Church Profile: Latrobe Baptist

Latrobe Baptist church profile, photo credit Duncan Grant 2018
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our church:

Latrobe’s Community Ministries

Impacting hundreds of people
Latrobe Baptist Info

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.

Latrobe Baptist farewell Glenis and Glad
Farewell to Glenis and Glad: L-R Glad, Sandra (Glad’s daughter), Glenis, Fay. Latrobe pastor, Rev. Ralph Terry is at the lectern
Men’s Shed

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.

Latrobe Baptist grant presentation
Latrobe Men’s Shed receiving grant funding

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. 

Community Playgroup
Latrobe Baptist hall set  up for the Playgroup
Latrobe Baptist hall set up for the Playgroup

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.  

Latrobe Baptist Playgroup

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.

Iris Walker turns 90

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.

Back: Kiran Walker, Jill Walker Front: Naomi Walker, Iris Walker and Greg Walker

READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | STEP BY STEP

ADVANCE | step by step – Sept/Oct 2021

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September/October 2021 No. 4

Released 21st October 2021

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September/October 2021 No. 3

Released 7th October 2021

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Advance SeptOct 21-3
  • Food for Thought Bob Goolsby (George Town) considers Our Divine Purpose
  • Global Disaster Zones Haiti | Myanmar | Afghanistan
  • Crossover Australia latest update
  • NEED TO KNOW Prof. Patrick Parkinson at Assembly | Tasmania Celebration Launch | Christian Book of the Year

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September/October 2021 No. 2

Released 23rd September 2021

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Advance step by step Sept Oct 2021 No. 2
  • Anthea Maynard Q&A Interview
  • Baptist World Day of Prayer for Women
  • Pastors and Leaders Muster – Report
  • NEED TO KNOW Book Review | Covid Vaccinations | Operation Christmas Child – How to pack a box

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September/October 2021 No. 1

Released 9th September 2021

READ September/October 2021 ADVANCE No. 1 HERE >>>

Advance SeptOct 2021 No. 1
  • Brave New World Reading the signs of the times – Stephen Baxter
  • Church Profile City Baptist Launceston
  • Engaging with your Community – Michael Henderson
  • Need to Know EmpowHer Walk | Stand Sunday | Calling All Artists | BWA Ethical Fashion Report

READ No. 1 HERE >>>


PROFILE: City Baptist, Launceston

Climate Scarf 7 August 2021

Big changes are heralded at City Baptist in this Sept/Oct 2021 ADVANCE | step by step. Read first of all an overview of the shift. And then a reflection about the changes from Gary Billing, below.

Planning for the Unseen

Change is in the wind for City Baptist as they work on their “Makeover Vision”
City Baptist Congregation
Sunday Morning at City Baptist

City Baptist Church, in the centre of Launceston, is preparing to undergo profound change. You may have heard that the Frederick Street property is on the market. You may not have heard that the church has also just called two younger women onto staff.

So what’s going on?

Hard decisions and a faithful response

Last November the church faced the necessity of some hard decisions. The congregation’s response once again has proved its courage and boldness. For some years they had sought to be a community of disciples based on the scriptures.

Serious discipleship led them to befriend those in greatest need – especially the street community and the refugee community. Mission, in turn, took the church into active advocacy for social justice. Local mission is now in the DNA of the church.

But how was this vital ministry to continue into the future, in a changing world? The Church Council prepared a vision in February, The Makeover Vision: Our role is to be a welcoming Christian presence in the centre of Launceston, befriending those on the margins. To establish this on a firm footing for the future, with God’s help we intend to become an intergenerational faith community, culturally relevant to younger adults, whilst remaining a Baptist Church with our particular values and priorities.

Discernment about property . . .

Thus began a further four-month discernment process. From November 2020 to June this year, the church met no less than six times to pray, discuss and eventually decide.

City Baptist
Our 180-year-old building

So with sadness, we decided to place the current property on the market. The 180-year building is full of historical significance and beauty. There is a strong sense of grief in moving on. Yet for the future, we believe the Gospel will be better served by direct street frontage, more flexibility, lower maintenance.

The Pastor, Jeff McKinnon, and his Advisory Group – Kay Hunter, Garry Billing and Ivan James – oversaw the ‘makeover process’.

We listed the property for sale in July. Tenders were due on 1 September. It may be then a further year before City vacates the property, because of the potential for a lease-back arrangement.

. . . and discernment about staff

The Church also appointed a Pastoral Search Committee, convened by Pastor Maddy Svoboda. Maddy eventually brought two names to the church in August.

Jenna and Anthea

Pictured, are Anthea Maynard (Team Leader) and Jenna Blackwell (Leadership Development) who were commissioned on Sunday 5th September. Until December 2022, City Baptist will undertake a period of transition, as the new Ministry Team is formed and prepares to take over from Jeff’s leadership.

Jeff will meet regularly with Anthea and Jenna (and eventually a third team member), until Jeff retires. It will be this new Ministry Team who will lead the church into its unseen future.

Unless a grain of wheat falls in the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds. 

John 12:24

Hope Found in Small Moments

The seed head of a dandelion substitutes the “O” in HOPE on the dust jacket of Tim Costello’s book of that title (Hardie Grant Books 2012). From the beautifully formed orb of the dandelion, seeds drift off in the breeze, scattering new life abroad. Tim’s compiled stories arise from his years of work as CEO of World Vision Australia. They depict the hope that can arise within confronting settings of challenge and disruptive change.

Our circumstances are obviously different, but for me, as a member of City Baptist, this dandelion image has become symbolic. It is evocative of both relinquishment and possibility as we anticipate a re-envisioned mission within Launceston CBD.

With fellow members, I value many aspects of our current church life. Our traditions of corporate worship, patterns of community ministry, the beauty of historic architecture, and so on. The dandelion image stands as a metaphor for all of this. There’s a part of me that would like to keep it intact as it is. However, I realise this is a transitory beauty, and we must allow life to be disseminated in fresh ways. Our current form will yield to life’s wider potential.

An invitation

I sense God now inviting us to surrender the conventional comforts of our current congregational life. But in inviting his Spirit to “blow where he will”, we offer our “seeds” to his breeze, confident of their germination in fresh earth. We open ourselves to strategic relocation To the formation of an enhanced leadership team. And to the seeking of more user-friendly facilities tailored to our distinctive city mission. We call this a “makeover vision”.

God’s gentle Spirit-breeze is evident in this new vision He is giving us. This is clear from the harmonious decisions arising from our shared prayer and discussion. I’ve found our legitimate sense of loss in relinquishing a conventional model dim, as we anticipate with hope the possibility of something excitingly new. I expect the core values of our mission will be novel, life-giving expression in ways we cannot yet see. But for which we can confidently trust God.

This fills us with well-grounded hope, and encourages us to remain radically open to God’s future.

Gary Billing

Garry Billing
Community Music Liaison Officer
City Baptist Church


ADVANCE | step by step – Jul/Aug 2021

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
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My plan for your future has always been filled with hope

Based on Jeremiah 29:11

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HOPE. Across the globe this Covid-19 season, we hope like birds in cages.

We HOPE the virus will dissipate; that vaccinations will help; that loved ones are kept safe.

How important to remember Jeremiah’s words:
“God has plans to give us a HOPE and a FUTURE”.

Take hold of hope by joining the National Prayer Gathering for the Covid Situation on Tuesday 31 August. Find out more below.

This issue includes . . .
FROM THE MD: Stephen Baxter with treasures new and old
INTERVIEW: Liam Conway Ministry Apprentice at Hobart: he is a gift!
HOSPITALS IN PNG: Prayers answered to avoid closure (a gift of PPE)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Jenna Blackwell wrestles with being a missionary in Tasmania
CHURCH PROFILE: LifeWay Devonport, now ministering in the South!
MERGE YOUTH: Citywide are kicking goals
REGIONAL ROUNDUP: City, Latrobe, Westbury, Claremont, Citywide and Hobart
NATIONAL PRAYER GATHERING: Nationwide prayer against COVID-19
CONVERGE CONFERENCE: Advocating to our government leaders
NEED TO KNOW (news):
GATEWAY turns 145! | EmpowHer Northwest walk | Request from Library Aid International | Tas Baptists’ website | Fostering Hope devotional-zoom | Australian Christian Literature Awards | Baptist Basketball Grand Final | Stand Sunday | Farewell PETER CUTHBERTSON | Ray’s Poem

You can read all these in the download-able version

Be blessed this week!

Jenny

Jenny Baxter, God's love poured in to you

Jenny Baxter
Communications Manager
Tasmanian Baptists
jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

CHURCH PROFILE: LifeWay Baptist Devonport

LifeWay Baptist church
Advance July-August 2021, LifeWay Baptist

our church:

ADVANCE | step by step features a series of church profiles. This issue it’s all about LifeWay Baptist in Devonport. Plus the new work – in Cygnet.

From the LifeWay Baptist Senior Pastor:

Nicholas Alexander

LifeWay Baptist is an amazing church . . .

It began in the 1880s when a group of Christians got together in the local billiard room to worship and seek God. 141 years later, we are still getting together.

As the current lead pastor, I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of this chapter. We are building on a beautiful legacy and God willing laying the foundations for an exciting Kingdom-focused future.

To give you a taste of what our church is like, I asked our two Associate Pastors to write about the church from their perspectives. Penny Clark has been a part of our church for a few months, and Denise Stephenson was practically born on the pews.

Hopefully, their accounts will give you a good idea of what LifeWay is like, but also remind you that God is always active and is right now building his kingdom throughout all our churches.

Nicholas Alexander
Pastor Nicholas Alexander

Nicholas Alexander, Senior Pastor

Visit LifeWay Baptist website >>>

Penny Clark

Hello!

The pastoral team at LifeWay Baptist are Nicholas, Denise, and myself – Penny. We are part of the tribe leading and serving in Lifeway Baptist in Devonport and Cygnet. Between us all, we have a bunch of almost identical blonde children. Some patient and amazing pastor-partners. And a fantastic community of members who are striving to love and serve Jesus more and more.

Penny and Adam Clark
Penny Clark, Associate Pastor (Emerging Generations) with Adam

As a team, we like to have long staff meetings, brainstorm big ideas and have cake together whenever possible. Collectively we work well together. Amazingly, we cancel out one another’s weaknesses with mutual shared love of the vulnerable, the downcast and the forgotten.

Just Like Any Other Church

LifeWay Baptist Passions

LifeWay Baptist is a church not dissimilar to any others. We gather, we sing songs (sometimes not so well), we pray with our hearts imperfectly. Kids are so important and we absolutely love them (and their prayer too) and their precious innocence and view of God. We have a long history of laughing, making jokes and capturing joy. So we are not a polished or modern church. We just try super hard to be real, authentic and full of Jesus and his Spirit. We’ve had moments of great joy and sorrow together, which has made our love for our church stronger and deeper. At LifeWay we thank one another for all others are doing. We try to encourage with words and deeds, and we seek to be helpful and supportive.

At LifeWay we have a huge list of volunteers and ministry leaders who keep things ticking over. This includes ministry areas such as Young Adults, Kids ministry, visiting of the elderly, social justice awareness and advocacy, and Missionary support. It also includes grocery shopping and casual connections over coffee. It is our belief that with the right alignment to Jesus and his radical and transformative love, all things flow. One of the things LifeWay cherishes is vulnerability. We are working towards being the kind of church who will pray for one another after a service,. Who will invite one another’s personal struggles into a small group (pulse group). And who will invite neighbours, friends and strangers into the family at LifeWay – with or without a Sunday service.

More About LifeWay

We are not fancy, or flashy, or particularly special. Our building is getting a slight re-vamp, but the members unanimously decided to keep costs low so we could use funds to support mission and the poor. At LifeWay we try hard to see those who are unseen, and look for opportunities that God has placed, right in front of our noses, for mission that flows easily and without struggle. So we are like a passionate barista, serving weekly by making a coffee; a fitness enthusiast starting a boxing group; or an art teacher sitting with teenagers to create.

We partner with Devonport Chaplaincy to provide a need with the facilities we have been blessed with such as TAFE training, using our commercial kitchen, providing space for community groups to hire, and connect and facilitation play spaces. We didn’t think of these things ourselves – they found us!

In lots of ways, LifeWay is just an extension of a bunch of families getting together, with the title “church” wrapped around it. We hold Jesus at the centre, and with our collective giftings and talents, we are excited about what he might plant or uproot in the coming years.

Ultimately we acknowledge and trust that this is his church, and we are really enjoying being in partnership with him.

Denise Stephenson

I’ve been a part of the Devonport Baptist Church (now LifeWay Baptist) since before I was born, almost 60 years ago. My parents, Ted and Dawn Nibbs were active members, so my family attended the little West Devonport Sunday School; my sisters and I sang in the Junior Choir; attended Girl’s Brigade and the Youth Group. Dad was Church Secretary (and later, a pastor), and Mum was Superintendent of the Sunday School, amongst many other things.

Denise Stephenson
Denise Stephenson
LifeWay Baptist History

Every Sunday at 11am we filed into church for the Sunday service, where men wore suits and ties, and ladies wore Sunday “best”, including hat. For all the formality which was part of going to church in that era, it was a welcoming, engaged community of Jesus followers

Growing up at Devonport Baptist I had no sense that any aspect of church life was off-limits to me. It was a long time before I realised that not all churches had women in leadership. Or even allowed women to preach. In every other place in my life I was very shy, but at Church I was encouraged to be part of things. Youth Group was a great place to find my feet as a follower of Jesus, hang out with others. It was there I tried out speaking in public, leading worship, and having a voice.

The 1970s was a period of great change as church became a less important aspect of people’s lives, and many of my friends from Sunday School and youth group stopped going to church. Even in Devonport, times were changing and this naturally affected church life. In the 1980s, young people were leaving to study and not returning, and families leaving to pursue work opportunities interstate. I was one of them.

The Next Era

When I returned to Devonport in the mid-1990s, church was very different. There were now two morning services: a family-focused, contemporary service at 9.30am; and a traditional, hymn-based service at 11am. I accepted a role on the Leadership Team in the late 90s. Then I worked in the office for 10 years before taking on a pastoral position three years ago. I’ve been part of taking our congregation through some challenging times as we’ve navigated changing social expectations and behaviour.

We’ve experimented with worship structure, ministry focus, and changed our name to LifeWay. At times, I’ve felt frustrated by the slow rate of change. But looking back now, I can see that DBC/LifeWay has actually changed significantly! Sometimes you need to take a step back to see how far you’ve come.

In December 2020 my husband Mark and I moved way down south, to Lymington (near Cygnet), to explore a new way of being a community of faith here in the Huon Valley and Channel area. We have the image of a Long Table where everyone is welcome. And our plan is to keep our eyes open to what God is doing. But we haven’t gone alone. The lovely community at LifeWay have chosen to “send” us south, supporting us through prayer and encouragement.

It’s great the faith family who walked with me my entire life chooses to accompany us on this new adventure.

LifeWay Baptist Montage


Read more in the July/August 2021 ADVANCE | step by step

ADVANCE | step by step – June 2021

Love poured out, ADVANCE June 2021
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My love has been poured out into your hearts through the Holy Spirit

Based on Romans 5:5
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This Bible encouragement is such a good one. It’s so heartening to remember that God’s love is literally poured out, into you.

  • MAY ASSEMBLY from a first-timer, Stephen Avery (City Baptist)
  • Q&A with PAUL MANNING the new Baptist Word Aid Tas/Vic rep
  • YOUR CHURCH WILL BENEFIT from running Alpha.
  • PROFILE Hobart Baptist church
  • WELCOME to COUNTRY History made at May Assembly
  • TESTIMONY From Swami to Christian by Ruth Burgess
  • MORE FROM ASSEMBLY Michael Henderson and Jenna Blackwell serve you
  • FOSTERING Q&A with long-term carer Tracey Avery
  • FOOD FOR THE SOUL #nofilterchurch by Spiritual Director Denise Stephenson
  • BAPTISTS IN MISSION The Pastors’ and Leaders’ Muster 
  • FAREWELL Jeff McKinnon With thanks to a passionate servant
  • REGIONAL ROUNDUP Tasmanian Baptists in Action – Perth, Ulverstone, Wynyard, Citywide, Claremont, Hobart
  • NEED TO KNOW: NEWS – Religious Freedom Weekend | Training Day for TaCCs | TWO Online Baptist Conferences | EmpowHer Southern Walk | NCLS Survey 2021 |COVID-19 Crisis in Asia | Perth Celebrates | Hobart’s Luminous Festival | Pastors’ and Leaders’ Muster | Covid-19 in Bangladesh | KidzFest 2022 | Poetry from Ray Hawkins

Happy Reading!

Jenny

All articles are available here: DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE PDF >>>

Jenny Baxter, God's love poured in to you

Jenny Baxter
Communications Manager
Tasmanian Baptists
jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

CHURCH PROFILE: Hobart Baptist

Hobart Baptist
Advance Dec-20, Summerhill Baptist profile

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

Hi!

My name is Heather, and I am the Secretary of Hobart Baptist Church.

Galloway Family, Hobart Baptist profile
Galloway Family

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 2014, Hobart Baptist profile

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.

"Breathe, Shine and Seek to Mend" flyer, Hobart Baptist profile

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!

New Entrance, Apartments from carpark, new entrance to foyer, foyer nearing completion. Hobart Baptist profile
HBC Redevelopment

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!


Member Reflection

By Sonya Ambrose

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.

Sanctuary Sunday at Hobart Baptist Church 2021

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.

Meeting Jesus at the Beach, Hobart Baptist Church
Meeting Jesus at the Beach

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

The Ambrose Family, Hobart Baptist church
Ambrose Family

Read more of the June 2021 ADVANCE | step by step

PROFILE: Riverlands Christian Community, Longford

Riverlands Baptist Longford

our church:

ADVANCE | step by step now features a new series of church profiles. This issue it’s all about Riverlands Baptist Church, Longford.

Advance Dec-20, Summerhill Baptist profile

Firstly, read an overview from the pastor, Rodney Marshall. Then continue scrolling for highlights from church member, Meg Roberts, and some memories from former pastor Jeff McKJinnon.

From Riverlands Baptist Pastor: Rodney Marshall

Howdy everybody!

Tracey and Rodney Marshall, Riverlands Baptist
Tracey and Rodney Marshall
Riverlands Baptist, Beginnings

I’m Rodney, the Tas Baptists’ Administrator, Riverlands Pastor, insurance man . . . and I have many other hats. Today’s hat is that of Pastor of Riverlands Christian Community at Longford, where I’ve been for over three years. Tracey and I have three married daughters, and five grandkids. (No. 6 is coming soon!)

I grew up in Ulverstone, becoming a Christian in a cult at age 23. It took me 10 years to break free from the cult, and many more after that to work out what I really believe.

Riverlands is known to many in the Baptist community as the place many Assemblies are held. We have a wonderful building, that is only 20 years old, and it is a blessing. While it is a little out of the centre of town, it is increasingly becoming an important part of the community.

Riverlands is known to many in the Baptist community as the place many Assemblies are held.

New opportunities to connect with our community

Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 troubles, we opened our door to Meals on Wheels, who now have their regional distribution base here. As well, a Kiosk for Carers to access support and information will open soon. These community programs are part of our engagement with the people of Longford and surrounding area.

Late last year the Northern Midlands Council approached us to ask if we would host a Neighbourhood house. The house would have a goal of seeking to provide services and support to struggling groups throughout the area. Council was unsuccessful at its initial attempts to gain funding through the Tasmanian Community Fund but continues to seek funding from other sources.

Our church partners with chaplains at both Longford Primary and Cressy High School, providing mentors and support to the Breakfast Club. We are actively looking for other ways to engage the children and parents of Longford. Recently a young mum has come to us seeking to hire a space to run Alpha for other mums. She seemed surprised when we offered her not only the space for free, but support in setting up and running the program.

Sundays . . . and moving forward

Riverlands Baptist Info

Most weeks our Sunday morning service has someone new in attendance. Visitors traveling the state, old members testing the waters on returning, new people to Longford looking for a church, and the new Christians who church members have walked alongside. It’s lovely looking out and wondering “Who is that person?”

It’s lovely looking out and wondering “Who is that person?”

With all that’s happening around the place it’s important to keep our focus on Jesus and what he is doing. His heart is for all the people struggling in life and reaching out for help in so many wrong places. Finding the right way to engage is a critical part of moving forward.

The church has been looking for someone to work with us in reaching young families, and providing support to parents. Maybe that is being provided for us by a young mum in a way we didn’t ever expect. Maybe it is just a step down a path we never thought about. Either way we are excited to see what Jesus does.

Please pray for us as we seek wisdom, boldness and passion in seeing God’s kingdom come into the lives of the people in our community.

Member Reflection

By Meg Roberts

Riverlands’ Baptist Groups Connecting With Local Community

At Riverlands our various groups have been up and running again for a while, some with more participants than before lockdown, some with less.

Longford Baptist Montage_April 2021
 Neighbours Group; Threads of Friendship; Stay and Play playtime; Stay and Play, craft; Stay and Play, feeding the lamb; Stay and Play storytime.
  • Neighbours Group meets fortnightly. Lunch used to be on the menu before COVID-19 struck, but is not practical now. Folk still come for a good chat, the occasional quiz, and a very good morning tea.
  • Threads of Friendship Craft Group are working on a variety of individual projects, from “Diamond Painting” (about which a few said, “I could never do that” but who are now really enjoying it) to crocheting and card-making. As a group we will no doubt soon be back into making gifts for the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.
  • Games Group ladies were meeting in private homes for a while after lockdown but are happy to have joined together again at the church. All the groups are meeting in the foyer for the time being to comply with social distancing.
  • Stay and Play have their own area and it is a busy time with little people and their carers – mums, dads, aunts, or grandparents. Feeding the sheep in the adjoining paddock is a highlight, along with a variety of activities. There are also a few folk from our congregation to help or be a listening ear.

Heather Hockey’s Farewell

Heather Hockey Riverlands Baptist

On Sunday 14th March 2021, we at Riverlands Baptist held a delightful farewell service. We gave thanks for the various areas that Heather Hockey, and her husband Les, contributed to over 18 years of attending Longford Baptist/Riverlands. Les is now with his Lord, and Heather is moving to Queensland to be near family.

It was lovely to have some of Heather’s friends as part of our congregation, including some from the Neighbours Group that Heather has looked after for many years.

Various members of our congregation spoke in appreciation of Heather. For many years she led a team of caterers for functions held in our church building. Participants noticed her care for people in general, and for those with special dietary needs. We even had a poem read to us highlighting some of Les and Heather’s exploits! Heather has also put a lot of prayer and work into the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoeboxes: “There will be many in heaven who will thank her for bringing them to Jesus”.

Heather spoke of how much God had helped her and Les, and of the help and blessing that many in the church had been, especially as Les’ health deteriorated.

Her strong Christian walk and faith shone out during all parts of the church service, which ended with the Elders praying for her. Heather is a friend and encourager to many and although she will be very much missed, we were glad to give her our blessing as we sent her on to her next adventure, led by Jesus.

Memories of the Transition to our New Building

Former Tabernacle, Longford Baptist Church
The former Baptist Tabernacle, Longford

As the pastor who oversaw the move from the old Longford Tabernacle to the new Riverlands building, Jeff McKinnon has some unique perspectives!

  • Prayer was a very important element right throughout the decision-making and building process.
  • The building was not to be ‘a church’. Rather, the church would meet in a community centre, Riverlands.
  • However we also had a strong emphasis on operating mission off-site. We didn’t want the building to dominate our sense of identity and vocation.
  • The church had a careful process of about 5 years to decide to relocate, and how to relocate (eg refurbish a building, build on a ‘greenfield’, etc).
  • The church employed two of our members, John Pitt (builder) and Tim Preece (bricklayer) to construct Riverlands. Others provided significant time covering some other trades. During the building program we had one or two evening working bees most weeks.
  • Two of our oldest members, Miss Gladys Long and Mrs Doris King, opened Riverlands by cutting the ribbon, and turning the key respectively. A large crowd was present.
  • The church opened the new building largely debt free (a $10,000 interest free loan from Tasmanian Baptists was outstanding but repaid quite quickly). All up, the new facility cost about $500,000.00.
  • Initially the church retained its former name ‘Longford Baptist Church’ and the building only became known as ‘Riverlands’. After 2004, the name ‘Riverlands’ became the name of the church as well.

PROFILE: Summerhill Baptist Church

Summerhill Baptist church

In this telling profile of Summerhill Baptist in the Feb/Mar 2021 ADVANCE | step by step , 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

Maddy Svoboda
Rev. 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. 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. There is also 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’re 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.

Summerhill’s challenges

One of our big challenges is knowing how to navigate these new cultural waters with boldness and humility. Our society has experienced rapid discontinuous change. It can leave us wondering how we engage with our friends, family members, work colleagues and neighbours with the good news of Jesus.

Sometimes, there can be a tension between wanting our people to be involved in church community life. Plus, 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 many priorities in our lives. so it can be a challenge to avoid overloading people. And at the same time, call them to service and mission.

What I see in the future
Maddy and Imogen with their growing family

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 to 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.

To that end, I want to see us do the following:

  • Leaning into the location and place God has given us, and to seek the peace and prosperity of our community.
  • Growing and developing even more into a community, offering open-hearted acceptance to those around us.
  • Bringing God’s kingdom to Summerhill.

Members’ ReflectionsSummerhill Baptist

By Roger and Jess Radford

COVID-19 . . . all change!
Summerhill Baptist worship time
Summerhill worship time

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 our gear in the old building, it meant we got back to basics, initially. We worked only with a small sound system, a worship leader and singer. 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.

Community fun

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!

The Radford Family: Back – Jess and Lily; Front – Ira and Roger

Summerhill Baptist WEBSITE

summerhillbaptist.org.au

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