to actively engage in issues of justice in the broader community. Ten of us made it to the Converge conference because we saw when Baptist churches work together in areas like these, we’re much more effective.
The work the different Baptist agencies have done in putting together the JUSTICE 2021 Report gives us a credibility and tangible way forward we simply could not do on our own.

Pastor Matt Garvin (Citywide)

Since then, Tasmanian Baptist teams have visited the local member in each of our five federal electorates, and to as many of our 12 senators as possible as part of Converge 2021. At each meeting they have discussed big issues, and presented each one with a copy of the Australian Baptist Justice 2021 report.

Check out the slideshow! Below there are photos of only five of the ten visits that took place.

  • Rodney Marshall, Jacinta Sinclair (BaptCare), Brian Mitchell, and Jeff McKinnon.
  • Mrs Bridget Archer MP, (Liberal) Member for Bass: Ed Love, Kay Hunter, Bridget Archer (wearing a climate scarf), Maddy Svoboda, Jenna Blackwell, Karlin Love
  • Jono Duniam, Stephen Baxter, Matt Henderson, Liam Conway. With Michael Henderson (photographer)
  • Receiving the Australian Baptist Justice 2021 report in Launceston with Jeff McKinnon, Kay Hunter and Stephen Avery
  • Kay Hunter, Ed Love, Sen. Helen Polley, Karlin Love, Jeff McKinnon

Mr Brian Mitchell (ALP) Member for LyonsRodney Marshall, Jacinta Sinclair (BaptCare) and Jeff McKinnon
Mrs Bridget Archer MP, (Lib) Member for BassEd Love, Kay Hunter, Maddy Svoboda, Jenna Blackwell, Karlin Love
Sen. Jonathon Duniam, (Lib) ClarkStephen Baxter, Matt Henderson, Liam Conway, Michael Henderson
Sen. Peter Whish Wilson, (Greens) BassJeff McKinnon, Kay Hunter, Stephen Avery
Sen. Helen Polley, (ALP) BassKay Hunter, Ed Love, Karlin Love, Jeff McKinnon
Mr Andrew Wilkie MP, (Ind) Member for ClarkMichael Henderson, Stephen Baxter, Liam Conway
Sen. Anne Urquhart, (ALP) FranklinMichael Henderson and team
Hon. Julie Collins MP, (ALP) Member for FranklinMatt Garvin and team
Mr Gavin Pearce MP, (Lib) Member for BraddonNicholas Alexander and team
Sen. Anne Urquhart, (ALP) Braddon Nicholas Alexander and team
Converge Tasmania Team visits to Politicians 2021

READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | step by step

4th November 2021

Book Review

Finding God in Brazil: Personal stories to amaze and inspire
Author: Dr John B Dyer
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN: 978-1979439817
Available: $15AUD from Amazon >>>
Finding God in Brazil; Need to Know Nov-Dec 2021

Dr Dyer describes this book as a series of stories about his experience of living and working in Brazil over a period of 33 years. His story involves the stories of other people, and both become interwoven into a single fabric.

I found this book to be easy to read as it written in everyday language without the use of theological jargon. There is humility in Dr Dyer’s sharing. His sense of humour is evident as he tells of the lighter moments of being a missionary in Brazil. Clearly, he has an obvious love for the Brazilian people.

I am struck by the tenacity of both Dr. Dyer, and his wife Maria. They persevered through many hardships that come with living in a different culture. As well, there are difficulties with many subcultures, and a varied terrain and climate throughout Brazil. They also experienced personal tragedy with their first child being stillborn, and their second child dying 24-hours after birth. There is also adventure and danger. For example, John was hit by a car, and held at gunpoint in his own home!

A young child is miraculously healed of malaria in an Amazonian rainforest. And also a young man with cancer, given two-years to live in 1985, continues to serve God to this day. Yes, God still performs miracles.

John describes his book this way; “The aim of the book, written from the perspective of a Christian missionary working in the most remote parts of the country, as well as in some major urban centres, is to show how God is perceived to be involved in our everyday affairs.”

In my opinion, he has been successful in this aim!

Karen Buckney

Karen Buckney, Assistant Administrator
Tasmanian Baptists

Faith and the Arts

FATA22 Online from Poatina, 7-11 January 2022

Jump on to check out the amazing range of Electives and Mix It Ups

Faith and the Arts 2022; Need to Know Nov-Dec 2021

Faith and the Arts is an awesome annual conference held in Poatina, Tasmania, targeting creatives of all disciplines and skill levels. The aim is “to come together to give time and space to their faith-art journey.” 

I have always got heaps out of it, both personally and within my creative practices. There are always great speakers, highly skilled teachers, and a heap of fun. I especially appreciate the chance to try practices I am not familiar with.

This year it is online (Covid! they hope to return to normal in person in 2023). I am leading an afternoon workshop on Monday this year, called “Small Prophetic Art”. Hope to see you there.

Michael Henderson

Michael Henderson, Mission and Leadership Development Coordinator
Tasmanian Baptists

Ethical Fashion Guide

Baptist World Aid’s 2021 Ethical Fashion Report finds lingering gaps in wages, sustainability  
2021 Ethical Fashion Guide; Need to Know Nov-Dec 2021

People, planet or profit? What’s most important to consumers in purchasing the brands they like?

Today you can find out. The 2021 Ethical Fashion Guide/Report is now on the Baptist World Aid website, along with some great new features for consumers to communicate directly with brands. This year’s report also explores the impact of COVID on garment workers; slavery/exploitation of all workers in the supply chain; and the environment.

The grades of the brand companies within the report/guide reflect some progress, but we have a long way to go!

 About the 2021 Ethical Fashion Report   

With its mission to end poverty, Baptist World Aid Australia has published the Ethical Fashion Report since 2013. As one of Australia’s leading publications on ethical fashion, the Ethical Fashion Report and Guide helps consumers make better choices based on thorough data from almost 100 companies representing more than 400 brands. 


The Man (or Woman) in the Mirror

Man in the mirror (or woman)
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youth and young adults:

A Check on your own attitudes and responses to the world. Who is that “Man in the Mirror”?
By Jenna Blackwell

Do you listen to Michael Jackson? It can be difficult not to sing along to songs like Beat It, I Want You Back, or Man in the Mirror. A friend recently played a Jackson song as a trivia night question, and while it didn’t create an uproar, it certainly started discussion!

Not sure what I’m talking about? Welcome to cancel culture – the culture that ‘cancels’ a person, group or organisation due to a conflict in values. It is now at work in our community today.

Michael Jackson: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC
Man in the Mirror

Predominantly, it happens when there is a perception of immoral or unethical production, content, or in Jackson’s case, inappropriate behaviour with young people.

A Growing Awareness

People in today’s society, especially younger adults, are affected by mistrust, abuse and non-transparency. It may be because of their own experiences or learnt second-hand from the experiences of their parents. It includes the unbridled use of the planet’s resources, often fuelled by greed and unsustainable practices. Young people have an awareness in their hearts of the need for justice, equality, and fairness.

People in today’s society, especially younger adults, have been affected by mistrust, abuse and non-transparency.

The rise of clothing companies who value ethical practices and sustainability is a response to the is a concern of many, including the younger generation. This is because consumers boycott companies due to unethical treatment of workers. And more younger adults switch to ethical banks and superannuation funds.

Recently, our Mission Director, Stephen Baxter wrote, “The challenges facing churches are not due to the Church gone wrong, but a world grown different . . . God uses times like these to reform and renew his Church.”

Actions Speak Louder

So, what does this have to do with ministry for children, youth, and young adults?

These days, character speaks more than competency, and trust must be built and maintained. We have a message that needs to be heard by those who have never heard it, and by those who have heard a different variation of it.

We have a message that needs to be heard by those who have never heard it.
"Man in the Mirror"

It is a message of hope in Jesus Christ – not just for eternal life, but for transformation, change and love – here and now.

In these days of cancel culture, when character, integrity and aligning actions speak volumes (and the lack of such speaks even louder), we have a message that needs to be heard.

Since I started working for Tas Baptists a few years ago, several youth groups have shut down. Two new ones started, but overall, the youth scene has significantly decreased. This is sad and frustrating. And, while I am prone to take responsibility upon myself, we all have a part to play.

If younger people are willing to pay more for something that has a greater impact, what’s stopping them connecting with the cost of following Jesus?

Ponder these Points

As we imagine how to re-engage with younger generations (or any of society), let me present you with some points to ponder:

  • Following Jesus is costly. If younger people are willing to pay more for something that has a greater impact, what’s stopping them connecting with the cost of following Jesus?
    • Is it purely a lack of knowing or hearing? Or is it not being exampled?
    • Is it a lack of trust based on history – how we’ve treated people and the planet?
  • How well do speak of, and example, our Jesus of compassion, mercy, truth and forgiveness?
  • Do we value their voice? Are we too caught up in our well-known and well-loved songs?
  • Quite practically, is our tea and coffee ethically produced and traded? In other words, do we care more about Kingdom values or dollar values?

Checking that Man in the Mirror

Two questions for you to consider as you go about your work today, your church meetings and your Bible study.
"Man in the Mirror"

So, I have two questions for you to consider as you go about your work today, your church meetings and your Bible study. Let me challenge you to check yourself in the mirror.

  1. What are you doing with Jesus’ message of hope?

  2. How can you (and your church) share it, and example it, with the young people in your life?

Maybe today, you can take one small step towards sharing that message of hope with our young people.

Jenna Blackwell

Jenna Blackwell was, until recently, overseeing the Baptist youth and young adults’ ministry in Tasmania. She is the Tasmanian Baptists’ Leadership Development Coach, and a member of the AB Next Generations taskforce.


Church Profile: Latrobe Baptist

Latrobe Baptist church profile, photo credit Duncan Grant 2018
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our church:

Latrobe’s Community Ministries

Impacting hundreds of people
Latrobe Baptist Info

Following the ministry of Ken and Gae Preece (1998 – 2011), Rev. Ralph Terry, and his wife Nelleka, took on oversight of the church. Yes, Latrobe Baptist is excellently located in the town centre, but ministry in this century is not easy.

With a largely ageing congregation, we have been blessed in having new people come amongst us, with some joining with us in membership. 

Chat ‘n’ Choose

Outreach at Latrobe Baptist is in good health. Thanks to the hard work of Glenis Smith, Fay Horne, Peter Creeley and Glad Purdy over many years a strong craft group, Chat ‘n’ Choose, has developed.

Glenis and Glad, retired from leading CnC in February this year, and now both reside in nursing homes. So Nelleka, and our new Church Secretary Lorraine Sheppard, took on running the ministry, with 40-60 attending each week. They do various crafts including hardanger embroidery, knitting, crochet, smocking, macramé and woodturning.

Latrobe Baptist farewell Glenis and Glad
Farewell to Glenis and Glad: L-R Glad, Sandra (Glad’s daughter), Glenis, Fay. Latrobe pastor, Rev. Ralph Terry is at the lectern
Men’s Shed

In 2012 the church applied to the Latrobe Council for permission and help in establishing a Men’s Shed. The council said, “Yes”, and provided over $30,000 to move existing sewage lines prior to the construction of a $40,000 shed. Funds also came from the Tasmanian Government Community fund.

Latrobe Baptist grant presentation
Latrobe Men’s Shed receiving grant funding

As time went on, the church obtained many more grants for equipment and extensions, including two from Baptcare.  Over the past eight years, over 60 men joined the shed, and together have now completed over 460 community projects.  This ministry provides much goodwill and great contact with the people of Latrobe. 

Community Playgroup
Latrobe Baptist hall set  up for the Playgroup
Latrobe Baptist hall set up for the Playgroup

In 2019 (just prior to Covid), the Latrobe Council and the local Primary School approached the church to consider starting a Community Playgroup. We were grateful to the Lord for opening yet another avenue for witness, and hence Council provided us with a $2000 grant to help get it started.

Since commencing (despite the challenges of Covid) we have made contact with over 40 families and some 60 children. Between 6 and 20 children attending Playgroup each week, with a team of helpers headed by Lorraine and Nelleka, enjoying much new fellowship each week.

It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to bring in new people, so that Latrobe Baptist will remain as a vibrant witness for our Lord and Saviour to the community.  

Latrobe Baptist Playgroup

A Generational Legacy

By Latrobe Secretary, Lorraine Sheppard

The Latrobe Baptist Church was opened in 1892 and stands in the middle of the town of Latrobe as a witness of God’s love to the people of the town.

Iris Walker turns 90

There have been hundreds of faithful people who have called Latrobe Baptist their spiritual home over all those years. The Walker family have been at the church since 1968 and three generations continue to play an active part in our fellowship.

During 2021, Iris Walker reached the wonderful milestone of her 90th birthday, and here is some of her story.

Iris and Reg

Iris was born in Ulverstone and as a young girl went to the Methodist church. Her family moved to Wilmot, where she met her future husband, Reg.  Reg was working at this time as a Home Missionary with the Methodist Church. After marrying, the couple moved around the state where Reg farmed. They raised eight children and when, in 1968, the older ones needed more schooling, they moved from Frankford to Latrobe.

Latrobe Baptist became their home church, and Iris and Reg became very active members. Reg was a deacon, elder, and Church Secretary for many years. Iris was very involved in the women’s work as Secretary, President and involved in the kitchen. She says that the church was a wonderful, friendly, family church. Reg retired early, and the two spent about 20 years travelling around Australia, but Latrobe was still home.

Continuing to share God’s love

Now, Iris has 26 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, with more on the way! Her love for her Lord has been a witness to all the family. This is evident in the fact that so many of the family are followers of Christ. What a wonderful Christian legacy.

Greg was a young boy when the family settled in Latrobe, and did his schooling in Latrobe. He now works in the building industry. He met Jill at a Youth Banquet while attending the Ulverstone Baptist Church. Ever since, the couple has been involved in the life of the Latrobe Church.

In the days of Boy’s Brigade, Youth Groups and Sunday School, Greg and Jill were there, sharing the love of the Lord. Greg followed his father’s example, and is now a Deacon of the church.

The next generation sees Kiran, son of Greg and Jill, as a Deacon and the Church Treasurer. He also runs the Bible Study and works in the youth activities. Kiran is still studying, as well as doing computer programming.  Kiran’s sister, Naomi, and brother, Caleb, are very much an active part of the church and the whole family are very valued members of the Latrobe Baptist Church.

Back: Kiran Walker, Jill Walker Front: Naomi Walker, Iris Walker and Greg Walker


Developing Leaders

Food for the Soul NovDec 2021
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food for thought:

Moses and his l-o-o-ng training

Time to Challenge about Developing Leaders!

the story of Moses, and how God prepared him for a huge Leadership task

Is God preparing you for something huge?

By Frans Ammerlaan

Being Useful

I have often wondered about the relationship Moses had with the Lord, “whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). It took 80 odd years to fashion his character to make him useful for His purposes.

As marvelous as God’s management was of Moses’ birth, young adulthood, and his education. Remember that since Jesus saved us, we all have this close relationship with God – if we choose!

Since Jesus saved us, we all have this close relationship with God – if we choose!

In the old days, before Jesus, any time God looked at developing Leaders or Messengers, He had to grow him from scratch, and then be able to relate to him. Here I think of Jonah who did not really want the job, but reluctantly did it anyway, after first running away and hiding (Jonah 1:3).

Trained . . . and Humbled

Just think, for God to develop leaders among the Jews in Egypt was almost an impossibility. To start with the Hebrews were illiterate and ignorant slaves. God had to pick a gifted baby and have him nurtured, educated, and trained, state-of-the-art, as it were. As God tells the story in His word, so well-known now, it appeals to our imagination.

A baby found in the reeds of the ile River by a Princess going for a swim.Food for Thought: Developing Leaders

You know the story, found in Exodus 2. A baby found in the reeds of the Nile River and taken, by a Princess going for a swim, into Pharaoh’s Palace. So begins Moses’ upbringing as a Prince of Egypt. He was educated and developed as the leader of the Jews, with the best education money could buy. What a break!

After developing into manhood as a prince of the realm, and no doubt with the arrogance that came with it, now came the time to be fashioned into a humble useful leader.

This finely educated prince now spent 40 years in the desert to humble him. So humble, that he said to God he could ‘not speak’! Exodus 4:10 (With the great education he had? What a ‘come down’!)

Lives in Parallel

I also think our lives are often parallel with Moses’ story.

When I was 19, I thought I was God’s gift to mankind. A God I did not even know. Fortunately, He grabbed me later – and all my kids. It was not until he was 80 years old that God considered Moses ready.

So much of this story applies to many of us who, in the first flush of our youth, think we can do it by ourselves. Then discover the Lord’s purposes for our lives.

The relationship Moses had with the Lord is of course now available to every saved believer in the world. (I think that is really “magic”).

I also used to think, as a kid, that the Old Testament was boring, but I now realise that every recorded word of God is truly full of treasure. When I read it closely and ask, “Why would He say that?” I can almost see His thoughts!

For us, for me, as for Moses, it is good to remember that He never leaves us or forsakes us, even when we are in doubt.

For us as for Moses it is good to remember that he never leaves us or forsakes us, even when in doubt.
Developing Leaders

Often, in my youth, did I despair into hopelessness, and came close to ending it all. It was then that He carried me.

Then He saved me and my whole house! By so doing, He demonstrated His love, and that He occupies the centre of our hearts carrying us in the palm of His hands. Can you beat that!

What a treasure we have in Jesus.

Frans Ammerlaan is a member of Sassafras Baptist Church.



Annual Assembly 2021

Reengage | Reimagine | Realign
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Engaging with the “3R’s”

Tas Baptist Annual Assembly
22-23 October 2021, Longford

By Kate Barnett, Newstead Baptist

Reengage, Reimagine, Realign

On Friday night at the Annual Assembly 2021, we gathered with other Tasmanian Baptist church representatives. It was a time of sharing what has been happening in our different fellowship communities.

Prof. Patrick Parkinson with Mission Director Stephen Baxter. Annual Assembly 2021
Prof. Patrick Parkinson with Mission Director Stephen Baxter

The Mission Director, Stephen Baxter, reflected on the year past which demanded so many adjustments associated with the impact of the pandemic. But also, more broadly in the context of our changing society. He considered how this relates to being the body of Christ – His church – and how this looks very different from past years.

Our guest speaker, Professor Patrick Parkinson, explained many enlightening statistics. These included how changing family structures, and the decline of marriages over recent decades, has led to increasing challenges for children, parents, and our communities. This provides so many opportunities for Christians to reach out and care in relevant ways.

Morning Sessions

On Saturday we explored further the “Reengage, Reimagine, Realign” vision for Tasmanian Baptists. We also participated in a very short business session.

Denise Stephenson
Denise Stephenson

Denise Stephenson (LifeWay, Lymington) spoke of her experience of growing up deeply within the Tasmanian Baptist church community. Finding herself dis-engaging in her teens, she later returned to the Baptist church network in a new ministry capacity.

This has led to her reaching out to people in day-to-day interactions within her local neighbourhood. Now, she seeks God’s guidance for next steps with fellowship at the “long table” she and husband Mark have installed in their new home.

Maddy Svoboda
Rev. Maddy Svoboda

Maddy Svoboda shared about the journey Summerhill Baptist has been on as it seeks to value the transition period.

He spoke of the “liminal spaces” where we step across into the “not yet known” – where God is at work. And of trusting God with the unknowns which are known by our Sovereign God.

Annual Assembly 2021, attendees
Annual Assembly 2021 Attendees, 23 October 2021

After Lunch Electives

After lunch, we chose electives. I appreciated participating in Jenna Blackwell’s workshop, which provided personal reflection time on the 3-R’s. In addition, Michael Henderson led a group reflecting on how churches can reengage, reimagine and realign. And a third group looked at the future implications of Covid for our churches in light of new vaccination policies.

In the workshop, Jenna posed a series of questions prompting us to Reengage as we described in our own words God’s Big Story, the Good News. Then exploring our own response, considering our strengths and passion, significant life experiences.

Questions prompted us to Reengage as we described in our own words God’s Big Story, the Good News

We then moved to Reimagine what God might be saying to us in how our own lives are being lived. And then, to Realign by considering what may need to change in our lives to Reengage full circle with God in the now!

At home, I’ve been sorting and “culling” all manner of stuff to make room for our daughter and her family. They are moving from interstate and will be living with us. This exercise reminded me to “let go” and to “make space”, so God can do his transforming work of Renewal! 

That renewal is what God does in our lives. It is what we can see happening in many of our Tasmanian Baptist churches. I was so encouraged by our Annual Assembly 2021.

Kate Barnett, Annual Assembly 2021

Kate Barnett
Newstead Baptist Church


Getting to Know Geoff Maddock

Geoff Maddock GIA Tas/Vic
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All About Geoff Maddock

Geoff Maddock Global Interaction

Geoff began his work as the Tas/Vic Global Interaction state rep in early 2021. So it’s time we caught up with him!

What makes him tick? Read on . . .

Where were you born and what was it like growing up there? 

I was born and grew up on a dairy farm near Yackandandah (North-eastern Victoria). My dad was the fourth generation Maddock in our valley, and it was in many ways, an idyllic rural upbringing. Riding motorbikes, trout fishing in creeks, shooting at rabbits, and learning how to care for animals and land.

My parents were also church planters and worked with ministries from bikers to prisoners. So our home was constantly visited by weird and wonderful city folk. Never a dull moment! 

Tell us about your family?
Geoff Maddock Global Interaction with Sherry

My wife, Sherry, and I met in the USA studying in the same Missiology program (we studied together, fell in love, and married in 2000). She is from Atlanta, Georgia. We have an 18-year-old son named Isaac.

My mum and dad have been in ministry all their lives as pastors, counsellors, and chaplains. Dad served for over 50 years as a chaplain for Prison Fellowship in Victorian jails. Mum trained as a nurse then went on work as a chaplain at a cancer hospital.

My sister and her husband served as MAF missionaries for many years in Africa and PNG. My brother became a high school teacher and lives with his family in Queensland.

How did you become a Christian? 

Gradually. Growing up as a child of pastors made me aware of the challenges and obvious blessings of Christian living. It was important to my parents that I didn’t simply inherit my faith but took it seriously and claimed it on my own terms.

I can name several key moments where my relationship with the Living God was instrumental, but I have no Damascus story. It some ways I think it is true that we are all becoming Christian, gradually, each day, as choose to follow Jesus.

What is the best piece of advice you have received? 

“It is better to inspire hope than to be admired”. From one of my brilliantly humble Seminary professors, A. H. Mathias Zahniser. 

Best advice: "It is better to inspire hope than to be admired." AH Mathias Zahniser
Geoff Maddock Global Interaction
When people ask you how you spend your time, what do you say?

I spend it with people, one on one or in larger meetings sharing in the joy, surprise, and challenge of God’s love for the world. 

AS “Geoff maddock, Global Interaction” you must have worked in overseas mission. Where did you go, and what did you do there?

I worked and lived in an historic African American neighbourhood in the city of Lexington, Kentucky. We lived and worked for 18 years, loving neighbours, seeking justice, practising kindness, and sharing in the blessing of God’s mission.

Much of our work was helping welcome and settle refugees alongside urban agriculture initiatives. We planted a missional community, and learned how to offer and receive hope and forgiveness. We started non-profits and helped people learn what the world feels and looks like across cultural, racial, socioeconomic and religions difference. 

What is your role with GIA? 

I am honoured to serve as the Global Interaction State Leader for Tasmania and Victoria. I love the opportunity to learn from our Baptist family in both states – how they are discovering mission as a way to grow in faithfulness and maturity, personally and collectively.

 It is my privilege to help churches grow in missional imagination and practice. Geoff Maddock Global Interaction Tas/Vic

I’m especially inspired by the way Tasmanian Baptists are forging creative and innovative pathways in mission across the state. I came away from the May Assembly this year inspired and challenged. It is my privilege to help churches grow in missional imagination and practice across the street and across the world. 

What excites you most about what you do? 

I’m excited to see in very practical ways how the Gospel is a reality that travels across cultures and contexts and reveals God’s very particular love for all people and places. I’m thrilled to learn that the Christianity I am familiar with takes on new character and nuances, depending on the cultural context.

God made the world with such beautiful diversity. And then honours that diversity by ensuring that “all tribes, tongues, and languages” are part of our eternal future. What could be more exciting! 

What challenges do you have as you do this work? 

The challenges moving forward include being faithful to God’s mission. But also, re-aligning strategy to fit a radically and rapidly changing world. Change always comes with challenges, but we can be assured that the Gospel message is translatable. 

Change always comes with challenges, but we can be assured that the Gospel message is translatable. 

Geoff Maddock, Global Interaction
How can we pray for you and your work? 

Pray for me as I help churches recognise the mission opportunities in their own neighbourhoods. Mission is for each of us, in every place, as well as for particular people called to a specific context. There is a continued need to share our resources and energy to take on certain challenges. So I ask and pray for our organisation to have the wisdom to know what to prioritise. 

Short and Sweet 

I am looking forward to . . . travelling again after lockdowns in Victoria. 

I am worried about . . .  the asylum seekers detained in a hotel in our city

I am confident that . . . “grace abounds all the more”

I am joyful about . . .  God’s love for the world continuing through God’s people

I would like to change . . . Australian policy on asylum seekers to reflect Christian values

I am at my best when . . . wandering around an unfamiliar city with my camera (I’m an avid photographer)


Painting a Picture of Jesus

Crossover spring appeal

crossover update:

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The Crossover Spring Appeal

BY Crossover National Taskforce rep, Maddy Svoboda,
Maddy wonders about altering friends’ perceptions of Jesus, and how the “Crossover Spring Appeal” will help!

In the 2006 movie ‘Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby’, Will Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby and his family, as well as his NASCAR teammate Cal Naughton Jr, are having a meal.

Ricky Bobby gives thanks for the meal of KFC, Dominoes and all manner of food. It makes me wonder how effective a prayer is when asking God to bless this food to our bodies, as Ricky prays to Baby Jesus. He prays over and over to tiny baby, infant Jesus (8-pound 6-ounce baby Jesus who is so cuddly and omnipotent) before his wife stops him.

Will Ferrell and Ricky Bobby, Crossover Spring Appeal
Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby

Everyone has a picture of Jesus

What impacts me about this scene (apart from the absolutely ridiculous nature of it) is the implicit truth that we all have a picture of Jesus, or God. This picture shapes us – and is an image of Jesus that we gravitate towards.

Part of our work of evangelism is telling the story, or painting the picture of Jesus, as accurately as we can. This means we can invite people to know Jesus as he is, rather than how we imagine him to be.

What is Crossover?

Crossover Spring Appeal

The ministry of Crossover has richly blessed Tasmanian Baptists. Before COVID-19 struck, Crossover ran conferences for people with a noticeable gift of evangelism. Crossover funds covered the entire cost for each attendee. This meant people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity attend an event like this, could be there.

Why Crossover’s Spring Appeal?

In Tasmania alone, 15 people have attended the Emerge Evangelism Conference over the years. As I look back over the list of attendees, I see people who contribute to our life in significant ways. I’m so thankful to be part of Crossover, and to see the fruit from our investment into evangelism and mission.

Crossover Spring Appeal, As we move towards our vision of seeing Tasmania infused by the kingdom of God, it involves the proclamation of the good news of Jesus

That’s why Crossover is running a Spring Appeal over the next few months.

For Crossover to continue to provide resources, and equip the church to proclaim the good news of Jesus, we are asking churches around Australia to commit financially to Crossover. There are multiple ways you and your church can do this.

Please check out your options at You can also visit the Crossover website to discover resources, including Christmas resources, so you can share Jesus well.

If you would like to engage in a conversation around the content of this article, please feel free to email me!

Maddy Svoboda
Rev. Maddy Svoboda

Maddy Svoboda