In this telling profile of Summerhill Baptist in the Feb/Mar 2021 ADVANCE | step by step , read an overview from the pastor, Maddy Svoboda. Then continue scrolling for a couple of highlights from members Roger and Jess Radford.
From the Pastor: Maddy Svoboda
Hello! My name is Matthew (Maddy) Svoboda and I am the pastor of Summerhill Baptist Church in Launceston. I’ve been married to Imogen for eight years and we have three children: Evie (5), Angus (2) and we have just welcomed Reuben into the tribe 2 months ago.
I grew up in Launceston (my grandparents lived around the corner from Summerhill Baptist for my whole life) and I was not a follower of Jesus until I was 18.
Summerhill Baptist and community impact
The Summerhill Baptist building sits on the Stanley Street roundabout in Summerhill, alongside a school and a medical centre. We have a mentoring partnership with the school. People from the church are trained up to walk with a student in need for an hour a week.
We’ve run family movie nights, sausage sizzles and community fun days for the school community. There is also a high school youth ministry that engages primarily with youth from Prospect High School.
At the end of last year, we partnered with Scripture Union to run a community outreach for the Hazara (ethnic and Muslim group from Afghanistan) people in our community and will continue those throughout 2021.
We’re also in the beginning of a partnership with the medical centre as they use our facilities for ‘flu vaccinations. We would like to see this develop in order to see holistic health throughout the community of Summerhill.
One of our big challenges is knowing how to navigate these new cultural waters with boldness and humility. Our society has experienced rapid discontinuous change. It can leave us wondering how we engage with our friends, family members, work colleagues and neighbours with the good news of Jesus.
Sometimes, there can be a tension between wanting our people to be involved in church community life. Plus, be invested in the relationships they naturally have with people not following Jesus. As well as taking care of themselves and their family. There are many priorities in our lives. so it can be a challenge to avoid overloading people. And at the same time, call them to service and mission.
What I see in the future
I am excited by what I see taking place at Summerhill.
We have a spread of ages and generations making up our congregation. My desire is to dive deeply into the call to be a family of God. With older generations and younger generations not merely existing in the same space, but flourishing together.
To that end, I want to see us do the following:
- Leaning into the location and place God has given us, and to seek the peace and prosperity of our community.
- Growing and developing even more into a community, offering open-hearted acceptance to those around us.
- Bringing God’s kingdom to Summerhill.
Members’ Reflections – Summerhill Baptist
By Roger and Jess Radford
COVID-19 . . . all change!
A big highlight for Summerhill Baptist has been moving into our “New” hall. We built it a few years ago, but we’re still working through the process of using it for Sunday services.
After lockdown, our old hall no longer met our requirements as we could not all fit, under capacity requirements. With our gear in the old building, it meant we got back to basics, initially. We worked only with a small sound system, a worship leader and singer. It was very refreshing to strip worship back to a “minimum viable product” and slowly build as restrictions have lifted.
Our worship team up front has gradually grown over time. Adding members slowly gave us a chance to test and learn what works well for us in our new building.
Moving to the new building has allowed us to grow our Creche and Kidz Church program in our old building, dramatically improving the size and suitability of the area available to them.
COVID restrictions also challenged us on how we get together after a service. Our foyer is now much too small to congregate for a chat, so we recently had our second church picnic at Punchbowl reserve. As a “Bring your own everything” event, it was a simple way for us to all hang out after church without a lot of planning and administration required.
At the picnics–through conversation, food, footy, frisbee and vortex–we’ve much fun had!
Coming up, on Sunday 7th March, we will participate in Clean Up Australia Day by cleaning up one of our local parks after our service, and then having another picnic.
Colder weather will again challenge our newfound love of picnics, but we are looking forward to seeing what we will come up with next!