CHURCH PROFILE: Hobart Baptist
ADVANCE | step by step now features a series of church profiles. This issue it’s all about Hobart Baptist Church.
In this church profile, read an overview from the Church Secretary, Heather Galloway. Then continue scrolling for highlights from church member, Sonya Ambrose.
From the Church Secretary: Heather Galloway
That sounds simple, and I’m sure it would be if admin was my area of expertise, and if our church life was “normal”.
Jim and I have been married for nearly 39 years. We are both “retired”, have three lovely daughters (pictured), and we’ve just been blessed with three grandsons in under five months!
I am Tasmanian-born, my parents having emigrated from England post-WWII. To quote the late Graham Clements, I was “carried into this church as a baby”, and have grown up in the church with my family. I was baptised at the age of 20, and have been a member of HBC for 46 years!
My days of serving the church began by helping my father count the offering. He was Treasurer for five years until I was eight, so I clearly began at an early age! I guess that set the scene, and it’s probably not surprising I follow in his footsteps.
A tiny taste of heaven!
Hobart Baptist Church is a city church with a long history of engaging the City of Hobart in many ways. We continue to do so, trusting God, who calls us to serve the people here.
For well over 100 years migrants, and refugees from around the globe, have found welcome and “sanctuary”, making HBC their home. We’ve had an active refugee support team for 40 years, and the current ethnic diversity reflects that care, and a willingness to mirror what Heaven will look like. Joel Ortiz, our Multicultural Pastor supports us in that ministry.
Pictured: Back in 2014 we took a church photo which shows our diversity. It’s probably time for another one!
HBC in the political arena
In the past, politicians from all levels of government have been members of HBC. However now, our Senior Pastor Stephen Baxter, as Chair of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, can speak into Tasmania’s political arena in a different way.
I’ve discovered the value of having conversations with politicians from all sides of the spectrum.
HBC and The Arts
Some years ago, we expressed a desire to engage with the city through the Arts, and that has now begun! Artist-in-Residence Michael Henderson is using Dark Mofo as an opportunity to engage with the city with an art installation during our new Luminous Festival. The exhibition is titled Breathe, Shine and Seek to Mend. We’d love to see you if you can make it! (You can REGISTER HERE >>>)
This will create opportunities to have conversations to bring the Light of Jesus into the dark world. This year, our second Christmas in Winter will follow the Festival.
Becoming real: Our redevelopment dream
Over my lifetime at HBC there have been many changes, both in terms of the physical building, and the people of the church. For decades there have been dreams of improving the facilities.
Now, as Hobart Baptist nears the end of a substantial building redevelopment, it is easy to see why earlier dreams have not been fulfilled. There has been so much blood, sweat and tears involved! The redevelopment cost nearly $9m, and was a lot of extra work, and stress, for a small group of people, me included.
Pictured from left: New glass-doored entrance to foyer between “The Tab”, and old Soundy Building with doors to the new cafe; The apartments built on the back of the property; Forecourt works underway; New foyer nearly complete!
Why did we do it? We want people to see life in the building! To have facilities the community will find welcoming, thus providing opportunities to have conversations with people who would not normally enter a church building.
We began the redevelopment before Covid-19 changed our lives. Now, more than ever, we need to discern where God is leading us and to trust him. We have to discover the depth and breadth of our current church family, and what God is calling them to do in our new spaces, as we seek to be a prophetic voice in the City of Hobart.
Moving into the future
We’re in for an exciting time. There are so many opportunities right before us. I envisage the church alive through the week – I look forward to meeting friends in our cafe, having conversations, engaging with those around us, reaching out into the community, people coming to know Jesus, and others returning to the fold.
Where will I fit in? I’m not sure, but God knows. I trust him to give us the strength for the next phase of life of Hobart Baptist Church. Please pray that he will!
Sonya Ambrose participates in the Kids’ Church ministry and the Music team at Hobart Baptist church. She is the mother of five, and is married to Scott.
Last year, after several months of online worship, it was exciting to begin meeting together again in “The Tab” and seeing the faces of our wonderfully diverse congregation. In March we celebrated ‘Sanctuary Sunday’. We reflected on the way that HBC has long been a refuge for people of many different nationalities.
Our children particularly enjoyed the opportunity to resume Kids’ Church. Building developments have necessitated some re-shuffling of kids’ activities such as Kids’ Church and Boys’ Brigade, but the children have enjoyed using our new church hall for active games, singing, dancing and craft activities. Boys’ Brigade have temporarily moved to Hobart City Church of Christ, who have graciously accommodated approximately 30-40 energetic boys every Friday evening.
Our family were delighted to participate in several church gatherings over past months. ‘Meeting Jesus at the Beach’ was a big hit, with beach cricket, swimming, treasure hunt and some wonderfully dramatic and interactive storytelling of the house built upon the rock by our multicultural pastor Joel Ortiz dressed in flowing white robes. (He was “Jesus”!) More recently, our church families fellowshipped together at Bellerive park for lunch and kids’ activities.
Our HBC family have been observing the building redevelopment with eager anticipation. Whilst it has been a long, and sometimes painful process, we can rejoice that the end is now in sight. We are hopeful that our new facilities will provide exciting new opportunities for connecting with and serving our city.
Pictured: The Ambrose Family – Scott, Sonya and their children
Read more of the June 2021 ADVANCE | step by step