BAC is a network of four Christian congregations meeting at 55 Peel Street Berwick. Three of them are large enough to be their own parishes. Together we are a changing church and a growing church. We endeavour to stay faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Bible as the Word of God. Growth always brings change and it is helpful to reflect on how BAC is changing.
In 2011 and 2016 BAC participated in the National Church Life Survey. On one particular Sunday that year we took the time in every service to ask every adult in the service to fill out a survey.
Some interesting results from the NCLS report about those who did the survey at BAC:
- 51% were born overseas
- 20% speak a language other than English at home
- 38% of us are new attendees in the last 5 years
- 3% of those surveyed identified as ‘visitors’, 8% as ‘newcomers’. So about 1 in 10 people on a Sunday are those new or looking for a church.
- 91% said they felt a strong sense of belonging to BAC
- 76% of attenders said they always/usually experience inspiration during services
If you would like to see the NCLS report, I will send out a link to those on the weekly BAC newsletter email list. You can subscribe via leaving your email address in the “Communication Cards” in the pews. I praise God for every person he has sent and is sending into our church network!
The Apostle Paul has to be of the bravest man in all Scripture. He encountered physical torture for the gospel, false imprisonment, and even attacks for wild animals! (See Acts 28:3 and 1 Corinthians 15:32).
Paul boldly shared the gospel with working class people and the educated elite. He debated philosophers in Athens. He also shared the gospel with governors and people in high authority.
In all this Paul asked for prayer to share the gospel fearlessly.
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (NIV Ephesians 6:19-20)
If the Apostle Paul needed prayer for courage, then so do we. Do not be surprised when you feel scared to talk about Jesus with our friends. Ask God for mercy on times you have given in to the fear. And then pray for future courage and fearlessness in standing up for Jesus. Ask and you will receive!
It often feels like the world is conspiring to make us less and less thankful for the many blessings God gives us. We have so much to be thankful for! We enjoy material abundance, the gift of living in this part of Melbourne, fellowship with our brothers and sisters at Berwick Anglican Church, and above all, the love and grace and eternal life God has lavished on us in Jesus Christ! But I often find myself overlooking all these wonderful things, and if I’m not careful can become grumpy by focusing on one or two small problems in my life.
If gratitude drains from our hearts, we become more cynical, more complaining and more discouraged. Our perspective can become warped, we can lose hope and fail to see things as they really are. We start to focus on what we don’t have and forget all the great things we already possess.
But this should not happen to Christian people! As Paul reminds us in First Thessalonians; ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (NIV 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
A good practice of prayer is to review each day in the evening, and then thank God for three things that you are grateful for from the day. As per the advice in Thessalonians, doing so will build gratitude in your heart, train you to be thankful in all circumstances, and help you to be joyful always.
Why not take a moment now to prayerfully give thanks to God for three things you are thankful for at Berwick Anglican Church?
Rev. Ben Soderlund
Compassion Australia are an established Christian global aid agency with a strong support base from Australian churches and individual Christians. Globally they have over 1.8 million children involved in their programs.
Compassion are unique in that they are Christ centred, child focused, and church based. For many years Compassion have been a Berwick Anglican link missions partner.
Today in our Sunday services you will hear more about Compassion and also there is an information table where you can find out more about being involved in child sponsorship.
I encourage you to look at the website for Compassion Australia and follow them on social media. Please pray for spiritual and physical blessings through Jesus to flow to all who have contact with the programs of Compassion around the world.