Some have seen us on Facebook talking about this story on Live Feed and have been waiting with baited breath to hear the rest of the story. For others, who miss my craziness on Facebook Live (follow hinkledownunder page) you may be wondering what is going on. It has been a crazy few months. We had been looking for a space for The Village Church Fremantle to meet for about 5 months. We had put a proposal in on a building with the City of Fremantle but had not been selected. We had visited many other buildings/spaces in the Fremantle area. We wanted a place that would be inviting and be large enough to last a few years. We had been looking for a space for a Sunday evening meeting time; a space that we could use for about 4 hours to have worship and dinner. We really wanted more. We really desired a space that we could use 24/7. We really desired a space that would allow us to create a place for those who would never enter a church building an opportunity to experience something (art, music show, home-school groups, etc.) but also bump into followers of Christ. We really want the chance to have a space that provided the ability to create a “Third Place” for people. But that is not what we were looking for and really not what we asked for when we approached the Subiaco Church.
They oversee the congregation at the Fremantle Church AKA Fremantle Church of Christ. Their building has a chapel (sanctuary/worship space), a hall and a few classrooms. The original building was built in 1892 with additions made in later years. Next year will celebrate 125 years of a local expression of the Body of Christ meeting in this particular location. The congregation had diminished in recent years and a Subi had agreed to provided pastoral care for them in the form of preaching and worship leaders for their Sunday morning service. There were also a few young families that lived close to Fremantle that committed to see if they could help replant this Gospel committed church. Every Sunday at 10:00 am gathered about 30 people to worship.
We only asked for 4 hours on Sunday nights. We could start by meeting every other week or so and get our feet wet before making a more traditional launch. We only asked for 4 hours. We could still office out of our homes and perhaps rent spaces for one off events that would be geared to drawing in the community. We only asked for 4 hours. It would be good to start off slower, even if it had been a year, it was like we had just started gaining traction so we would not want to bite off more than we could chew. We only asked for 4 hours.
What we didn’t know was that the leadership at Subi Church had been praying about the possibility of having a part-time/full time church planter come serve the congregation at Fremantle Church. What we didn’t know was that just a few days before our request of using the building for 4 hours they had found a way to fund part of the planter’s financial need. What we didn’t know was that God was orchestrating something bigger than any of us would have dreamed.
So, to make a long story short, over a series of meetings and a few weeks it became clear that there was no reason for our two groups to exist in the same building at different times trying to accomplish the same mission; establishing a Gospel-centered, Grace-based, evangelical Church in Fremantle. Our distinctives are not completely aligned but our mission to provide the message of God’s hope and salvation to the people of Fremantle are. Because of your great support it also allowed us to take the money Subi had found for this move and provide the Shadburnes with their final support in order to get to the field.
We only asked for 4 hours on Sunday Nights. What we have is the Shadburnes in Australia and Andy ready to serve as our Curator of Worship and Culture. We have a building that we can use 24/7. We have congregation that is committed to providing a place for people to belong before they believe. We have a congregation made up of folks who have been faithful for over 85 years and brand new followers. We have 9 month olds and 95 year olds. We have two services at 10 and 5. We also have a long road of careful connecting. We have moments of defining who we are and where we will be in 5 years. We have the joining together of two groups of followers seeking to follow Jesus together.
The first Sunday of this endeavour was September 7th. We have 4 Sundays down and many more to go. The website should launch in a few weeks, the new signs will be on the building shortly after that. And we will be preparing for our first Advent Season in a building where we won’t need to take down the liturgical elements and decorations. Wow; did not see that happening.
We only asked for 4 hours on Sunday Nights and God answered us with what we really desired and needed. Thank you for all your prayers and support. It has been a year of missing home and waiting, a year of forming new relationships and missing old ones. We see God’s amazing kindness in His provision. It is exciting to pastor this combined group and to dream, plan and work to provide a church that Loves God, Loves each other and loves Fremantle.