PROFILE: Summerhill Baptist Church
In this issue of ADVANCE | step by step we begin a new series of church profiles, starting with Summerhill Baptist in Launceston
Firstly, read an overview from the pastor, Maddy Svoboda. Then continue scrolling for a couple of highlights from members Roger and Jess Radford.
From the Pastor: Maddy Svoboda
Hello! My name is Matthew (Maddy) Svoboda and I am the pastor of Summerhill Baptist Church in Launceston. I've been married to Imogen for eight years and we have three children: Evie (5), Angus (2) and we have just welcomed Reuben into the tribe 2 months ago.
I grew up in Launceston (my grandparents lived around the corner from Summerhill Baptist for my whole life) and I was not a follower of Jesus until I was 18.
Summerhill Baptist and community impact
The Summerhill Baptist building sits on the Stanley Street roundabout in Summerhill, alongside a school and a medical centre. We have a mentoring partnership with the school where people from the church are trained up to walk with a student in need for an hour a week.
We've run family movie nights, sausage sizzles and community fun days for the school community, as well as a high school youth ministry that engages primarily with youth from Prospect High School.
At the end of last year, we partnered with Scripture Union to run a community outreach for the Hazara (ethnic and Muslim group from Afghanistan) people in our community and will continue those throughout 2021.
We are also in the beginning of a partnership with the medical centre as they use our facilities for 'flu vaccinations. We would like to see this develop in order to see holistic health throughout the community of Summerhill.
One of the big challenges for us at Summerhill is knowing how to navigate these new cultural waters with boldness and humility. There has been rapid discontinuous change within our society, and it can leave us wondering how we engage with our friends, family members, work colleagues and neighbours with the good news of Jesus.
There can also be a tension between wanting our people to be involved in church community life, be invested in the relationships they naturally have with people not following Jesus, as well as taking care of themselves and their family. There are a lot of priorities in our lives, and it is a challenge to avoid overloading people, as well as call them to service and mission.
What I see in the future
I am excited by what I see taking place at Summerhill.
We have a spread of ages and generations making up our congregation. My desire is that we would dive deeply into the call to be a family of God, with older generations and younger generations not merely existing in the same space but flourishing together.
- I want to see us lean into the location and place God has given us, and to seek the peace and prosperity of our community.
- I want to see us grow and develop even more into a community, offering open-hearted acceptance to those around us.
- I want to see God's kingdom, coming to Summerhill.
Pictured, Maddy and Imogen with their growing family
By Roger and Jess Radford
COVID-19 . . . all change!
A big highlight for Summerhill Baptist has been moving into our "New" hall. We built it a few years ago, but we're still working through the process of using it for Sunday services.
After lockdown, our old hall no longer met our requirements as we could not all fit, under capacity requirements. With all our gear in the old building it meant we had to get back to basics, with initially a small sound system, a worship leader and singer up front. So it was very refreshing to strip worship back to a "minimum viable product" and slowly build as restrictions have lifted.
Our worship team up front has gradually grown over time. Adding members slowly gave us a chance to test and learn what works well for us in our new building.
Moving to the new building has allowed us to grow our Creche and Kidz Church program in our old building, dramatically improving the size and suitability of the area available to them.
COVID restrictions also challenged us on how we get together after a service. Our foyer is now much too small to congregate for a chat, so we recently had our second church picnic at Punchbowl reserve. As a "Bring your own everything" event, it was a simple way for us to all hang out after church without a lot of planning and administration required.
At the picnics--through conversation, food, footy, frisbee and vortex--we've much fun had!
Coming up, on Sunday 7th March, we will participate in Clean Up Australia Day by cleaning up one of our local parks after our service, and then having another picnic.
Colder weather will again challenge our newfound love of picnics, but we are looking forward to seeing what we will come up with next!
Pictured, The Radford Family: Back - Jess and Lily; Front - Ira and Roger
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ADVANCE | step by step, February/March 2021
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