There is so much to celebrate at Wynyard Baptist Church!
As we head towards 120 years of serving our community, we look forward to how we as a body of believers can have a deeper relationship with Christ and a long-lasting impact into the lives of those who live in our community.
So often, the challenge to change can be disconcerting. However, WBC has embraced positive change through shared vision and ownership of that vision by all who attend the church.
There aren’t too many churches who haven’t had some heartache along the way, and we are no different. However, we also accept that God is bigger than any self-interest that creeps into churches. When we accept this and enable healing, over time God’s will and purpose always, like cream, rise to the top!
[All photos are captioned clockwise from top left]
Making a difference
At Wynyard Baptist Church we strive to live out the Tasmanian Baptists’ vision. This has resulted in a deep desire to make a difference in so many lives across our community.
Tasmanian Baptists’ Vision:
We envisage a Tasmania infused with the salt and light of the kingdom of God.
Our contribution to seeing the vision realised is through facilitating and developing innovative, diverse and transformative member churches and faith communities living out the Gospel.
Sundays Sunday School, Celebration Service, and Prayer for Revival
Mondays ROC Community Food Hub
Tuesdays Walking Group, ROC Community Food Hub at Somerset
Wednesdays Wednesday Get Together, Blokes Study
Thursdays Chat n Choose, Care Groups
Fridays ROC Community Food Hub
Saturdays ROC Community Food Hub at Somerset
There are other care groups as well during the week!
We have so many activities
This year we celebrate 30 years of Chat ‘n’ Choose with some of the original leaders and ladies still here, and regularly attending.
Other activities that reach into our community include:
Just Blokes Pizza Nights; Just Girls; Yearly Harvest Dinner and Auction; Good Friday Combined Churches Service in Gutteridge Gardens; RSL Chaplaincy; Carols in the Gardens and Christmas Day Lunch.
God is good!
As Senior Pastor I have strived to engage and encourage this church to be bigger than the individual, and to believe that God is good all the time. His provision of opportunity has been at times overwhelming. However, there is a deep belief God is at work and allowing us the privilege of serving Him. For His glory and for His honour!
I was called to WBC almost 10 years ago. As a part of that journey I knew we would eventually need others to help in the growing ministry. As a church we are so blessed to have Franz (and Heidi) come alongside Dawn and myself as we minister the Gospel of Christ together.
I’m very grateful for the inspiration of my Dad, George, who finished this race and was promoted to glory earlier in 2023.
My prayer is that we would live out our calling and do the works of the Father for his sake and His Glory!
Blessings, Owen Muskett Pastor, Wynyard Baptist Church
Members Craig and Rachelle Hawkins had already moved there, and Craig’s father, retired Pastor Ray Hawkins and wife Mary shortly after. The lack of evangelical outreach in the immediate area was obvious. So a notice was put up in local businesses in late 2005 seeking interest in a new church for the area.
A small fellowship commenced with various members and visitors speaking but largely led by Pastor Ray. Size was no barrier to attempting outreach opportunities, and a kid’s holiday program was one of the first efforts. A grandmother came to faith after attending a Christianity Explained course offered during the program.
The church initially met in the Beauty Point Uniting Church building of a Sunday evening. However, during the Covid period it moved to the upstairs café at Seahorse World, continuing to meet on Sunday evenings.
Craig Hawkins took on church leadership from 2018. Then in 2022 Pastor Bob Goolsby of George Town Baptist began preaching and pastoring part-time. Elders in 2023 are Craig Ellem and Craig Hawkins.
A number of youth pastors have worked with the church over the years. These include David Low, Robin and Jekka Shearer, and more recently in June 2023, Dempsey Horton from Texas for a 12-month stint.
Over the years various other outreach programs have taken place. Most notably regular Texan team visits from the USA, resulting in quite a number of decisions to follow Christ and Baptisms. As well, after-church meals were a good outreach for a period to overseas fruit pickers.
Creation Discovery Centre
In 2021, the church partnered with several other churches in northern Tasmania to open the Creation Discovery Centre in Beauty Point. This is a powerful witness of God’s creation and the truth of His word to many locals and tourists.
Texan Visit 2023
For the 11th time in 14 years The Point Baptist hosted a Texan mission trip. Chris and Heather Horton, from the Lake Fork district, east of Dallas, headed the visit.
This year Chris and Heather were accompanied by daughter Dempsey, and her good friend Heaven. Dempsey has stayed on for 12 months to lead the youth work in the church.
Over three weeks in July, numerous events were held for men, women and children all with the aim of sharing Jesus. A great family concert was held, after which the youth held an impromptu and very entertaining karaoke session. The school holiday basketball camp connected with local youth.
Reconnecting with people was a real focus of the trip. It was encouraging to see some on the fringe of the fellowship attending church again. No commitments to faith in Jesus were made during the trip, however, our experience is these often follow later.
Additionally, the encouragement and connection of the fellowship generally, and especially the youth, should not be under-estimated with these efforts. The launching of our new youth work, with Dempsey leading, is especially exciting.
We are thankful to the Lord Jesus for His patience with us and the blessings of seeing people saved through the sharing of His word.
Long ago, Perth Baptist Tabernacle had its foundation stone laid on the 8th August 1888. This was thanks to incredibly generous support by local pastoralists William and Mary Ann Gibson. Their legacy continues . . .
Church Administrator, Tony Hart, compiled this profile, with help from long-time member Fay Bunton, and others.
Perth Baptist: The Present
In March 2020 the Leadership of the church met and made the decision to close due to Covid-19. When it happened, one leader said, ‘If we close, we may never reopen’. At that time the church had an average attendance of about 45 to 50 mostly people aged over 70.
During the closure, we kept in touch with every person. Then, we came back with a new enthusiasm! We have since grown to an average attendance of 55 to 60, with several middle-aged people joining us. Recently, we had at least six people at our service who are currently seekers – all at different stages. They all need Jesus.
Most of these seekers were introduced to the church through the Alpha Community Meal activity we ran in October to December last year. On the last night we had about 45 people sit down for dinner and listen to the Gospel from the Alpha course.
Tuesday nights – We are open!
From about April last year, we were offered left over bread by a local baker each Tuesday. We opened the Hall to the community on Tuesday nights, and saw God provide fresh fruit and vegetables and pre-cooked meals.
Then, Eskleigh Home [local disability support service] ran a cooking activity for their residents, packed what they cooked, and gave it to us! The activity has grown beyond expectations with many needy people coming, while others in the community come for a chat.
On the Saturday before Christmas 2022, we arranged a Community Picnic. We had over 300 people come and be part of it. They then came to our Christmas Carol Service that night – over 200 people filled the church to overflowing!
On the last Sunday in February, we commenced what will be a regular Sunday evening activity. There will be a meal once a month, and afternoon tea on the other weeks. The content will be The Chosentelevision series.
We are open to see what God will do as we work to see His Kingdom Come in Perth.
I was recently called by the church’s bank which was conducting an anti-money laundering audit amongst not-for-profit organisations. Many questions. One was to determine the church’s assets which I answered by saying that we have to insure our buildings for about $2 million. This was followed by a question as to how the church got the money for a Church, a Hall and a house! It reminded me how God has worked at Perth Baptist, and given great encouragement for His continuing work.
Perth Baptist: The Past
Perth member, Fay Bunton, recalls her life in and around the church.
‘My grandparents moved to Perth in the early 1940’s. I would go and stay with them in the mid 1940’s and I went to church with grandma.
“My grandfather would go and open both the front doors half an hour early. In the winter he would have little round electric heaters in both aisles, to help keep the congregation warm in the cold weather.
“As we entered the church everyone was given a hymn book, as numbers of hymns were displayed on the wall above the speaker.
“We would have Sunday School at 2:30pm in the Church Hall – at least 140 children would be there all set out for grades 1 to 6. Grandma was one of many teachers.”
Hive of activity
Fay married in 1960 and left Perth, but returned in the late 1980’s. Fay remembers when the church was a hive of activity – two services each Sunday, Sunday School, weddings, harvest festivals and Sunday School Anniversaries.
In the 1990’s Fay, and her sister Edna, ran the Sunday School in the vestry during morning service and recalls that the children could sing only when the church congregation sang.
Fay was part of a group who would visit the patients at Missiondale [City Mission residential facility in Evandale] and bring them to church. She recalls two patients from Missiondale coming to the Lord, marrying, and then moving to the northwest as part of the Mission Team.
The ‘best night’ Fay participated in was the Billy Graham Crusade Choir in 1959 at York Park. There, she witnessed hundreds come forward to give their life to Christ.
FAY’S PRAYER: That God’s church at Perth Baptist will continue to be a place of witness, where people can come and hear the Gospel.
Eskleigh Bible study
Fay also recalls going to the Eskleigh Home for people with a disability for Bible Study. As part of her visits to Eskleigh Fay befriended two residents – Stephen and Andrew. They were very good friends. After illness, Andrew passed away.
About a year later, when Stephen was not well, Fay told him that Andrew was now in a good place. Stephen said, ‘No he is not there yet, he is waiting for me so we can go together’. Stephen still comes to church each week with another eight residents and their four carers.
Fay’s daily prayer is that God’s church at Perth Baptist will continue to be a place of witness, where people can come and hear the Gospel.
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
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.
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
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:
Reaching and ministering to younger families
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.
Seniors’ Drop-in Centre
Chat ‘n’ Choose craft group (celebrating 30 years)
Little Fish (Sunday morning kid’s program)
Neighbourhood Heartbeat (community newsletter delivered to 1500 local homes
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 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.
CLAREMONT BAPTIST CHURCH
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.
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!
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
By Peter Clarke Pastor of CBC, and Chair of Tasmanian Baptists
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.
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 CHURCH
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
Citywide Baptist in Hobartspans 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking beyond our own backyard
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
George Town Baptist Church is like many of our regional fellowships. They hold onto hope for the future, in fellowship with other churches in the area. Pastor Bob Goolsby reflects on this faithful fellowship, taking the opportunity to chat to a few of the George Town Baptist members.
There has been a Baptist Church in George Town since circa 1958. Technically, we count our establishment in 1961, so we had an uncelebrated 60th anniversary last year. We are going to have a commemoration service as soon as we think Covid conditions will allow it – might as well do it right!
When Sylvie and I arrived in George Town, we decided to look for a church to attend. The Baptist Church was small, and the first Sunday we tried to attend, they were in a service with the Uniting and Anglican Churches off premises. When we finally attended, we met a church that had heroically survived without a pastor for about eight years. Anne Godman and Pauline Heppel were keeping hope alive.
Then Anne moved to New Zealand, leaving Pauline to handle things on her own. It was not just the Baptist Church. Every church in George Town suffered declining membership and attendance during those years, but it was particularly hard to overcome the lack of a pastor. Graeme Goninon was the last pastor of record. He was loved and regarded highly by all. He left in 2010.
Faith Millen is a faithful member who arrived in George Town from England in 1972. She recalled the better days of the church, including the years in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when the Baptist Church had over 40 children in Sunday School, and a vibrant youth group.
But times change, and as always, the church must re-evaluate the way it interfaces with the world around us. (I owe much of the information about the past to Faith, and Dawn Leslie, both of whom are serving as Deacons.)
Let’s press in
Sylvie and I did not move to George Town to take on a church, but it seemed to be “manifest destiny”. Since that time, we have made progress in reaching new people in town. Pre-Covid, things were looking up. These days we have had to retool, like everyone else. Nevertheless, all we know to do is press in.
We saw a youth ministry start, which struggled along for a while. Lately we have had an increase in attendance at the once-a-month youth meeting, which we find very exciting. Our visitation program is allowing us to become acquainted throughout the area, making friends in high places and in low ones, too.
The church is working with the Salvo’s to help collect food for needy people; the Seafarer’s Mission to find ways to touch people who work on the ships that come into the local harbor; and Vinnie’s, where we participate in a community meal served at the local Catholic fellowship hall.
Path to growth ahead
When you are small, there are so many things you want to do, but simply cannot, because the money or the resources are not there. We are asking ourselves the same question Elisha asked a needy widow, “What do we have in our house?” If we present it, God can use it.
Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps” is true.
We are growing, albeit slowly, as God brings people in. Some we reached out to in the past, and others who simply found their way to us. No matter whether our evangelistic efforts are the key, or simply continuing to be “open for business” to serve and help equip those the Lord is calling, we believe in “one sows, another waters, but God gives the increase” (John 4:36-38).
Current member Peter Gross wrote the following, that sums up our current position quite well:
I am a retired engineer, living in the George Town – Low Head area for 16 years. I started at the Baptist Church two years ago and have enjoyed worship and fellowship with others who love the Lord and long to see others find new life in Him.
Like the other churches in George Town, we are small in number but work well together in sharing times of combined worship, Bible study, outreach and building relationships with the community. As a smaller fellowship many of us wear several hats, but it is great to have the opportunity to explore our gifts and abilities in both spiritual and practical ways.
Bob and Sylvie have shown great dedication and leadership in challenging us to reach beyond our comfort zone to serve the Lord and honour Him in worship and applying the Word to our lives.
Making Him known
We are also blessed to have long-standing members who have served the Lord faithfully at George Town Baptist for many decades. Their commitment to knowing the Lord and making Him known is a continuing challenge to all of us, including a youngster like me.
Speaking for established, but numerically challenged Churches of Tasmania, I recall the parable of the fig tree in the vineyard. Rather than cut it down, the vinedresser (Jesus in parable form) asked for some time to give it special attention, fertilizer and time.
Obviously the first task is to secure viability. After that is accomplished, become influencers in the community. As a great leader once said, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
From that standpoint, we at George Town Baptist feel we are well situated to face the future.
Originally from Calvary Temple in Eastern Illinois, USA, Bob Goolsby and Sylvie have pastored at George Town Baptist since 2019.
Following the ministry of Ken and Gae Preece (1998 – 2011), Rev. Ralph Terry, and his wife Nelleka, took on oversight of the church. Yes, Latrobe Baptist is excellently located in the town centre, but ministry in this century is not easy.
With a largely ageing congregation, we have been blessed in having new people come amongst us, with some joining with us in membership.
Chat ‘n’ Choose
Outreach at Latrobe Baptist is in good health. Thanks to the hard work of Glenis Smith, Fay Horne, Peter Creeley and Glad Purdy over many years a strong craft group, Chat ‘n’ Choose, has developed.
Glenis and Glad, retired from leading CnC in February this year, and now both reside in nursing homes. So Nelleka, and our new Church Secretary Lorraine Sheppard, took on running the ministry, with 40-60 attending each week. They do various crafts including hardanger embroidery, knitting, crochet, smocking, macramé and woodturning.
In 2012 the church applied to the Latrobe Council for permission and help in establishing a Men’s Shed. The council said, “Yes”, and provided over $30,000 to move existing sewage lines prior to the construction of a $40,000 shed. Funds also came from the Tasmanian Government Community fund.
As time went on, the church obtained many more grants for equipment and extensions, including two from Baptcare. Over the past eight years, over 60 men joined the shed, and together have now completed over 460 community projects. This ministry provides much goodwill and great contact with the people of Latrobe.
In 2019 (just prior to Covid), the Latrobe Council and the local Primary School approached the church to consider starting a Community Playgroup. We were grateful to the Lord for opening yet another avenue for witness, and hence Council provided us with a $2000 grant to help get it started.
Since commencing (despite the challenges of Covid) we have made contact with over 40 families and some 60 children. Between 6 and 20 children attending Playgroup each week, with a team of helpers headed by Lorraine and Nelleka, enjoying much new fellowship each week.
It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to bring in new people, so that Latrobe Baptist will remain as a vibrant witness for our Lord and Saviour to the community.
A Generational Legacy
By Latrobe Secretary, Lorraine Sheppard
The Latrobe Baptist Church was opened in 1892 and stands in the middle of the town of Latrobe as a witness of God’s love to the people of the town.
There have been hundreds of faithful people who have called Latrobe Baptist their spiritual home over all those years. The Walker family have been at the church since 1968 and three generations continue to play an active part in our fellowship.
During 2021, Iris Walker reached the wonderful milestone of her 90th birthday, and here is some of her story.
Iris and Reg
Iris was born in Ulverstone and as a young girl went to the Methodist church. Her family moved to Wilmot, where she met her future husband, Reg. Reg was working at this time as a Home Missionary with the Methodist Church. After marrying, the couple moved around the state where Reg farmed. They raised eight children and when, in 1968, the older ones needed more schooling, they moved from Frankford to Latrobe.
Latrobe Baptist became their home church, and Iris and Reg became very active members. Reg was a deacon, elder, and Church Secretary for many years. Iris was very involved in the women’s work as Secretary, President and involved in the kitchen. She says that the church was a wonderful, friendly, family church. Reg retired early, and the two spent about 20 years travelling around Australia, but Latrobe was still home.
Continuing to share God’s love
Now, Iris has 26 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, with more on the way! Her love for her Lord has been a witness to all the family. This is evident in the fact that so many of the family are followers of Christ. What a wonderful Christian legacy.
Greg was a young boy when the family settled in Latrobe, and did his schooling in Latrobe. He now works in the building industry. He met Jill at a Youth Banquet while attending the Ulverstone Baptist Church. Ever since, the couple has been involved in the life of the Latrobe Church.
In the days of Boy’s Brigade, Youth Groups and Sunday School, Greg and Jill were there, sharing the love of the Lord. Greg followed his father’s example, and is now a Deacon of the church.
The next generation sees Kiran, son of Greg and Jill, as a Deacon and the Church Treasurer. He also runs the Bible Study and works in the youth activities. Kiran is still studying, as well as doing computer programming. Kiran’s sister, Naomi, and brother, Caleb, are very much an active part of the church and the whole family are very valued members of the Latrobe Baptist Church.
READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | STEP BY STEP
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