In this Sacred Agents blog, Crossover Director Andrew Turner explores how we can shift demographics by diving Into diversity.
My father always enjoys belting out Amazing Grace in church, not least because he likes to tweak the second line to “…that saved a wretch like TREVOR SMITH” (or some other friend within earshot). God’s grace for people like you and me (and Dad) is truly amazing. Amazing too is his grace for people who are unlike you and me.
As such, God’s Spirit is often prompting and challenging us to see a greater diversity in our churches and groups. How often have you said or heard, ‘It would be great to have more [insert demographic] people here’, referring to a missing segment that might be generational, racial, economic, intellectual, or something else in nature.
It just doesn’t seem right for God’s family to be segregated, so we want to listen to those nudges of the Spirit. But what to do about them?
There’s a whole range of possible steps, and let’s put them along an imaginary spectrum:
Down one end would be practical and immediate actions, such as going straight to the people you’d love to have with you and simply inviting them. Thoughtful arrangements to make space for them would be down that end too.
At the other end of the spectrum are deep, underlying heart issues and systemic norms that may need to be addressed. These might include raising awareness, prayers of repentance, symbolic steps towards reconciliation, and contemplating your way through a heap of books and conferences.
The trouble is, where to start? If you start at the first end, you hope to solve the issue within a fortnight. But your efforts may quickly be stymied by the systemic and underlying stuff. “We saw that we were missing young people, so we invited them, they didn’t come, so I guess we can say we tried.”
But if you start at the other end, you can feel that any real progress will take 100 years. And you can take 100 years of talking and praying and thinking about the people you’re missing, and wondering whether your group is even a thing that would be good for them, and even whether your group should exist at all.
It means well at first, but it can become busy work that is essentially procrastination which perpetuates the status quo. You are always inching closer to, but conveniently never achieving the aim. “We can always say that we’re taking steps.”
So what do we do?
How can we make real progress to see the body of Christ actually come together more fully? I suggest starting at both ends at the same time. Each will serve the other. The practical end will bring to light what underlying work is (and what isn’t) necessary, and the underlying work will shape the practical actions to be less and less clumsy and more and more wholehearted.
May the Spirit give us all the wisdom, humility and love we need – and also all the shrewdness, daring and energy of faith – to be effective agents of reconciliation as the body of Christ builds itself up in love.
Andrew Turner is Director of Crossover for Australian Baptist Ministries.
Crossover exists to Help Australian Baptists Share Jesus. Browse all our resources on crossover.org.au
ATTENTION ALL CHURCH SECRETARIES, DEACONS and leadership teams!
Tas Baptists’ Administrator Rodney Marshall explains the new legislation our churches must engage with.
On the 30th of May the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Act passed the houses of parliament, fulfilling the Sate’s responsibility to enact the 10 Child Safe Principles and to establish an Independent Regulator.
The 10 standards mirror the recommendations from the Royal Commission and the principles developed by the Australia Human Rights Commission. Their scope encompasses all forms of harm to children and young people, in addition to child sexual abuse, requiring adherence to the following …
The Ten Standards for Safe Churches
Requires organisations to ensure that child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
Ensures that children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
Ensures families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
Guarantees that equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and in practice.
Requires that people working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
Requires processes to respond to complaints and concerns to be child-focused.
Expects that staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
Requires physical and online environments to promote safety and wellbeing, while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
Sees regular review and improvement of the child and youth safe standards within the organisation.
Ensures policies and procedures document how the entity is safe for children and young people.
As well, there is an additional overarching principle that embeds the right of Aboriginal children and young people to cultural safety which sits across all 10 Child and Youth Safe Standards.
What churches need to do now
Several years back, at the request of our insurers, Tas Baptists churches updated their policies to incorporate these standards. The main task that remains is to appropriately train and support our workers and volunteers.
Training completion date: 1st January 2024.
Matt Henderson (S), Owen Muskett (NW) and Linda Guy (N) have agreed to assist by providing training around the state. In addition, online training will be available in the Safety Management Online system. Once the trainers are trained, Workshop details for each region will be made available.
So as to comply with the new laws we need to ensure that everyone 18 and over, who ministers (has direct care or gives spiritual direction) to a person under 18, understands the principles and their application.
I hope the workshops will answer most of your questions, but if you would like to check on something before then please contact me on 0407 903 620 or email@example.com
Christian author Mel Saward contemplates what we can do to help our children and youth become strong Christians.
Discovering Deep, Resilient Faith
Many statistics have emerged over the last few years that have painted a jarring picture of the state of faith for Millennials and Gen Z. But none quite so shocking as a study completed by the Barna Group recently, finding that 75% of young Christians will leave church.
But there is hope. Unlike other studies, this one listed common factors present in the 25% who stayed.
Eating dinner five out of seven nights a week as a family
Serving WITH their families in a ministry
Having one spiritual experience in the home during the week
Being entrusted with responsibility in ministry at an early age
Having at least one faith-focused adult in their lives, other than their parents
It must be noted that this was a rather helpful study!
Finally, something constructive we might all be able to implement for our children. But despite the usefulness of this information the resounding questions still remain: How is this possible? 75%? Do these small habits really make such a significant difference?
The habits seem so simple! There are at least three factors out of the five that have nothing to do with church itself! Were any of these factors present in the 75% too?
There is something missing
Maybe it is this simple. Maybe there is more to this. But what can’t be denied is that there is something missing in the Millennials’ and Gen Zs’ experience of faith, that is often observed through their relationship with the Church. Surely that is demonstrated rather clearly in these statistics.
In my latest book, Deep Faith Resilient Faith, I examine what I believe to be the cause of this phenomenon. The missing piece is DEPTH.
It has always been a temptation in our Christian culture to become preoccupied with external matters and not those of the heart. From the day the church began, there were smaller sections that concerned themselves with rituals. And in the generations just prior to Millennials, church attendance has been the universal sign of commitment to Christ.
While I suspect such observable signs do matter, they have never completely expressed the true picture of a changed heart. Church attendance was not the goal of our faith, the goal was always to be a disciple: something that is clearly seen in the five factors above.
Church attendance was not the goal of our faith, the goal was always to be a disciple
Signs of depth
These five factors are all signs of a whole community discipling a child: parents, church leaders, and the larger church community. Truly, they are signs of depth and the priority to instil a deep faith in the next generation.
Depth of faith is critical, as scripture proposes many times: it was the depth of the soil that determined the response to the seed (Mark 4:5), it was deep digging that stabilised the house built on the rock (Luke 6:48). And so we must explore for ourselves what a deep faith looks like, so that we can exemplify it for the next generation.
This is the goal of my book. It meticulously unpacks depth in action, and how we can attain it. As you can imagine, the book is quite challenging. But confronting such truths also gives us the greatest hope we could ever have in our faith.
What they need
The fact is: the next generations need us. They need those who come before them to demonstrate through the life we live, the kind of depth and meaning that a faith in Jesus can bring. Honestly, they don’t need us to nag them, to judge them, to be frustrated by them.
They need us to be willing to take up our cross, forego our comforts and go deeper than we have ever gone before. Because the Gospel has always been enough to satisfy all of us, from generation to generation.
Melanie J. Saward is a Christian author and communicator – meljsaward.com
Every so often you fall over some gem, hidden in plain sight, in God’s Word.
The more you stare, almost in disbelief, at the opening statement of Psalm 91, the more unbelievable it seems. After learning the psalm by heart, the enormity of the truth displayed, dawns.
Perhaps some are slower to appreciate God’s love so obviously shown to whoever might want to be acquainted with it. Anybody at all! You or me.
There is no mistake though! The guarantees He gives for your presence in the Secret Place, are awe-inspiring.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)
The foundation is that if you do dwell in this secret place, you are in fact in the presence; the protection; the radiance; the love; the guidance of the Creator of the universe.
Once you say: “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust”, the walls he erects to protect you are nothing short of amazing. On an on!
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Psalm 91:2 (NKJV)
In the refuge, under the softness of His wings of protection, you will not experience diseases or pestilences. Just hide behind His truth for protection from bullets during the day and diseases during the night; or even sudden destruction during the day.
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge;
Psalm 91:4 (NKJV)
Everyone around you may be struck down, even close by, but it shall not come close to you. Just look and see how the non-believer fares, He says.
A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.
Psalm 91:7 (NKJV)
Even more stunningly, here follow some more guarantees because you have made the Lord the Most High, your refuge, “No evil shall befall you”!
Neither shall any plague come near your place. Not only that, but He will also tell His angels to look after you in the way you live.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:9-11 (NKJV)
And there is much more!
They shall carry you in case you hurt your foot on a stone. You will also be enabled to stomp on a lion and a cobra under foot.
In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
Psalm 91:12-13 (NKJV)
God’s love becomes really apparent when He says: “Because he has set his love upon Me therefore, I will deliver him”. “Ï will set him on high because he has known My name”. (Psalm 91: 14, NKJV)
He will give us an answer when we call on Him. As well, He will be present when we are in trouble and deliver and honour us!
He will satisfy us with long life and then show you, and me, His salvation.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him . . . With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
What does it really mean, to you, now?
There is a real resting place available. A real spiritual power base in which we are one with our God and Father. One with all life and all power, with all presence of “I am, I am, I am”.
You can then listen to the silence. The peace for those who wait to hear “All is well”.
In this closeness we can, and should, tell Him what we need and want, so our lives can proceed in harmony and a happy wellbeing.
Sadly, only a few come here because they are persuaded that circumstances control our lives.
The truth is, incredible though it may seem, indirectly the soul directs its own path in this, God’s Law. It becomes obvious that He wants to fulfill our slightest wish and want. Our only requirement is to believe and trust in the power of our Father, our company and Maker.
Only believe and this ultimate reality becomes the reality of our lives. We create our reality when we see through the eyes of God.
Psalm 91 shows the way, all we need to do is to apply the principles He has laid out for us to follow. So simple! If it was difficult, who would be able to do it?
Rest your weight on this psalm and be greatly blessed.
May God bless you always!
Frans Ammerlaan plans to publish a book of devotionals he has written, this one included.
Calling all women in Launceston and surrounds who are interested in growing in their faith-in-action journey. You might be leading or interested in leadership, serving, or wanting to grow in faith that leads to action. This is a new space for you! Join with other women who want a safe space to process and learn together.
No life qualifications necessary. This is not a small group, or a Bible study. It’s a collective of women who are serious about learning and living in the ways of our good God, doing the journey with others, and hopefully having some laughs along the way.
Jenna Blackwell is Tasmanian Baptists’ Mission Leadership Coach. Gabi Dunn works for the Anglicans. They are housemates, great friends, and peer supports in ministry. With the support of their organisations, they are collaborating to bring a new space for women.
No, they don’t think events/gatherings have to be gender-specific. But yes, they acknowledge the complexity of life and history, and that sometimes you just need a space with other women.
Advocacy and support for Myanmar
National Council Resolution:
Adopted 17 May 2023
The National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries [ABM] stands in solidarity with all the church communities from Myanmar that are members of State Unions affiliated with ABM. We grieve with them as they witness their family and friends displaced, persecuted, and killed at the hands of the Myanmar military.
We note, that according to the United Nations, an estimated 1,584,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) were reported across Myanmar as of 30 January 2023, and there are more than 1 million refugees and asylum seekers in neighbouring countries. Church buildings have been destroyed and pastors detained.
We call on the Australian government to:
Increase humanitarian visas to refugees from Myanmar, particularly from ethnic areas such as the Chin, Kachin, Karen and Karenni States. This is where people have been displaced and waiting for settlement for upward of 35 years.
Increase humanitarian aid to these ethnic areas that struggle to receive international support due to Myanmar Government restrictions.
Increase pressure on the Myanmar government through further sanctions against individuals and companies associated with the Myanmar military. In addition, with further action at ASEAN and the UN.
Increase pressure on the Indian Government to issue exit permits to refugees who have already been granted Australian visas.
We commit ourselves to prayer, to continue to speak out on behalf of the people of Myanmar, in particular those connected to our church community members from Myanmar, and we commit to providing material support to displaced communities in Myanmar and border refugee camps.
May Mission Month
No matter where you are, you can journey alongside your neighbours and friends. Being an alongsider means listening, showing hospitality, bringing peace and humbly sharing the good news of Jesus.
It means praying and seeking the Spirit’s leading. It means loving the people God has put in your world, as well as loving the world.
Being an alongsider means sharing God’s love in genuine, active and relevant ways. It means partnering together with each other and God – sending and being sent, giving and receiving. Working together as partners in God’s mission.
Watch the video to find out more …
Stamps for Overseas Mission
Help raise funds for Baptist Mission Australia
For over 50 years, Australian Baptists have collected and sold postage stamps to raise money for Baptist Mission Australia (baptistmissionaustralia.org/Support/Stamps!) . This simple fundraiser generates about $70,000 every year!
Accumulations, old stamp albums, postal history and other stamp memorabilia are also very welcome.
Jill Ashdown, of Gateway Baptist, oversees this ministry in Tasmania, and anyone can assist by collecting stamps. Stamps received by our churches can be delivered to the Tasmanian Baptist State Office at Riverlands Longford.
What to do
Prepare the stamps by cutting the stamps off the envelope, leaving a 5mm border around the edge.
Collect a bundle in a box, envelope or bag.
Drop them off to Riverlands Longford, 159 Wellington St, Longford. The office is open 9am-12pm Mon/Tues/Thur/Fri. Or else, call to arrange a suitable time: 6391 2202.
Watch the video explaining the symbolism behind of the logo for the Baptist World Congress 2025.
The Creation Discovery Centre
The Creation Discovery Centre, based at Seahorse World Beauty Point, has had an amazing summer tourism season. The Centre is run by many of our people who attend The Point Baptist Church, which also meets on the premises.
During the summer, many hundreds of visitors including numerous non-believers have taken Christian resources, Bibles and tracts. We praise God for one woman who gave her life to the Lord at the centre in March.
Di is an atheist who came in seeking answers and left encouraged with a Bible after hearing the gospel.
Mark and Betty came in to buy fossils for their grandson at the end of the day. Two hours later they left after going through the museum, which was not part of their original plan. Mark said, “I have never before heard the message tied in with real history.” They were both very interested and took Christian resources with them as well as a couple of fossils for the grandson!
Pray for Carla who had been witnessed to for over three years by a faithful Christian and came in while a school group was receiving a presentation. After a while she went to the front counter to speak with Rachelle and her friend saying, “It all makes sense now”. She repented of her sins there and then, which included occult involvement, and now needs to find Christian connections in the rural area where she lives.
New campaign highlights the human cost of our global plastic waste crisis
The Rubbish Campaign, by Christian agency Tearfund, is highlighting the human cost of the global plastic waste problem and calling on Australian households to join the effort to address this rubbish crisis.
As Australian Christians, let’s unite to address the urgent waste crisis that is unfolding: in our households and around the world. Already suffering the worst impacts of COVID-19, extreme weather and hunger, growing landfills are making poverty worse for vulnerable communities around the world.
Between 2000 and 2019, plastics production doubled and plastic waste generation more than doubled, with nearly two thirds of this coming from plastics with lifetimes of under five years. (OECD, 2022).
Tearfund is encouraging Australians to be part of the solution and to demonstrate their care for their global neighbours by signing their petition.
The petition calls on the Australian Government to do all it can to influence global negotiations and ensure that this plastics treaty helps end the world’s rubbish problem.
Weekly Sunday Cafe Please get in touch for locations
4pm, Young People
Bread Run 6:45-7pm, Tuesdays More than just picking up the remainder of the day’s bread from a local bakery, this is a time for people to pick up pre-cooked meals (when available), coffee, and discussion.
ABOVE Scenes from May Assembly held at Newstead Baptist, 5th/6th May 2023
We areTasmanian Baptists
Well-Grounded . . .
. . . is the Theme for2023
The Gospel mission, Baptist structures, our changing society, our church responsibilities, our challenges as Christians and the escalating needs of our world were all highlighted at the May Assembly.
There was a strong sense of looking at how the here and now will affect the ongoing and future function of mission. There was an emphasis on harmony, working together, following Jesus and making him known.
What’s happening in the world
Strong messages about exploitation, the complexities of mission and current social attitudes were given by Paul Manning (Baptist World Aid), Geoff Maddock (Baptist Mission Australia), and Tas Baptists’ Mission Director Stephen Baxter.
Each invited us to consider what is happening in our immediate contexts and in the global context of social thought and business practices.
The changes in our society and world challenge the work of churches
Stephen Baxter spoke of the vacuum that is left in society when there is a deliberate move away from the values that formed it, a rejection of the idea of a higher authority, and no concept of God. He presented the heartbreaking outcome of this decline in terms of an increasingly individualistic society where there are rising levels of anger, violence, broken relationships and children in care.
Stephen challenged us to be Jesus-centred, committed to mission, building community and operating in freedom to be the best that church can be.
We heard elements of these principles in reports from the churches. It is always encouraging to see how people are addressing the issues in their context, working with what they have and seeing growth in attendance, ministries and impact.
[Continued below slideshow …]
Get a Glimpse with the Assembly Slideshow
God is good!
There was talk of sowing seeds of hope, faith, discipleship and the breaking down of generational and social barriers. The general message was that the work is hard and never ending but God is good. Geoff Maddock’s idea of inhabiting and living out the treasure of the Gospel is highly motivating and relevant to all of us as followers of Jesus.
There was a strong sense of looking forward
Throughout the day, there was a chance to catch up with others and hear about their journeys. There was a strong sense of looking forward, of continued commitment to mission, and of operating in the freedom of the gifts that we have been given for service.
Kairos education opportunity
It was good to hear about the planned Theological Education course through Kairos University, specifically structured for our Tasmanian context, to equip people for ministry. This also is consistent with the views expressed by the speakers of looking for a new approach to meet needs and building the strength of our spiritual witness in our State by enabling students to pray, plan and learn together.
We pray that this localised training will be transformational and, as Stephen said, that Tasmania will be, “not fragile because of numbers, but agile because of courage.”
Let’s boldly speak the name of Jesus
It was reassuring to see that the strategic plan that has had many hours of analysis, planning and discussion poured into it is leading us into a new phase described by Matt Garvin as ready to “…stop talking deconstruction and talk construction; move from closed to open; move from ideas to actions”. For what purpose? To speak the name of Jesus into poverty, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, disappointment and grief and to see healing and life emerge from the darkness.
Thanks to all involved in Assembly for the encouragement to stay well-grounded and outward looking.
This report of the May Assembly 2023 was written by Linda Guy, Gateway Baptist Launceston
Every two months you can catch up with the latest news in Tasmanian Baptist Churches.
On Sunday 30th April we had one of our 5th Sunday Combined Services in which people from Gateway, Agape and Gateway Nepali Fellowship join together. These have been so enjoyable in the past and we anticipate another great meeting.
Plans for May Mission Month
During the month of May we will have a variety of speakers sharing of a number of Missions Gateway is connected with, including Prison Fellowship, Shoe Boxes, Thailand, Haiti, Shekinah House, Rahab Ministry,
Gateway Ladies Pizza and Stamp Cutting Night took place recently, where they trimmed stamps in readiness to be sent to QLD to raise funds for Baptist Mission Australia. The used stamps, and national collection raises approx. $70,000.00 every year! Gateway member Jill Ashdown is the “Tasmanian Stamp lady”. Read how to participate in the Stamp ministry in the NEWS, next week.
CITY BAPTIST, Launceston
Easter | Your prayers appreciated!
We had lovely services over Easter – the Good Friday reflective service was a particular highlight for many, working through a Protestant take on the Stations of the Cross.
City Baptist is still prayerfully seeking a more permanent home to gather in – we would appreciate your prayers for/with us as we seek God’s guidance.
Impacting our community
Members in our community continue activism and pastoral work among migrant communities, the street community and with regard to climate action, representing Jesus’ (and our) heart for going to the margins.
Jeff McKinnon and Garry Billing have started a home-grown discipleship opportunity titled Learning Circles, for people of all backgrounds, who are interested in growing in discipleship, spirituality and mission – learning the ways of Jesus. If you would like to know more, please contact Jeff (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IN OUR THOUGHTS
John Tomkinson passed away in late March. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Gwen and the family.
David and Pat Jacobs celebrated a milestone wedding anniversary.
Hutchison Family Update
Newstead Baptist Church is very pleased to announce the safe arrival of its newest member, a baby boy, Rafael (Raffy) Warren Hutchison. Raffy was born at 1:56pm on 3rd April and weighed 9.8 pounds (4.46 kgs).
Congratulations to Dan and Maria, Skylah, Octavia and Boaz for this exciting addition to the family. Pastor Dan is on leave until May 17 to be with his family.
Our Friday Senior’s Drop in Centre has recently dropped the “Senior’s” from their name in order to better align with our Strategic Plan.
People of all ages are now welcome to attend the Drop-In Centre each Friday from 1pm until about 3:30pm. Activities include good conversation, tea and coffee, yummy food (cake on special occasions!), darts, eight-ball, and a range of board games including scrabble and upwords.
We really appreciate the willingness of the older members of our congregation to embrace change and the future vision of our church and we look forward to what is in store for this special ministry.
Family Fun Walks
Newstead Baptist Church has partnered with Scripture Union to promote a series of Family Fun Walks. These monthly, short family-friendly walks, are on Sunday afternoons from 2 to 4 pm, and easy to get to for those in or near Launceston.
All walks are manageable for families with young children, although not all are pram/stroller-friendly. Our walks so far have been a great opportunity to meet new people and create deeper conversations around our discussion topics. For example, “Are you feeling full or empty?” for recent Trevallyn Dam walk.
All northern Baptist Churches are invited to join us at any of the upcoming walks listed below. This list of walks, along with Scripture Union’s bushwalk series, can be found at https://bootsnall.sutas.org.au, including some useful preparation and safety tips.
Anyone from other local churches or the surrounding community are also welcome.
4th June Youngtown Regional Park
2nd July Lilydale Falls
3rd September Gorge Circuit
8th Octobe Tamar Island
10th November Old Macs Farm
The church was blessed with the baptism of the Cousens family at Greens Beach on the 24th of March: Adam, Sarah, Erica and Tom. So great to see the family growing in the Lord.
On Palm Sunday, The Point Baptist Church welcomed Mark Rogers from The Friends of Israel, who conducted a Passover Seder meal as part of the Sunday service. The event was greatly appreciated by the church, and helped understanding of the significance of the Passover event.
On March 19th we celebrated our Harvest Festival. The bread, water and the sheaf of wheat along with the Bible, were centre of place, as they remind us of the basic things needed for life.
Food items were brought and displayed, and Pastor Ralph shared with us a reading from Leviticus reminding us of the need to be continually thanking the Lord for all our provisions.
The food was available for purchase after the service and the money raised along with remaining items was given to Gran’s Van. Gran’s Van operates in Devonport to help feed the homeless and people struggling to feed themselves.
Although it would be true to say our congregation is “getting on”, we have suddenly experienced quite a few ‘sickies’!
Please pray for David’s back op; Sheryl’s leg op; Gordon’s cancer struggle; Jean and Karl’s Covid attack and Frans’s back attack! That is a third of our church! Join us to pray for their rapid recovery in every aspect of this attack. We ask in Jesus’s Name:
“Ask in my Name and I will do it”!
Welcome little Macey
On 18th March, Pastor Matt Holloway, Lacey and big brother Larry welcomed Macey Kate into their family. Let’s celebrate with them for a safe arrival.
Strengthening our community
Recently, 17 of our ladies enjoyed a day out with JUST GIRLS to Stanley, where they visited Highfield House, and Joe Lions cottage.
Many people attended a day of fun and fellowship at the Church Family picnic at Railway Institute hall in April..
Due to inclement weather, the combined churches Good Friday service was held in our church rather than in Guttridge Gardens as planned.
Chat n Choose continues to meet on Thursday morning in the school term.
Wednesday Get Together meet on the first and third Wednesday of the month when people meet for morning tea ,and fellowship and carpet bowls and table games.
The Food Hub continues to operate on Monday and Friday.
Franz and HeidiBrosch
We are pleased to have welcomed our associate Pastor Franz and Heidi Brosch into our church family,
They input into our church services, with Heidi in the worship team and Franz on the keyboard.
Around the Churches Apr-May 2023
Clean Up Australia
On 5th March again participated in the Clean Up Australia Day, this year at three different locations. We did not hold a service at Mornington that day, and at Lenah Valley had a prayer time for those not in the field, linking into some of the sites for a report on what was happening. Evaluation of the day will see some changes for next year.
There has been some energy and money expended in our first stage of some renovations. We painted our front rooms, and refreshed with new carpet, windows and blinds. Also there has been significant hours and work effected on our roof in a bid to fix numerous leaks. Fund raising is underway for stage 2.
Our BMA grant towards outreach to the Hindu community in Hobart has seen the purchase of a 12-seater bus and employment of a coordinator for two-days per week. to facilitate community services. This is now up and running. Praise God.
In conjunction with the local RSL, we’ve had another exciting Anzac Day in the Park at Lenah Valley. This has grown to be a significant annual community event, this year with an estimated attendance of 800.
We offer various crafts and activities to suit the whole family, all with an Anzac Day theme. We gave away Sausages, drinks and Anzac biscuits. The public were involved and everyone has a fun time. Conversations take place, and links are established. Citywide is blessed by serving.
Claremont Baptist members cleaned out their garages and storerooms to hold a very successful Garage Sale.
While we benefited financially the purpose was to open our doors to our community. We offered a free sausage sizzle and tea and coffee which gave us time to chat to people. At least four people told us they never knew there was a church on the corner (it is a quite inconspicuous building!) Church families got to socialise too and there was a wonderful atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the event also proved to be a Covid super-spreader! So, by Easter Sunday we only had eight attending.
A moving and intimate service, a wonderful time of rejoicing that Our Lord has Risen! On Good Friday we were also able to share in coffee and buns at Edge Anglican as has become our tradition.
On Sunday 19th March, Hobart Baptist celebrated Sanctuary Sunday when all our congregations gathered to worship together. This includes the Karen Community, Mabuhay (Filipino), Vietnamese Fellowships, as well as Hobart Vision Church (Korean). During the service, Yvette Ambrose was baptised.
The Vietnamese Christian Fellowship National Conference
From 11-14 April, almost 200 registrants from the mainland and Vietnam took over the building for their annual conference. Our Vietnamese Family Fellowship hosted the visitors.
Congratulations to Karen couple Pan Tay and Nya Le, who were married on Saturday 15th April by Joel Ortiz.
Pray for Christians in Kyiv
Pastor Anton, who we support in Kyiv, sent this message on 1st May. Please pray for him and the faithful people there who are providing hope, help and lodging for refugees: There was a missile attack 25km south of our refugee centre. Some of our men have been working in the rescue team and were able to help save some of the people in the attack.
Associate Pastor Matt Henderson was inducted at Hobart Baptist Church in February 2022, so it’s high time to find out about him. Read on to discover where he came from, and what his ride has been like over the last year.
I was born in Fairfield, Sydney but I’ve lived in Tasmania since I was very young. My family moved around a lot and we lived in many homes right across Hobart. I also spent a lot of my childhood on my grandparent’s farm in Geeveston. Tasmania was a wonderful place to grow up, and although I considered moving interstate as a young adult, I’m now very glad that I stayed here.
I love the ‘smallness’ of Tasmania. Our community here in Tasmania is still small enough that it is possible to build and maintain strong and close-knit communities. We are so blessed to live on an island with so much natural beauty, and because Tasmania is so small, all of that natural beauty is accessible in a way you can’t find in many places in Australia, or anywhere else. Kylie and I believe that Tasmania is the best place in the world to raise children.
I grew up in a very loving family. My older sister has a disability, and because of this I grew up with a different perspective about diversity, inclusion and people with special needs. My wife, Kylie, and I met at a young people’s Bible study, eventually marrying in December 2006. Kylie and I have two boys, Daniel (15) and David (10). Both of our sons are on the Autism Spectrum. I also have an older son, Isaac (23). Kylie and I recently became grandparents. Our granddaughter’s name is Dawn.
Kylie works as Citywide’s Accounts Manager, and does similar work for HBC as a volunteer. Kylie feels led to serve churches in the area of finance, and she also assists a couple of other churches in the Baptist Union in this area.
I was raised in a Christian family and became a Christian when I was nine, on a children’s camp at the Blue Lagoon Christian Campsite. Unfortunately, I had negative experiences of churches as a child, and did not attend a church for a long time. I became serious and committed about my faith and working for Jesus in my mid-twenties when I became involved with a community of Christian young adults and families and got involved with children’s ministry and camps.
Growing up, my family attended very traditional Brethren churches. I was attending Eastern Shore Brethren Assembly when I met Kylie, who was a new Christian attending there because her mum attended there. After we got married, we attended another Brethren church in Hobart, where I worked for a year as the Sunday School coordinator. However, we became increasingly uncomfortable with the teaching around the role of women in these churches. Then, after Daniel was born and began exhibiting early signs of being on the Autism Spectrum, we felt increasingly excluded from that community.
We spent a lot of time un-churched, as we didn’t know how to navigate fitting into a church community as a special needs family.
Finding a Church Home
We really struggled to find a church that was accepting of a special needs family. However, when we visited Citywide’s Lenah Valley campus in 2015, we were immediately blown away by how welcoming and accepting the people there were. We became part of a church family there for the first time. When Matt Garvin arrived in 2017, he showed both myself and Kylie a way of following Jesus that lit a fire for both of us to become more active in serving.
At Citywide I discovered, developed and built my skills, stepping into areas of service and leadership I had previously shied away from. While there, we experienced Christian community in a very different, and much more fulfilling way, than I had ever experienced before. We became more open as individuals, more open as a family, and more willing to share with others.
As a result of encouragement at Citywide, I got some theological training. This challenged me to develop and practice leadership skills While there, I learned a lot about being part of a community of Jesus followers. I learned that I had leadership skills and I learned a lot about teamwork and church governance.
Our time at Citywide was a pivotal time of personal growth for both myself and for Kylie. We grew up spiritually there, and some very special people mentored us. Citywide is a place and community we will always have tremendous love for.
What Matt does now
Now, I am the Associate Pastor at Hobart Baptist Church. I wear many hats, and it’s both challenging and a lot of fun. My first job is to learn. This is my first time serving in pastoral ministry, and there are a lot of mistakes to be made, and a lot of learning to do. I see my most important task as building relationships within the church community.
Our senior pastor, Stephen Baxter, has a lot of big picture stuff to do with Tas Baptists, so I try to handle as many of the small picture, but just as important, details at Hobart Baptist Church (HBC). Much of my work involves liaising between different teams.
I oversee HBC church service planning, including our livestreaming, and a lot of our social media interactions. As well, I work with Stephen on our vision and direction for HBC, and our teaching plan and roster. I also do fairly regular preaching at HBC.
Leaving a church community like Citywide where we had built up deep roots over seven years was a very costly and difficult change for us. However, we have found the community at HBC to be welcoming, accepting and full of wonderful people. The culture is very different and adjusting has taken a little while for us.
I am still adjusting to working in pastoral ministry. Thankfully, I love the challenge and it is a blessing to have a great mentor to work with in Stephen. I am quite introverted, so there are many aspects of my work I find challenging, but also rewarding.
From a family standpoint, working pastorally with special needs children is a different kind of challenge. It would be fair to say that even after a full year here, we are still adjusting – but its been largely positive.
It’s all about P-E-O-P-L-E
What’s the best piece of advice I’ve been given? Building a strong church community is not about structures or programs, it’s about the people and what Jesus is doing in their lives.
Kylie and I would both appreciate prayer for managing the balance between our ministry work, and the needs of our family.
Short ‘n’ Sweet
I am looking forward to . . . seeing people grow in their relationship with Jesus.
I am worried about . . . how negative the public voice of Christianity often is.
I am confident that . . . as I learn, I will make a lot of mistakes.
I am joyful about . . . the rich diversity at Hobart Baptist Church.
I would like to change . . . how we think about disability and inclusion in the church.
As the State Leader for Tasmania, it is my privilege to relocate to Tasmania for the month of May to walk alongside* our Baptist churches.
First and foremost, I seek to listen and learn what God’s people in Tasmania are experiencing as they step out in mission – across the street and around the world!
I’m also honoured to be sharing in church gatherings each Sunday across May and attending pastors’ gatherings and Tas Baptist events throughout the month.
I’m also honoured to be sharing in church gatherings each Sunday across May
I would also hope to visit with anyone interested in intercultural mission (local and global) or curious about the work of Baptist Mission Australia as we adapt our organisation to a rapidly changing world mission context.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with a phone call, text or email to arrange a time with me. I will be in the North West for the first 10 days, then around Launceston for the next 10 days, finishing my time with just over a week in the South of the state.
In the Northwest (Ulverstone). 30th April to 10th May
30.4.23—Wynyard Baptist Church
5.5.23—Tas Baptists Assembly (Newstead)
6.5.23—Tas Baps Assembly (Newstead)
7.5.23—Ulverstone Baptist Church
In the North (Launceston – Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies). 10th to 22ndMay
10.5.23—Launceston Pastors’ coffee catchup
14.5.23—Newstead Baptist Church
17.5.23—Launceston Pastors’ coffee catchup
21.5.23—Gateway Baptist Church
In the South (Hobart). 22ndto 29thMay
28.5.23—Citywide Baptist Church
I am looking forward to meeting with as many Tasmanian Baptists as possible, and walking alongside during May.
VIDEO: Watch below to find out more about Alongsiders.
Baptist Mission Australia is intentionally developing an “alongsider”approach.
We do this around the world as our intercultural team members come alongside people in their local communities and embody the good news by word and deed, in ways that make sense in that culture.
We’re also committed to doing this as we come alongside mission partners across the world and in Australia. This is identified in our 2021-2025 Strategic Roadmap where we envisage “new dynamic missional-focused partnerships with Baptist associations and churches across our Australian movement.”
Following conversations with Tasmanian Baptist leaders, engagement with churches and our own discernment processes, we sense God’s Spirit encouraging us to make ourselves available to journey with Tasmanian Baptists on your missional reimagination journey.
[From the ‘Tasmanian Baptists Alongsider Statement’, May 2022]
First and foremost, I seek to listen and learn what God’s people in Tasmania are experiencing as they step out in mission – across the street and around the world! I’m also honoured to be sharing in church gatherings each Sunday across May and attending pastor gatherings and association events throughout the month.
I would also hope to visit with anyone interested in intercultural mission (local and global) or curious about the work of Baptist Mission Australia as we adapt our organisation to a rapidly changing world mission context.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with a phone call, text or email to arrange a time with me. I will be in the North West 30th April-10th May. Then around Launceston 10th May to 22nd May. And will finish my time in the South of the state from 22nd May to 29th May.
Following conversations with Tasmanian Baptist leaders, engagement with churches and our own discernment processes, we sense God’s Spirit encouraging us to make ourselves available to journey with Tasmanian Baptists on your missional reimagination journey.
A call for prayer via Australian Baptist Ministries
The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation condemns in the strongest terms possible the recent aerial bombing of civilian villages in Pazikyi, Kanbalu of Sagaing region in Myanmar, which resulted in the deaths of over 100 innocent civilians.
This attack is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life.
As members of the Baptist World Alliance, who stand for justice, peace, and respect for human dignity, we are deeply saddened at this heinous act. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their loved ones, homes and belongings in this inhumane attack.
We ask our member conventions and churches to pray for the people of Myanmar during these difficult times and to stand in solidarity with them as they seek justice and peace.
There is so much going on at Longford! To find out more, or to attend/participate in any of these ministries please check their website (riverlands.org.au), call 6391 2202, or email email@example.com. Office hours are 9am-12pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
10-11am Mondays and Tuesdays, Libraries Tasmania, Adult Literacy – during school term)
11am-12pm Mondays, Prayer Group
10am-12pm Tuesdays, Threads of Friendship
5.30-9pm Tuesdays Young Adults Group – off site
10am-12pm Wednesdays, Bible Small Group
9.30-11.30 am Thursdays, Stay & Play – during school terms
3-5pm Thursdays, Girls Youth Group – during school terms
11.30am-1.30pm. Thursdays, Bible Discovery Group
7-8.30pm Thursdays, Bible Small Group – fortnightly, off-site
10.30am-12pm Fridays, Neighbours – fortnightly
7-9.pm Fridays, Riverlands Youth group – 3rd Friday of each month, during school terms
11am-1pm Fridays, Meals on Wheels – operate Monday-Friday each week
Grief Companion Training
Do you know people who are grieving? Would you like to learn how to support them? You could attend this seminar, being run by New Mornings at Ulverstone Baptist.
WHEN 9:30am-430pm, Saturdays 20th May AND 3rd June 2023 COST Day 1 only – $75 (Conc. $55) ) | Days 1 + 2 – $120 (Conc. $85) WHERE Ulverstone Baptist Church Hall, 60 Alexandra Road, Ulverstone, 7315 INFO Contact New Mornings: firstname.lastname@example.org | 03 6411 6212 OR download the flyer:
More than ever, the people of Myanmar need to know that others stand with them. They need to know they are not forgotten.
Two years on from a military coup, Myanmar is rocked by violence, oppression and instability. The economy has collapsed, there are severe shortages of food, fuel and other basic supplies. Families are forced to separate, churches continue to be damaged. Pastors have been arrested. The military continue to ignore basic human rights.
Since the coup, more than 3000 people have been killed and 16,000 people detained. Almost 1.6 million people are displaced within Myanmar and 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar live in refugee camps on the Thai and Indian borders and within other towns in Thailand and India.
Please invite your faith community in sacrificially giving to ourStand with Myanmar appeal, so that together we can make a tangible and practical difference in the lives of people who continue to live with trauma and uncertainty.
What’s Going on – City Baptist
City Baptist Church in Launceston has people, as well as activities that people can connect with relationally.
Street chaplain (Stephen Avery), coming alongside those in need on our streets
Housing provided for refugees (Ivan James)
The homeless and those fleeing Family and Domestic Violence (Kay Hunter)
Climate activism (Sally Staley, Wendy Miller and friends)
Drop in Centre in the Red Dove Café 6pm-7pm Saturdays, 52 weeks per year (Jeff McKinnon).
City Baptist Community Garden – 69 Station Rd, St Leonards (Steve and Marie Pearce)
Learning Circle (hosted by Garry Billing and Jeff McKinnon) for those wanting to grow in discipleship, spirituality and mission (three-week sessions)
Young adult dinners with Jenna Blackwell
Friday Frolics – Intergenerational social outing on last Friday of the month (Merelyn Briton)
Friday/Saturday 5th/6th May, Newstead Baptist (NB new venue!)
The May Assembly is coming up very fast! All Tasmanian Baptist churches are eligible to have at least two voting delegates in attendance, plus pastors and Tas Baptist Council Members. As well, interested individuals are welcome to attend. However, all attendees do need to register.
Assembly papers will be sent to Church Secretaries via email on Thursday 6th April.
Payments and registrations will be due to the Tasmanian Baptist office by Monday 5th May 2023. As well as the regular registration process, we are trialing an online payment/registration system. So watch out for that!
This Changes Everythingis an Easter series that’s ready to go. There are message outlines that you can take, leave or adapt. But the bonus is the artwork for promoting and inviting, easily editable to include your church details. All free, because Crossover is here to help you share Jesus.
Ally & Sally is the shortest soap opera you’ve ever seen! 3x 1-min episodes you can show in church, or embed in your weekly email, or both. Each episode can stand alone, but the story builds – and twists – with a positive encouragement to share our great news. Perfect for showing right before promoting the Easter Offering in the three weeks leading up to Easter!