On Saturday 18th November, women from across Tasmania gathered at Longford for the inaugural statewide event, hosted by EmpowHer.
The Day of Courage sold out weeks ahead of time, with over 120 people from different denominations across Tasmania. The event provided an opportunity to connect with others learning to live out their God-given potential, hearing stories of courage.
Keynote speaker, Rev. Karen Wilson (Perth WA), opened and closed the event. Currently the President of Baptist World Alliance Women, Karen spoke openly and warmly. In particular, she focussed on a recent accident, which taught her courage in the midst of her international schedule.
Mixing humour with insight, she also told of her hiking trip in 2020 along the famous Camino de Santiago trail. Karen explained how the hike forged courage at a key point in her life, and inspired listeners to be well-grounded in courage. As she spoke, she provided practical tips and challenged the audience to do the same.
Four other Tasmanian women provided candid testimonies about how their lives had been shaped by courage. Each story was very different and described courage in grief, change, trauma and at work.
A “Gathering”, not a “Conference”
Jenny Baxter, State Director of EmpowHer, explained how the event and theme emerged as an idea with the EmpowHer team.
“We wanted to make it more of a gathering than a conference, and focused on small touches toward this. Such as having people sitting around tables rather than facing the stage. As well, we provided grazing platters over lunch with live background music, rather than singing during the event itself.”
According to Jenny, Karen Wilson was an obvious choice for main speaker.
“I know her personally. She’s warm, very accessible. And she has great stories from her travels meeting with courageous women in all parts of the globe,” she said.
Jenny said the Day of Courage exceeded expectations, going way beyond what she thought was possible. “The event highlights the power of our stories and the benefit of showing up and getting together as women on the journey.”
Others present on the day agreed
Attendee Michelle Walters said, “It was lovely to spend time with like-minded women. Thank you to everyone involved in bringing this beautiful day together and sharing your gifts and talents with us”.
“Excellent, well organised, loved the little extras like gift bags, coasters. Food was superb. Great to have women from different denominations come together. Karen was excellent. Thank you to all those who made the day happen,” said attendee Anita Brooker.
“Well done on a beautiful event and doing such a great job gathering people from across denominations and from around the state,” said attendee Danielle Ratcliffe.
Fiona Bradley Hobart Baptist Church
In Other News Fiona has agreed to take on the position of Tas Baptist Communications Manager from January 2024!
A young woman carrying an unimaginable responsibility. A young man torn between love and honor. A jealous king who will stop at nothing to keep his crown.
This live-action Christmas musical celebration for the entire family, weaves classic Christmas melodies into new pop songs in a music-infused retelling of the timeless story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. A unique new entry into the collection of holiday classic movies , this epic Christmas musical is unlike any before it.
WATCH THE TRAILER!
A Renaissance Christmas
Penguin and Richmond
Come to a shimmering concert of ancient carols and songs. Soprano Jacqueline Ward and classical guitarist David Malone will perform a charming program of sacred Christmas music, inspired by centuries past. Two locations only!
$25/person | $10 Conc/Student | FREE for Children under 10
Jacqueline Ward is a soprano specialising in early music, concert works, and recital. She has performed with Sydney orchestras and choirs and recorded for The Museum of Sydney; delighting audiences throughout Australia and overseas with a voice likened to “honey sliding down crystal” (Courier Mail).
David Malone is a guitarist who performs throughout Australia as a solo recitalist and chamber musician. He has been featured on SBS television and his performances broadcast on ABC Classic FM and ABC Radio National. David’s solo CD ‘Fretsongs’ for the Tall Poppies label received an Australian Classical Music Award and a five-star review in Limelight, Australia’s classical music magazine.
These three words do not always easily fit into one sentence.
Here is a reading list to find out more. The following come highly recommended. …
Emboldened TaraBeth Leach, Intervarsity Press USA Throughout Scripture and church history, women have been central to the mission of God. But all too often women have lacked opportunities to minister fully. Many churches lack visible examples of women in ministry and leadership.Tara Beth Leach, senior pastor of her denomination’s flagship church, issues a stirring call for a new generation of women in ministry: to teach, to preach, to shepherd, and to lead. Buy it here >
Better Together Danielle Strickland, W Publishing Better Together is a beacon of hope in a challenging storm. It’s where thoughts can be rechanneled and hope rekindled as author Danielle Strickland offers steps toward a real and workable solution. Her premise is that two things are needed for change: imagine a better world, and understand oppression. Understanding how oppression works is an important part of undoing it. Buy it here >
Blogmargmowczko.com Marg Mowczko is an Australian theologian committed to writing articles about the mutuality and equality of men and women in Christian marriage and ministry, plus Bible studies and articles about life in Jesus.
The Importance of Being Grateful
Can you consciously give thanks today?
God provides in such amazing and subtle ways. We so often take it for granted, or think it is co-incidence. God is over our lives in such prolific detail every single day.
Have you ever noticed the glory of eucalypt leaves, shiny wet after rain?
Or our stunning, ever-shifting backdrop of clouds.
Or how water, our source of life, literally falls out of the sky!
True. Sometimes we may feel unseen in our complex world. But if you take a moment to notice the little things, and express your gratitude today, you will find your big problems are either less important, or shift radically.
Take a moment to express your gratitude and you will find your big problems are less important.
Our abundance of water, ability to find car parking spots, sunshine at the right moment, a beautiful rainbow to encourage you, and yes, even wet leaves, are provision by a loving God who sees so much more than we can imagine.
What’s one “normal” thing you can be thankful for today?
Stay and Play (playgroup) recently held an all ages tea party at Riverlands on 26 October. It was attended by little people with their parents/guardians and grandparents and some Riverlands congregational people. There was lots of yummy morning tea and play and chatter.
At our recent members meeting held 29 October, 2023, there was a unanimous decision to renew Liam Conway’s employment contract as Associate Pastor at Riverlands. We are excited to see what God’s ministry through Liam and his wife Hannah, will bring for Riverlands and the wider community of Longford. We feel very blessed that they are part of our Riverlands family.
Riverlands recently had a successful government grant which has enabled us to proceed with resurfacing our driveway. This will improve access and safety for vehicles as they enter and exit our carpark.
Day of Courage
We at Riverlands were pleased to host the EmpowHer Day of Courage on Saturday 18th November. Over 130 women from many denominations attended, enjoying a wonderful day of encouragement and fellowship. Guest speaker, Rev. Karen Wilson, also launched the Tasmanian cohort of the global Women’s Leaders Network on the day.
Perth Baptist Church is a place where we are honouring the church of the past, caring for the church of today, building the church of tomorrow.
There are so many great parts of our church, and so many great people that make this church a wonderful place to be. Celebration Services take place whenever a 5th Sunday occurs in the month. On 29th October, we dedicated our celebration to Jesus. Following the service, a potluck luncheon was enjoyed.
Our Hearts & Craft Group, and Men’s Group, continue to foster strong bonds of fellowship and friendship among our members. Our commitment to reaching out to the community remains steadfast through our weekly Bread Run and the Sunday Café.
Once again this year, we successfully prepared and sent 100 shoeboxes as a part of Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.
We hadr a Rock ‘n’ Roll night on November 11th, with our local Elvis!
It is with a heavy heart that we remember our dear friend Peter Wellard from Eskleigh, who peacefully joined his Lord on Monday, October 23rd. Despite battling a debilitating illness, Peter cherished attending worship at Perth Baptist, and his absence will be keenly felt.
Christmas is coming!
Preparations are underway for Annual Community Christmas celebration in Perth on December 16th. This will be a great event to reach and connect with the community. Anyone from the local Baptist churches is welcome to attend.
Most exciting of all though is the commencement of a weekly prayer meeting just before church each Sunday!
Our founding pastor Ray Hawkins and his wife Mary have moved into full-time care accommodation at Beaconsfield Hospital. Visitors are welcome.
We are praising God for growth in the church and an active youth program headed by Dempsey Horton on a 12 month stint from Texas. In late October the young people enjoyed a bonfire night at Holwell, and are leading monthly youth services.
Our secretary Stephen Clark has had important interactions as chaplain of the local Coastal Patrol.
We are working very hard to continue with the task of reaching those who are unchurched and uninitiated into the things of Christ.
Earlier this year, we established a Sunday School program for the few children who occasioned our Sunday Services, and over time it has continued to grow. We are the only church in town that offers Sunday School, and as a result, new people have come to the church simply because of that. It is easy to tell that they have little understanding of what the gospel is all about, and we have been careful to allow them to “soak it in”.
All year long, we have declared 2023 to be “The Year of the Child”, and welcome children from the pulpit each and every Sunday. The first song is always geared to children, and now, the children are preparing presentations to bring where they sing and perform actions to some of the songs themselves.
We are using the young people as ushers for receiving the offering prior to dismissing them to their class for the day. We have been able to add a couple of new workers, but to succeed we will need to double the staff. Soon, we won’t have room enough in our small building, and will have to find ways to expand.
Our other outreaches are functioning well, but reaching the youngest in our town brings the greatest joy of all.
Both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark record the two greatest commandments: To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength …. and to love your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22:378-39; Mark 12:30-31) . A tough call but nothing too untoward or controversial.
Far tougher are the words recorded in Matthew where Jesus told his disciples “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 20:18-20)
Having a go
As Christians we’ve been commanded to ‘go and make disciples’ and Westbury Baptist Church is seeking to have a go. Our new pastor Matt Holloway, and Lacey, called in April 2022, have rolled up their sleeves and they along with support from the church congregation are seeking to have a determined ‘slash’. There’s a common story of declining church numbers across many congregations in Tasmania and God willing, we intend to keep our church open.
Without fail, Matt’s sermons focus on this mandate and the church has over the past year set in place a number of programs to make the vision of ‘making HIM better known’ a reality in the Westbury Community.
Here is what’s happening:
Lacey heads up an enthusiastic team delivering ‘Mainly Music’ to preschool aged students and their carers/parents.
Nancy Morgan and her team deliver a fortnightly ‘Kids Club Program’ to primary aged kids in the local community.
Mary Baker and Matt Holloway have organised ‘Movie Nights’ for kids and their families in the Church.
Weekly ‘Fellowship Groups’ have been re-invigorated, with the latest study focussing on ‘discipleship’.
Mary Baker has a weekly Chat ‘n Choose meeting for women interested in crafts.
The Men’s 8 Ball competition led by Syd (master cue) West and Roger (pockets) Reinmuth have plans to attract local men to the church.
Matt is working towards forming a Pastoral Care Group of volunteers.
And finally, Ken Green and helpers had a presence at the local Westbury Show on 11 November!
We value your prayers
We are not a youthful congregation. But we are focussed, and if God intends, we seek to build the church in Westbury and be a witness to the hope we have in Jesus.
Leadership Group, Westbury Baptist Church
Around the Churches October-November 2023
Caring for those in need
JUST GIRLS enjoyed a day out in Devonport recently when they visited Home Hill, the historic home of Joe and Enid Lions. Then they went on to some retail therapy at the Christian book shop.
The Hub continues to provide food items to those in need on Mondays and Fridays each week.
Our church and Chat n Choose have sent 253 Samaritans Purse Shoe boxes this year.
It was a joy to host and join with the churches and community groups of Ulverstone, raising awareness and fundraising for the Bible Society with their annual Festival of Word and Song. A collection was taken up with this year’s funds supporting aid work in Syria and Türkiye.
Our seniors continue to meet on the first Friday of each month to enjoy fellowship, morning tea, sing, and listen to several guest speakers.
Both ladies and men have enjoyed a breakfast over the winter months with guest speakers, Bronwyn Waterhouse and Peter Bennet sharing their heart.
Our UBC men have also continued to enjoy their monthly Men’s Events.
October Prayer Gatherings
Throughout the month of October each Monday evening we used our regular prayer gathering evenings to stand in the gap and pray specifically for prayer needs within our church family.
This Father’s Day, we supported the work of Mission Aviation Fellowship and raised a total of $1850.00. This money will assist in fuelling life-saving flights in some of the worlds most isolated communities and will also give an opportunity for people to receive the Good News of God’s love.
Having our UBC kids in our service is simply delightful. In October our Kids Church kids took over the service, sharing what they had been learning and doing throughout the year. This year they took part in filling shoe boxes for Samaritan’s Purse and were active in dedicating the boxes in our service.
From the Pulpit
Over the past months we have enjoyed been challenged by the teachings of Pastor Louis, Lyn McKay, Greg Venz, Laurie Rowston, Stephen and Jocelyn Head, Ken Collyer and Nerrelie Cann. Listen to UBC sermon podcast >
The Burnie 10 Sunday, 29th October Burnie Baptist opened up for athletes for the ‘Burnie 10’.
This is an annual opportunity to show hospitality to local, national and international runners, provide a secure place for personal belongings, and chat to the runners as they come in before, and also after, the race when recovery refreshments were provided.
Around the Churches October-November 2023
At the end of September, 140 people attended our annual Church Camp at Poatina – a well-serviced spot to get away to. One of the highlights was our annual Nepal vs Rest of the World soccer game. It was won this year by The Rest of the World – surprisingly!
Matt Garvin challenged us with some fresh thoughts from his new book (not released yet) about true community, and what is the Biblical expression of the Gospel? – based on Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
A major event for Citywide was the death and Memorial Service for Mal Garvin. What a man of God he was! What a legacy he has left! And what influence he has left in many lives. Citywide Mornington was full, with around 300 people attending and staying on for lunch.
Empower Her Day of Courage
Many of our ladies attended the Day of Courage at Longford. They prepared the prayer stations for the Baptist women’s global Day of Prayer.
Mission Trip to Nepal
Pastor Paul Rai from our Nepali congregation has been ministering in Nepal through the month of November, particularly regions in the South West and South East where our mission focus is to support the rural pastors. He conducted 15 baptisms, led several seminars, taught and encouraged hundreds of pastors, leaving a trail of blessing behind him. Citywide has been praying daily in his itinerary, for safety, protection and anointing.
Our members were very busy over the past few months growing seedlings, succulents, bulbs and other shrubs. These were in preparation for another Open Day in October, when our community could drop by, enjoy a free sausage sizzle and a cuppa in the tea room. We sold the plants, seeds and some craft.
Torrential rain made for a soggy BBQ, however indoors was warm and welcoming. There was a lovely atmosphere and it was good to spend some time chatting to folk who might usually just walk on by. We trust the seeds sold will be seeds sown for the kingdom.
This past month we were delighted to welcome Hazel Mohan into membership. It was also a blessing to baptise Ellie Fitz-Gerald.
ICC* members have been joining us for worship services and have brought a breath of vitality and enthusiasm that has enhanced our worship. We are learning Hindi words to old favourite songs, and the influx of under 18’s has reinvigorated the Kidz Klub.
We look forward to growing and maturing in faith together.
On Sunday 22nd October, Hobart Baptist church was again the venue for the monthly Long Table Banquet. This time featuring Burmese (Karen) food. Thanks to Kelvin (host), Elle (event organiser), and Say Wah (chef) for all their work!
Youth on Sundays
The youth meet for Bible study and prayer during the 10am service most Sundays. This lilvely session is ably led by Kelvin Smith and Scott Ambrose. The group has gradually grown and is now hosting up to 15 youth!
OCC shoe boxes
We had our shoebox packing day for Operation Christmas Child on Saturday 28th October. The boxes were then prayed for during the 10am service, and sent on their way on Sunday 29th October. This year our congregation contributed 32 shoeboxes.
Karen Wilson visits
We were pleased to host President of the Baptist World alliance Women, Rev. Karen Wilson on Sunday 19th October after she had spoken at the Day of Courage at Riverlands. She shared her wisdom on “Seeing Differently”, based on the story about Elisha’s servant whose eyes were opened to see the hillsides surrounded by chariots of fire, as told in 2 Kings 6.
The October News featured the winners of this year’s Sparklit Australian Book Awards. In addition, the shortlisted books provide a feast of reading which are suitable as Christmas gifts, or your own summer reading. Here are some of them:
Shortlisted Australian Christian Books, 2023
Behind the Tears, Bruce Robinson, Green Hill Publishing Bruce Robinson doesn’t waste time wondering why we suffer, but swiftly moves to suggest ways and means of coping, enduring and even growing through experiences of suffering.
Bringing Forth Life, Jodie McIver, Youthworks Media A unique and moving meditation on the eternal significance of pregnancy, birth, and life with a newborn child. Written by a mother, midwife and theologian, this book is a practical guide through the journey of childbirth, including the discomforts, difficulties and occasional heartbreaks.
Disrupting Mercy, Matthew Clarke with Annabella Rossini-Clarke, Turning Teardrops into Joy What would happen if, like Zacchaeus, we allowed Jesus to change our hearts and turn us upside down? In Disrupting Mercy the Clarkes confront our anaemic understanding of God’s mercy and urge us to allow God’s extreme kindness and generosity to disrupt and transform our life and our world.
How to Find Yourself, Brian Rosner, Crossway Without discarding the importance of self-reflection, Rosner suggests that to truly find ourselves we need to look beyond ourselves to our relationships, our community, our history and, most fundamentally, God’s Word.
Imagination in an Age of Crisis, Jason Goroncy and Rod Pattenden, Pickwick Publications This carefully curated treasury of essays and creative works showcases the strength and diversity of the Christian imagination in Australia.
Practicing Peace, Michael Wood, Wipf and Stock In Practicing Peace, Michael Wood explores the centrality of peacemaking to Christian thinking, feeling and living. First, he anchors our pursuit of peace in a theology that declares that we are forgiven by God in Christ and free to forgive others.
Raising Tech-Healthy Humans, Daniel Sih, Spacemakers What to do about children and screens? Daniel Sih has written a positive and practical response to this pressing question.
Religious Freedom in a Secular Age, Michael Bird, Zondervan Reflective While secularism is routinely deplored by many Christians, Michael Bird makes a strong case for the secular state as the best way to ensure freedom of faith (and no faith) and to provide the optimal climate in which the church might thrive.
The Future is Bivocational, Andrew Hamilton, Ark House Press Circumstance, then curiosity, drove Andrew Hamilton to consider alternative models of church leadership. What will sustainable ministry look like in an increasingly post-Christian society?
Hobart City Prayer
Church leaders from across Hobart gather to pray on the last Wednesday every month to come before God and seek His face. The leaders ask for a movement of God in the city of Hobart and beyond. They pray the city will be touched and changed by His power.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8. NLT
Hobart City Prayer takes place in different churches around the city each month. The venue for the November prayer time is Hobart Baptist Church.
The next Hobart City Prayer is NEXT WEEK. 7.15am for a 7.30am start, Wed 29th November Hobart Baptist Church 282 Elizabeth St. Nth Hobart
This invitation can be shared with other church leaders to pray in faith for city of Hobart.
Please enjoy reading it, and learning more about the work of Fostering Hope. The newsletter also explains how you can support children growing up in care, and carers in your community.
They also just launched the Fostering Hope Family which is a great way for people to more formally support the work. Find out more here >
Being welcoming and inclusive to diverse families
Part 1: Single people
Here are some tips to help your church be a place where single people can grow in their faith and feel fully part of a church community. A single person may have never been married, be separated, divorced or widowed. 25% of Australian households are individuals who live alone.
Be mindful of your use of language, which might unintentionally exclude single people: For example, say “We are having church community picnic. Please invite all your loved ones” rather than “We are having church family picnic. Please invite your family”
Celebrate and pray for things important in the lives of single people. Such as completing year 12, completing a qualification, and buying a house. (Not only announcing engagements, marriages and pregnancies)
Acknowledge the joy and pain of special days, like Christmas, Mother’s Day, and anniversary of a partner’s passing away
Walk the World is a community building weekend of prayer and fun. It’s an invitation to get out and about in your local neighbourhood… and pray! Pray for your community and communities around the world. Pray for your church’s ministry and the ministry of our Baptist Mission Australia team members.
Watch the video . . .
Across the weekend of 10-12th November 2023, commit to praying as you walk, run, wheel, cycle, imagine or drive around your area. As you do, BMA teams in Africa, Asia and Australia will be praying for you too!
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
Habakkuk 3: 17-18
The past few weeks have been incredibly challenging. We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support in prayer, and I personally extend my thanks to each of you for sending encouraging messages. These messages from distant lands have been like cold water to a weary soul.
We continue to affirm that God is sovereign over the entire universe and holds the power to change the current situation. We earnestly pray for a miracle to stop the ongoing conflict, coupled with a cry of hope for a brighter future for all residents of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Our churches have been holding continuous prayer meetings and in the midst of sorrow and anxiety, we are spreading the message of God’s love to those who are hurting.
Thank you for your friendship, and for your support for the ministry of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel, so that we continue to empower, enhance and expand churches in the land where Jesus walked.
An invitation from New Mornings to you and members of your church community to attend the Families & Grief Seminar. This will take place on Saturday 2nd December at The Gnomon Room, The Wharf in Ulverstone.
As we serve our community in the area of mental health and wellbeing, one of our goals is to educate and support individuals walking the journey of grief, with educational events.
Our keynote speakers are experts in the field of grief and will cover:
* Types of grief experienced in families *Supporting a family.Especially after suicide * How young people experience grief
ABOVE Tasmanian Baptist Council members from October 2023. Clockwise from top left: Chair, Scott Ambrose; Vice Chair, Matt Garvin; Administrator, Rodney Marshall; Craig Hawkins (North); Owen Muskett (Northwest); Hazelyn Mohan (South); Mark Harris (South); Wendy Marston (North); Louis Fife (Northwest); Mission Director, Stephen Baxter.
We areTasmanian Baptists
Our Council represents Tasmanian Baptist churches with elected members from each region.
It’s time for a catch-up!
Last year there were three new appointees to Council: Scott Ambrose, Owen Muskett and Mark Harris. Then, at the Annual Assembly on 21st October, two new Council members were elected: Hazelyn Mohan and Craig Hawkins. Read all about them, below.
Tasmanian Baptist Council
The Tasmanian Baptist Council meets four times every year and delivers governance and administration for the Baptist Union of Tasmania. Officially the Council is “Assembly in Absentia”, and represents Assembly in all it does.
In addition to elected members, Council consists of the Mission Director (Stephen Baxter) and Administrator (Rodney Marshall).
Currently, eight elected members represent churches from each region:
CHAIR Scott Ambrose VICE-CHAIR Matt Garvin NORTH Wendy Marston; Craig Hawkins NORTHWEST Louis Fife; Owen Muskett SOUTH Mark Harris; Hazelyn Mohan
Please keep these men and women in your thoughts and prayers as they represent their regions, and make significant decisions which impact Baptist churches throughout Tasmania.
Council is due to meet for the final time this year on Saturday 2nd December.
New Council members, 2022-23
Council Bio – Scott Ambrose elected May 2022
Scott Ambrose is the Principal at Calvin Christian School in Kingston. Scott is married to Sonya and they have five children. An active member of Hobart Baptist Church for over 20 years Scott currently serves on the Church’s Leadership Team as the Chair. Scott has been a Youth Group Leader at Hobart Baptist, and also serves as a Leader at Hobart Boys’ Brigade.
Professionally, Scott is a member of the Modern Language Teachers Association of Tasmania State Council. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours, a Bachelor of Teaching, a Graduate Certificate and Diploma in Indonesian, and a Masters of Educational Leadership.
Council Bio – Owen Muskett elected October 2022
Owen Muskett has been married to Dawn for 45 years, and have three married sons and eight grandchildren. He has been the Pastor at Wynyard Baptist Church for 9½ years and encourages the church to worship together, to get to know God personally, to care for each other, to witness the name of Jesus locally, nationally and internationally, and to serve the local community.
He and Dawn recognise that through God’s sovereign will, He both opens and closes doors and both recognise that throughout their lives, they have experienced God’s plan and purpose in all they have accomplished: in raising their children, in business and in church life. They have experienced the joys and the hardship of being self-employed, and the sadness seeing friends and family struggle with all sorts of life issues – sickness, death, and divorce. Through it all, Owen and Dawn have sought to love and care for others in their time of need.
And certainly, through all of life’s journey, they can say that God is good – all the time!
Council Bio – Mark Harris elected October 2022
A Christian since his youth Mark Harris, with his wife Fiona, have attended Citywide Baptist Hobart for over five years. They have three adult children, and enjoy most outdoor activities.
Mark has served in a variety of church capacities ranging from kids and youth programs to development, leadership and board roles. He also served as an Executive Pastor for a number of years in a large ACC Melbourne church, and currently contributes in board roles for two Christian organisations.
Mark has a professional background in finance and general management, having worked in a broad range of commercial, Christian and NFP organisations at a senior level. Up until his retirement, Mark was a Certified Practising Accountant, Chartered Secretary, and Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia. Mark holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Melbourne University, and a Graduate Diploma in Theology.
While enjoying a retirement lifestyle, Mark is keen to serve the Kingdom and make a difference in the name of Jesus.
Hazelyn Mohan is originally from Singapore. She came to Tasmania 13 years ago to pursue a law degree. She has been in the Tasmanian public service sector for the past ten years, and is currently working full time, pursuing her Masters part-time, and is involved in various Church ministries.
Hazelyn’s dad was a pastor and she so grew up in a God-fearing household. She accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour when she was 14, and was baptised as a youth in Singapore. Her faith journey has been a rollercoaster, but through every season, she knows that God holds her hands.
She strives to live courageously through Christ, love unconditionally by His grace, and work faithfully for His kingdom.
* Hazelyn is also known informally as Hazel.
Council Bio – Craig Hawkins elected October 2023
Craig Hawkins is the son of Church of Christ pastor Ray Hawkins and mother Mary, who are well-known to many northern Tasmanian Baptists. Becoming a Christian at 10 years old in central Queensland, his baptism took place the same year. He married Rachelle in 1997 and they have six children, aged 12 to 21 years. They attend The Point Baptist Church in Beauty Point.
Both Craig and Rachelle have post-graduate degrees in science, and this has led to a passionate interest in faith and science issues. Craig is currently chairman of the Creation Discovery Centre board and is a speaker for Creation Research.
Upon taking on well-known northern business Seahorse World in Beauty Point, the Hawkins’ moved to the area in 2002, where a few years later Craig left his position as Compliance Manager with the Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority to become Managing Director of their business.
Craig has been active in The Point church since its inception and has been an elder there for about the last six years.
ABOVE Those gathered at the annual Assembly, held at Riverlands Longford, 21st October 2023
We areTasmanian Baptists
This year’s Annual Assembly was well-attended on Saturday 21st October at Riverlands Longford.
Instead of the usual Friday/Saturday schedule, delegates from our churches met on Saturday only, starting a little earlier than usual. Evidently, this caught some by surprise!
Annual Assembly 2023 – Report
By Alan Firth, Claremont
Over the years I have learned that travelling to and from Assembly is a great catch up with fellow travellers, and this time there were four of us travelling together. We arranged to start at the usual time of 7:30am, and we had a good journey up the Midlands Highway.
When we arrived, people were milling around collecting communion elements and settling down for the session. Whilst it was not the usual start, it was good to be celebrating communion with others from our Churches across the state.
It was not until someone referred to the previous music, and I checked the Assembly papers on my laptop, that I realised we had missed a second implementation of daylight savings! Oh well, at least we will not need to thoroughly read Assembly papers to ensure we don’t miss the second coming!
Highlights of the Day
A clear highlight was to learn of initiatives attempted in some of our fellow churches. These times were both encouraging and informative.
For me, the catching up in the breaks with individuals from across the Tasmanian Baptist community is also a highlight as it is really our only opportunity to do so. For these reasons alone, I struggle to understand why it seemed not all of our churches were represented.
Business conducted, in-brief
* All nominations for positions were elected uncontested and endorsed. These included two new Council members: Craig Hawkins (The Point); and Hazelyn Mohan (Claremont). * Excellent briefings took place in developments in various areas. This included including the training of pastors and insurance changes. * Assembly endorsed the tweaking of responsibilities in light of operational and staff circumstances. * In particular we welcomed the reappointment of Rodney Marshall. He has the new title of Operations Manager. * We also welcomed the continuation of Stephen Baxter as Mission Director, albeit with a reducing availability and a flexibility over the coming years. This will enable an unhindered search for his eventual replacement.
As well . . .
We had a lovely (hearse-transported!) lunch, were led by skilled chairman Scott Ambrose, and posed for a group photo.
Indeed, we dealt with business so efficiently and effectively, with the reward being an early release! The wild weather forecast for the day occurred well after we were all home.
There is so much to celebrate at Wynyard Baptist Church!
As we head towards 120 years of serving our community, we look forward to how we as a body of believers can have a deeper relationship with Christ and a long-lasting impact into the lives of those who live in our community.
So often, the challenge to change can be disconcerting. However, WBC has embraced positive change through shared vision and ownership of that vision by all who attend the church.
There aren’t too many churches who haven’t had some heartache along the way, and we are no different. However, we also accept that God is bigger than any self-interest that creeps into churches. When we accept this and enable healing, over time God’s will and purpose always, like cream, rise to the top!
[All photos are captioned clockwise from top left]
Making a difference
At Wynyard Baptist Church we strive to live out the Tasmanian Baptists’ vision. This has resulted in a deep desire to make a difference in so many lives across our community.
Tasmanian Baptists’ Vision:
We envisage a Tasmania infused with the salt and light of the kingdom of God.
Our contribution to seeing the vision realised is through facilitating and developing innovative, diverse and transformative member churches and faith communities living out the Gospel.
Sundays Sunday School, Celebration Service, and Prayer for Revival
Mondays ROC Community Food Hub
Tuesdays Walking Group, ROC Community Food Hub at Somerset
Wednesdays Wednesday Get Together, Blokes Study
Thursdays Chat n Choose, Care Groups
Fridays ROC Community Food Hub
Saturdays ROC Community Food Hub at Somerset
There are other care groups as well during the week!
We have so many activities
This year we celebrate 30 years of Chat ‘n’ Choose with some of the original leaders and ladies still here, and regularly attending.
Other activities that reach into our community include:
Just Blokes Pizza Nights; Just Girls; Yearly Harvest Dinner and Auction; Good Friday Combined Churches Service in Gutteridge Gardens; RSL Chaplaincy; Carols in the Gardens and Christmas Day Lunch.
God is good!
As Senior Pastor I have strived to engage and encourage this church to be bigger than the individual, and to believe that God is good all the time. His provision of opportunity has been at times overwhelming. However, there is a deep belief God is at work and allowing us the privilege of serving Him. For His glory and for His honour!
I was called to WBC almost 10 years ago. As a part of that journey I knew we would eventually need others to help in the growing ministry. As a church we are so blessed to have Franz (and Heidi) come alongside Dawn and myself as we minister the Gospel of Christ together.
I’m very grateful for the inspiration of my Dad, George, who finished this race and was promoted to glory earlier in 2023.
My prayer is that we would live out our calling and do the works of the Father for his sake and His Glory!
Blessings, Owen Muskett Pastor, Wynyard Baptist Church
Converge is an annual gathering of Australian Baptist representatives in Canberra to advocate on issues close to the heart of our movement and the represent the 1000+ churches nationally.
This year, nearly 40 Australian Baptists from across Australia gathered for two days of lobbying and advocacy. Nicholas Alexander (Lifeway Devonport), Stephen Baxter (Mission Director & Hobart Baptist pastor) and I, Anthea Maynard (Team leader Launceston City Baptist) attended as delegates through the support and generosity of Tas Baptists.
The key objective was to elevate the ongoing and protracted crisis in Myanmar as a priority. We were asking for action from our elected representatives. Groups of four delegates from different locations met with members of parliament to introduce the situation. They then presented three asks and shared a personal story by a person from Myanmar. With more than 20,000 Baptists from Myanmar in Australia, this is an important opportunity to support them. As well, we advocated as part of a wider, ecumenical effort (with the Catholic and Uniting Churches).
Our campaign “We Must Not Forget About Myanmar” has postcards outlining the three asks to Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs. These postcards will be available through Baptist World Aid and Australian Baptist Ministries (see below). We hope that 20,000 printed postcards will end up on the desk of the Foreign Minister.
With different humanitarian crises happening around the world, the emergency for the people of Myanmar has fallen off the radar of the international community. This is our opportunity to make a difference. The United Nations Humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths recently said, ‘successive crises in Myanmar have left one third of the population in need of humanitarian aid’.
Justice beyond ourselves
This was my first experience of Converge. It was a unique opportunity to work alongside Australian Baptist representatives from diverse roles and locations to highlight the needs and recent experiences of the people of Myanmar. It is my prayer awareness and support will grow, along with members of parliament noticing Christians advocating for issues justice beyond ourselves.
In my group, there were two delegates from the Myanmar Baptist community. Sui, from Perth WA, has recently graduated from nursing. She arrived in Australia as a refugee with her mother at the age of eight. Sui shared of her recent trip to some refugee camps on the Indian border. Sui encountered stories from elderly ladies who had fled their villages due to airstrikes. This year, airstrikes have increased dramatically in Myanmar to a current total of 289. Stronger, focused sanctions are needed to limit the capacity of the Junta to trade.
Biak was the other delegate, from Coffs Harbour NSW. She shared how her mother’s and father’s villages were burned to the ground in September this year. This was very distressing for her and her extended family.
The overall response by parliamentary representatives was engaging and positive. The Myanmar delegates were encouraged, and grateful to raise their voice with other Australian Baptists.
Baptist World Aid have activated a disaster appeal to respond to this unfolding crisis and enable local Christian Partners to provide urgent assistance to civilians affected by the conflict as soon as humanitarian corridors are open.
Together, we’re grieving the violence that is causing immeasurable suffering, and mourning with those whose loved ones have been killed or are being held captive. We’re distressed for the one million people who’ve been displaced, and all those innocent civilians living in fear across the region today.
Baptist World Aid request the help of the Baptist Family. Donations will enable local Christian Partners to provide urgent assistance to families affected by this conflict as soon as possible.
Baptist churches across Israel and the Palestinian territories, including Gaza Baptist Church, have requested fervent prayer for peace. ‘Let us follow paths of peacemaking that unequivocally reject terrorism or any acts that target civilians,’ the Baptist World Alliance said, in a statement on behalf of churches in the region, ‘Let us generously provide help and support with the compassion of Christ.’
Please join us in praying for peace, hope and security for the entire region, so all can enjoy fullness of life as he intends. We’re yearning for the day the prophet Isaiah spoke of when swords will be beaten into ploughshares. (Isaiah 4:1)
Original Documentary: Australian Veteran’s Incredible Story
Westbury Baptist have established mainly music in order to connect strategically with families in their local community.
Children and their parents enjoy songs and activities together. Parents and carers discover others in their community and form friendships.
Through the program, Westbury Baptist will have an opportunity to reveal Jesus through their interaction and engagement. Together, with the support of mainly ministries, they’ll be creating a joy-filled community of belonging.
First time free, then $5 per family. Ages 0-4 plus parents/carers.
Westbury Baptist Church, 53 Franklin Street, Westbury, TAS 7303
Doors open at 9:45 and music starts at 10am, followed by morning tea and play time.
Family and friends were warmly invited to attend the memorial service of Mal Garvin at 11:30am on Thursday 12th October at Citywide, 400 Cambridge Rd, Mornington.
READ: An article about the service on Thursday 12th October, including an overview of Mal’s life. WATCH: The entire service on YouTube.
Follower of Jesus, loved and loving husband of Jenny. Loved and loving father and father-in-law of Matt and Leeanne, Liz and David, Danni and Dan, Nathaniel and Renee. Proud and loved Papa of Maddi, Josh (and Jen), Dan, Sophie (and Mitch), Simeon, Anya, Zoe, Josuahm, Ollie, Bridie, Lilly and Tim. Friend and mentor to hundreds across the country and around the world.
An endorsed project of Australian Baptist Ministries, The Safer Space Toolkit is aimed at resourcing pastors and church leaders to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.
FIND OUT MORE: Preaching tools, training sessions, videos and user guide. WATCH the introductory video, below
This project started as a result of recognising domestic abuse resources were often available only by region, and there was a need to create a resource that could be accessed by any pastor anywhere, with access to the Internet.
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.
Is your church ChildSafe?
The Safe Church deadline is fast approaching! 1st January 2024 is the date to meet all the Safe Church requirements, as set out by the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Act approved by parliament in May 2023.
Training has begun in every region of the state. If your church has not yet begun the process, you are encouraged to get onto it urgently.
As a refresher, you could read the article by Administrator Rodney Marshall which was published in June: Safe Churches Update >
Well done to all the teams who participated in the online quiz night on Saturday 2nd September. A big thank you from Crossover for joining in!
Cossover raised just over $1,100 from the night.
Special mention to the top 3 teams:
1. Knightsbridge Baptist Church SA 2. Richmond Baptist Church SA 3. Lifeway Devonport Tas
South Australia/Northern Territory
Tasmania (Woohoo! Go Tasmania!)
New South Wales/ACT
Farewell Markus Sebastian
Friends and relatives were invited to attend the service to celebrate the life of Mr Markus Sebastian at Gateway Baptist Church 22 Wellington Street, Launceston on Friday 29th September 2023, commencing at 11 am.
The service was conducted by Rev. Michael Eleveld, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Launceston. This invitation was extended to those who knew Markus. He would have loved to see people he knew there.
Please also be in prayer for Stephanie Sebastian (SU Tas), daughter Charlie and son Michel.
Australian Christian Book Awards 2023
The Australian Christian Literature Awards encourage Christian writing and publishing that helps people discover Jesus in a way that is authentic and culturally meaningful. The SparkLit Awards recognise and encourage excellence in Australian Christian writing and publishing.
Held recently in Melbourne, the awards revealed some amazing writers along with their books. Check out the shortlisted books as well, because they also produced some gems. (Maybe there’s some Christmas shopping in the wind today?)
WINNER! Australian Christian Book of the Year 2023
Biblical Critical Theory:How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Cultureby Christopher Watkin A philosopher uses the Bible to analyse and interpret contemporary Western culture.
WINNER! Australian Christian Teen Writer 2023
Caleb MacLaren from Victoria won the 2023 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with his screenplay The Journey.
In a modern twist on the Noah’s Ark story, this script follows four companions as they navigate an empty world devastated by an alien attack.
Mentoring Program in Hobart
The next Fostering Hope training day is in Hobart on Saturday, October 14.
Fostering Hope are a community organisation whose work comes from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus to ‘visit’ and ‘care for’ orphans and widows, to put the lonely in families, to love the fatherless, to care for children, and to love the neighbours in the communities. Tasmanian Baptists partner with Fostering Hope partner to provide foster care to Tasmanian children.
Through their Mentoring Program, Fostering Hope seeks to provide a “friend with purpose” for kids in care.
If you are looking for a way to live out your faith in caring for those in need, you can make a difference for a child in care. Please get in touch to talk about how to be equipped with training, connected with a child, and provided with ongoing support as you mentor. With just a few hours a month, you can significantly impact the life of a child in care for the better.
National Baptism Week will be an opportunity for churches, youth groups, small groups and ministries across Australia to celebrate, explore and offer baptism. Check out the short explainer video and Ideas Guide, as well as baptism resources on our new Baptism Hub. Joining in is very simple – no need to register or report back – you can use Baptism Week in your own way.