Stuart Crabtree – Passionate About Reaching Young People for Christ

Ministry profile blog header Stuart Crabtree

Ministry Profile: Stuart Crabtree 

Reaching Young People for Christ

Lifeway Baptist Student Pastor Stuart Crabtree writes about his life and how important it is that children know and feel they belong in Church. Read on to find out . . .

Early YEARS

I was born in Devonport, but spent most of my childhood in South Riana, a small country town south of Penguin. I spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors and climbing trees, but I also enjoyed reading a good book. 

My mother became a Christian in her late teens, and my father sometime after they were married. Mum was conscientious about teaching us from the Bible, emphasising the importance of believing and obeying God’s Word. Dad was a great role model of being a Christian husband (for which I am very grateful in my marriage today!). In this environment of regular exposure to the Gospel, I became convicted of my own need for salvation at the age of 10. 

Family Life

My wife, Melanie, is a creative soul who sings beautifully, and is an aspiring author. She also makes great coffee and works at the local bookshop. Together, we have two children, Eliana (9) and Gryphin (6). Eliana, like her mum, has a wonderful imagination and spends a lot of her time there! Gryphin loves spending one-on-one time with people and wants to be a monster truck driver when he’s older. We enjoy the gentler pace of life here in Tassie, as well as the cooler weather. 

I am an amateur Ukulele player and also enjoy cooking. I think I’ve mastered the art/science of making panna cotta and have a number of my own recipes (with several more in the works).  

Ministry at Lifeway

I share responsibility for the children’s ministry at Lifeway Baptist with Morgan Read. My focus is the Kids’ Church program that runs during the Sunday morning service. 

My first experience of ministry was at the age of 15, at Camps Clayton and Riverbend. Having enjoyed being a camper at Camp Clayton since grade 5, I was excited to progress to (being a) cabin leader. I don’t think I really got what ministry was about, though. I had a pretty superficial understanding of what made a good cabin leader and had looked up to some cabin leaders for superficial reasons – they were funny, cool, popular.

This changed on my seventh camp leading a cabin. My co-leader didn’t really have the qualities that I thought made a good cabin leader, but he was still an amazing one to me. He cared for our kids, he spent time with them, and he shared Jesus with them. He didn’t just lead them; he led me. From that point on my approach to cabin leading was different. It was about building relationships with kids and making opportunities to tell them about Jesus. 

Passionate About Youth Work

The following year, I became bored at school. I was in Year 11 and dropped out to find work. Instead, I ended up getting involved with Fusion and doing some training with them in Youth and Community Work. Following this, I spent a couple of years doing voluntary Christian work in schools, churches, and campsites. Camp Clayton gave me some casual work running their activities, and about a year later I moved into a full-time position running their holiday camps. I had become passionate about reaching young people for Christ. This theme shone through the next two decades, as I have continued to work in various youth and children’s ministries (as well as being a teacher at a local public high school).    

The Rewards and challenges

I love it when kids have ‘aha’ moments and understand something about God that they hadn’t before. I also enjoy seeing them grow in Christlikeness, being kind, gentle and compassionate with one another. 

It’s important to me that children know and feel that they belong in Church. For some children, this presents more of a challenge than others – their bodies or minds may be significantly different from others, and this may create a sense of disconnect between them and the community.  

Balancing my time between church, family, ministry, work, and study can be difficult. Another challenge we have – and a welcome one – is that the number of children in the church is growing. This means we need more volunteers to help with Kids’ Church.  

The best advice I had when I was growing up was from the Pastor of my church. He frequently told our youth group not to take his word for it (whatever he was teaching us), but to go to the Bible and see for ourselves. Such an attitude taught me to revere God’s authority over that of people. It also taught me to have my own personal relationship with God and develop my own faith rather than vicariously adopting the faith of others. 

Stuart Crabtree family
Pray For… 

Please pray that these children will know the love of Christ in and through the Church. Please also pray that we can find enough volunteers to properly care for children with extra-needs as they participate in Kids’ Church.

Stuart Crabtree

Short ‘n’ Sweet

I am looking forward to. . . long service leave  

I am worried about. . . being misunderstood

I am confident that. . . coffee is better than tea 

I am joyful about. . . spending time with my children  

I would like to change. . . my inability to consistently sing in tune  

I am at my best. . . when I know what’s happening 


Stuart Crabtree


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Why I Value Professional Supervision

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Michael Henderson Leadership Development

APOLOGY: Here is the link to the article Reaching Young People for Christ by Stuart Crabtree

Tasmanian Baptists took the step at our October 2023 Assembly of introducing “professional supervision” as a requirement for accreditation for our pastors. When I first heard this, it sounded to me like more work, and I wondered if our pastors had the time and resources to actually engage with it.  

Then, in November, I went to a national meeting about how our churches engage with issues around safe church policy, reportable conduct, redress scheme, and so on. Heavy stuff. Many in the room were lawyers, and seasoned professionals. I was definitely the odd one out.  

As heavy as the all-day meeting was, I found it inspiring to be in a room full of such passionate and caring people. They were working hard to protect some of the most vulnerable in our communities, while doing everything they could to help churches and pastors to flourish. 

Being People Carers

Then we had lunch. Our talk turned from churches and others to ourselves, and some started to share stories about the toll this kind of work has on them. They shared personal stories from the recent past about being a lawyer, about their personal struggles, and how some of them had almost broken down from the strain. One person said, “It is hard to keep caring for people when it keeps coming day after day. I don’t know how pastor’s do it.” 

As I listened, it occurred to me how a pastor’s job is very similar. Not in direct legal matters, but in the care for people and how it keeps coming day after day.  

Then a lady, close to retirement, shared how professional supervision had saved her that previous year. She began by scoffing at the idea: “I always fought against professional supervision, feeling like it was unnecessary. ‘I don’t need this’, I would tell people when they’d encourage me to do it. I have everything going well, thank you,” she said. 

Then she suddenly struggled to speak, and we gathered around her to support her, and she went on.  

“It was a colleague that noticed I wasn’t doing well. It was her that suggested I see a professional supervisor, and it was her that took me to the meeting,” and she paused again.

“I was not aware of how much I needed it, and how much it could help me. I do not think I would be here today without it. It is one of those things you don’t notice you need until it is too late. I am really encouraged we are getting our pastors to do this.” 

Photo of woman talking in group

A Self-Care Posture

This story highlighted for me why Tasmanian Baptists agreed to introduce professional supervision. Yes, there are time and financial costs involved. However, the benefits far exceed these costs.  

We encourage everyone in our churches to take a posture of self-care in ministry. And, we encourage our pastors to do likewise with Pastoral Supervision. We want our churches to thrive, not just survive. 

Michael Henderson

Michael Henderson works part-time for Tasmanian Baptists and is responsible for Leadership Development and attends Hobart Baptist Church. He is an artist, with work held in private and public collections and in 2021 was a finalist in the 66th Blake Prize. 


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Healthy Church Audit Time

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Rodney Marshall Healthy Church Audit

Baptist Churches are each responsible for how they operate and the policies they implement. Baptist church autonomy means it is not appropriate for a central body to set or demand that things be done a certain way. At the same time, the Tasmanian Government Insurers and the community expect that certain standards are maintained. 

The Healthy Church Audit started because of a decision made at the October 2018 assembly. It is now in its fifth year. Some people may be very familiar with the audit and why we do it, but with changes of roles, others may be wondering what it is all about. 

Why Audit?

The Audit is an annual reminder to check that each church has certain things up to date and working in their context.  It offers a chance to reassess and ask: Is this still working for us? Has there been changes in the law or in the community that means we need to make an adjustment? Is our record keeping up to date? 

Covid Safe Plans  

This will (hopefully) be the final year that asks about Covid Safe plans. The government has now removed the mandatory requirement, but given the recent experience, having a plan on how to handle any future pandemics might be wise. 

Pastoral Registration and Accreditation  

Likewise, the Pastoral registration and accreditation systems are changing, and next year’s questions will be a little different. 

Church Financial Health

The Audit also asks about the church’s financial health. It is far better to see issues early rather than dig a hole that you can’t get out of. Having worked as an accountant I have seen many businesses struggle to get themselves out of things when a little bit of external advice could have made a big difference. If only people would ask for help when they needed it! 

Church Financial Information Form

The final part of the Audit is the Church Financial Information form. As part of our commitment to each other the agreed funding model is that each church contributes 5 percent of its income to keep Tas Baptists running. Over the year different models have been tried, based on attendance or number of members etc., The Assembly agreed the fairest method of funding was based on a share of income. For those churches that operate businesses, only the surplus from the business is included as income. 

Forms are due by 30 April 2024 (along with a copy of Financial Reports for last FY) ready to report to Assembly on 11 May. If you have any questions about the Healthy Church Audit or the information gathered, please feel free to contact Rodney on 0407 903 620 or rodney@tasbaptists.org.au 

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Rodney Marshall is Operations Manager for Tasmanian Baptists, and Pastor at Riverlands Community Church.


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reCharge NEWS March 2024

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    BibleProject Resources

    BibleProject creates free resources to help people experience the Bible. Everything they make is funded by generous supporters around the world. The entire library of videos, podcasts, classes, and other resources are available at bibleproject.com.  

    Their most recent production is a 10-part series on Jesus’ teachings on the Sermon on the Mount, available to watch on Youtube.  

    Subscribe to the channel for more explainer videos about the Bible. They currently have over 4 million subscribers already!

    Register for Foundations

    Foundations is a path toward the unique calling that God has on your life, equipping you to live the deep truth of Christian faith in every area of your life. 

    The course runs on Wednesdays from Wed, 1 May to Wed, 14 Aug.
    Choose either a day course at Hobart Baptist (12:00pm to 2:30pm) or an evening course at Citywide Mornington (7-9:30pm).  

    The two courses will combine for two Saturday sessions on the 1 June (9:30 – 4:30) and 6 July (9:30 – 7:30) 

    The whole course works together to produce a deep understanding of a practical Christian worldview. 

    You will receive specific skills in a range of areas including: 

    – Managing complicated relationships
    – Knowing God’s will  
    – Building healthy teams
    – Developing life-giving habits
    – Finding your place in leadership
    – Sharing your Faith
    – Understanding the revolutionary big picture of the bible  
    – Love and Sexuality
    – Listening  
    – Community
    – Development and Transformation

    Cost of $50 includes refreshments, meals on the Saturdays, and a Foundations manual.  

    Register now  

    Citywide Easter Exhibition

    Monday, 18 March to Friday, 26 April 

    A series of drawings by artist Michael Henderson have been installed in Citywide Baptist Church, Hobart, for Easter 2024. 

    The work is titled, We only remember history in the present moment. The four drawings are a part of a larger series of 16 charcoal drawings. All together they describe contemporary life through stories from Christian Scripture.

    The drawings are not intended to illustrate certain scriptures, or tell the story of the whole Bible, but they draw inspiration from biblical stories and place an experience in a contemporary setting. They blur the line between history and the present moment, intending for the viewer to think about their own life. 

    Most of the drawings are 1.2m square. The 3 of the crucifixion are 1.4m square. The 16 drawings combine for an overall length of 20m.

    The Drawings

    The second drawing above describes Jesus being crucified, with the two either side describing Peter and Judas’s response to Jesus’ crucifixion. This series of 3 is where the whole series started for me. I wanted to describe both Peter and Judas turning their back on Jesus, and then both of them responding to what they had done. 

    The fourth drawing above is of Mary hugging Jesus, and focuses on Mary’s joy at seeing Jesus again, rather than describe an event around the resurrection. 

    The drawings have been exhibited in many places, including St. Francis Xavier’s Catholic Cathedral in Adelaide, as part of the 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival, and in churches and exhibition spaces around Australia. Michael’s work is held in private and public collections; he was a finalist in the 66th Blake Prize (2021).

    The exhibition runs from the Monday, 18 March to Friday, 26 April 2024 at 400 Cambridge Road, Mornington, Tasmania. 

    Art can be viewed daily Monday to Saturday.
    From 9:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday and Sunday. 

    See all 16 drawings online here.


    The Bob Curè Exhibition Space

    Matt Garvin and Dan Evenhuis explained more about the motivation behind Citywide’s exhibition space. 

    “As we approach Easter, we wanted to have an exhibition that would help those passing by reflect on Jesus and his sacrifice. We have around 2,000 people walking through our foyer each week,” said Dan Evenhuis, Executive Pastor at Citywide

    “Citywide’s Mornington Campus has housed the Bob Curé Exhibition Space in its foyer since 2019. Through the exhibition space, we have been able to support many local artists, photographers and craft-makers as they share their creative thoughts and skills,” he said. 

    Matt Garvin, Senior Pastor at the church, said he was grateful to have Michael’s art which communicates the message of Easter over these few weeks.

    “The Bob Curè exhibition space is our way to encourage Christians to express their creativity,” he said. 

    Launceston Alive Easter Festival

    Thu 28 – Sun 31 Mar  

    Launceston Alive is an annual Easter community festival of thought, music and art held throughout Launceston over the Easter weekend at one of the following planned events. Karl Fasse, Colin Buchanan and other performing artists will offer stories of faith. 

    Thursday, 28 March at 9:00am – Leaders workshop with Karl Faase at Legana Christian Church, 1 Gerrard Cl, Legana.

    Friday, 29 March at 6:00pm – The 2024 Unearthed Event will unearth stories of faith with Karl Faase and Colin Buchannan. There will be music and entertainment by Colin Buchanan and Jade Steg; a remarkable story of faith and courage from Bernadette Black; Karl Faase will speak about the stories of faith that have shaped our nation. All are welcome, just come along at Door Of Hope Church, 50 Glen Dhu St, South Launceston. The event is free.

    Saturday, 30 March, 11:00am – 2:00pm – The Children and Families Festival is especially for children, young people and their families. Performers include Colin Buchannan, Bronte Ferguson, Azahlia Dingemanse and Caitlyn Duffy. at at Riverbend Park, Launceston.

    Sunday, 31 March, 5:00pm – Combined Churches Easter service with Karl Faase at Door Of Hope, 50 Glen Dhu St, South Launceston.

    Launceston Easter Alive

    Faith Impact Audit

    NAYBA Audit Presentation

    On Thursday 7 March, Stephen and Jenny Baxter attended a presentation for the results of the NAYBA Impact Audit of Tasmania. This is the first statewide audit of its kind conducted and reflects the work being done by people of faith. 

    The final audit report includes the following statistics on Tasmania: 
    – 284 community service activities 
    – 209,057 people served in the last year 
    – $70,841,878 social value impact to the State of Tasmania each year. 

    Stephen hosts a panel at the Grace Centre Rokeby. From left, Councillor Brendan Blomeley (Mayor of the City of Clarence), John Kamara (Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2024) and Aimen Jafri (Chair of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania).

    New Book Available

    Tasmanian Baptist History 

    This is the ninth book on Tasmanian Baptist History by Laurence F Rowston. It looks at the beginnings of sixteen of our Baptist Churches in Tasmania commencing about 1880.

    The churches are Bracknell, Blackwood Creek, Burnie, Deloraine, Devonport, Hobart, Latrobe, Launceston, Longford, Perth, Sheffield, Smithton, Ulverstone, Wynyard and Yolla and also Memorial, the Henry Reed Mission Church in Launceston.

    But it is more than account of their first years.

    The book contains full biographies of their pastors, seventy-four in number from the moment they come on the scene wherever they are, to their deaths. The biographies look into their origins, their preaching and their pastoral work and the movements of the day.

    The book has more than 3,000 footnotes and contains about 230 photographs. Each chapter contains a conclusion which compares the church of those years with the churchtoday. In time a hardback hand-stitched two-volume copy will be available from the author.

    Books cost $40 plus postage (or collect from Baptist Assembly or Citywide Mornington office, 400 Cambridge Road, Mornington, TAS. Contact Dan Evenhuis on 0481 917 806  or email dan.evenhuis@citywidehobart.org.au .

    March Muster

    Why Theological Education Matters

    The Tas Baptists March Muster was held in Hobart and offered the perfect opportunity to launch the Frank W Boreham College. Andrew Corbett, of Legana Christian Fellowship, gave a detailed account of Boreham’s amazing life and ministry.

    Boreham moved to Australia in 1906 to pastor at Hobart Baptist Church. He wrote 46 books (many receiving wide international acclaim) and over 3,000 weekly editorials for the Hobart Mercury between 1912 and 1959.  

    Alongside the launch of the college, the Muster focused on professional development. David Williams from Taylor Baptist College, Edmonton, Canada (and Kairos University) and Darrell Jackson, interim principal of Whitley College in Victoria spoke on the topic. 

    Darrell answered the question, “Was Jesus a theological educator?” while David reflected on “Why theological education matters”. 

    As the first Muster for the year, time together was an opportunity for fellowship, learning and encouragement. This included a long table dinner together at HBC’s new Esteem Cafe.

    Following the Muster,  David Williams travelled to all three regions to discuss with other Baptists what further theological education can look like, from diploma to doctorate. In particular, he outlined the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning that surrounds students with a team of mentors who, together, determine the student’s education and formation pathway.   

    Stephen Baxter launches Frank W. Boreham College at March Muster.
    Long Table at march Muster 2024
    Long table dinner at Hobart Baptist Church during the March Muster.

    Candidate Forums 

    Meet your Local Candidate 

    In the lead up to the State election, churches are working together to host election candidate forums. The forums will be held in each electorate in preparation for the upcoming State election. Each forum will include set questions on issues of concern to Christians, and time for questions from the floor. Most events will be live streamed or recorded, for those who cannot make it.

    This is a great opportunity to meet local candidates, ask questions and hear from them on issues that you care about. 

    Find more information online meetyourcandidates.org.au 

    Crossover

    2024 Australian Baptist Easter Offering

    The Australian Baptist Easter Offering by Crossover is a thousand churches combining to express our gratitude for Jesus and to invest in sharing him with others.  

    The offering supports Crossover – a national Baptist ministry that provides resources, training and encouragement to help Australian Baptists share Jesus with their friends and neighbourhoods. They offer all churches free-to-use Easter resources. 

    To see all their resources or join their mailing list, visit the Crossover website

    Crossover runs entirely on the donations of people like us – so let’s support generously as we’re able. Donations can also be made directly at crossover.org.au 

    Re-Imagine  

    Combined Gathering 

    Re-Imagine is a combined gathering that aims to create a safe space for people to wrestle with faith, ask questions, and explore the journey of following Jesus. The gathering is organised by young adults from different churches, aged 18+ and is open to anyone interested.
    Meets fortnightly at 157 St John St (St Johns middle building) on Tuesdays at 6pm for dinner and discussion with the next meeting on Tuesday, 12 March. 

    Find more details on Facebook.

    Samaritan’s Purse

    Shoebox Numbers Are In! 

    Samaritan’s Purse announced this week that 11.3 million shoeboxes were packed worldwide during last year’s Operation Christmas Child collection season (2023). That means millions of children will now hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be discipled in 2024!

    read stories of the incredible impact a simple shoebox gift is having around the world, visit their website. 

    Seeing and sharing the impact of this work is a great way to honour everyone in the TasBaptist community who has packed shoeboxes and partnered with Samaritan’s Purse over the years.  

    Being Human Webinar

    What does it mean to be human?

    Karl Faase will be joined by Jo Frost to look at the question, What does it mean to be human. Jo Frost is Author of the book and video series, ‘Being Human’ and will grapple with the idea of what it is to view the world through the Being Human lens. She will consider questions such as What is Jesus on about when he offers us ‘life to the full’? And look at the cultural stories are shaping our identity. Also, what makes humanity unique and what is the invitation that God extends? 

    On Tuesday, 12 March 2024 at 7pm  

    RESERVE YOUR TICKET 

    Trauma Recovery Course

    Reboot Trauma Recovery

    This three-day, faith-based course is focused on healing from trauma.  While aimed at Service-related trauma, REBOOT courses are being offered to the wider community suffering from all forms of trauma. This includes victims of crime, DV, childhood trauma, disability, grief and ongoing illness.
    One veteran on average dies by suicide every 2 weeks, making suicide amongst our service community is at an epidemic.

    Free to attend. Childcare is not available. For more info contact Andy & Zoe Cullen: 0420 462 845 or email: info@rebootau.org

    From Wednesday 13, March to Friday, 15 March
    9am to 2pm
    (Graduation Ceremony on Friday night, 6pm – 8pm)  

    At Wrest Point Hotel Hobart, Drysdale Room – 410 Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay 

    REGISTER ONLINE

    Heartlands Summer 2024 – out now

    By Women, for Women

    Heartlands is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of Tasmanian women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

    Read more…

    Heartlands News

    New College Roadshow

    Frank W Boreham College launch

    Tas Baptists launched the new Frank W Boreham College on 5 March at Hobart Baptist Church.  The college will provide ministry and theological education, training, and reflection for our pastors, leaders, and members across Tasmania. This means Tasmanian Baptists now have the capacity to provide qualified training within the State.

    The new college is made possible by a partnership with both Kairos and Whitley.

    David will visit the state in early March and travel to all three regions to discuss what further theological education can look like, from diploma to doctorate. He will explain the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning. This model surrounds each student with a team of mentors who, along with the student, determine the student’s education and formation pathway.   

    The following informal evenings are open to anyone. 

    • Wednesday 6 March 7.30pm at Hobart Baptist Church
      Hosted by Stephen Baxter, 0417 313 273  
    • Thursday 7 March 7.30pm at Newstead Baptist Church
      Hosted by Dan Hutchison, 0457 765 907  
    • Friday 8 March 7.30pm at Burnie Baptist Church
      Hosted by Matty Coppin, 9484 064 490  

    Please contact Stephen, Dan, or Matty, ASAP if you plan to attend. 

    Hear about the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning

    Workshop for churches on CYSOF

    New Child and Youth Safe Organisation Framework legislation 

    Olive Road and Fostering Hope are running a workshop on Child and Youth Safe Organisation Framework (CYSOF) legislation. 

    The workshop is on Thursday, the 14 March 2024 at the Grace Centre, Rokeby,  from 9.30pm to 2.30pm. 

    The workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to grapple with the new CYSOF legislation and to share resources and ideas to develop the required policies and processes that will ensure ongoing compliance with the new Framework.   

    Anyone from not-for-profit organisations and churches in Hobart would benefit from this workshop to gain a better understanding of the new legislation. This includes the new Reportable Conduct Scheme and new strict timeframes on reporting to the regulator. The workshop will also focus on how organisations or churches might comply with the ten Child and Youth Safe Standards.   

    If you, or someone within your organisation or church, are keen to attend, or if a weekend or evening session would suit better, contact Mary Blake, Exec. Officer, Fostering Hope on m. 0423 365 988 or email mary@fosteringhope.net.au.

    There’s more information about the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework here

    Kids playing outside
    Working for a Child and Youth Safe Organisation

    Gaza Crisis Update

    From Baptist World Aid Australia

    Around 1.9 million people in Gaza have been displaced since the war started three months ago, when Hamas launched a terrorist attack on innocent civilians in Israel. 

    People are sheltering in overcrowded school buildings, churches, and medical centres; some are even pitching tents on the street. This has left families vulnerable as winter hits, with temperatures dropping down to 10 degrees at night. 

    Also, Gaza is experiencing a healthcare crisis.  

    Baptist World Aid Partners in the region are distributing aid to families, including medical items, medicines, hygiene kits, mattresses and blankets, and food packages. They are also continuing to provide medical supplies and other essentials to families in the West Bank and Lebanon, where civil unrest and violent attacks are rising.  

    Read this lament written late last year as preparation to pray for protection and relief for families in the Middle East.  

    If you’d like to consider giving, visit Baptist World Aid here. 

    Gaza war damage photo by Mohamad Zaanoun, International Health Partners
    Gaza war damage photo by Mohamad Zaanoun, International Health Partners

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    ReCharge News March 2024

    Around the Churches, February-March 2024


    he Churches February-March 2024

    North

    Around the Churches, February-March 2024

    LAUNCESTON

    Farewell Rev Alan J L Neate 

    The Rev Alan J L Neate died on 2 March 2024. Alan began his ministerial life as a student pastor at Port Kembla and Lugarno before serving as pastor at Wagga Wagga, Broken Hill South, Liverpool and Auburn Baptist Churches in New South Wales as well in ministering in Ashfield as Director of Religious Education.

    He and his wife Lillian and family moved to Tasmania and pastored Central Baptist in Launceston from February 1974 to October 1980 before moving to Victoria and pastoring Bendigo Baptist Church from 1980-1987 and then Wodonga District Baptist Church from 1987-1992. Alan was the President of the Baptist Union of Victoria in 1988-1989.

    Alan was a pastor who regularly visited the congregation in their homes and was a much loved preacher. Born in NSW on 16 September 1926, he was converted during a CSSM beach mission and years later was baptised and joined a Baptist church. 

    Prior to training at the NSW Baptist College from 1949, he worked for the Commonwealth Bank for seven years. Here Tasmania he was President of the Baptist Union. He served on many Councils and Committees of the various Baptist Associations. He was lovingly supported by his wife Lillian (dec.) throughout his ministry. 

    He’s was never afraid to tell people they need Jesus Christ in their lives.

    “I like to preach for a verdict,” he once explained. “People have been saved in a communion service because I’ve stopped to explain what communion was about.

    “Although, I don’t see myself as a red-hot evangelist, and I regularly use others who can put the net out.”

    For him the keys to church growth were the effective exposition of God’s Word and genuine pastoral care by the pastor, the pastor’s wife and others. One of his children, Margaret, Christian educator with the ABMS both in Timor and Indonesia, became well known to us Tasmanian Baptists.  – Laurie Rowston


    Around the Churches, February-March 2024

    Northwest

    WYNYARD

    Wynyard Baptist Church

    Church Events

    The Wynyard Church and Sunday School picnic at the Railway Institute Hall was an enjoyable day for all ages and the “Just Girls” group enjoyed a day out at Kaydale Gardens recently. 

    Approximately 90 people met for a special Chat n Choose morning tea and fellowship on Thursday, 14 March. The event was to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of Chat n Choose. It was a great opportunity for past and present ladies to get together. Chat n Choose women meet every Thursday morning during school term for morning tea and various crafts.

    The annual Harvest Thanksgiving Auction and dinner fundraiser held in March was a great success and enjoyed by everyone that attended.

    Wynyard Chat n Choose 30 yr anniversary
    Chat n Choose 30 year anniversary at Wynyard

    READ Wynyard’s Church Profile >


    YOLLA

    BBQ Lunch

    Members from our congregation opened their home and provided a BBQ lunch on Sunday, 25 February at Hellyer Beach. The time together was enjoyable, despite the rather gusty conditions.

    • Yolla Baptist church BBQ lunch at Hellyer Beach
    • Yolla Baptist church BBQ lunch at Hellyer Beach
    • Yolla Baptist church BBQ lunch at Hellyer Beach

    ULVERSTONE

    Christmas Day Lunch 2023 

    It was a privilege for Ulverstone church to host a Christmas Day Lunch, with 58 people attending. Illness kept a few from coming. All who attended were well fed, with leftovers to take home. A Christmas message was presented, and a small gift, with a take home message, was given out to attendees. 

    Leadership Vision Day Retreat 2024 

    On Saturday 17 February Ulverstone held a Leadership Vision Day Retreat. Attendees were blessed by a time of praise and worship, and prayer. The group completed a survey, followed by a time of discussion. Nick Booth from Romaine Park blessed everyone with his sharing, then this was followed by a yummy lunch and further discussion. 

    Church Family News 

    As a church family, Ulverstone continue to enjoy the warmth of summer and fellowship as they gather each month after the Sunday morning service for a picnic at Fairway Park. 

    In November they celebrated with Abbey and Cameron Hingson with the safe arrival of their sweet son Rory Mac Hingston. Rory’s timely arrival meant that he was able to attend the celebration of his Great Grandparents, John and Glenys Preston’s 60th wedding anniversary in December. 

    From the Pulpit 

    A new catch phrase “Believing for more in 2024”, has seen the church be challenged. The church has been reminded, over the last few weeks – by Pastor Louis, Lyn McKay and John Sypkes – how each person has been called according to His purpose. 


    BURNIE

    View of Burnie; Around the Churches October-November 2023

    Farewell Ian Joyce

    Ian Joyce passed away on Friday, 23 February, aged 102. He was a long serving member of Burnie Baptist for many decades. Ian and his wife Fay moved away from Burnie to down-size and be nearer to family about 15 years ago.

    In 1983, Ian was made Life Deacon after serving as Deacon and Elder over many years.
    In 1984, he was inducted as Associate Pastor, a role he served for 10 years until his wife Faye took a position with Lifeline in Broken Hill. In Broken Hill, Ian served as Pastor of Broken Hill Baptist Church. He returned to burnie after four years. He continued to preach occasionally.

    After moving to nearby Penguin, Ian and Faye faithfully fellowshipped at the Penguin Uniting Church. Ian continued to be a faithful servant until his passing.

    Photo of Ian Edward Joyce

    Around the Churches February-March 2024

    South

    CITYWIDE
    Mornington, Lenah Valley, Nepali

    Citywide Church Banner


    Summer Teaching Series 

    Throughout January we were challenged and inspired by different speakers sharing from their faith journeyings.  We were blessed! 

    Finalising Carpet Replacement 

    Great rejoicing! We finished replacing the old, worn carpeting throughout the building at Mornington; As a result, the new carpet looks so much better.  Praise God for his provision through the generosity of his people. 

    Dinner Together

    Over 50 people gathered in various homes to share the first of our pot luck Dinner Together meals this year.  We will be changing the way we do this for the rest of the year, in that we are aiming to meet in our own suburb with Christians from other Baptist churches in our area – a way of getting to know others in God’s family who live near us.   

    Citywide pot luck dinner
    Potluck Dinner Together meals at Citywide

    Child Safe Workshop 

    Several of our leaders have joined with other churches in our area to workshop the changes in Legislation together. This is a significant area of risk for us and facing the compliance responsibilities is a challenge.

    Mission Foci 

    In January, our focus was on Aboriginal Day and the needs of our indigenous people of our land. February featured the 12 children we sponsor through Baptist World Aid, Compassion and REHOCH children’s home in Zambia. In March, we are centring on our support of two remote rural pastors in Nepal, and hearing of their work and the people they care for. 

    READ Citywide’s Church Profile >


    CLAREMONT

    Claremont Baptist church

    Church Growth

    In the past few months Claremont Baptist has been quietly growing in numbers. This is a great joy and answer to prayer. 

    READ Claremont’s Church Profile >


    HOBART

    Esteem Cafe

    Esteem Cafe, operated by Kelvin Smith, is bringing a quiet but steady stream of people into the new space at Hobart Baptist Church. After the success of the Long Table dinners and Market Stall days, Kelvin is now turning his attention to starting weekday groups, between 8am and 2pm. Groups include English Conversation and Story Telling. Esteem is still waiting for kitchen approvals before progressing to being a full cafe.

    Long Table dinner at Esteem

    Luminous

    The year began with an Info Session and pre-planning session for Luminous 2024 festival, held in June every year. Luminous seeks to open a space for discussion, develop thought and shine a gentle and welcoming light on profound and foundational questions in a way that is life-giving and unifying. 

    The festival brings art and conversations together through the theme of Christmas within its original context of the dark and cold of winter. This provides and opportunity to celebrate the rich themes of light and hope, which often go missing in an Australian summer Christmas.

    Luminous Sacred Tasmania poster

    READ Hobart’s Church Profile >


    Around the Churches February-March 2024

    Read More ReCharge!

    Around the Churches October-November 2023

    LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

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    Around the Churches October-November 2023




    Morgan Read – From ‘Curious Outsider’ to LifeWay Pastor

    Ministry Profile: Morgan Read 

    From ‘Curious Outsider’ to LifeWay Pastor

    Lifeway Student Pastor Morgan Read writes about her journey from being a ‘curious outsider’ to giving back to the community that gave her so much. Read on to find out . . .

    Early YEARS

    I was born in Northern Tasmania and spent all my childhood in Devonport. I was raised by both my mum and my dad and have two brothers; my half-brother Ben, who is 11 years older than me, and my younger brother Olly, who is 18 months younger than me. 

    Ben moved out when I was young so as you read on you can decide if I have “oldest child” or “middle kid” energy.  We had quite a fun childhood in a lot of ways. My mother was a child carer who was really into learning by play so Olly and I had the best cubby house and dress ups of any kids I knew. We spent a lot of our childhood in full princess dress ups, up a tree in our backyard, playing complicated make-believe games even we didn’t fully understand. In the summer we would spend most of our time at the beach with dad pulling us in and out of the surf on a bodyboard. 

    Morgan Read and high school friends
    Morgan with High School friends
    Learning About Religion 

    My early religious education was in many ways as the curious outsider. It started when I was nine, with school based religious education, and continued a year later with an optional bible study club in primary school. My parents (though not religious themselves) were both raised in religious families. (I have several Great Uncles and cousins who were Uniting Church/Methodist Ministers.) They did however encourage me to think for myself and pursue whatever path felt right for me and gave me access to any resources I was curious about.  

    My early religious education was in many ways as the curious outsider.

    Though, at this early stage I did not consider myself a Christian, I had developed a philosophy that in many ways I still hold, which is an understanding that you do not have to be all or nothing in all the minutia of a belief to have faith in it. If you try to have all the answers you will either fail or drive yourself mad trying.  

    When I got to high school, I met three of my closest friends all of whom are Christians, and this is where my links to Lifeway Baptist started. Though, through all this time, I must admit, I was the youth group’s token Atheist — but I was still determined to learn.
    I was a member of J-Walkers (the youth group at the time) and later Converge (the young adult bible study group). When I moved to Hobart in 2014 with one of those same friends, I became yet another token Atheist. This time at a Campus Christian Movement Bible Study. This was partially to support my friend, to learn, and later because it was in my house.  

    Morgan speaking
    A New Country and Finding Faith

    My switch into believing rather than just studying happened when I moved to the UK.
    At the end of 2018, my contract hadn’t been renewed in the administration job I was working, and the rent we were paying had just gone up (a lot). So, I decided that this was all a sign, and I needed a change. So, I applied for some Au Pair positions and within two months I was living in England. Hoping to meet new people joined a local Church. I found a home there. I loved the people and slowly grew to love God and haven’t gone back.

    I loved the people and slowly grew to love God and haven’t gone back.

    After a year in England, I moved to Scotland and worked for two different families, one in Dundee, then one up in Aberdeen. There I joined the local Episcopalian Church. I was able to really strengthen my prayer life in this church and was able to have a lot of interesting conversations with the Vicar there. It was also around this time that I decided to get Baptised. Baptism to me is the start of your decided journey with God, and I worry sometimes people think of it as the pinnacle of the journey rather than the beginning. 

    Back Home Again

    In mid-2021 I moved back to Australia. My grandmother was becoming very unwell, and the government was looking at winding up repatriation flights, and honestly, I was missing Tasmania. I have a lot of love for my home state, for my family has been here for a very long time. If you are a Northern Tasmanian reading this, yes, we are probably related. I love the environment here, and I like that you end up knowing everyone or if you don’t, you know someone who does.  

    I have a lot of love for my home state, for my family has been here for a very long time.

    So, I made the decision to finish up my British adventure early. I moved back with my parents and Olly in Devonport. We all still very happily living together with our two English Springer Spaniels, Harry, and George. We are four very different people, but we all love each other so much, which makes life much easier.  

    Morgan Read with her family
    Morgan and her family at her brother’s graduation

    When I came back home, I also went back to Lifeway Baptist. It was where so much of this journey began. It only took one service, and I knew overwhelmingly this was where I was meant to be. I started volunteering with a couple of the kid’s programs and towards the end of last year I was Baptised again (this time by submersion).  

    It only took one service, and I knew overwhelmingly this was where I was meant to be.

    Today

    These days I am a busy person. I run the local Air Force Cadet Unit, I’ve just started an after-school theatre group, I study theology part time through Whitley College, I run a weekday primary school kids club through the church, and a few other bits and pieces I’m probably forgetting.  

    Morgan at Cadets
    Morgan

    At Lifeway I am a Student Pastor, so I study, I also co-run the children’s ministry with a focus on activities that happen outside of Sunday services, and I occasionally preach. Both in and outside of direct ministry almost all of the stuff I do is about giving back for the opportunities and community I have been given.

    Both in and outside of direct ministry almost all of the stuff I do is about giving back for the opportunities and community I have been given.

    Lifeway helped me with my faith; Cadets and theatre have helped me build my confidence and leadership. It is so valuable in a small community like Devonport to have outlets for children and teenagers to be able to develop and socialise outside of school.  

    The biggest challenge I face in my ministry is myself. I always want to and try to do more, and tend to over commit, but I am working on that.  

    The Best piece of advice I have received is “you can only help someone who wants to be helped.” It’s not universal, but it helps when sometimes ministry can be slow, frustrating, and not the way you feel it should be. 

    Pray For… 

    If you could pray for me as I balance a lot of my commitments to my community and ministry. Also, for the children and families in our community, as they start down the path of faith and come to understand their relationship with God and what that means to them.

    Morgan Read - from a ‘Curious Outsider’ to LifeWay Pastor
    Morgan Read is currently a Student Pastor at Lifeway Baptist church

    Short ‘n’ Sweet

    am looking forward to . . . learning more about God and his people.

    I am worried about . . . time. There never seems to be enough. 

    I am confident that . . . God is good and in control.

    I am joyful about . . . getting to share Gods love. 

    I would like to change . . . I’d like to be less judgemental.

    I am at my best . . . when I have others to bounce ideas off. 


    Matty Coppin


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    reCharge NEWS February 2024

    CLICK FOR NEWS ITEM

      Being Human Webinar

      What does it mean to be human?

      In this webinar, Karl Faase is being joined by Jo Frost to look at the question, What does it mean to be human. Jo Frost is Author of the book and video series, ‘Being Human’ and will grapple with the idea of what it is to view the world through the Being Human lens. She will consider questions such as What is Jesus on about when he offers us ‘life to the full’? And look at the cultural stories are shaping our identity. Also, what makes humanity unique and what is the invitation that God extends? 

      On Tuesday, 12 March 2024 at 7pm  

      RESERVE YOUR TICKET 

      Trauma Recovery Course

      Reboot Trauma Recovery

      This three-day, faith-based course is focused on healing from trauma.  While aimed at Service-related trauma, REBOOT courses are being offered to the wider community suffering from all forms of trauma. This includes victims of crime, DV, childhood trauma, disability, grief and ongoing illness.
      One veteran on average dies by suicide every 2 weeks, making suicide amongst our service community is at an epidemic.

      Free to attend. Childcare is not available. For more info contact Andy & Zoe Cullen: 0420 462 845 or email: info@rebootau.org

      From Wednesday 13, March to Friday, 15 March
      9am to 2pm
      (Graduation Ceremony on Friday night, 6pm – 8pm)  

      At Wrest Point Hotel Hobart, Drysdale Room – 410 Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay 

      REGISTER ONLINE

      Heartlands Summer 2024 – out now

      By Women, for Women

      Heartlands is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of Tasmanian women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

      Read more…

      Heartlands News

      New College Roadshow

      Frank W Boreham College launch

      The Frank W Boreham College will be launched on 5 March at Hobart Baptist Church.  It will provide ministry and theological education, training, and reflection for our pastors, leaders, and members across Tasmania. Realising this exciting vision means Tasmanian Baptists now have the capacity to provide qualified training within the State.

      The new college is made possible by a partnership with both Kairos and Whitley.

      David will visit the state in early March and travel to all three regions to discuss what further theological education can look like, from diploma to doctorate. He will explain the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning. This model surrounds each student with a team of mentors who, along with the student, determine the student’s education and formation pathway.   

      The following informal evenings are open to anyone. 

      • Wednesday 6 March 7.30pm at Hobart Baptist Church
        Hosted by Stephen Baxter, 0417 313 273  
      • Thursday 7 March 7.30pm at Newstead Baptist Church
        Hosted by Dan Hutchison, 0457 765 907  
      • Friday 8 March 7.30pm at Burnie Baptist Church
        Hosted by Matty Coppin, 9484 064 490  

      Please contact Stephen, Dan, or Matty, ASAP if you plan to attend. 

      Hear about the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning

      Have you thought of Mentoring?  

      Fostering Hope Info Session for Mentoring

      Interested in being a mentor for a child growing up in foster care?
      Do you know someone in your church community who would be a great mentor?  
      Fostering Hope is a Tasmanian Christian organisation caring for children growing up in out-of-home care (foster and kinship care) and currently has children waiting for mentors. 

      Mentoring online information session: Tuesday, 27 February at 12:00pm.  

      This short movie explains how mentoring can make a difference and could be perfect to show at your Sunday service or small group meeting.   

      The Mentoring Program is for children growing up in care. The program recruits, trains, screens and then matches Christian mentors with a child.  

      For children growing up in care, there are lots of adults in their life who are paid to be there. Mentors are someone who chooses to turn up and be there for a child regardless of what’s gone on for them. It is powerful for both the child and the mentor.  

      Every relationship is designed around the child and mentor. The regular time commitment is dependent on the mentor’s availability.  

      Upcoming training days are Saturday, 2 March in Launceston and Saturday, 16 March in Hobart.

      Register online here  or email mentoring@fosteringhope.net.au if you have questions.  

      Interested in being a mentor for a child growing up in foster care?

      City Prayer

      Church Together Prayer Meetings for Hobart

      Church Together invites all Christians to attend their monthly prayer meetings for the city in 2024. 

      Upcoming Church Together prayer meetings for 2024:  
      – 28 February at Hobart City Church of Christ (8 Goulburn St, Hobart) 
      – 27 March at Hobart Baptist Church (282 Elizabeth St, Nth Hobart) 

      Arrive at 7.15am for a 7.30am start. Finishes at 8.30am.  

      Prayer meetings will continue throughout 2024 on the last Wednesday of the month. Contact Sharyn Hill on 0409 855 880 or email info@churchtogethertasmania.com 

      Plan to pray and gather together as His Church across Hobart

      Workshop for churches on CYSOF

      New Child and Youth Safe Organisation Framework legislation 

      Olive Road and Fostering Hope are running a workshop on Child and Youth Safe Organisation Framework (CYSOF) legislation. 

      The workshop is on Thursday, the 14 March 2024 at the Grace Centre, Rokeby,  from 9.30pm to 2.30pm. 

      The workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to grapple with the new CYSOF legislation and to share resources and ideas to develop the required policies and processes that will ensure ongoing compliance with the new Framework.   

      Anyone from not-for-profit organisations and churches in Hobart would benefit from this workshop to gain a better understanding of the new legislation.

      Time will be given to the new Reportable Conduct Scheme and new strict timeframes on reporting to the regulator. The workshop will also focus on how organisations or churches might comply with the ten Child and Youth Safe Standards.   

      If you, or someone within your organisation or church, are keen to attend, or if a weekend or evening session would suit better, contact Mary Blake, Exec. Officer, Fostering Hope on m. 0423 365 988 or email mary@fosteringhope.net.au.

      There’s more information about the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework here

      Kids playing outside
      Working for a Child and Youth Safe Organisation

      Gaza Crisis Update

      From Baptist World Aid Australia

      Around 1.9 million people in Gaza have been displaced since the war started three months ago, when Hamas launched a terrorist attack on innocent civilians in Israel. 

      People are sheltering in overcrowded school buildings, churches, and medical centres; some are even pitching tents on the street. This has left families vulnerable as winter hits, with temperatures dropping down to 10 degrees at night. 

      Gaza is also experiencing a healthcare crisis.  

      Baptist World Aid Partners in the region are distributing aid to families, including medical items, medicines, hygiene kits, mattresses and blankets, and food packages. They are also continuing to provide medical supplies and other essentials to families in the West Bank and Lebanon, where civil unrest and violent attacks are rising.  

      Here is a lament written late last year as preparation to pray for protection and relief for families in the Middle East.  

      If you’d like to consider giving, visit Baptist World Aid here. 

      Gaza war damage photo by Mohamad Zaanoun, International Health Partners
      Gaza war damage photo by Mohamad Zaanoun, International Health Partners

      New Pastor Welcome

      Matu Christian Church welcome Rev Kosen

      Rev. Maddy Svoboda from Summerhill Baptist welcomed Mr Kosen to Matu Christian Church on Sunday, 4 February.

      Matu Christian Church meet every Sunday afternoon at Newstead Baptist Church at 2pm. 

      Free One-Day Workshop

      S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y approach to family violence

      The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania is offering a free one-day workshop for Church Leaders and Pastoral Carers. The S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y approach to domestic violence is a guide for churches that offers a theologically-informed lens on domestic violence and how individual churches can create safe spaces for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.  

      The intention and prayer of the workshop is that Tasmanian churches reflect God’s care for the abused and vulnerable and that churches be places of safety.  

      S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y Sanctuary logo

      The S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y training can be taken either an person or online and is open to church leaders and pastoral carers from any denomination for use within the local church context. All training materials will be available to those who attend. 

      The workshop is on Saturday, 17 February 2024 at Wellspring Anglican Church, Hobart or online on Saturday, 2 March 2024.  

      Both workshops run from 9:30am to 3pm and include: 
      – Comprehensive information relating to domestic violence 
      – Tactics used by abusers 
      – Impact of family violence on children: brain development, trauma etc. 
      – Spiritual abuse and misuse of scripture to justify or maintain coercive control 
      – Potential theological blockages to reporting domestic abuse 
      – Theology and Biblical messages of love, justice, respect & equality 
      – Exploring what Sanctuary might look like in your church. 

      Ann Herbert is facilitating the workshops. An experienced facilitator and Elder at Citywide Baptist Church, Ann leads Citywide Baptist’s Sanctuary Care ministry. She has previously managed the Social Policy Unit in the Tasmanian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet and oversaw implementation of a wide range of social policies, including the Tasmanian Government’s Family Violence Action Plan. 

      Register here or for more information contact Kristy Crouch on 0403 957 106 or email kristy.crouch@gmail.com

      Tasmanian Baptist Calendar 2024 

      EVENTDATE
      Tasmanian Baptist Council24 February
      Pastors and Leaders Muster (Hobart)5-6 March
      Launch of Frank W. Boreham College5 March
      Roadshow (North)7 March
      Roadshow (Northwest)8 March
      Mid-Year Assembly   11 May
      Tasmanian Baptist Council15 June  
      Pastors and Leaders Muster, Family-friendly (Devonport)9-11 July
      Tasmanian Baptist Council7 September
      Pastors and Leaders Muster (Launceston)10-11 September
      Annual Assembly19 October
      Tasmanian Baptist Council16 November

      Foundations Course

      Burnie Baptist hosts one week discipleship course in January

      On Sunday 21 January, Burnie Baptist church welcomed people from all over the world as they hosted a one-week discipleship course called “Foundations.”  Along with Burnie Baptist, four other Tasmanian Baptist Churches, as well as students from India, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil and Canada, joined the ‘whole-of-life’ discipleship course, which is run as either a one week intensive or 10 week course (one night a week, plus two Saturdays). The strongly Bible-based course concluded with a highly successful community festival.   Afterwards, feedback from participants was very positive. Some participants, who had been in the church for many years, said that Foundations gave them a new way of seeing both faith and mission.

      Watch our video of participant reflections here.  As a result, both Citywide Baptist and Burnie Baptist are hoping to run 10-week version of the course later this year. 

      Participating students in the ‘whole-of-life’ discipleship course.
      Participating students in the ‘whole-of-life’ discipleship course.

      SU Schools Sunday in February

      Encouraging students and school staff

      Schools Sunday in February is an excellent way to encourage Christian students and school staff members at the beginning of the year. It’s an opportunity to remember that God goes with students and teachers everyday as they attend school. The day provides churches with an opportunity to set aside time during a Sunday service in February to focus on schools and support young people and the local school community. Scripture Union runs the initiative and also provides resources to support churches as they celebrate the day. Resources are available on the SU website or in their PDF Resource Pack. Additionally, the pack provides different ideas for either a complete intergenerational Sunday service or a short segment within a regular service.  Churches can choose a date early in the school year to celebrate and encourage students and school staff members.

      Schools Sunday supports young people and the local school community.
      Schools Sunday supports young people and the local school community.

      Position Vacant

      Youth and Children’s worker wanted

      Citywide Baptist (Mornington/Lenah Valley) are searching for a Youth and Children’s worker with the ability to think outside the box, lead teams and mentor young people. Click here for details.

      Citywide are looking for someone who wants to make a difference for kids and young people.
      Citywide are looking for someone who wants to make a difference for kids and young people.

      Read More ReCharge

      ReCharge News February 2024

      Aboriginal Sunday 2024

      On 21 January this year, Citywide Baptist Church held Aboriginal Sunday at Risdon Brook Dam.  This is the third year where Citywide has come together to further understand and acknowledge the hurt caused to Aboriginal peoples right up to now.  It continues a Christian tradition that began in 1938.

      This year’s service, held on the Sunday before 26 January, was at Risdon Brook Dam.  

      “Choosing to meet at Risdon Brook Dam is significant. Less than one Kilometre from the site was the first massacre of over 50 Aboriginal people by white settlers in 1804,” said Paul Dare, Aboriginal member of Citywide Baptist Church. 

      “But with God there is always grace and hope. Grace to move forward and hope for what Jesus is doing,” he said. 

      “Through the service we encouraged the congregation to create space, listen to and research Tasmanian Aboriginal history. But also, to be aware of the injustices and inequalities many of our Aboriginal communities face in our nation still,” he said.

      Image of people from Citywide Baptist Church at Aboriginal Sunday on 21 January 2024 at Risdon Brook Dam
      ABOVE: Citywide Baptist Church recognises Aboriginal Sunday at Risdon Brook Dam on 21 January 2024

      Aboriginal Sunday is not new

      On 26 January 1938, Aboriginal leaders including William Cooper, met for a Day of Mourning, seeking equality and full citizenship. Consequently, Australian Churches set aside the day as Aboriginal Sunday (previously called Aborigines’ Day). This is for Christians to act in solidarity with the injustices Aboriginal peoples have experienced. 

      This year over 490 local churches and faith communities marked Aboriginal Sunday and joined in taking up this call to act in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples, according to Common Grace

      Today, the Common Grace movement encourages congregations to reclaim the Day. They provide free Church Resources developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders to equip churches and faith communities to act in solidarity. 

      Citywide welcomes other Tasmanian churches to join them at their event in 2025.  

      Alternatively, churches and faith communities can sign up on the Common Grace website to receive links to resources for next year. 

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      Reason for Great Hope in a Broken World

      Tas Baptists Mission and Leadership 2024 Stephen L. Baxter

      Mission and Leadership Development

      By Stephen L. Baxter, Mission Director, Tasmanian Baptists

      Being a church leader in Tasmania is challenging. Whether a pastor or part of a leadership team, in either a paid or volunteer capacity, the issues faced can feel overwhelming. Yet, there is great reason for great hope.  

      People do not think about or relate to the church in ways they used to. Where once they may have looked to the church for guidance and support, today most look elsewhere. 

      In fact, for many, the church is the last place they expect to find welcome and care. Yet, across many of our Baptist churches in Tasmania, that is exactly what many people are receiving. There are so many opportunities. You can read about many of them in articles released via reCharge. 

      Despite the good things happening, there are still challenges. Significantly, Tasmanians remain the least religious people in Australia according to the last census figures

      There is great reason for great hope
      There is reason for great hope

      Many, no doubt, have been repelled by some of the extreme and reactionary versions of Christianity portrayed in the media. Despite representing only a small minority of people, every church is tarred with the same brush.   

      While many have rejected religion, this does not mean they no longer believe in God. Religion is often associated with an institutional or external moral framework as a means to relate to God. In a very individualistic world, many don’t see the need of religion to go to God. 

      These and many other influences mean that most Tasmanians are unlikely to come to our churches of their own accord. So, we must go to them. This is exactly what many of our churches are doing in many different ways.  

      Their approach is to begin with a focus on the needs of their community and find what can be done to address them. There is a focus on building relationships, in one-on-one meetings, small groups and other activities where connection and community are the focus.  

      This is why there is reason for hope. Our churches are adapting to the challenges of the Tasmanian community. The good news of Jesus still brings hope to the chaos of people’s lives.  

      By being in the community, rather than waiting for them to come to us, we can be on hand when the moment arrives.  

      For it is in times of significant life change, challenge or loss, that people are more open to hearing about truth, hope, meaning and purpose. The challenges before us in 2024, and beyond, call for adaptability and creativity.  

      We have already begun the journey and God continues to guide us. May we have an openness to new ideas, to new ways of doing things, and to new ways of thinking so that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Phil 1:6). 

      Stephen L. Baxter

      Stephen L. Baxter is Mission Director for Tasmanian Baptists

      Read ReCharge

      February 2024 News

      From 2023


      Reason for Great Hope in a Broken World


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      When is a person ready for Baptism?