Church Profile: Latrobe Baptist
Latrobe’s Community Ministries
Impacting hundreds of people
Following the ministry of Ken and Gae Preece (1998 – 2011), Rev. Ralph Terry, and his wife Nelleka, took on oversight of the church. Yes, Latrobe Baptist is excellently located in the town centre, but ministry in this century is not easy.
With a largely ageing congregation, we have been blessed in having new people come amongst us, with some joining with us in membership.
Chat ‘n’ Choose
Outreach at Latrobe Baptist is in good health. Thanks to the hard work of Glenis Smith, Fay Horne, Peter Creeley and Glad Purdy over many years a strong craft group, Chat ‘n’ Choose, has developed.
Glenis and Glad, retired from leading CnC in February this year, and now both reside in nursing homes. So Nelleka, and our new Church Secretary Lorraine Sheppard, took on running the ministry, with 40-60 attending each week. They do various crafts including hardanger embroidery, knitting, crochet, smocking, macramé and woodturning.
In 2012 the church applied to the Latrobe Council for permission and help in establishing a Men’s Shed. The council said, “Yes”, and provided over $30,000 to move existing sewage lines prior to the construction of a $40,000 shed. Funds also came from the Tasmanian Government Community fund.
As time went on, the church obtained many more grants for equipment and extensions, including two from Baptcare. Over the past eight years, over 60 men joined the shed, and together have now completed over 460 community projects. This ministry provides much goodwill and great contact with the people of Latrobe.
In 2019 (just prior to Covid), the Latrobe Council and the local Primary School approached the church to consider starting a Community Playgroup. We were grateful to the Lord for opening yet another avenue for witness, and hence Council provided us with a $2000 grant to help get it started.
Since commencing (despite the challenges of Covid) we have made contact with over 40 families and some 60 children. Between 6 and 20 children attending Playgroup each week, with a team of helpers headed by Lorraine and Nelleka, enjoying much new fellowship each week.
It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to bring in new people, so that Latrobe Baptist will remain as a vibrant witness for our Lord and Saviour to the community.
A Generational Legacy
By Latrobe Secretary, Lorraine Sheppard
The Latrobe Baptist Church was opened in 1892 and stands in the middle of the town of Latrobe as a witness of God’s love to the people of the town.
There have been hundreds of faithful people who have called Latrobe Baptist their spiritual home over all those years. The Walker family have been at the church since 1968 and three generations continue to play an active part in our fellowship.
During 2021, Iris Walker reached the wonderful milestone of her 90th birthday, and here is some of her story.
Iris and Reg
Iris was born in Ulverstone and as a young girl went to the Methodist church. Her family moved to Wilmot, where she met her future husband, Reg. Reg was working at this time as a Home Missionary with the Methodist Church. After marrying, the couple moved around the state where Reg farmed. They raised eight children and when, in 1968, the older ones needed more schooling, they moved from Frankford to Latrobe.
Latrobe Baptist became their home church, and Iris and Reg became very active members. Reg was a deacon, elder, and Church Secretary for many years. Iris was very involved in the women’s work as Secretary, President and involved in the kitchen. She says that the church was a wonderful, friendly, family church. Reg retired early, and the two spent about 20 years travelling around Australia, but Latrobe was still home.
Continuing to share God’s love
Now, Iris has 26 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, with more on the way! Her love for her Lord has been a witness to all the family. This is evident in the fact that so many of the family are followers of Christ. What a wonderful Christian legacy.
Greg was a young boy when the family settled in Latrobe, and did his schooling in Latrobe. He now works in the building industry. He met Jill at a Youth Banquet while attending the Ulverstone Baptist Church. Ever since, the couple has been involved in the life of the Latrobe Church.
In the days of Boy’s Brigade, Youth Groups and Sunday School, Greg and Jill were there, sharing the love of the Lord. Greg followed his father’s example, and is now a Deacon of the church.
The next generation sees Kiran, son of Greg and Jill, as a Deacon and the Church Treasurer. He also runs the Bible Study and works in the youth activities. Kiran is still studying, as well as doing computer programming. Kiran’s sister, Naomi, and brother, Caleb, are very much an active part of the church and the whole family are very valued members of the Latrobe Baptist Church.
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