PROFILE: Perth Baptist Church
Perth Baptist Church Profile
Generations of Legacy
Long ago, Perth Baptist Tabernacle had its foundation stone laid on the 8th August 1888. This was thanks to incredibly generous support by local pastoralists William and Mary Ann Gibson. Their legacy continues . . .
Church Administrator, Tony Hart, compiled this profile, with help from long-time member Fay Bunton, and others.
Perth Baptist: The Present
In March 2020 the Leadership of the church met and made the decision to close due to Covid-19. When it happened, one leader said, ‘If we close, we may never reopen’. At that time the church had an average attendance of about 45 to 50 mostly people aged over 70.
During the closure, we kept in touch with every person. Then, we came back with a new enthusiasm! We have since grown to an average attendance of 55 to 60, with several middle-aged people joining us. Recently, we had at least six people at our service who are currently seekers – all at different stages. They all need Jesus.
Most of these seekers were introduced to the church through the Alpha Community Meal activity we ran in October to December last year. On the last night we had about 45 people sit down for dinner and listen to the Gospel from the Alpha course.
Tuesday nights – We are open!
From about April last year, we were offered left over bread by a local baker each Tuesday. We opened the Hall to the community on Tuesday nights, and saw God provide fresh fruit and vegetables and pre-cooked meals.
Then, Eskleigh Home [local disability support service] ran a cooking activity for their residents, packed what they cooked, and gave it to us! The activity has grown beyond expectations with many needy people coming, while others in the community come for a chat.
On the Saturday before Christmas 2022, we arranged a Community Picnic. We had over 300 people come and be part of it. They then came to our Christmas Carol Service that night – over 200 people filled the church to overflowing!
On the last Sunday in February, we commenced what will be a regular Sunday evening activity. There will be a meal once a month, and afternoon tea on the other weeks. The content will be The Chosen television series.
We are open to see what God will do as we work to see His Kingdom Come in Perth.
READ MORE about the beginnings of Baptist work in Tasmania, written by Laurie Rowston.
HISTORY OF THE PERTH TABERNACLE provided by Perth Baptist church.
Tony Hart IS ENCOURAGED ABOUT THE FUTURE:
I was recently called by the church’s bank which was conducting an anti-money laundering audit amongst not-for-profit organisations. Many questions. One was to determine the church’s assets which I answered by saying that we have to insure our buildings for about $2 million. This was followed by a question as to how the church got the money for a Church, a Hall and a house!
It reminded me how God has worked at Perth Baptist, and given great encouragement for His continuing work.
Perth Baptist: The Past
Perth member, Fay Bunton, recalls her life in and around the church.
‘My grandparents moved to Perth in the early 1940’s. I would go and stay with them in the mid 1940’s and I went to church with grandma.
“My grandfather would go and open both the front doors half an hour early. In the winter he would have little round electric heaters in both aisles, to help keep the congregation warm in the cold weather.
“As we entered the church everyone was given a hymn book, as numbers of hymns were displayed on the wall above the speaker.
“We would have Sunday School at 2:30pm in the Church Hall – at least 140 children would be there all set out for grades 1 to 6. Grandma was one of many teachers.”
Hive of activity
Fay married in 1960 and left Perth, but returned in the late 1980’s. Fay remembers when the church was a hive of activity – two services each Sunday, Sunday School, weddings, harvest festivals and Sunday School Anniversaries.
In the 1990’s Fay, and her sister Edna, ran the Sunday School in the vestry during morning service and recalls that the children could sing only when the church congregation sang.
Fay was part of a group who would visit the patients at Missiondale [City Mission residential facility in Evandale] and bring them to church. She recalls two patients from Missiondale coming to the Lord, marrying, and then moving to the northwest as part of the Mission Team.
The ‘best night’ Fay participated in was the Billy Graham Crusade Choir in 1959 at York Park. There, she witnessed hundreds come forward to give their life to Christ.
FAY’S PRAYER: That God’s church at Perth Baptist will continue to be a place of witness, where people can come and hear the Gospel.
Eskleigh Bible study
Fay also recalls going to the Eskleigh Home for people with a disability for Bible Study. As part of her visits to Eskleigh Fay befriended two residents – Stephen and Andrew. They were very good friends. After illness, Andrew passed away.
About a year later, when Stephen was not well, Fay told him that Andrew was now in a good place. Stephen said, ‘No he is not there yet, he is waiting for me so we can go together’. Stephen still comes to church each week with another eight residents and their four carers.
Fay’s daily prayer is that God’s church at Perth Baptist will continue to be a place of witness, where people can come and hear the Gospel.
 Launceston Examiner 1 May 1880, p5c7.
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