All About Penny Clark, LifeWay Devonport

Penny Clark Interview
Advance Dec-20, Penny Clark

New Appointment

interview:

Penny Clark, with husband Adam at LifeWay Baptist church
Penny Clark, Associate Pastor (Emerging Generations) with Adam

Penny Clark was recently appointed to the ministry team at LifeWay Baptist in Devonport as Emerging Generations Pastor.

Who is she and where does she come from? Read on!

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

I grew up in St. Marys which is in between Fingal and St. Helens on the East Coast. Growing up there was very open-ended. I was quite sheltered from mainstream culture and my parents are both artists, so they made a world for us, which involved lots of nature, free play and traditions. It was quite isolating, but we definitely felt like we belonged in a tight-knit community.
It taught me to view the world differently. My parents were both quite poor, but it never bothered me. I feel like this has taught me to be generous where we can as a family, and hold possessions loosely.

When and why did you move to the northwest?

My husband Adam and I moved to Ulverstone in 2001 when we both applied for teaching positions. We met in Launceston but knew we wanted a quieter lifestyle. We were blessed to be working at the same Christian school, me as an art teacher and Adam as a 5/6 teacher. I have been incredibly blessed.

What do you enjoy most about living in Ulverstone?

The beach and bush. We are constantly in awe of this incredible landscape, and for me the sea is my equilibrium. I love raising our kids by the ocean, and that their memories will be tied into the beach. I also love our community. Ulverstone is such a welcoming place, and it has everything we need without crowds.

How did you become a Christian?

I grew up in a Christian home that encouraged debate and questioning. As a young child, I always felt drawn to know God, and felt a strong sense of awe and wonder in my Catholic parish.
I made a commitment as a 12-year-old at a Youth Alive camp, and again at 21 when Adam and I were baptised. I have always analysed church (we have been to a few in our marriage), and I love that my perspectives are listened to and considered.

Growing up in a small Catholic church we had a priest for a long time, but by the time I was 10 or 11 we had a Sister run our parish for many years. This has definitely impacted my view of women in the church and I am indebted to her. I also attended Spiritual Direction since I was 16, which I can see now is pretty unique!

What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Best piece of advice: make your own boundaries and stick to them--because no one else will do it for you. Penny Clark

I pick up so much advice and store it all away for different seasons! This week I was so impacted by a friend’s advice of “make your own boundaries and stick to them–because no one else will do it for you”.
This idea had never actually occurred to me, I always sort assumed people would only ask me certain things without stretching me, but experience has taught me that everyone has different boundaries and ideas of ‘what is OK’. With young kids, I especially need to be careful of my commitments.

When people ask you how you spend your time, what do you say?

Ha ha! So many things! I’m a mama to Archie and Laila so I spend a portion of my time cooking, cleaning, packing lunches (which is the worst!) Adam helps me a lot with this too.
I also spend time exercising, reading and being with people. I love being around others, especially talking about deeper issues and listening to suffering.
Archie joined our family as a biological child, and Laila through foster care. Fostering our Lai has been one of the most rewarding and impactful things I’ve ever done. It has also been, and continues to be, the most stretching and difficult. I am incredibly passionate about the burden and blessing of fostering. I also work for a not-for-profit organisation in community outreach and mentoring.

What is your role in the Baptist Church?

I’m still in awe about my role, and I’m blessed beyond words. I am “Penny Clark, Emerging Generations Associate Pastor”. When I am at work I get to play with kids, relate to them, pray with and for them, and walk alongside them. Personally, I had a few very key people in my faith journey, and they all dropped-in during my childhood. I am so honoured that I get to be that person for some precious children. Hopefully, I will also reach out to Mamas as they carry such a heavy load. I carry it too, and I think I have picked up some ideas and experience that might help others.

What excites you most about what you do?

I think in a nutshell, bringing God’s peace and healing to others and helping to make our church an inclusive and exciting space for children. I am hoping to start a small ‘art group’ for younger girls, as well some retreat-style days for older teens. As well as facilitate the LifeWay Kids Ministry with my awesome volunteers.

What challenges do you have as you do this work?

At this stage, it’s organisation and juggling. I am a creative at heart, and I find it really hard to stay disciplined and organised. My wonderful husband Adam has taught and coached me a LOT with this and I know there’s no way I could juggle all I am doing without his unwavering support. I plan to set some structure around my time so I can work efficiently.

So Penny Clark, How can we pray for you and your work?

Pray for balance, connections and opportunities to rest at the end of the year. 2020 has been a huge year for so many, and our family has had a big year of transition and change.

Short and Sweet – Penny Clark

I am looking forward to … 2021 and meeting new families, as well as investing in the beautiful ones in front of me

I am worried about … Gosh, nothing really! Having too much fun at work?

I am confident that … God has placed me on this path for a reason, despite the pain I might have been through to get here.

I am joyful about … At the moment, it’s our pending summer. When it finally arrives!

I would like to change … society’s view of children. There would be so many less-wounded adults.

I am at my best when … I am with people, doing something creative.

Penny Clark with children at an Advent Art Workshop
Penny at the Advent Art workshops held by LifeWay, Devonport in December 2020

Visit LifeWay Baptist >>>

Latrobe Baptist Men’s Shed

Latrobe Men's Shed new lathe
Advance Oct-Nov-20, Latrobe Men's Shed

missional initiative:

Community Project with Built-in Opportunities

The Latrobe Men’s Shed is a community project of the Latrobe Baptist Church. The basic premise of the shed is to provide an informal place, where men can spend a couple of hours meeting new friends whilst engaging in manual activity or for simply just to chat over cuppa.

The generous support of the Latrobe City Council made the erection of the shed, at the rear of the Church property, possible; plus a grant of $40,000 from the Tasmanian Community Fund; grants from local businesses; and the financial support of the Latrobe Baptist Church itself.

2013, saw the erection of a new shed. The demolition of the old shed, and subsequent rebuild, took 1163 manhours, much of the time given voluntarily.

Latrobe Men's Shed, some of the crew
Some of the crew
Latrobe Men's Shed new lathe
New work bench

The nuts and bolts of the Latrobe Men’s Shed

The men meet at the shed on Fridays from 9am to 1pm, with a tool-box meeting at 10am and a barbecue at noon. Members are encouraged to spend one third of their time on charity and community projects, one third of their time on Shed maintenance and one third of their time on their own projects.

Participants can at all times find someone to have a talk to, including the Pastor of the Latrobe Church, the Rev. Ralph Terry who is always in attendance.

The Shed takes in projects from the local community. The first project was the refurbishment of Kinder furniture for the Sassafras Primary School.

Apart from getting to know each other, the men learn how to use equipment and how to make useful items. To facilitate this there are, at times, skilled tradesmen in attendance who teach skills such as wood turning. Pursuits include general woodwork, mechanical repairs, jewellery, and antique restorations.

Latrobe Baptsist Men's shed, new picnic table for delivery
New picnic table for delivery
Latrobe Men's Shed new lathes
Men work on lathes

For all creatures, great and small

In all, the Latrobe Men’s Shed has completed 360 projects including the already mentioned Primary School furnishings, small cars for Operation Christmas Child, widow’s gardens, 30 Billy-carts, garden seats, gymnasium boxes, bird feeders, wood turning projects, two kitchen renovations, letter boxes, a pig pen and rabbit hutches.

A committee of five runs the shed, and 57 men have joined since its beginning. There are those who have taken on the tasks of Property Officers, Auditor of the financial records, and general helpers.

Naturally, the work came to an abrupt end earlier this year with the onset of the Corona virus, but it reopened again on 20 June, after a three-month break.

Let’s remember to pray for Rev. Ralph Terry, and others at Latrobe Baptist, as they provide friendship, support and encouragement for men in their community using the Latrobe Men’s Shed.

Latrobe Men's Shed, tools down for a barbie
Tools down! Time to fire up the barbie for lunch

Laurie Rowston writes about Latrobe Men's Shed

Laurie Rowston
Tas Baptists’ Historian and
occasional writer

FAITH WALK: Through the Puddles

Finding a Way Through COVID-19

By Jenny Baxter

This year, 2020, has held surprises for all of us.

I was a little ahead of the curve, slowing down to a stop back in January, when I suddenly burnt out. Even now in October, I am recovering from decades of overwork, and “pushing through” habits. It’s caused me to stop and reflect on so many memories growing up. I’ve begun to understand what makes me tick, and be grateful for the many coping strategies I am now either putting to rest, or affirming.

Just this week, I’ve remembered something my Dad taught my sisters and me.

On our occasional weekends away, we’d sometimes hike along wet and muddy bush tracks, and Dad would explain how to navigate the puddles we came across every so often.

“Usually, the best way to tackle a puddle is right through the middle,” he’d say. “People generally don’t tread there, and the bottom is not as soft as the mud around the edges.”

“Usually, the best way to tackle a puddle is right through the middle”

I remember trying it, disbelieving him. And to my surprise, more often than not, the ground was firm. Rocky even.

As I reflected on his practical wisdom this week, I’ve realised Dad’s words are such an allegory for the Christian life. Because so often we choose to avoid the “muddy puddles” of life, and instead, walk gingerly in the treacherous mud alongside them.

And likewise, it is so easy to choose the path that everyone else takes during this unusual year, instead of the one Jesus wants you to take – through the water. I remembered I can confidently take a step of faith into the murky water, and discover there is rock there, just beneath the surface. Jesus’ strength supports me in the middle of the mess. He is used to mess. He knows I need his loving embrace.

All he does is ask me to come to him. To take a step into the great unknown. It’s very different to what others do!

And now I live, trusting he has me safely in his care, even during this pandemic year.

Faith and Confidence

It’s like the writer to the Hebrews noted that faith is about being confident in what we DON’T see.

So, my encouragement to you today is to follow me and take the leap of faith! Step into your muddy puddle! It’s still messy. But as you step, Jesus will hold you up. And it’s so much better than falling in a heap in your own slippery wisdom and failings.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Jenny Baxter

Jenny Baxter is the State Director for Tasmanian Baptist Women. She has five grown up kids (three of them in Melbourne!) and attends Hobart Baptist Church with her husband, Stephen. She walks on the beach most days, and is learning to take it slowly. At last.

Artway Studio and Café

September/October 2020

Gateway Baptist Launceston

The Artway Studio and Cafe is a ministry of Gateway Baptist Church in Launceston which seeks to use artwork and hospitality as a means of drawing other community members onto the church campus, enabling members to interact with them.

The studio is open between 11am and 3pm Tuesday to Thursday of each week. It offers a display of almost 100 pieces of artwork. Live music plays while volunteers serve lunch, stimulating conversation with artists. The plan is to offer lunches by donation one day a week, and then extend to all three days as the weather warms up.

“Chatting the Gospel” at Artway Studio

The aim is to create a wonderful, attractive and peaceful atmosphere in which visitors feel relaxed and welcome. An open fire during the colder months, comfortable seating, Christian music, beautiful displays and friendly fellowship all help bring that to fruition. The artwork is a means to an end. It creates the opportunity to build relationships, overcome loneliness, show interest in people’s lives and ‘chat the Gospel’.

Artwork is for sale at the Artway studio, with part of the money raised supporting missions work both in Launceston, and overseas.

We expect to feature guest artist exhibitions from time to time.

Ps Noel Eagling
Studio Organiser
0447555335

Artway studio and cafe. Launceston
Artway Studio opening
Artway studio and cafe. Launceston
Main exhibition space

Nepali Student Support program

Hobart Nepali Church

Supporting Nepali students during a difficult era

Citywide Baptist – Mornington/Lenah Valley/nepali

When COVID-19 shut down workplaces in Hobart, some of the people most seriously affected were the many foreign students. These people were dependant on part-time jobs to supplement money they received from family at home. For most, COVID-19 was a double whammy, as jobs disappeared and families could no longer afford to send money.

Many students from Nepal lost jobs and had no government support, so Pastors Paul and Suraj (Citywide Nepali congregation) responded. The need they saw was great. They began organising food parcels from their own funds. As they began doing this very simple thing, it became clear that the need was massive.

Citywide: Supporting Nepali students

Paul and Matt Garvin recorded a brief conversation on Facebook to alert our whole statewide online church family to the need . . . and the bags of rice started flooding in.

One of the people who saw our conversation was a friend who works for Samaritan’s Purse. The organisation provided $30,000, which we turned into vouchers at the local Nepalese store for the students and families. See photos below.

The consequence? The little Nepali congregation, led by former refugees, has moved to a position of leadership in the broader Nepalese-speaking community. Some families have started attending the church as a result of the care they received in their time of need.

Matt Garvin
Senior Pastor, Citywide

Below: Presentation of food vouchers to Nepali students
Supporting Nepali students
Supporting Nepali students