CHURCH PROFILE: Perth Baptist Church

Perth Baptist Church Profile
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.

Eskleigh Residents
Eskleigh residents at last Steptember’s service celebrating the church’s
connection with the disability provider.

Recent activities

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.

Perth Baptist Church Profile: beginnings

READ MORE about the beginnings of Baptist work in Tasmania, written by Laurie Rowston.
HISTORY OF THE PERTH TABERNACLE provided by Perth Baptist church.


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.”

Perth Baptist Church Profile, Sunday School Camp, Easter - 1940s or 50s
Easter Camp at Perth, 1954.

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.

[1] Launceston Examiner 1 May 1880, p5c7.


Claremont Baptist | Latrobe Baptist | City Baptist, Launceston | Citywide, Mornington/Lenah Valley | LifeWay Devonport | George Town | Newstead

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Perth Baptist Church Profile

PROFILE: Newstead Baptist Church

Newstead Baptist Church profile
Newstead Baptist Church Profile

Taking the Leap

As we begin this journey

I am so thankful for this first nine-months as the Pastor of Newstead Baptist Church (NBC). Though the total journey has been much longer, it is nice to see Gods faithfulness bringing everything together so that we can launch into 2023.

Hi, I am Dan Hutchison. Back in April 2021 I first opened the door to the possibility of moving on from Citywide with the prayer and heart to follow Jesus wherever He wanted us as a family to be. Together, with my wife Maria and three kids, we felt Jesus’ call to take on the role as pastor at NBC.

In the interview, I was very clear that I still have much to learn but felt with the experience and training here in Tasmania, I was ready to take the leap. Newstead Baptist were also willing to take the leap as we both dreamed of what the future could hold, seeing a shared desire for God’s Kingdom.

Trusting God to go deeper

The Hutchison Family, Newstead Baptist Profile
The Hutchisons on Induction Day, 9th Jan 2022

On Induction Day, I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and servant-hearted people we have at NBC. I highlighted the three rivers that come together in Launceston, and the North Esk river that moves through Newstead and our call as disciples to trust God to go deeper with Him, that together we will see Newstead / Launceston flourish.

At that time, one of the ways my family was being challenged to trust was that we had not yet moved into our home in Newstead. As we waited, we were blessed with the provision of a unit at Worldview Centre for intercultural studies. We were there for seven-months, and are grateful for the connections and partnership formed. One of the ways we collaborated was inviting Dan Misdom, the Principal, to share during May Mission Month.

God’s fruit is growing!

I am also thankful for organisations like Crossover and Baptist Mission Australia for the content they provide. Sermon series and advertising which you can see we use for our services and on our Facebook page. Preaching-wise I have enjoyed preparing our sermon series on Australian stories (The Coming of the Light), and The King’s Apprentice: Our Moments with the Master.

Most of all I have enjoyed getting to know the people at NBC and strengthening our connections with our community. Over the last few weeks, we have been discerning and working together on our next three-year strategic plan. We are very excited to see what fruit God grows.

Dan Hutchison

P.S We are now in our house, enjoying settling-in, walking everywhere, and connecting with our neighbours.

Dan Hutchison
Pastor, Newstead Baptist

Newstead Baptist Church Profile

A brief history

Newstead Baptist Church profile, history

Changes, changes, everywhere

Reflection by a long-time member

Over recent years, Newstead Baptist experienced an unsettling period of change with several short-term pastorates and losses of some members and ministries.

While without a pastor in 2019/20, visiting speakers assisted with Sunday services, current ministries continued and, as members worked together and encouraged each other, a warm, more settled community was re-established.

Early in 2020, Stephen Baxter, our Baptist State Mission Director worked with the congregation to seek God’s leading for the church.

The outcome of those talks gave the church two areas to focus on:

  1. Reaching and ministering to younger families
  2. Extending the Seniors’ ministries

Then, Covid-19 descended and in response to pandemic restrictions, services and Bible studies ceased. In common with everyone locally and globally, there were feelings of isolation, separation and loneliness.

It was, however, encouraging to see the lovely ways people continued to contact and keep in touch with each other. On-line services helped. It was great to know that outside viewers, who did not normally attend any church, also ‘tuned in’.

Despite the restrictions of social-distancing, hand-sanitising, check-ins and masks, it’s been wonderful to return to shared fellowship together for Sunday services, study groups and other activities.

A new start

We also conducted a search for a new pastor during this time. At the end of 2021, we appointed Daniel Hutchison, with his wife Maria and children Skylah, Octavia and Boaz. On the 9th of January 2022, we welcomed them to Newstead Baptist Church.

As Daniel and the people begin working together, we continue with current ministries.

  1. Seniors’ Drop-in Centre
  2. Chat ‘n’ Choose craft group (celebrating 30 years)
  3. Little Fish (Sunday morning kid’s program)
  4. Neighbourhood Heartbeat (community newsletter delivered to 1500 local homes
  5. Three life groups

As we move forward, we look forward to the development of new ministries.

We’re grateful to have several rooms on our premises. These are utilised by community groups for tutoring, dancing, scouts and cubs, water colour painting, exercise groups and so on. These provide us with local contacts and offer the opportunity to expand our outreach activities.

In a recent workshop with Craig Farmer (Partners in Ministry), we shared our dreams for the future, and visualised the church in five years’ time. Now, we move forward together. We seek God’s guidance in planning programs and activities to further His Kingdom in ‘our little corner’.


Claremont Baptist | Latrobe Baptist | City Baptist, Launceston | Citywide, Mornington/Lenah Valley | LifeWay Devonport | Riverlands Longford | George Town

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October/November 2022

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PROFILE: Claremont Baptist Church

Claremont Baptist church
Claremont Church Profile

Claremont Baptist is one of Tasmanian Baptists’ more recently developed churches.

In 1964 the church was the brainchild of Rev. Matthew Francis, pastor at Lenah Valley. Council planning included building new schools, and people were looking to live in the northern reaches of Hobart. The fledgling church began as a home fellowship called Abbotsfield Baptist Fellowship.


A church for the working classes

Claremont Baptist Church (CBC) was originally planted to service the northern suburbs of Abbotsfield and Chigwell, just over 50 years ago.

50th Anniversary Claremont Baptist Church Profile
50th Anniversary, with former Pastor David Knox, Mayor of Claremont Kristie Johnson, and Pastor Peter Clark

At that time, the surrounding community were mainly working class, and there were many Housing Commission homes. The early influences are still in evidence today. The building is not an ornate church design, but more like a community hall. The traditional offering plate has never been passed at the church – there is a box near the main entry (and now of course e-banking).

Unfortunately, younger families no longer call CBC home. The congregation is mainly elderly. The average age of members would make a great batting score!

Heather and Murray Hall, cutting cake CBC 50th Anniv,
Heather and Murray Hall cut the 50th Anniversary cake

From the extended church family, about 30 attend the Sunday morning service each week. One of the great assets of the church is the large, dedicated team of volunteers who keep everything running smoothly.

In 2021, we were excited to celebrate our 50th Anniversary on the 6th March.

Read about our 50th Anniversary weekend >

Willing, Able and Gifted

We have welcomed some new members to the church in recent times. We’ve also had past friends return to us after a season elsewhere. As a local church we are not focused on guarding our patch, but are happy to celebrate when the Kingdom grows. We bless members when they leave and bless them when they come back.

As a local church we are not focused on guarding our patch, but are happy to celebrate when the Kingdom grows.

Claremont Baptist Profile

  • Claremont mid-winter dinner 2022
  • Christening the new entertainment area

March this year, marked 20 years Since Peter and Jenny Clark began providing pastoral leadership at CBC. Peter does most of the preaching/teaching, and Jenny is the music leader. Over the years, a great team of preachers has ably supported them, as well as musicians, and other highly gifted contributors. Peter can remember one Sunday morning where our members were preaching at five different churches in Hobart (including CBC).

Ministry Opportunities

Building friendship is the focus of our current ministry. This includes groups such as Book Nook which meets on Tuesday mornings. We also hold Bible study and prayer meetings.

As well, there is a strong emphasis on [overseas] missions at Claremont, with missionaries receiving finances, prayer support, and encouragement. This has been a feature of the church since its beginnings.

Future Direction

With some external support from Tasmanian Baptists, a review is being conducted into the future direction of CBC.

The members understand something new must emerge for the ministry to continue. We also need to reposition the church so the welcome which was always extended to the past community will also appeal to an increasingly multi-cultural and diverse population.

To that end, we value the prayers of our Baptist brothers and sisters as we look to God for what that future might look like.

Pastor Peter Clark, who is also Chair of the Tas Baptist Council

By Peter Clarke
Pastor of CBC, and Chair of Tasmanian Baptists

Claremont Baptist Church > Where, When and Contact information

This is the Claremont Baptist Profile

Claremont Baptist Church

A Brief History

A short history of Claremont Baptist Church

Pam Conrad’s Reflection

Claremont Baptist, up close and personal

Pam Conrad, Claremont Baptist Church Profile

Pam was a founder member of the Constitution of Claremont Baptist in 1977. She has been an active member for some 45 years.  She is a special person in our church family.

In my earliest years I believed in God and after a time I found myself at Claremont Baptist, which is where I am today.

Through attending on a regular basis, I became a true believer and even though times have been tough, the Lord has always brought me through. We have regular prayer times and keep in touch with each other.

People are strengthened through prayer, including me, and praise is strong when we gather on Sunday. Going through COVID hasn’t been easy but taking things daily really helps.

We also celebrate in good times and gather whenever we can.  From my first attendance over forty years ago until now, I feel that I belong.

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August/September 2022

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Gateway Baptist Church

Gateway Baptist church
Church Profile

Gateway was once known as Memorial Baptist Church, and is one of Tasmanian Baptists’ oldest continuously used church buildings.

Pastor Noel Eagling oversees a vibrant church which engages regularly with the local Launceston community.

Read on for an overview of Gateway’s ministry by Linda Guy; the beginnings of Gateway as Reed Memorial Baptist Church; and the precious memories of a lifetime by Lee Campbell.

Gateway Baptist: Jesus only, Mighty to Save


OUR MESSAGE: Jesus Only, Mighty to Save
OUR MISSION: In the heart of the city, with a heart for the people

By Linda Guy

Old church. Old people. Past our use-by date? Absolutely not!

The current Gateway congregation is very aware and appreciative of its rich heritage in the faithfulness of previous generations. Gateway is a place of intersections: people connecting and then dispersing in service across the city, the state, the nation and the world.

The faithful commitment to mission of those who came before, echoes into the present, and encourages us to continue the story.

We can address our three priorities: These Walls, Within These Walls and Beyond These Walls.

The present – where we are

With 146 years of history behind us, where are we today? We are nowhere near the capacity of our beautiful heritage church. Many of us are not as young, or as capable, as we once were. We have just a few treasured families with young children. Our aging buildings present ongoing challenges for maintenance, and with equipping with ever-changing technology.

We are small in number, small in resources, and limited in the manpower we can bring to ministries and projects. Yet we can address our three priorities: These Walls, Within These Walls and Beyond These Walls.

We want to see our history echoing faithfulness through the present, and into the future.

These Walls

Beckie and Noel Eagling, Gateway Baptist Church
Beckie and Noel Eagling

Noel and Beckie Eagling, our pastors who joined us in 2019, have directed us through some changes breathing new life into our old walls.  Much needed repairs and painting by Mobile Mission Maintenance transformed our hall into an art gallery now known as Artway. Christian artists come and work in the space, and their paintings now decorate the walls.

Visiting groups such as lacemakers, miniaturists and school students spend mornings engaged in creative activities. Evening painting sessions raise funds for missions.  A willing group of talented cooks provide lunches in this relaxed and inspiring setting. 

There are plans to grow the Artway ministry through offering lessons. This will provide opportunities for people in the community to come and enjoy the process of creating an artwork.

Within These Walls

Within our walls there is warm fellowship, as people connect with, and support, each other through life’s difficulties, challenges and heartaches. The experience that comes with weathering the ups and downs of employment, and bringing up families in changing circumstances, translates to wisdom to be shared with those who are not so far through the journey.

People are knitted together by their love for Jesus, and for each other.

Many roles are quietly and efficiently carried out to help ministries and programs to run smoothly. Age is no barrier to continuing service or taking up new ministries. People gather in various groups for craft, or walking, or Bible study, or mentoring, or morning teas. They are knitted together by their love for Jesus, and for each other.

Beyond These Walls

Beyond our walls, our heart for mission is revealed.

  • We have a strong connection with a church in Thailand, forged through the sponsorship of children facilitated by Compassion.
  • A school in Haiti has commenced in the last four years through the efforts and connections of a retired couple.
  • A washing basket at the front of our church is filled with groceries that go to families with a member in prison.
  • Shoeboxes, 150 of them! were packed with donations and handmade items last year for Samaritan’s Purse.
  • Friday night markets are well received by our local community. 
  • Other people are involved with various agencies such as Barnabas Fund, City Mission, Gideons, Shekinah House, and Prison Fellowship, generously giving their time and energy to the good work of these organisations.

Not too old to dream, we want to see our seats filled, our spaces spruced up and purposeful.

We want to see our history echoing faithfulness through the present, and into the future.

Linda Guy has been attending Gateway for the past 16 years and has appreciated the loving and supportive fellowship. She is a busy grandmother who enjoys retirement and currently serves on Church Council.

Why “Reed Memorial” Church?

Gateway Baptist - why Reed Memorial Church
  • Memorial Baptist Bible Study q896
  • Memeorial Baptist Band and Choir 1900
  • Memorial Baptist CE 1948
  • Memorial Baptist Church AKA Gateway Baptist

The Church I See

By Lee Campbell

Looking back over the years at Gateway (formerly Memorial Baptist church), I see a church that has had a significant past in the life of Launceston and beyond.

Our church celebrates 146 years of ministry this year, and it amazes me that God has allowed me to be a very small part of his greater picture for half of those 146 years! As an inner-city church, and due to its seating capacity, Gateway has been able to hold large, combined services, Evangelical Missions and many, many large events.

My Father and Mother were always very involved in the ministry of the Church, as were my Grandparents. I remember my family being the first there of a Sunday morning to open the building, and the last to leave, such was the commitment. I have had the privilege of sitting under the teachings of 14 full time Ministers, and numerous interim Pastors since I was young.

Early Memories

Sunday School picnics at Paper Beach

My first memory at our Church is Sunday School, held every Sunday before Church. In the 50’s and 60’s, the Sunday School was very active and even if the parents didn’t attend Church they would make sure their children went to learn about God.

Every year there was a Sunday School Picnic at Paper Beach, a beach well known for its jellyfish! This didn’t seem to matter though, as the day was a family day, filled with all sorts of food, ginger beer, beach cricket, running races, and a small bag of boiled lollies to eat on the bus on the way home.

Every year there was a Sunday School Picnic at Paper Beach

A memorable annual event was the Christmas Social with games, items and of course an enormous supper consisting of homemade cream cakes, sandwiches and fresh fruit salad and cream! On the Sunday School Anniversary, the children sang and shared what they had learnt, each one decked out in a new outfit hoping for a book prize for their achievements.

Events, and more events!

Gateway Baptist

Evangelists such as Hudson Taylor, Gordon Moyes and Bill Newman conducted meetings in the building, resulting in many decisions made for Christ. From the late 70’s, gospel concerts were regular events as artists such as David Meece, Larry Norman, Evie Tornquist, The Proclaimers and many, many more. As well, the Christmas and Easter Pageants included many people from outside the church, who came to hear the gospel and witness the stories of Jesus.

From the late 70’s, gospel concerts were regular events

Of course, there were also the Baptist Union Assemblies and Christian Endeavour Conventions. Three-course hot meals were prepared and cooked in the kitchen for all the delegates, with the help of other ladies from local Baptist Churches.

Seeing the church with gratitude

I can still see the long trestle tables with white tablecloths set out in the Hall, adorned with shiny cutlery and plates, while a lovely blazing fire burnt bright in the fireplace. There was always lots of talk and laugher at these meals as people formed new friendships.

I am so grateful that the church I have been part of for 72 years has always made it a priority to preach God’s word and truth and to proclaim ‘JESUS, ONLY, MIGHTY TO SAVE’!!

Our God truly is an awesome God. Give HIM the GLORY for ALL HE HAS DONE.

Gateway Baptist Church, Lee and Ian

Lee Campbell and her husband Ian have been very active in the life of Gateway over the years.  Their role nowadays is to uphold people in prayer and be an encouragement whenever they can.

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June/July 2022

Around the Churches: June/July 2022, North, Northwest and South
Deep Thought: Courage to Make a Difference by Mark Wilson, ABM
Ministry Profile: Matt Holloway, Westbury
TB Growth: Hobart Vision Church
Fostering: Your Church Can
Our Youth: Hobart Baptist
From the MD: Hope in the Dark Times

Tas Baptist NEWS: June 2022, July 2022

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PROFILE: Citywide Baptist Church

Citywide Congregation at Mornington
Church Profile

Bridging the Gap . . .

. . . from One shore to the Other

Citywide Baptist in Hobart spans two campuses, and stretches across Southern Tasmania. Senior Pastor Matt Garvin explains some of the new initiatives that make it all possible.

Matt’s reflection is followed by a longer-term overview from long-time member Raie Semmens. She and Trevor made the move to the Eastern Shore with a young family back when the Tasman Bridge went down!

What’s Citywide up to?

Pastor Matt Garvin reflects on the Work of Citywide Baptist in the Hobart community and beyond.

When someone asks me how Citywide is doing, I never quite know how to answer.

For a start, most people think about a church being a congregation of people who meet at a certain time every week. In contrast, Citywide has three distinct congregations, along with a pioneering church plant in Levendale, and a growing number of people who are connected online.

New Citywide members - Hobart Nepali Church
New Citywide members: Hobart Nepali Church

Many people also confuse Citywide with our Mornington Campus (the old Eastern Shore Baptist church), but the truth is that the Lenah Valley and the Nepalese congregations are just as much a part of Citywide as Mornington. As well, our Nepalese congregation is by far the fastest growing.

The central question that drives us as a church is what does it means to equip and encourage each other to follow Jesus in every aspect of our individual lives?

Supporting other churches

Our pioneering church plant at Levendale, too, is very much part of Citywide and central to our longer term plans. Small, and local, churches are the most effective way to minister in Tasmania. But running a small church is increasingly complicated.

We hope to use Levendale as a trial to see whether bigger churches can provide enough support to rural churches. Hopefully, each can thrive in their own context. If the experiment is successful we hope to extend the offer of support to other existing or new rural churches around Tassie.

Citywide Levendale

The central question that drives us as a church is what does it means to equip and encourage each other to follow Jesus in every aspect of our individual lives? It is this question that means we are continually coming back to the FOLLOW, BLESS and SHARE practises, which you can read more about HERE.

These are also why we are pursuing forms of online communication which help connect people with the message of Jesus every day. We are hoping to step more intentionally into this space in the coming year.

Getting reorganised

We want to organise our church around equipping our people for their works of service (Eph 4:12) which we understand means helping them discover and pursue their calling. This is why we have reorganised our facilities.

to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Ephesians 4:12

What was the Pastor’s office is now our Meeting room; and the Associate Pastor’s office is now our Counselling room. Our former general office is now our Lounge/informal meeting space. As well, our staff team work in a big open plan office alongside anyone else from our church who is seeking to pursue some kind of ministry or expression of their calling.  The meeting spaces are available to our whole church family.

Our Nepalese congregation is such an important part of who we are. So because so many of our Nepalese members have strong connections back to their country, it is clear God is calling us to step into mission in Nepal. We are currently in discussion with Baptist Mission Australia about the shape of that emerging frontier for us.

Hobart Nepali Church 2022, at Citywide Lenah Valley
Worship time: Hobart Nepali church at Lenah Valley, 2022

Looking beyond our own backyard

Paul Dare, Citywide Levendale
Paul Dare

In addition to rural ministry, Paul Dare is also leading our church (and Tasmanian Baptists) in moving forwards in our relationship with Tasmanian Aboriginals, and facing the implications of our state’s complicated history. Our Aboriginal Sunday service on the Queens Domain was a real highlight, and we expect to make a habit of engaging with this question as a congregation in different ways two or three times a year.

We also focus on what it means to love our neighbours, and towards that end we cancelled our Sunday service in order to participate in Clean Up Australia Day in March. In addition, we encouraged our people to connect with their neighbours on Neighbour Day, and we are partnering with the Lenah Valley RSL for a Family ANZAC day commemoration.

Aboriginal Sunday Service Jan 2022
Aboriginal Sunday Service on Queens Domain
Citywide participated in Clean Up Australia Day in March 2022
Participating in Clean Up Australia Day

We also focus on what it means to love our neighbours

In addition to all of this, it really seems as though God is at work in the remarkably strong relationships building between churches in Hobart, and particularly the Eastern Shore of Hobart. We are gathering across churches to pray semi-regularly and partnering in lots of different ways.

So how is Citywide doing? We are moving forward but we are conscious that we still have a long way to go, and we are trusting that Jesus will continue to lead us.

Citywide History

Our Last Few Years

By Raie Semmens

New arrival, new fervour

July 2017 saw the arrival of the new pastor, Matt Garvin, whom God called back to Tasmania from Canada, with his wife and family, to minister at Citywide.

Raie and Trevor
Raie and Trevor Semmens

At that time, the church was challenged afresh to be authentic followers of Jesus, and to think about our impact on the wider community. To begin with, Matt encouraged many to participate in the Foundations Course, resulting in a large percentage of the church looking at the basics of our faith and witness.

A direct outcome of Foundations was an outreach to the Lenah Valley community. We held an ANZAC Day festival for families following the local RSL’s ANZAC Day march and service. People enjoyed free food, games and activities, and the RSL appreciated all the work done.

It was very encouraging for those who planned the event, and involved under Matt’s leadership, to see the response from people of all ages. The media also reported positively about this event. Since then, the church has also put on Carols in the Paddock on Christmas eve for the community at Mornington.

Carols in the Paddock 2019
Carols in the Paddock 2019

Tech solutions pre-Covid

With our two campuses, Lenah Valley and Mornington, skilful tech people began live-streaming Sunday worship services from either venue. So when Covid-19 struck, with necessary Public Health precautions, Citywide was ready to share worship and teaching times.

Our YouTube channel enabled a wider audience with Baptists, and other Christians, in Wynyard and Marrawah. Across the state, they connected for fellowship, music and teaching. People who needed assistance to access the technology and engage in the sessions received one-on-one  help and encouragement.

A time to evaluate

A re-assessment of the church’s property and resources have shown how to best serve the church and the community. As a result, we have increased the size of the office space. This provides work stations are available for use to anyone who needs a base to work from. As well, people from the Nepali congregation manage the church café area. Pastor Paul Dare planted a church in Levendale. Plus, we provide practical help with things like printing carol sheets for the local service, as well as prayer and support.

I thank God that over the last five years we have been challenged to reach out to others. Now, we use our gifts and abilities in many different ways to serve others. These are just a few ways we can share our love for Jesus and his love for the world.

Recent Church Profiles

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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


ADVANCE | step by step – Sept/Oct 2021

Advance September/October 2021
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September/October 2021 No. 1

Released 9th September 2021

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

September/October 2021 No. 2

Released 23rd September 2021

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

September/October 2021 No. 3

Released 7th October 2021

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

September/October 2021 No. 4

Released 21st October 2021

Advance SeptOct-21-4

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 Baxter, God's love poured in to you

Jenny Baxter
Communications Manager
Tasmanian Baptists

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


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