An Open Table where Love knows no borders

Can following in the footsteps of Jesus together still bring good news into the realities of a world tearing apart at the seams? Can the example of Jesus inspire a blend of ancient and modern spiritual practices with the power to gather, heal, and transform us into part of the solution for a world staggering under the weight of social fracture, terror, pandemic, and climate crisis? If something deep inside is telling you that the answers can still be yes, and you long to see churches do more than just numb our pain as everything is consumed by plague, fire and water, you’ll find kindred spirits here.

When the lockdowns of 2020 closed down many churches, this church rediscovered itself. While many churches resorted to streaming pre-recorded worship footage to anonymous viewers at home, this church discovered that its already radically participatory liturgies were able to achieve a new level of intimacy and accessibility in a live interactive online gathering. Many of our people swore it was the previously unimagined depth of our online community life that got them through the lockdowns.

Now, whenever restrictions ease enough to allow it, we enjoy lots of physical gatherings for various shared activities, but even those who live far from our city can engage and participate quite fully in our congregational life, prayer and ministry through its online interface. Our main Sunday Service of Word and Table, and our Daily Prayer liturgies (3 times a day, Monday-Saturday), are all celebrated live online, and fifteen months after first venturing online, we decided (unanimously!) that there was no going back. If you’d like a taste of why, we’d be delighted to welcome you to the feast!

Here’s a few more things you might want to know about us

We are a small congregation, typically about 35 people at Sunday worship. That’s a perfect size if you are looking for a community where you can be known, valued, cared for, kept safe, and supported on the shared journey of following Jesus. But if you are looking for anonymous consumerism, or a pool of potential romantic partners, it is probably too small a pond to bother fishing in!

We are blessed to have regular participants from numerous other places in Australia and around the world, but we still identify with the city of Melbourne, because that’s where we began and where more than half of us live. So Melbourne (Australia) is the location of most of our physically gathered activities and its timezone sets the schedule for our online gatherings. The main Sunday worship service begins online at 5:00pm Melbourne time.

Our worship style is unusual for a Baptist church.  It can be described as bapto-catholic, or ancient-future, meaning that we combine our Baptist commitments to congregational freedom, openness to change, quality preaching, and the priesthood of all believers, with a catholic commitment to the wisdom of the ancient traditions of liturgical order, shared texts, sacramental richness, and spiritual disciplines. If you didn’t understand a word of that, you’ll probably have no problem with it. It is usually only the people who can tightly define every one of those words who get hung up about it!

The identity of our spirituality, is closely linked to our worship style, but could also be described as earthy (both in its language and in being grounded in its ecological context), honest (open to and honouring of our whole experience including our doubts, brokenness, and failure), and semi-monastic (committed to an intentional and mutually accountable balance and rhythm of prayer, silence, rest, healing, study, work, and play).

Our social identity is as broad and inclusive as we can make it. We seek to overcome the distrust, hostility and misunderstandings that divide people, and to create a congregational culture and life in which all people can grow in love for one another, and worship, work and play together regardless of age, ethnicity, cultural background, sexuality, gender identity, socio-economic background, physical and mental ability, educational level, immigration status, and theological perspective.

The main things we are committed to trying to do together are:
  • to follow Jesus together, in this time and place, into his radical disruption of business as usual and on into the fullness of life and love;
  • to watch for and bear witness to the culture of God’s Kingdom, and spread the news of its coming into the world in Jesus;
  • to provide a regular weekly and daily cycle of participatory communal worship and prayer, online, that is accessible and welcoming to as wide a range of people as possible, and which turns our world upside down;
  • to bring people together, both physically gathered and online, for socialising, learning, or engaging in shared action, so that we can enjoy one another’s company, learn from one another’s experience, and grow together in our love for God, one another, other people, and the natural world; and
  • to equip, encourage and support one another in discerning and living Jesus-shaped lives in our homes, workplaces, community service, leisure and relationships, and so to gather our individual ministries into our common life and prayer.

If you would like to join us for Sunday worship, click here for connection details.

If you would like to ask a question, please use the contact form below and we’ll get back to you promptly. Don’t forget to hit the “Send” button after typing your message.