Around Christmas-time 2004 I felt that. I was being called by God to worship and minister elsewhere as a result of one of those "coincidences" which I don't actually believe in. "The Branches" rents a no longer occpied Scout hall, owned by the local council.
For some time I had felt God laying on my heart His wish that I try to encourage the formation of a worship singing group of people, which the church I was attending was unable to fulfill. I tried several times, but I suspect the problem was just the small number of people already overloaded with things to do.
In about September of 2004 I was contacted by a brother in the Lord who wanted to check out the feasibility of something he felt God directing him to do. Having sung several times in the early 1990s at his newly planted church (accompanied by a vocal group associate who subsequently joined his congregation and became one of the corps of worship leaders) he felt I might be able to suggest if were "technically" possible to do.
His vision was for an "instant" large choir, but realised that such things take time and resources. We explored the idea for several weeks, and then my other singing associate (who had also joined his church) and I spent an evening together with him with the spontaneous unrolling of a plan of how to train people who don't read music, nor understand the intricacies of music theory, to become the nucleus for a harmony choir.
It was this spontaneous presentation of a way to do what appeared to be an impossible task, that convinced us that God hadn't given up; rather He had waited for an opportunity that would flourish. The three of us sensed that my associate and I should have almost a free reign to implement this project, so we worked with them one night a week for about six weeks between then and Christmas; we then realised that God's will in the community was about to be fulfilled.
Not only this, but we are shaping a number of their congregation's views on meaningful music in worship, and cultivating a better relationship with one another and the Almighty in so doing! Praise God!
Our brother and colleague Ian Clarkson, and pastor of the church plant - which now outreaches into a number of country areas as well as having a near city mission in an old industrial area - is no stranger to misson work, having spent many years in the seventies and eighties as a pastoral offsider to John Smith of the famed motor-cycle God Squad in Melbourne.
I've started to put together a small website about this church here.
The church I had been going to since early in 2001 (The North-Eastern Alliance) is also not a very large one, and is located in the outer north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, on Montague Road (Modbury North), just west of the Clovercrest Shopping Centre.
It is part of the "Christian and Missionary Alliance" grouping of churches, which became a recognised denomination a few years ago, rather than being an affiliation of individual congregations or churches with an interest in missionary work.
The author and preacher A W Tozer was a minister in the C & M A.
Here is a thumbnail photo of our minister Aman Gupta who is also one of our elders. Some years ago, Aman worked as an engineer in corporate management in Sydney... he is therefore a "Wise Man from the East" - <joke!>. He came to the North-Eastern church from Canberra in about February 2001.
The North-East Alliance congregation bought the building constructed some twenty or more years ago by the Clovercrest Baptist Church, who moved about 1997 into larger premises, previously a skating rink, at Modbury Heights.
As you would guess, ours is a missionary-orientated church; that is to say its congregation actively supports a number of individuals and families out in the mission field, either as people who spread the actual Gospel, or those whoare professionally located (such as doctors, teachers, engineers) in remote undeveloped countries where they are permitted to share their faith freely, or even as support staff (such as the Far East Broadcasting Service).
We have a web page at http://www.pastornet.net.au/cma_adl.
Photos above are copied from the church's website.
As you would expect from a church with a missionary emphasis, we have baptisms from time to time...
left to right, an adult member of the congregation, then a younger member, and finally the clean-up brigade afterwards!
We had a flying visit from friends at the Victorian congregation at Werribee (between Melbourne and Geelong) early in 2003. Here are some photos taken during worship on the Sunday, which was led by our Werribee friends.
This is where I used to go to church until early in 2001, when due to changed meeting times I needed to find somewhere else to worship because of the difficulties associated with being a carer. It is a wrench to leave folk you have regarded as family for some seven or eight years.
"Citywide" is also not a very large one, and is located in the inner north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. It has a web page at http://www.citywide-ca.net
It is called Citywide Christian Assembly, and people come from all directions across the city to meet on Sundays, and for a range of weekday activities. There is a young adults' group, a teenagers' group, a 'Kids' Club', a mothers' playgroup for even younger people, a ladies' group which meets both in the daytime and also on an evening (for working ladies), and also a monthly mens' breakfast.
Here is another shot of the lawn outside the main entrance, where small people can also play in the safety of a fenced off area with a minimum of supervision. Click on this one and again you will be taken to a larger picture on a new browser page.
There is an orchestra which presents music regularly, but not every week - because the thinking is that the musicians need to have time to worship themselves as well. Likewise they also have a small mixed choir which from time to time presents worship songs arranged in harmony. The choir also helps the worship leader (they have a roster of several of these) to lead the congregational singing during church.
Nothing flash, just an old timber framed church building which the previous owners no longer wanted, and the congregation been working on it inside and out to make a real good family worship centre over a 20 year period.
If you click on this image as well, you will be able to see it in greater detail on another browser page!
Since about 2006, the site has been cleared, with the buildings demolished, having been sold for a residential building project.
The missing photos on this page will hopefully be found as I slowly search through my archives, and will be replaced when found.
In the mean time, please check this link to see the farewell we gave to Robyn Grigg when she went to Western Australia back in 2000!