“We acknowledge that our church meetings are held on the traditional lands of the Gayamaygal and Garigal people, and we pay our respect to elders both past and present. By these words we would also like to show our respect to all Aboriginal people.”
It all began on the 6th of May 1945 when thirty-one people gathered in the evening to worship God in a local hall in Seaforth. People were finding it hard to make it to Manly Church due to transport issues so they established something more local. After the war, the suburb of Seaforth grew rapidly. The Spit Bridge created a direct road link to Sydney and the Wakehurst Parkway opened up the way to the north. Manly Church owned a gospel wagon, which Arthur Adney would drive around spreading the gospel and building relationships with families in the area of Seaforth. The first permanent pastor was Rev. Don Eagle who served for a few months in 1946 and was known for getting around on an old motorbike.
On Sunday, 30th of October, 1949 Seaforth Baptist was formally established as a church becoming part of the NSW & ACT Baptist Association. The church then looked for a suitable block of land to build. Alf de Russet on his way to work noticed a ‘For Sale’ sign on a block of land on the corner of MacMillan Street and Frenchs Forest Rd and upon making enquiries, found it was to be offered for sale for 650 pounds. The owner reduced the price to 600 pounds when they heard a church was going to be built. It took a lot of work with people volunteering their time and money but finally on Saturday the 8th of November 1952 the building was officially opened.
Baby-boomers filled the ranks of the Boy’s Brigade and Girl’s Brigade. The demands for space required the addition of new halls and the purchase of a manse in the 1960s. Yet for all it’s early energy, the church languished. Inner conflict brought decline and by the mid-1970s a lack of relevance saw the church reduced to a handful. Not until the late 1980s did a trickle of new faces arrive, most without Baptist origins. The pastors Daryl Evans, and later Mike Frost, Chris Mawson and Dave Rowe fostered a community church with an open door style. The formal structures were abandoned and a team approach to leadership found favour. Young families gravitated to the relaxed and informal worship which welcomed kids and tolerated, even enjoyed the unexpected.
Relationships matter. We value being with one another. We want to do life together. We are always open to having new people join us and so we have multiple ways for people to connect. In a fast-paced culture that can push us away from others, we try to come together and be in community, be in this place, and be with God and know we are loved. We are a people that depend on God and so we pray.
We first listen and are formed by the words of the Bible and then we speak. We believe hope and life is found in these words. Our Sunday gathering is a time when we learn and respond to the God we have encountered in Jesus Christ. Words are powerful so we want to be people who listen well to both God and others. We seek to speak good words, true words, encouraging words, words of hope. We seek to create spaces for people to ask questions and explore what life and God is all about.
We are not a comfortable quiet church. We are a band of resisters. Taking Jesus’ words seriously we seek to be led by his teachings and the work of the Spirit in re-imagining what the good life is. We take action, righting wrongs, loving others outside our community, tackling the societal injustices we see. We want to do life with God. This is the journey we are on: becoming more like Jesus.
We have been on a journey for the last two years working towards our vision and values. In 2018 we spent time discerning our values (both current values and what we’d like to be known for). We affirmed these values are important to us: relationships, social justice, prayer, evangelism, character formation, Bible knowledge and being culturally relevant. In 2018 we reflected on how to care for one another because relationships are important to us. In 2019 we spent time on prayer as well as connecting to this place (culturally relevant) and continued our emphasis on people (relationships). In 2020 we will be focusing on evangelism.
Our mission is to: make disciples that intentionally live out the whole of the gospel story with a global vision and kingdom perspective. At our church conference in November 2019 we adopted this short-hand way of expressing our mission:
BE. SPEAK. DO
Rev Christine Redwood
Christine Redwood joined the team in in December 2017. She previously served as Associate Pastor at Hornsby Baptist for six years. Christine is actively involved in the Baptist denomination and has served on the Assembly Council and the Public Engagement Taskforce. She also loves studying and in her spare time is working towards her PhD. In 2010 she was the preaching intern for Morling College and now works as an adjunct lecturer. Outside of work she loves spending time with her nieces. Christine loves being creative and is passionate about films, theatre, writing, and most of all communicating God’s story with others.
Church Secretary: Max Marco
Treasurer: Huw Evans