Church Returns to East Goulburn
Mon 20 March 2017
Sunday February 26 saw the first public Christian gathering in East Goulburn in over 40 years, with the launch of Rocky Hill Church – so named after a natural landmark of East Goulburn – under the leadership of Reverends Brian and Ali Champness.
Over 75 people of all ages attended the service, which was held in the hall at the East Goulburn Public School. Ali began a time of praise by welcoming those present and explaining how the service grew out of the ministry of the F5 5pm congregation, originally established in 2012 under the leadership of Bishop Stuart Robinson and his wife Jane. When the F5 congregation outgrew its venue in the hall at Christ Church, West Goulburn, the initial decision was to start a 7pm service on the same site. However, soon both congregations had grown to where there was both the need and opportunity to launch an outreach in a predominantly unreached area.
"Our heart is to reach the people of East Goulburn and beyond with the love of God and the good news of His Son Jesus Christ," Ali declared.
The Honourable Pru Goward MP delivered a very encouraging welcome and spoke highly of the importance that churches play in local communities.
After Bible readings from Romans 1:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 13, Brian gave the fledging church its marching orders in his sermon. "Why at a time of declining church attendance would you ever think of starting a church? It is because we believe the good news of Jesus is still as powerful and as meaningful as it has ever been. I believe this is why God is calling us to start Rocky Hill Church – to be a place of faith and hope and love for this community."
Brian and Ali have been joined in this new venture by a keen launch team, including Reverend Ross and Pastor Julie Gear as Associate Ministers. They are blessed with a good number of Young Adults attending and serving the church, and currently have three midweek ‘Connect Groups’ that meet each week, one in Eastgrove, West Goulburn and one for Young Adults. Each of these already have about 10 people in each. The church has been very encouraged by the welcome of the Goulburn East Public School and their willingness to host. Brian and Ali’s stipend is made possible by the generous support of people from the F5 congregation, Rocky Hill Church and Bush Church Aid who support Brian and Ali as Field Staff.
The launch service ended with a celebratory sausage sizzle.
Team members of Rocky Hill have asked for prayer for protection and unity and for God to provide a more permanent venue in his timing so that they can reach out to children, youth and families with mid-week activities and programs. The team have also asked for prayer for the Easter Holiday Club they will be running in the East Goulburn School hall for primary aged children from 11-13th April.
Thanks to Mark Short from Bush Church Aid for use of his notes.