An Open Table where Love knows no borders

Decisions and Minutes of Meetings

Listed below are the reports from Congregational Business Meetings and Host Group meetings.
For Host Group meetings, these reports are not the full minutes but a summary of the main decisions. In line with our church policy, these decisions are circulated not only for your information, but to allow you to consider the decisions and, if you have any concerns about any of them, to seek more information or ask for them to be reconsidered. Where possible, we will not implement the decisions for at least seven days, in order to allow time for people to respond. Questions or concerns can be raised with any member of the Host Group, or by emailing all of them at once at address shown.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 December 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Liesl Filippi, Samara Pitt, and Nathan Nettleton. Apologies were received from Uncle Den Fisher.

  1. Nathan’s work hours for the past 4 weeks have been higher again this month. We encourage the congregation to keep thinking about tasks done by Nathan that you could take on. For example, two simple tasks are: compiling the weekly notice sheet, and drawing up and sending out the daily prayer roster each week. Please contact Nathan if you want to talk about one of these tasks.
  2. In light of health concerns for a number of our congregation, we believe that we should require stronger COVID protocols for our physically gathered events than the Government now mandates. Therefore, for physically gathered church events, we ask that people who have tested Covid-positive, or who live with someone who has tested positive, refrain from attending until it has been at least 10 days since the positive test.
  3. We have approached Baptcare to ask if our property would be suitable for redevelopment as a social housing property. Are you interested in being someone who helps the church explore this possibility? The first step is to meet with Cliff Barclay from Baptcare at the church property. We are looking for volunteers to begin this conversation on behalf of our congregation, and will be approaching some people. Please contact Nathan if you want to be involved.
  4. The vote by the NSW Baptist Assembly to proceed with expelling churches that support same- sex marriage has seen a sudden quadrupling of the numbers turning up to the Open Baptists meetings, and put a lot more urgency into the moves to set up the new association. The next step for us as a church will be deciding whether to join the new association, but no action is required by us at this stage.
  5. There has been some discussion about attracting new people to our congregation, and some ideas about a new name for the church. We encourage people to keep the ideas coming.
  6. We are working on developing the pastoral review of Nathan covering the Covid period 2020 - 2022. We hope to circulate a survey to the congregation for your responses in January.
  7. The Wattle Park picnic was very well attended and much enjoyed, thanks Gilbert and Yvonne for persisting in the face of inclement weather!
  8. The Advent Retreat Day is this Sunday 4 December from 10am - 3pm at the Community Church of St Luke, 41 Valiant Street, Abbotsford, and also online. Details have been circulated. The Epiphany service on January 6 (which has previously been a physically gathered ecumenical service hosted by us) will be held as an online service, and we will invite our ecumenical church neighbours to attend.
  9. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
December 4 - Advent Retreat Day
December 24 - Christmas service, 8pm
January 6 - Epiphany service, 7pm

Next meeting:  Thursday 2 February 2023, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 November 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, and Nathan Nettleton. Liesl Filippi sent apologies.

  1. Nathan’s work hours for the past 4 weeks have been higher again due to BUV and Open Baptist events, plus the new All Saints service.
  2. We have drafted a policy in response to the new Child Safe Standards which extends our current Safe Church policy. This will be brought to the congregation for feedback and formal adoption soon.
  3. We have approached Baptcare to ask if our property would be suitable for redevelopment as a social housing property. The relevant person is on leave but the initial response was positive. We did discover that while our building is not being regularly used for worship (which gives us charitable exemption from land tax), there is the danger of us being subject to land tax which would be unaffordable for us. This has implications for our future plans for the church property.
  4. The Open Space event for churches interested in forging a new Baptist identity went well, it was particularly valuable for relationship-building between people involved in a range of congregations in Victoria, NSW and ACT. NSW and ACT churches will find out after their state Assembly this weekend whether some churches will be removed from membership due to their support for same-sex marriage.
  5. The BUV Gathering voted in the proposed constitutional changes, which included the requirement that all congregations include the Doctrinal statement in their individual constitutions, and require all congregation members to subscribe to that statement. There is no deadline for compliance with the changes, but the BUV can ask to review our constitution at any time. We will need to decide as a congregation how we want to respond on our own behalf, and whether we might want to support other congregations who do not want to comply with the changes.
  6. There has been some discussion about attracting new people to our congregation, and how our name affects that. We encourage people to keep the ideas coming, in particular to note what are the desirable criteria to include in a name. Eg should it reference geographic location? Include the word ‘church’?
  7. In response to a request that the Sunday service bible reading references be made more accessible, we will now include them next to the parts allocation list that is sent out weekly before the service, so that those who wish to refer to the text in their own bibles can note down the references before the service. The references are also available in advance in the weekly notice sheet.
  8. In response to another suggestion about how to encourage break out room discussions after the Sunday liturgy to be as inclusive as possible, we remind people that if there is something they want to discuss with just one other person, you can both move to a free breakout room to have the discussion there.
  9. The Wattle Park picnic has been postponed to 12 November due to wet weather, but the All Saints service was very well attended and got some positive feedback.
  10. We have received some positive feedback about the idea of holding future church camps where people organise their own accommodation. It was also suggested that we could try to keep the event in Anglesea for the sake of continuity. We welcome further suggestions for locations and venues.
  11. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
November 12 Picnic in Wattle Park, 12 noon

Next meeting:  Thursday 1 December 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 October 2022

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Those in attendance at the meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Dennis Fisher, Samara Pitt, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. Nathan’s work hours for the past 4 weeks have hit the target, for the second time in ages! This
    was helped by several days off to go skiing, and some visiting preachers.
  2. Nathan has drafted a policy in response to the new Child Safe Standards which extends our current Safe Church policy. This will be reviewed by the host group again before being brought to the congregation for feedback and formal adoption.
  3. Starting Monday, our church building is being hired by the Victoria Electoral Commission as a regional centre for the Victorian State election in November. They have exclusive access for nine weeks. We will still have access to the prayer chapel and men’s toilets.
  4. The BUV Gathering - which will include a vote on constitutional changes - is coming up later in October. A group of concerned churches are contacting as many BUV churches as they could find contact details for to communicate why they think there should be a ‘no’ vote on the constitutional changes. Separately, the fledgling Open Baptists Association is hosting a short Open Space session online on October 15 to discuss questions of identity and culture for the new group - all welcome.
  5. After the church camp discussion on attracting new people to our congregation, Nathan will circulate some key questions about identity for feedback from the congregation, which might help us take the next steps. Once we receive this, we will also be asking for volunteers to convene a working group to keep working this through.
  6. We held our AGM and listening circle on the Uluru Statement from the Heart which was a great opportunity to introduce and begin reflecting on this key document for the upcoming referendum. AGM minutes will be circulated soon for feedback - they will be formally approved at the next AGM.
  7. We have started to plan the annual review of the pastor, which was postponed during the Covid lockdown period so that we could review this season in its entirety. We will need to create some new questions for these specific circumstances, so we expect that the review will not take place before February 2023.
  8. We have started to discuss ideas for future church camps given that our usual venue is no longer available to us, and falling attendance has threatened its viability. We are asking, what are the main purposes of church camp? Are there other ways we could achieve these purposes? Some current ideas are: picking a location with some options for shared activities and meeting places, and people book their own accommodation to suit their needs. Contacting a local church to see if we could use their hall/venue for gathering in. Organising a combined camp with other churches. For now, we plan to keep the weekend in our annual calendar at least for a virtual camp if nothing is organised in person.
  9. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
October 15 - Open Space on Forging a new Baptist Identity, 10am on Zoom (RSVP required)
October 22 - Picnic at Wattle Park (Yvonne & Gilbert organising)

Next meeting:  Thursday 3 November 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting & Special Meeting – 18 September 2022

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Host Group Report
    2. Pastor's Report
    3. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Reappointment of Treasurer
  5. Matters for Voting
    1. Recipients of our Annual Giving
    2. Electing BUV Delegates
  6. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  7. Special Business Meeting - Approving the lease of our church building to the VEC for 2 months
  8. Listening Circle
    1. Listening to the Uluru Statement from the Heart
  9. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 September 2022

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Those in attendance at the meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Dennis Fisher, Samara Pitt, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. Ian Cook sent his apologies. 

  1. Nathan’s work hours for the past 4 weeks have hit the target, for the first time in ages! There was another 20 hours spent at church camp but he only included certain camp activities in his paid hours.
  2. The conversations about a new Baptist Association are continuing and agreement has been reached to go ahead with establishing it, under the name of the “Open Baptists Association”. This is especially important and timely for a group of churches in NSW/ACT as the move to expel them from the state Union looks set to be formally approved this month. Nathan hosted a discussion about this at our church camp, and will convene another one online in the next month or so to include those who weren’t at camp. There is no action required from us at this stage, but at some point we will need to decide whether to formally join the new association as a member church, in addition to our membership of the BUV.
  3. As part of our Safer Churches policy, we encourage all congregation members to get a Working With Children Check, even if your contact with children in our congregation is minimal. It is one thing we can do to uphold a culture of caring for children in our church.
  4. Events this month included attending a workshop on Listening to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, run by Brooke Prentis. This was an excellent overview of the Statement, and where it fits in the call for Truth-telling, Treaty and Voice. We will have an opportunity to read and reflect on the Statement at our AGM. Thanks also to Sylvia and Mark for organising the trip to the ‘Return to Nature’ art exhibition with 9 attendees sharing lunch together afterwards.
  5. Church camp was held in Anglesea with a full program ranging from games, singing and beach walks to more serious conversations and even a PhD thesis discussion on Revelation! Thanks especially to Eliz who did a power of work leading up to and on the weekend. This is our last camp at Araluen, the venue is no longer able to cater for small weekend groups like us.
  6. Our AGM is coming up on Sunday 18 September at 1pm. After a fairly prompt receiving of reports, we will have a listening circle on the Uluru Statement from the Heart which was the prompt for the referendum on a Voice to Parliament which will be held in the next 12-18 months. If you want to start thinking about this now, you can find the Statement at https:// ulurustatement.org/the-statement
  7. A conversation about how we do funerals was held on camp, and will be offered again soon - stay tuned for more details.
  8. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
September 18 Church AGM and listening circle, 1pm

Next meeting:  Thursday 6 October 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 10 August 2022

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Those in attendance at the meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. Apologies were received from Dennis Fisher. 

  1. Nathan’s work hours for the past 4 weeks have been 52hr, 40hrs, 40hrs, and 21 hrs. There were several big one-off’s in this time – a pastoral care trip to Mildura, the BWA conference, two separate tasks for the fledgling Baptist association, and a full day creating the registration page for the church camp. Nathan is going to take a 3 day break next week, and possibly a 2 day break the week after, but it is probable that the full week’s work hours will still be done in both.
  2. A reminder to fill in our Church Activity Planning checklist if you are organising a group event that is open invite to the congregation. It is on the website in the members area (if you are have an older computer and are experiencing some tech issues, there is also a downloadable version that you can print out or copy into an email to the host group). The checklist is part of our Safer Church practices, but it is also a good prompt for making your event as accessible to everyone as possible. (You don’t need to fill in a checklist if you are just advertising an event organised by someone else that you want to let others know about.)
  3. Nathan continues to be involved with the conversations about a new Baptist Association, and is taking the lead in establishing an online platform for collaboration in the group. He is also going to invite some of the others involved to preach for us as a way of starting to build some connections, particularly with those outside our existing Victorian networks. Jody Kilpatrick last Sunday was the first. Geoff Pound’s summary of the new Association will be shared by Nathan with the congregation once it has feedback from the core group.
  4. Thanks to Jen and Rob for organising the trip to Dight’s falls, it was a lovely day!
  5. Registrations for Church camp are overdue - if you are planning to attend and have not yet filled in the form or paid, please do so now so we can finalise numbers with the venue! Camp is on August 26-28 in Anglesea at the Araluen Lutheran campsite. We will have an Open Space program for the weekend, so if you would like to run an activity, start thinking about it now.
  6. Regarding the stewardship of the Surrey Road property, Nathan is going to initiate a very preliminary conversation with Baptcare about whether they might be interested in a partnership to redevelop our property for social housing as an expansion of what they are already doing in our manse, and what this would involve. 
  7. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Friday 26 - Sunday 28 August - Church camp, Anglesea
September 18 - Church AGM, 1pm

Next meeting:  Thursday 1 September 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 13 July 2022

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Those in attendance at the meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. Nathan’s work hours were high in preparation for Pentecost and taking leave, but he took some good uninterrupted leave in June/July. Thanks to Ian for running the service during that week.
  2. New child safe standards have been brought in for Victoria, we will work on this over the coming months.
  3. In response to the proposed changes to the BUV constitution, we have received some initial legal advice, more detail on this will be clarified over the coming month.
  4. Over the past month we had our anniversary and covenanting rite, and a lovely pub lunch gathering with Margie and Jeff when they visited Melbourne, thanks for Merryl for organising this. A reminder that anyone can organise a get-together like this. If you have something planned, fill in the Activity Planning Checklist in the members area on the website (or contact Samara to get a copy emailed to you) and let the congregation know through the email list!
  5. We note that some people are feeling significant weariness and stress at this stage of the Covid pandemic, particularly those who are carrying a sense of responsibility to keep others safe. Let’s keep looking out for each other’s wellbeing.
  6. Church camp is coming up on August 26-28 in Anglesea at the Araluen Lutheran campsite which has had some renovations since we last attended. We will have an Open Space program for the weekend, so if you would like to run an activity, start thinking about it now! We want to make it possible for all people who want to to attend, so cost will be flexible if required. The regular Sunday services will be in person at camp, but we hope to offer Sunday vespers online for those unable to attend the camp. More information and registration forms will be sent around soon.
  7. We have begin to consider how we would hold funerals as an online worshipping community. Nathan is planning a workshop on this in September, and there will be also space at church camp to discuss.
  8. We have begun to consider how we can attract new people to our congregation and services. One question is: are we hoping to just let more people know about what we already do, or how could we find out what we could do differently to meet new needs in the community while still operating out of a sense of our congregation’s call? We will have a discussion about this at camp.
  9. No new ideas about the stewardship of the Surrey Road property at this stage.
  10. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Saturday 30 July, 12noon  Merri Creek walk
Friday 26 - Sunday 28 August  Church camp, Angelsea

Next meeting:  Thursday 4 August 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Minutes of the Congregational Vote on 17 June 2022

Ballots conducted online through ElectionBuddy

Covenanting Members who Voted

Ian Cook, Jenny Davis, Rob Davis, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, John Fowler, Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Yvonne Joyce, Gilbert Joyce, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, Sylvia Sandeman, Di Shearer, Shelley Taylor.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Dennis Fisher, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Liesl Filippi, Samara Pitt, and Shelley Taylor.

Outcome: Votes to reaffirm the ministry of the six current Hosts were taken separately, and all six were unanimously supported.

Voting was closed at 11:59pm on 17 June 2022.
The secure and confidential results were accessed and reported by Nathan Nettleton, and can be checked by anybody who wishes to.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 June 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. Nathan’s work hours have reduced in the past month just slightly higher than what he is paid for, and should continue to drop in the second half of the year. He will take 1-2 weeks leave in June/July.
  2. Big thanks to Eliz Cook, Ian Cook and John Fowler who managed the increased hall hire workload associated with our church being a pre-polling station for 2 weeks before the federal election. It involved a fair amount of time and effort! (Did you know that 26,000 ballot papers were stored in our building?!!)
  3. It looks like our ecumenical services might be coming to an end with low attendance for the most recent service at Christ Church, and little enthusiasm from the new and ongoing clergy organisers. There are some discussions about other ways we might continue to stay connected.
  4. A group of 13 attended a long leisurely lunch in Geelong with Di Shearer during her visit from South Australia, and it was much enjoyed by all who attended.
  5. In response to the proposed changes to the BUV constitution, a group of churches have started to explore alternative structures of association that could exist within the BUV but provide some buffer against the changes that are of most concern, including the ability of the BUV to take possession of church properties such as ours that they hold in trust. The group is sharing the cost of seeking legal advice to help work out what is required and some potential ways forward. We are contributing $3000 towards this, and are willing to provide another $2000 if needed.
  6. We have begun to consider how we can attract new people to our congregation and services. One idea is to approach people in particular contexts who could be advocates (or matchmakers!) on our behalf, eg. Baptcare chaplains who might know people who are not able to access church services in person and might appreciate what we offer. We could run an online event to introduce them to us. Some other ideas were to advertise in church newspapers, and also to continue to trust that God will help people to find us.
  7. No new ideas about the stewardship of the Surrey Road property at this stage.
  8. We have not had much feedback on potential revisions to the church covenant to reflect our new situation, so we have decided to use the current one for this year’s covenanting service, and not try to hurry it through or postpone the service. We do encourage everyone to give your feedback on the covenant, and please do not feel like you need to address every question.
  9. A reminder that church camp in person is coming up August 26-28 in Anglesea.
  10. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Sunday 5 June Pentecost
Sunday 19 June Church anniversary and covenanting service

Next meeting:  Thursday 7 July 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 May 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. The manse tenants now have access to the church wifi, which is much appreciated.
  2. Nathan’s work hours were high during the Holy week and easter period, but he took two weeks leave after Easter. Some work tasks were done during that time to support hosts running the Sunday liturgy and ease his return to work, but he has factored this into his leave entitlements.
  3. Thanks to Shelley Taylor who very capably ran the Sunday liturgy when Nathan was on leave after Easter.
  4. In finances, our expected deficit will be offset by a significant chunk of income on the way from the Australian Electoral Commission who are booking our hall for the federal election voting period. Thanks to Ian for continuing to do the role of Treasurer. If anyone is interested in picking up this role, he would be very happy to speak to you about it!
  5. Thanks to Liesl and Nathan for hosting the final Lenten book discussions. Next year we hope to choose a book earlier so that everyone has enough time to get a copy. We encourage congregation members who have a book they’d like to read with others to organise a book group at any time during the year.
  6. The Holy Week services were much appreciated, even with some residual sadness about not gathering in person. The Resurrection boat cruise to Herring Island was a highlight for those who were able to attend this physically gathered event.
  7. The BUV have responded to some of the feedback on the proposed changes to the BUV constitution which are due to be voted on in the the October delegates meeting. However, they did not address any of the major concerns raised about Baptist identity and processes. The group of churches who have been meeting to discuss their concerns are planning to ask the BUV to prepare a for-and-against document to be circulated at least 3 months before the October meeting. The assumption is, however, that most churches are not concerned about the changes proposed. The group is considering whether there are other ways they could support each other to operate within the BUV while maintaining a commitment to consultative processes and Baptist principles.
  8. We have begun to consider how we can attract new people to our congregation and services. Most people join a church when they have a personal connection with someone already attending. We recognise that the name ‘South Yarra’ is a problem for us as it indicates a geographical identity that is no longer true in practice, and is not necessary for involvement. We wondered whether we should be advertising online, or even on physical noticeboards in marginal spaces like small towns where people may not have access to a progressive church. We also recognise that we need to be true to ourselves in any promotion we decide to do. We will continue to discus this questions, and welcome ideas form the congregation.
  9. No new ideas about the stewardship of the Surrey Road property at this stage.
  10. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
Saturday 28 May Lunch in Geelong with Di Shearer

Next meeting:  Thursday 2 June 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 April 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. Eliz Cook was absent due to illness. 

  1. The manse is now fully occupied with 3 tenants from BaptCare’s Houses of Hope asylum seeker housing project. Congregation members are able to contribute financially to this project if they want, we will distribute information about this soon. The tenants have requested access to the church wifi which we are happy to provide as we are not using it and our plan includes unlimited data. They may need to install an extender if the signal does not reach the manse.
  2. We have purchased an electric lawn mower to replace the old one which kept breaking down.
  3. Nathan’s work hours have continued high this month due to responding to the BUV’s proposed constitutional changes. He is taking two weeks leave after Easter.
  4. Thanks to Ian Cook who very capably ran the Sunday liturgy when Nathan was on leave in March. Shelley will run the service during Nathan’s leave after Easter. Nathan is working on some written procedures to help people update the liturgy slides and allocate parts in the event of him being unexpectedly unavailable to run the service for several weeks.
  5. The BUV have proposed some major changes to the BUV constitution which have caused serious concern to us and a number of other congregations. Nathan has continued to be heavily involved in analysing the proposals, discussions with other churches, providing feedback to the BUV on the content of the proposals and the timeline for consultation, as well as resourcing people planning to attend the consultation forums. Nathan, Ian Cook, John Fowler and John Sampson have attended consultation forums, and Shelley Taylor and Sylvia Sandeman (who also attends Rosanna Baptist Church) are planning to attend the online forum next week. A group of pastors and lay leaders have been discussing the proposals as well as their concern about how discernment and consultation processes between the BUV and churches are being conducted more generally. They plan to write a blog post about the situation that can be shared more widely. They are also requesting that the BUV provide equal time to this group to present an alternative view on the proposals at the delegates meeting in May.
  6. The Lenten Retreat went ahead on Sunday 6th March, and online discussions on the Lenten daily readings Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together have been held weekly with a changing group of participants. The final discussion will be held after Easter, details to be distributed to those who have been participating soon. Four people made it up to Gembrook Retreat on short notice to walk on the land, have lunch together and relax in front of the fire and enjoy each other’s company. 
  7. The Herring Island trip on Resurrection Sunday morning is going ahead, details will be provided soon.
  8. No further ideas about the stewardship of the Surrey Road property at this stage.
  9. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Sunday 10 April: Palm Sunday service, 5pm
Thursday 14 April: Maundy Thursday service, 8pm
Friday 15 April: Good Friday service, 5pm
Saturday 16 April: Great Paschal Vigil, 8pm
Sunday 16 April: Resurrection morning cruise and breakfast, dep. Fed Square 10am

Next meeting:  Thursday 5 May 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Minutes of the Special Congregational Ballot on 6 April 2022

Ballots conducted online through ElectionBuddy

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Covenanting Members who Voted 

Ian Cook, Jill Edwards, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, John Fowler, Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Gilbert Joyce, Yvonne Joyce, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, Sylvia Sandeman, Di Shearer, Shelley Taylor.

Other Members and Participants who Voted (totals recorded separately, just in case) 

Jenny Davis, Steven Wong.

Approval of the proposed new church members.

1. Margie Dahl

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Margie Dahl into the membership of the congregation by reaffirmation of her baptismal vows.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

2. Jenny Davis

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Jenny Davis into the membership of the congregation by reaffirmation of her baptismal vows.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

3. Rob Davis

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Rob Davis into the membership of the congregation by reaffirmation of her baptismal vows.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

4. Mark Learmonth

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Mark Learmonth into the membership of the congregation by reaffirmation of her baptismal vows.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

Voting was closed at 11:00pm on 6 April 2022.
The secure and confidential results were accessed and reported by Nathan Nettleton, and can be checked by anybody who wishes to.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 March 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. The manse has had final repairs and compliance work completed, and we are waiting on the BUV Council to sign the lease. Sammi, our first tenant from BaptCare’s Houses of Hope asylum seeker housing project has moved in, and brought some wicking beds for the back yard.
  2. We are planning to buy an electric lawn mower as our current one keeps breaking down.
  3. Nathan’s work hours have been high this month due to preparing the manse for new occupants, updating slides for the Lent season, responding to the BUV’s proposed constitutional changes, work on a new system for music recording, and preparing Sunday liturgy slides that can be run by prayer hosts in his absence. The last two items will reduce his hours and enable him to take proper leave in the future.
  4. We held the Ash Wednesday service, with Jen Davis, Robert Davis, Mark Learmonth and Margie Dahl being enrolled as candidates for membership of our congregation. We will vote to approve their membership before the final rites at Easter. We thought some people might not have remembered or realised that they could prepare their own ashes, and we will try to give some verbal reminders next year, as well as the instructions via email.
  5. For the first time since our move to online services, Nathan will hand over to a prayer host - in this case Ian Cook - to run the Sunday liturgy when Nathan in on leave on March 13. There will be a couple of slight differences from the usual service but we applaud this step!
  6. The BUV have proposed some major changes to the BUV constitution which have caused serious concern to us and a number of other congregations. Nathan has been heavily involved in analysing the proposals, discussions with other churches, providing feedback to the BUV on the content of the proposals and the timeline for consultation, as well as resourcing people planning to attend the consultation forums. Nathan, Ian Cook and John Fowler are planning to attend the consultation forums coming up in the next few weeks. As one of the BUV proposals concerns ownership of church properties held in trust by the BUV (and our property, since it is no longer being primarily used for worship or mission, is particularly vulnerable), some churches are considering pulling out of the BUV Trust arrangement and setting up an alternative trust structure for our properties. We have authorised Nathan to participate in any emerging conversations about an alternative property trust. 
  7. The Lenten Retreat is going ahead as a physical and online event on Sunday 6th March, and discussions on the Lenten daily readings Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together will be weekly for those who would like to participate. The first one is proposed for Sunday 13 March at 3pm, using a listening circle format followed by discussion. If you would like to participate but this time doesn’t suit you, please let Nathan know
  8. John Fowler has suggested a couple of ideas about the future of the Surrey Road property:
    • If the Sanctuary program works well in the Manse, consideration could be given to converting the hall into a series of bedrooms with ensuites, a communal kitchen is already there, and the carpeted room could become a dining/socialisation room. The "kid's" room could become a Co-ordinator's/Manager's office.
    • Leonard Joel Auction House may be interested in hiring the whole building (do they know that it is potentially available?) We retain the Prayer Chapel for possible/potential use. We note that Leonard Joel are selling their property on Surrey Road so are unlikely to need overflow space with us.
      We encourage ongoing discussion and the sharing and consideration of other such ideas. 

     

  9. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
Sunday 13 March: Lent book discussion, 3pm tbc
Sunday 10 April: Palm Sunday service, 5pm
Thursday 14 April: Maundy Thursday service, 8pm
Friday 15 April: Good Friday service, 5pm
Saturday 16 April: Great Paschal Vigil, 8pm
Sunday 16 April: Resurrection morning cruise and breakfast, dep. Fed Square 10am

Next meeting:  Thursday 7 April 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 February 2022

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. The manse has had a lot of work done to prepare for tenants to move in in mid-February as part of BaptCare’s Houses of Hope asylum seeker housing project, including furnishing bedrooms to suit 4 single people, electrical and gas safety inspections, removing some trees that were damaging the building and plumbing, and fixing broken roof tiles. The general building standards checklist and smoke detector maintenance contract are being organised. We are waiting on the BUV to sign the lease agreement if they are required to do this instead of us. Car parking will not be provided as part of the tenancy.
  2. Nathan took 1.3 weeks of leave in the first half of January, except for the Sunday and Epiphany services. He appreciates the flexibility of being able to take leave around services, although he is still working towards training up people to be able to run the Sunday service - contact him if you are willing to participate in this training. Nathan will also work on a simple emergency backup liturgy that could be run by any of the daily prayer hosts if required at short notice.
  3. Since government Covid-safe guidelines no longer require the cleaning of touch surfaces or deep cleans after a positive Covid case, we no longer need feedback from Baptist Insurance on the hall hire section of our Covid safe plan regarding public liability insurance and cleaning requirements for hall hire clients.
  4. We have had nine congregational activities in the past 2 months: a CS Lewis afternoon tea, a non-alcoholic beerfest, Advent climate crisis prayers during Advent, Christmas New Year and Epiphany liturgies, a Christmas Day picnic and two events focussed on January 26 run by Common Grace and Uncle Den. Thanks to all the organisers and attendees! We look forward to future events.
  5. We have published the 2022 church events calendar, but all events can also be found on the online calendar on our website, and regular reminders about upcoming events are in the weekly bulletin.
  6. We have been approached by the Australian Electoral Commission to explore the possibility of hiring our hall for three weeks as a pre-polling centre for this year’s federal election in May. Eliz has been authorised to negotiate as to feasibility and detail including what they would pay and parking requirements.
  7. We have heard no further ideas emerging about the future of the Surrey Road property at this stage.
  8. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
Wednesday 2 March: Ash Wednesday service

Next meeting:  Thursday 3 March 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 December 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. Ian Cook sent his apologies. 

  1. The hosts are feeling positive about the option of using the manse for BaptCare’s Houses of Hope asylum seeker housing project. Nathan will email the congregation soon to summarise the proposal and respond to any questions or feedback from the congregation. If there are no objections and no one expresses a need for further congregational discernment, we will proceed.
  2. Nathan will take 2 weeks of leave in the first half of January, except for the Sunday and Epiphany services.
  3. A reminder that if you want to organise an activity for the church, to fill in the church activities assessment form on the website. It’s very simple, and will just help you to think through some basic safety and inclusion questions. Remember to check current government Covid guidelines about gathering locations and numbers.
  4. We are still waiting on feedback from Baptist Insurance on the hall hire section of our Covid safe plan regarding public liability insurance and cleaning requirements for hall hire clients.
  5. We have had two physically gathered congregational activities in the past month, the Indigenous Hospitality House trivia night, and the Advent Retreat Day at St Luke’s Abbotsford (which included a Zoom-in option.) Both of these worked very well, and we are looking forward to more!
  6. There is no further progress on training others to run online services, this is now a 2022 project.
  7. We have displayed signage about our online services at the church, the main sign will remain as it is for now.
  8. We will host the ecumenical Epiphany service on January 6 as a physically gathered event at our church. We believe that current Covid safe guidelines allow us to cater supper, and we will also stream the service on Zoom for members of our congregation as an experiment to how it goes, especially regarding sound quality.
  9. Regarding the relationship of our church to the South Yarra neighbourhood, for at least the last decade, we have seen little sign of our congregation seeking to engage with the neighbourhood in any form of local ministry. Unless this changes, it means that our identity as a “South Yarra” church is increasingly just a historical memory, and this has significant implications for our thinking about the shape of our future. We are still connecting with other local churches for ecumenical services, but the future of these is uncertain and likely to be reviewed by the churches in the new year.
  10. We are encouraging the congregation to continue to think about how we can be faithful stewards of the Surrey Road property now that our worship services are all held online. Even if we returned to using it ourselves for 3 hours a week, this would remain an important question. How can we employ the property in ways that benefit the community and reflect its value. We want to emphasise that we are not looking at selling the property, but that that option could begin to enter the conversation if we don’t see better creative ideas that emerging from the congregation over the next couple of years.
  11. Following up on our congregational discussion about the climate crisis, Liesl is running a silent prayer of lament on Wednesdays at midday during Advent, on Zoom, contact her if you missed this email. Samara will send around an invitation to a workshop she is running at Gembrook Retreat in January called ‘Active Hope in a time of climate crisis’.
  12. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Wednesday December 8, 15, 22 Silent prayer of lament for climate crisis, 12noon on Zoom
Saturday 11 December, SYCBaps (non-alcoholic) Beerfest, at Surrey Road, 1pm, rsvp Nathan
Friday 24 December 8:00pm Our main Christmas Worship service
Thursday 6 January 7:00pm Epiphany ecumenical service, physically gathered at Surrey Road

Next meeting:  Thursday 3 February 2022, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 November 2021

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Those in attendance at the meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. New Baptist Insurance advice to all churches is that we need to get copies of Public Liability Insurance Certificates and Covid-safe plans from our hall hire clients, and that we are responsible for undertaking proper cleaning before and after each hall hire usage. We are clarifying our particular situation with Baptist Insurance, as we are not able to undertake that level of cleaning ourselves, and some of our smaller hire groups do not hold public liability insurance.
  2. We are now able to start organising physically gathered congregational activities and the question of our approach to vaccine mandates needs to be considered for activities where government regulations do not specify. We recognise that limiting attendance to those who are double vaccinated or exempt (including children under 12) will exclude some of our congregation, and making activities open to anyone no matter what their vaccination status will exclude others. We also recognise that there are vulnerabilities and complexities to people’s situations and opinions on this issue. For now, for an activity where the vaccination requirement is not specified by the government, the organiser/s will need to decide whether it is A) only open to those who are double vaccinated or exempt (including children under 12), or B) open to all, and this needs to be made clear in the event invitation.
  3. As congregation members start to organise events and activities, we want to make sure that all our activities abide by our Safe Church policy. To this end, we have a created a simple event organiser checklist that we ask event organisers to fill in and send to the host group at least one week before your event. The checklist is available here on our website.
  4. Melbourne Water's lease has concluded and all their material has been removed and they have left the back lawn in a good state.
  5. The Baptist Union Delegates Gathering was again held online, with minimal input from the delegates. The ecumenical All Saints Day service from St Martin’s was also recorded and made available online.
  6. The Advent Retreat Day will be held on Sunday 28 November as a physically gathered event (either at our church or another venue tbc), with the option of Zooming in as well. Nathan will send around a survey shortly to ask people whether it would make a difference to their attendance if the Advent retreat is a) only open to double vaccinated or exempt people (including children under 12) only or b) open to people whose vaccination status is unknown. The host group will then make a decision about vaccination status requirements for this event. 
  7. A new possibility for the manse has emerged with BaptCare for their Houses of Hope asylum seeker housing project. It would only bring in about half as much money, but would be a longer term arrangement (without the workload of 3 monthly tenancies through Launch Housing) and offer possibilities of greater connection with the residents. We are making further inquiries about this option.
  8. We are continuing to think about the future of the Surrey Road property now that our worship services are all held online. One reason to continue owning this property might be whether we have a sense of mission and call to this particular neighbourhood. Another is whether it is useful to have a physical building in which to gather that is relatively accessible, even if we have little connection to the neighbourhood. (Currently we do not do any mission activities as a congregation in the South Yarra area, and have not for a long time.) A number of congregation members have expressed that they feel connected historically and emotionally to the South Yarra property. We also recognise that while property can feel like a form of security, it wouldn’t ensure the continuation of our congregation. One question to consider might be whether it is a form of risky discipleship to give up the privilege of owning property (especially such a large and expensive property) if we do not have a clear use and need for it. This is likely to be a long discernment process, and most of us encourage everyone to keep thinking about these issues. Ian registered his dissent, as he believes that there should not be any consideration of the long term future of the Surrey Road property before an appropriate process of discernment concerning our present online and live structure has occurred.
  9. We intend to host the ecumenical Epiphany service in January as a physically gathered event at our church. We don’t yet know what restrictions there will be on vaccination status and numbers allowed to attend, so will make decisions as these details become clearer.
  10. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Saturday at end of November tbc Afternoon tea and CS Lewis with Jen and Rob Davis
Sunday 28 November Advent Retreat Day
Saturday 11 December tbc SYCBaps (non-alcoholic) Beerfest
Friday
24 December 8:00pm Our main Christmas Worship service

Next meeting:  Thursday 2 December 2021, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 October 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. Thanks to those who participated in our AGM and discussion of climate change and how it is affecting us. We encourage people to continue the discussion on Discord, or over email, and perhaps consider how to take some actions together over Advent or Lent.
  2. We are holding off on further revisions to our Covid-safe plan until lockdown restrictions lift and we know when we next want to use the building. We were encouraged by the approach documented by Crossway Baptist which addresses people’s concerns in a clear and compassionate way: see here.
  3. Melbourne Water may extend their lease of the church garden area to finish the work which has been slowed by Covid restrictions.
  4. Training is underway for two new daily prayer hosts - thanks Merryl and Sylvia! If anyone else is interested in helping out with daily prayers, or aspects of the Sunday service, Nathan would be very happy to hear from you.
  5. We are holding off on making any decisions about new signage for the church property until we are clearer about our next step regarding the buildings. Information about the online service is currently displayed on the church door.
  6. We had some preliminary discussion about the future of the Surrey Road property now that our worship services are all held online. Our congregation has been entrusted with a staggeringly valuable asset, so we will need to decide how to be faithful stewards of it. There are many things to consider, and this will take time.
  7. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Next meeting:  Thursday 4 November 2021, 7pm, on Zoom

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 19 September 2021

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Host Group Report
    2. Pastor's Report
    3. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
  5. Matters for Voting
    1. Membership Invitations
    2. Recipients of our Annual Giving
    3. Electing BUV Delegates
    4. Re-adoption of our Church Constitution
  6. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  7. Listening Circle
    1. Responding to the Climate Crisis
  8. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 September 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. Small maintenance tasks on the manse are continuing slowly given restrictions on travel.
    Thanks to Sylvia for donating a king single bed.
  2. We have drafted a simple risk management document for organising church activities, designed to make sure that basic safety issues are considered without being too onerous. This will be made available to the congregation once some final adjustments are made.
  3. The church contact directory is being updated and will be circulated soon.
  4. We are in the process of providing practical assistance to one person to enable them to get a full
    online connection to our services. Financial support has not been required.
  5. Virtual church camp was held on the weekend of August 27-29 with a number of online activities arranged by various congregation members, including origami, storybook reading, ‘knit and natter’, a Werewolf Village game, picture frame making led by Tara and our usual daily prayers. Thanks to all who attended for their initiative and participation, and to Nathan for tech support! We see potential for some of these activities to continue to happen at other times. We also discussed the possibility of having an annual virtual camp as well as the annual face-to- face camp in the future.
  6. All host members needing to attend a Safe Church refresher workshop did so this month. In line with recommendations on financial transparency and accountability, Nathan and Shelley as the two main signatories on our bank account will get police checks.
  7. We note that several members of the congregation are going through big changes in their work and living situations at the moment, and that a number of us are becoming worn down by lockdown restrictions. We encourage you all in your practices of care and prayer, for yourselves and others.
  8. We have received positive responses to the idea of making it easier for first time visitors to join our Sunday service in the cyber chapel without having to contact us first, so we will begin to make the Zoom link for the Sunday service available on our website in coming weeks. (The link for daily prayer will be different from the Sunday service and not advertised publicly.)
  9. At some stage we will need to alter our church signage at Surrey Road to inform people that we are now a church that worships online. However while lockdown restrictions continue, this is not urgent and we can communicate with temporary signage in the interim. This will allow us more time to consider the uses of the building going forward.
  10. Our AGM is scheduled for September 19 at 1pm. Reports will be circulated ahead of time for questions and we aim to approve them quickly without discussion in the meeting. We will then address the question: “How can our church encourage and equip each other to respond to the climate crisis?” in a format yet to be decided.
  11. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom but have shifted to Thursday nights at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
September 19, 1pm AGM

Next meeting:  Thursday 7 October 2021, 7pm, on Zoom 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 August 2021

Download PDF 

Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. Small maintenance tasks on the manse are continuing. We are not able to resume tenancies until lockdown restrictions lift so there is no rush at this stage.
  2. Host members are in the process of attending Safe Church training which looks at laws and processes for keeping our churches safe for children and vulnerable adults. We will start looking at some ways to apply these principles to church activities that occur in physical and online spaces outside the church building.
  3. The Baptist World Alliance Congress was held online for over 4500 participants and some sessions were made available to the congregation. We also had the film premiere of ‘I married a pastor?’, a short documentary directed by Youngoak, the wife of Craig who has been a regular online attender for the past 12 months. A number of congregation members and ‘plus ones’ enjoyed the film and discussion.
  4. We held an Open Space event to explore ways forward into the new expression of our congregational life. A number of topics were raised for discussion and action planning. Discord proved to be a useful program for organising the day and taking notes, and we will continue to use it to develop ideas and activities. We look forward to seeing what develops over the coming weeks and months!
  5. Alas, church camp had to be cancelled to the chagrin of many, especially a particular junior member! We encourage people to think of alternative activities that could take place on the weekend of August 27-29 so that we can still gather and enjoy each other’s company in whatever forms are possible given changing restrictions. Liesl is organising a picnic lunch on the Saturday, and we encourage congregation members who do not usually attend daily prayers to give it a go over the weekend as we would usually do on camp. Email the church list if you have other activities you would like to invite others to attend!
  6. Church activities will be publicised on the weekly notice sheet, the website calendar, the email list, and also on Discord (refer to Nathan’s email from 5 August to find out how to use Discord for online community collaboration). We encourage organisers to send several email reminders to the congregation to make sure people don’t forget! Nathan is updating the church contact directory and will distribute this soon so that people can contact each other to organise events. 
  7. To enable people other than Nathan to host the Sunday service, he is organising some training for folks who have a reasonably up-to-date Mac computer and are already hosting daily prayers (or are willing to learn). He will also allocate some of his spoken parts in the Sunday service to others so that whoever is doing the technical role in his absence can concentrate on that. If you would like to learn how to host the service, please contact Nathan.
  8. We are considering whether it would be a good idea to make it easier for first time visitors to join our Sunday service in the cyber chapel without having to contact us first. We think that this would be less of a barrier for people seeking to check us out. We will explore the security settings to see how this could work, and seek feedback from the congregation.
  9. We would like to provide assistance for members of the church without the resources for a full online connection to our services. We will research the options and discuss further with the people involved.
  10. Our AGM is scheduled for September 19. Reports will be circulated ahead of time for questions and we aim to approve them quickly in the meeting, leaving time for a listening circle on a topic that is likely to be fruitful for us, to be decided closer to the event.
  11. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom but have shifted to Thursday nights at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
Friday August 6 Ecumenical service at St Joseph’s, CANCELLED
27th - 29th August, Church Camp, CANCELLED (alternative activities encouraged)
August 28, 11am Picnic at Rocket park
September 19 AGM

Next meeting: Thursday 2 September 2021, 7pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 July 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton. 

  1. We still have some work to do on the manse before we can resume tenancies.
  2. Our Covid safe plan is still in place, no further revision needed at this stage.
  3. Nathan has 2 weeks of conference leave in July to attend the Baptist World Alliance Congress,
    and Societas Liturgica, both online, and is currently on leave (despite this meeting!)
  4. Thanks again to everyone who participated in the church review survey, we will revisit the full survey results next month.
  5. Host group members have started to book for Safe Church training workshops, these will be paid for by the church as the training is compulsory for all in leadership.
  6. Thanks to all who attended the listening circle about the proposal for the future life of the church. We recognise that the question for this circle wasn’t very clearly worded, meaning that the discussion focussed on the change of worship service format rather than the new community elements that formed most of the document. However the proposal has now been voted on and unanimously approved - we are very grateful for the care that has prevailed throughout this discernment process.
  7. We will have an Open Space event online towards the end of July to explore ways forward into the new expression of our congregational life. Further details and potential dates to be circulated soon.
  8. Church camp is planned to take place in Anglesea on August 27-29. We are still investigating how Araluen Lutheran camp interprets the current Covid-safe restrictions, particularly in relation to mask-wearing and eating communally. We will then decide how to proceed, always knowing that plans may need to change if restrictions change.
  9. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom but have shifted to Thursday nights at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
End of July, date tbc Open Space on ways forward for congregational life
Friday August 6 Ecumenical service at St Joseph’s, details tbc
27th - 29th August, Church Camp at Anglesea

Next meeting: Thursday 5 August 2021, 7pm, on Zoom

Minutes of the Congregational Vote on 27 June 2021

Ballots conducted online through ElectionBuddy

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Covenanting Members who Voted 

Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Jill Edwards, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, John Fowler, Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, John Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Di Shearer, Shelley Taylor, Rita Wang, Glennys Williams.

Other Members and Participants who Voted (totals recorded separately) 

Jeff Wild, Jenny Davis, Rob Davis, Steven Wong, Paul Holdway

Business for Voting

After many months of congregational discernment and conversation, on the 3rd of June the Host Group circulated its recommendation for the future direction of our church as we (hopefully) move beyond this era of lockdowns. On Sunday 13th June, we held a listening circle to enable everyone to share their initial responses to it. This past week, everyone was given an opportunity to indicate if they thought they needed further opportunities to talk about this before being ready to vote. No one expressed a wish for more talk before voting. So now it is time for us, as a congregation (we're including those who are not officially members), to finalise our decision on whether or not to adopt this recommendation.

Motion: That the SYCBaps congregation approve the recommendation from the Host Group, and thus commit itself for the foreseeable future (knowing that any aspect of church life can be reviewed and reconsidered at any time) to a pattern of church life that involves all principal worship services and governance meetings being conducted in an online or hybrid form, and builds community life through a multitude of other activities, both physically gathered and online.

Outcome: Both groups of voters voted unanimously in support of the motion. The motion is carried.

Comments received with votes (all votes and comments are anonymous)

    1. However, I wish it didn't need to be like this.
    2. I believe this is what God is calling us to at this time.
    3. SYBC needs to be flexible with the changing environment which is why I support this motion.

Voting was closed at 2:00pm on 27 June 2021.
The secure and confidential results were accessed and reported by Nathan Nettleton, and can be checked by anybody who wishes to.

Minutes of the Congregational Vote on 12 June 2021

Ballots conducted online through ElectionBuddy

Covenanting Members who Voted

Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, John Fowler, Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Yvonne Joyce, Gilbert Joyce, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, John Sampson, Di Shearer, Shelley Taylor, Margie Welsford, Rita Wang, Glennys Williams.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Dennis Fisher, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Liesl Filippi, Samara Pitt, and Shelley Taylor.

Outcome: Votes to reaffirm the ministry of the six current Hosts were taken separately, and all six were unanimously supported.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 June 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. We have let Homeground know that we are willing to resume 3 month tenancies at the manse. Homeground have notified us of a range of new minimum standards compliance regulations that came into effect in March. This will include some electrical work which could vary a lot in price depending on what condition our electrics are in. We also need to deal with the trees affecting the sewerage line and get the plumber out to treat the sewer line and to service the heater and repair some damaged heating ducts. We are considering whether to get a building inspection done to ensure we are compliant with the new regulations and to get an updated sense of what work will need to happen on the building in the coming years. Thanks also to Merryl and Paul for the offer of a new bed for the manse.
  2. Our Covid safe plan is in place, and not needed during this latest lockdown period where we cannot access the building at all!
  3. Nathan’s regular work hours have spiked during Pentecost and strategic planning work, but have otherwise been on target. He will have 2 weeks of conference leave in July to attend the Baptist World Alliance Congress, and Societas Liturgica, both online.
  4. Melbourne Water has moved into our lawn area, all seems to be proceeding fine. The current lockdown means that their stay may be longer than anticipated.
  5. The church review is proceeding well. Thanks to everyone who has already completed the survey. We have received a good number of responses so far, and lots of positive comments about the health of the church. We look forward to receiving more responses over the next couple of weeks, and will revisit the full survey results next month.
  6. Host group members will organise to attend Safe Church training workshops over the next month - this needs to be done every 3 years for those in church leadership.
  7. Activities in the last month included the ecumenical Ascension service (in person!), the outing to Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival at Federation Square (great bubbles!), the Pentecost service (fabulous variety of languages!) and the Lent book discussion (small numbers but good discussion - thanks Liesl!). Nathan is planning another book discussion on Paul Mitchell’s new book Matters of Life and Faith: Reflections on Parenting and Everyday Spirituality 
  8. The host group has circulated a proposal for the future life of the church, which has drawn on submissions from the congregation and our listening circles. Broadly, it suggests that our present form of online worship be continued into the foreseeable future, and that we seek to build a culture of lots more congregational activities and get-togethers alongside that, both online and physically gathered. We will hold a listening circle on June 13, 1:30pm that marks the culmination of this time of discernment, and will give everyone a chance to express the emotions and work that people have experienced to get to this decision. The proposal will be put to a formal vote on at a future time, and then we will have an Open Space event to explore how we can make the best of this new direction. We are very grateful and heartened by everyone’s careful listening, and prayerful and respectful contributions to this process - thank you all!
  9. The church covenanting service will take place on Sunday 20 June. There will be some minor amendments to the covenant to reflect the changed realities we have been living through. We will also be reaffirming our ongoing host group members (Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt), and formally affirming new Host group members Uncle Dennis Fisher and Liesl Filippi. 
  10. Church camp is planned to take place in Anglesea on August 27-29. We are currently finding out from the venue (Araluen Lutheran camp) what their Covid plan is and how any restrictions could affect the camp. 
  11. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom but have shifted to Thursday nights at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.

Dates for your diary:
Sunday June 13, 1:30pm Listening circle on future directions proposal
Sunday June 20 Covenanting service
27th - 29th August, Church Camp at Anglesea

Next meeting: Thursday 1 July 2021, 7pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 May 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi, Nathan Nettleton, and Di Shearer (visiting). Ian Cook sent apologies due to another commitment. Samara Pitt sent last minute apologies due to a power failure in her neighbourhood cutting her internet access. 

  1. We agreed to a proposal sent in by Acacia that if we go ahead with removing some of the trees around the manse, we will either replace them with new trees in better locations on the property, or donate to pay for trees to be planted elsewhere.
  2. Nathan’s work hours this month have continued to trend back down towards what he’s paid for.
  3. We are grateful to John Fowler for managing the negotiations with Melbourne Water to lease the church’s back lawn for six months while they are doing drainage works in Surrey Road. John secured a good outcome and Melbourne Water have occupied the space this week.
  4. We considered a “Flourishing Churches Survey” that the BUV have prepared and requested us to complete by the end of June. We decided to try to adapt it and use it as our own “church review” for our own purposes, asking our congregation to complete our version of it, and then sending our collated responses in to the BUV. Nathan will have a go at drafting an adaptation which will be further considered by the Hosts before being circulated to the congregation.
  5. Launch Housing have recently notified us that they are able to resume the 3-month tenancy “Accommodation Options for Families” program in our manse (church house) if we are still willing to be part of it. We have agreed that we will give it another go, but continue to review that, tenancy by tenancy. At present we are waiting for David Jackson to finish vacating and hand in the keys, and once he has done that, we will be able to assess whether there is maintenance work that needs to be done before the next tenants can be moved in. We had been considering whether to do major works such as a bathroom refit, but that is not immediately ready to go, and could perhaps be done in the next break between tenancies. 
  6. We agreed that it is becoming increasingly important to reach a decision clarifying our church’s direction into the future. We were encouraged to see how many people had responded to the request to share written proposals on what our future might look like. We noted that those shared so far have all envisaged our worship continuing to be primarily online with encouragement to expand the number and range of other community activities, many of which could happen in physically gathered forms. We are expecting further proposals to come in with alternative views. We are asking that anyone else planning to share a proposal please do so by May 27th (one week before the next Host Group meeting), so that our next meeting can plan the next step, which we expect will be either 1) assembling a composite proposal to be put to the congregation as a recommendation for consideration; or 2) identifying the most promising alternative views of the way forward, and suggesting a suitable discernment process for the church to consider them and finalise a decision. While we believe that the church is getting closer to making a decision for now, we also noted that patterns of church life always remain open to review and reconsideration.
  7. Host Group meetings will continue to be held over Zoom but have shifted to Thursday nights at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda. 

Dates for your diary:
13th May, Thursday 7:00pm, Ecumenical Worship service for the Feast of the Ascension, to be held at Christ Church, South Yarra.
23rd May, Sunday 2:00pm, Lenten book discussion, online.
27th - 29th August, Church Camp at Anglesea

Next meeting: 3rd June at 7.00pm online.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 8 April 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Liesl Filippi and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. We have a Covid safe plan for any gatherings we have in the church, thanks to John Fowler and Ian Cook for their work on this. We will review it monthly to keep up to date with government requirements and to check how it works in practice.
  2. Nathan’s regular work hours have continued to be high to prepare for Holy Week. We now have a full year’s worth of online liturgies (phew!) which should see his workload drop. He is taking a week of leave this week.
  3. Melbourne Water has requested to lease space on the lawn behind the church for approximately 6 months while they are doing drain relining works in Surrey Road. We agree to enter into an arrangement with them subject to questions about traffic, lawn restoration and rental amounts being satisfactorily resolved.
  4. Thanks to all who attended the listening circle on future directions for our church. We will hold a second listening circle, again online, so that people can communicate where they are at after what was shared at the first one. Details to be worked out soon.
  5. We had our three Holy Week services online, and the Resurrection liturgy and brunch on Herring Island - in person! This marks a year of online liturgies, a huge thank you to Nathan for all his hard work in making this happen for our congregation.
  6. David and his family are moving out of the manse this weekend. Given that our discussions about future directions of the church may impact on how we wish to use the manse, we will use this time to look at bigger maintenance jobs that need to be done, such as renovating the bathroom, and revisit the rental question as the way becomes clearer.
  7. There have been problems with both the sewerage pipes and the storm water pipes at the manse which the plumber says are being caused by tree roots. Some of the trees concerned are also likely to be doing some damage to the wall foundations. His suggestion is that we get these trees removed and the stumps dug out, and that they be replaced with shrubs instead of with anything that will grow so big. We have approved removal of the trees along the side and will do more research about the trees at the front.
  8. The discussion on our Lenten reading book Finding Sanctuary: monastic steps for everyday life will take place on a date to be confirmed once the listening circle date has been organised. Contact Liesl for more information.
  9. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom but have shifted to Thursday nights at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  10. Dates for your diary:
    Listening circle on future directions for our church - tbc
    Lenten book discussion - tbc

Next meeting: Thursday 6 May 2021, 7pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 March 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. Thanks to those who helped with the manse clean. It was not too big a job, but it raised the question of whether we can do it every 3 months if we return to the short term rental arrangement with Launch Housing or whether we would need to pay for cleaning. There are a few maintenance issues that have been discovered by David, Liz and Thomas since they moved in, which are being dealt with.
  2. Nathan’s regular work hours have continued to be high this month. He is taking several long weekends over the next semester and may try running the Sunday services from Aireys Inlet.
  3. We had our Ash Wednesday service online, and the Lenten retreat day at the church. One person attended via Zoom and the simple format of two bible passages and two listening circles worked well and led to some valuable insights.
  4. Liesl has organised Finding Sanctuary: monastic steps for everyday life for our Lenten reading book. The discussion is flagged for the weekend of 27-28 March, but may be postponed as some people have had trouble getting the book delivered quickly. Details to be confirmed soon.
  5. The discussion and discernment about returning to physically gathered worship, retaining online worship only or a hybrid option continues. Nathan is preparing a second discussion paper (or sermon) about our need to develop the congregation’s mission and purpose beyond just what will nourish our current members. Once this has been distributed, we will hold a listening circle on Sunday March 21 or Sunday 28 March to get feedback on both discussion papers and any related issues and ideas. (We may hold a second one if it seems helpful.) If our direction is becoming clearer after those listening circles, we will hold an open space gathering to develop those ideas and plan our next steps.
  6. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  7. Dates for your diary:
    March 21 Listening circle, 1:30pm on Zoom
    April 1 Maundy Thursday 8pm on Zoom
    April 2 Good Friday, 5pm on Zoom
    April 3 
Great Paschal Vigil 8pm on Zoom
    April 4  Herring Island boat trip and picnic, 10am

Next meeting: Tuesday 6 April 2021 (t.b.c), 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 February 2021

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Ian Cook, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. The manse tenants were evicted on February 2 as the three month lease intended to provide a tenancy record for private rental was over in March 2020 and Yordanos had refused to take up several offers of private rental accommodation during that period. Rent subsidies from Launch Housing had ceased in March 2020. The warrant for eviction was issued by VCAT in August 2020 (delayed due to Covid) and had to be carried out within 6 months - we chose to allow the full 6 month period. Yordanos has been given details for crisis accommodation, and the accommodation service was alerted that she may contact them. We will store the family’s belongings for at least 90 days until they can make arrangements to collect them. David Jackson, a former congregation member, and his wife and child will soon move in to the manse temporarily while they look for housing in Melbourne.
  2. Nathan’s regular work hours have been higher over the past month due to the change of liturgical season including Christmas. He took 6 days annual and conference leave in January, but is currently unable to take leave on Sundays while he is the only person who can run the service online.
  3. We had our Christmas Eve service and ecumenical Epiphany service online which were good events, although they possibly lacked some of their peak celebratory feel over Zoom. The January 26/Invasion Day discussion at the church with Uncle Den was special as our first physical gathering at the church in a long time, and also significant for the reflection on our deepening awareness of how our understanding of ourselves in this land needs to change as we tell the truth about our history.
  4. We will hold our Lenten Retreat Day at the church on Sunday 28 February (*note change of date*) at the church from 10am to 3pm. Nathan will provide some scripture texts for us to reflect on and we will hold a listening circle. We will let people know soon about a Lenten reading book.
  5. Now that we are legally able to return to the church building for services, the host group have considered the situation for our congregation, including the significant group of people who have joined us online and are not able to attend physical worship at South Yarra. The host group is not confident that we can do a regular physically gathered worship service in the way we used to because there are now not enough people to do the work, which includes set up, pack up and supper. We wonder also whether more creative options for meeting the needs of our increasingly diverse congregation might open up for us if we embrace the online environment more fully rather than making do with it as a temporary situation. One viable way ahead that doesn’t lose our desire to still gather in person might be that we continue to worship online and encourage lots of physically gathered activities outside the Sunday service, not just in South Yarra, and organised by all congregation members. We are willing to hear ideas about how to run a physical service given the current constraints. Nathan will write a discussion paper for the congregation with some scenarios.
  6. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  7. Dates for your diary:
    February 17 Ash Wednesday (7:00pm worship)
    February 28 Lenten retreat day, 10am - 3pm

Next meeting: Tuesday 2 March 2021, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 December 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, and Nathan Nettleton. Ian Cook sent his apologies.

  1. The current manse tenants are now due to leave in February. Launch Housing are unable to organise another short term rental arrangement due to government restrictions, although this could change in March. David Jackson, a former congregation member, and his wife and child are moving back to Melbourne from Sweden in February and expressed interest in renting the manse temporarily while they look for housing. We will continue to talk to them about this possibility.
  2. We are looking at the possibility of having some small events at the church where we can physically gather again within government Covid-safe restrictions. This is a good opportunity to have some story sharing events, contact Samara if you are willing - you don’t have to fit in your entire life story, just one event or time you’d like to explore with us would be good!
  3. We also want to hold a pre- and/or post-Christmas picnic at the church (partly to admire John F’s great work on the garden!). Nathan will contact the church list soon to find out which dates would work for people.
  4. Nathan’s regular work hours have been higher over the past month due to the change of liturgical season and 2 weeks of preaching. He is taking 3 days of leave this week.
  5. We have created a draft church activities calendar for 2021 which involves a lot of guesswork! It will be distributed soon, but is subject to change depending on how 20201 pans out.
  6. The squatters who had been sleeping outside the church have moved away.
  7. We usually have our annual review of the pastor or the church at this time of year. We have decided to hold off as it’s not a good time of year to plan and start a review. The host group will keep this item on the agenda and make a time next year when it feels appropriate to review Nathan’s role in shifting church online in 2020.
  8. Host meetings will continue to be held over Zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  9. Dates for your diary:
    December 24 Christmas Eve service, 8pm on Zoom
    January 6 Epiphany service hosted by us, 7pm on Zoom

Next meeting: Tuesday 5 January 2021, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 November 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Dennis Fisher, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. Nathan’s regular work hours continue to average out to what he is paid for, although the hours still vary a lot depending on the week. He is planning another week of leave in early December.
  2. Church camp has been booked for August next year. We recognise that some people may not feel comfortable to attend due to Covid, but we also know that a physical gathering might be important for a dispersed community.
  3. John Fowler let us know that he needs to step back from his intention to take over the church treasurer role, it was an overcommitment that he realised was unwise! We thank him for his keenness to contribute and thank him for all the other valuable tasks he does for the church, particularly as property caretaker at this time.
  4. At the BUV members meeting, a number of members were frustrated with the non-consultative structure of the online meeting. Nathan may be involved in setting up an Open Space conversation to discuss one of the items under discussion, the Clendinning report about BUV intervention in small churches.
  5. The ecumenical service for All Saints Day was posted online, we were glad that we also decided to hold our own more participatory service.
  6. We have developed a Covid safe plan as we reopen our building to hall hirers. This will be updated when we return to the building for other church-related activities.
  7. There have been a number of squatters sleeping outside the church during the lockdown period. They have been approached a number of times by Launch Housing to offer accommodation assistance. They have been informed that they need to leave with their belongings now that the building is being used by hall hirers again.
  8. The November 15 working bee has been cancelled.
  9. Regarding returning to Sunday worship in the church building, we feel that we would not want to do so until it offers a better experience than what we are currently having via Zoom. At the moment government restrictions mean that we are not legally allowed to sing or share food, which feels like a significant diminishment. We will consider holding occasional events at the church, such as a story sharing time, to see how it feels to meet again in person. Nathan is starting to research options for how to involve distant attenders digitally in the physical service.
  10. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  11. Dates for your diary:
    December 24 Christmas Eve service, 8pm

Next meeting: Tuesday 1 December 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 October 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton. Dennis Fisher sent his apologies.

  1. Online prayers and services are still going well. We will return to having listening circle sermons every 6-8 weeks.
  2. Our insurers have requested that churches complete a business continuity plan, of which the only relevant part for us is backing up online records in case of a data breach. We are taking additional steps to back up our financials and hall hire records.
  3. Nathan’s regular work hours have come down to what he is paid on average although the hours vary a lot depending on the week. He is due for another week of time in lieu.
  4. We have become aware that a clause in the BUV constitution states that the BUV automatically takes control over church properties where no activities have been taking place for 6 months. While the BUV have assured us that they don’t intend to take action based on this clause as it was not included with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in mind, the clause as it stands applies to most Baptist properties and we are awaiting legal advice as to the implications which are currently not clear to us or the BUV!
  5. Thanks to all who attended the church AGM and listening circle. While the online voting procedure worked fine, we have decided that future votes could be done with a show of hands which would feel less formal and distancing.
  6. We have had two story sharing events with Uncle Den and John Sampson, thanks to both for sharing parts of their lives with us. Let Samara know if you would like to be next.
  7. Our ecumenical service for All Saints Day is on November 1, and will be available for viewing from 7:00pm. It will be pre-recorded the day before at 9:30am. We are providing a bible reading, let Nathan know if you are willing and available to do this. We will also hold our own service at the usual time.
  8. The Christmas Eve service will be held online and start at the earlier time of 8pm this year. We will still do a full carol service because we don’t want to feel short-changed (especially since there will be few other opportunities for anyone to do communal carol singing this year). We will encourage people to bring creative elements to the carol singing and to move around as needed throughout the service as it’s a long one (but a good one!).
  9. We discussed whether there is a need for a ‘point person’ aside from Nathan who can be a single go-to person for the congregation, and for the pastor. We decided that the host group functions well in this role at the moment and there is a freedom to having different people who can be approached for different issues.
  10. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  11. Dates for your diary:
    October 16 BUV delegates gathering
    November 1 All Saints ecumenical service (pre-recorded)
    November 3 Host group meeting
    December 24 Christmas Eve service, 8pm

Next meeting: Tuesday 3 November 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 20 September 2020

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Host Group Report
    2. Pastor's Report
    3. Property Matters
    4. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
  5. Matters for Voting
    1. Adopting Safe Church Policy
    2. Recipients of our Annual Giving
    3. Electing the Treasurer
    4. Electing BUV Delegates
  6. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  7. Listening Circle
    1. Geographically Dispersed Congregation & Remote Membership
  8. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 September 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook, Dennis Fisher and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. A VCAT hearing has concluded that the manse tenants are required to leave, but they will not
    be evicted during current lockdown restrictions.
  2. Uncle Den has offered to host the next story sharing event on Sunday September 6 at 1pm. Bring your lunch and join us on Zoom for a relaxed discussion. John Sampson will be sharing his story on Saturday October 3.
  3. As a long run of visiting preachers comes to an end, Nathan will be preaching more over the coming months. If you have people who you would like to invite to preach for us, let Nathan know.
  4. Nathan’s regular work hours have come down to what he is paid for over the past couple of weeks. He will probably take another week’s leave during September.
  5. The church finances are looking ok. Offerings are down slightly but we have received several government payments in the past period that have offset the loss of income from hall hire. The manse will remain exempt from Council rates.
  6. The ecumenical service for the Feast of the Transfiguration was short and sweet! There was one person who attended who was not known to any of the congregations, and who made inappropriate chat conversation with one of the attendees. This has been reported to the police, and is a reminder of why we use password protection for our Zoom meetings.
  7. Thanks to all who attended and contributed to the Open Space event to discuss what we are learning through this time of disruption about what really matters for the life, prayer and ministry of our church. A couple of actions came out of it, and the discussions will continue.
  8. Thanks to everyone’s contribution to the discernment about whether we should nominate Nathan for a position on the BUV Council. The host group has decided (after much discussion) that we will not nominate him at this time. It feels like it is not the right time, given uncertainty about the changes we will need to make coming out of the pandemic period. The discussions have raised the need for administrative tasks currently done by Nathan and the Host Group to be spread more evenly across the congregation. We will continue to pursue this as it relates to the ongoing health and viability of this congregation. We are grateful for the offers already received from congregation members willing to learn how to do those tasks. We are open to nominating Nathan in the future should the option arise.
  9. Our AGM will happen at 1pm on Sunday September 20. It will include a listening circle about the future implications of our growing number of remote congregation members. Reports will be circulated one week prior to the meeting.
  10. We have decided to cancel the Advent Retreat for this year.
  11. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  12. Dates for your diary:
    September 6, 1pm Story sharing with Uncle Den
    September 20, 1pm AGM
    October 3 Story sharing with John Sampson
    October 6 Host meeting
    October 16 BUV delegates gathering

Next meeting: Tuesday 6 October 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 August 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook, Dennis Fisher and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. We still have tenants in the manse.
  2. Thanks to Sylvia for sharing stories about some common threads of her life. Uncle Den has offered to host the next story sharing event - hooray! Details to be confirmed soon.
  3. Nathan’s regular work hours have come down but they continue to be slightly over his paid hours. He has also taken on some bigger projects such as learning new software platform for the Open Space event, and rebuilding the Laughingbird website, but he is not feeling stressed and pressured about his current activities which is an improvement! He will plan some more leave soon, despite not being able to go anywhere!
  4. We will continue to list our church hall on the Hall for Hire website as we expect that we may need to find some new hirers once this lockdown period ends.
  5. The church covenanting rite went as well as could be expected for an online event!
  6. We will have an Open Space event to discuss what we are learning through this time of disruption about what really matters for the life, prayer and ministry of our church. It will run on Saturday 15 August between 10:30am and 4:30pm with a variety of sessions that you can pick and choose between across the day. Please RSVP: on this webpage or by email to: pastor@southyarrabaptist.church
  7. The Ecumenical service for the Feast of the Transfiguration was held online on August 6.
  8. Anyone is welcome to attend a host meeting, please let Nathan know if you wish to do so. The hosts may also invite a congregation member to attend a meeting if we feel they have insights into a particular issue on the agenda.
  9. Dates for your diary:
    August 15 (Sat) Open Space event, 10:30 - 4:30pm
    Sept 1 (Tues) Host Meeting, 7:30pm
    September 20 (Sunday) AGM, 2:30pm

Next meeting: Tuesday 1 September 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Minutes of the Congregational Vote on 3 July 2020

Ballots conducted online through ElectionBuddy

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Attendance

Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, John Fowler, Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Yvonne Joyce, Gilbert Joyce, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, John Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Margie Welsford, Rita Wang, Glennys Williams, Suzanne Peart.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Eliz Cook, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, and Ian Cook.

Outcome: The motion was unanimously approved.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 July 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. The manse tenants are currently actively looking for a private rental.
  2. Sylvia has offered to host the next story sharing event - hooray! It will be on Zoom on Sunday 19 July at 2:30pm. All welcome!
  3. In property matters, we are now starting to receive hall hire bookings again. Hall hirers are required to clean/sanitise the areas they are using.
  4. We continue to have very positive feedback on our online worship services and daily prayer. If you have people who you think might be good to invite as a visiting preacher, especially anyone who would not usually be able to offer this due to geographic distance, we encourage you to approach them and coordinate potential dates with Nathan. We currently have slots in early August to fill.
  5. Nathan’s work hours continue to be high due to having to reinvent pretty much every system we use! He anticipates that this will eventually decrease. Thanks to those who have taken on the hosting of daily prayers, we encourage others outside of the host group to also learn how to do this so we can take this task permanently off Nathan’s list. He will take leave from 6-11 July, and will plan another week’s leave within the following 6 weeks. The host group will go through Nathan’s tasks and see whether other changes can be made.
  6. The church covenanting rite will be held this Sunday 5 July.
  7. The recent controversy about commenting on sermons on our website and Facebook raised (at a minimum!) two things to consider where the host group would like your contribution.
    1. For those who don’t feel comfortable posting comments on the website or Facebook, are there alternative ways that we could enable individuals to communicate appreciation to visiting preachers (aside from the financial honorarium or gifts that the church offers on our behalf)? If you have suggestions, are they something you would be willing and likely to regularly do yourself?
    2. If one of the potential functions of comments on Facebook/website is to give outsiders an insight into the life and engagement of our congregation, are you someone who would like to discuss the content and application of the sermon, and if so, how could this be done and possibly shared or made available to those outside our congregation? If you have suggestions, are they something you would be willing and likely to do yourself?
    At this stage, the comments section on the website will remain open as we believe it communicates a willingness to be open to receiving feedback from those who access our website even if no comments are posted, but there is no pressure to comment.
  8. We think that daily prayers online should continue after the gathering restriction period ends, but that responsibility should increasingly move to people outside the host group. If the workload reverts to the host group, we may need to reduce the number of daily prayer times offered.
  9. We have continued to wonder and talk about changes we could make as a church in the aftermath of the COVID-19 restrictions. We will consider whether to run an open space event to discuss this in person or via Zoom closer to the event, which will not occur before August.
  10. Dates for your diary:
    July 5 Church anniversary and covenanting rite
    July 19 Story sharing event, 2:30pm

Next meeting: Tuesday 4 August 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 June 2020

Download PDF 
Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. The manse tenants have refused offers of four different properties to move into. Homeground
    is preparing for another VCAT hearing.
  2. Francesco has offered to host the next story sharing event - hooray! It will be on Zoom, although if anyone would like to attend in person, contact Francesco to work out how many people he can fit with physical distancing in his apartment! Sunday afternoon is looking like the most likely time, details tbc.
  3. We have updated our Safe Church policy with additions designed to satisfy the requirements of the BUV molestation insurance. The hosts have provisionally adopted the amended policy and will circulate it to the congregation for any feedback before we take a formal vote to approve it at our AGM.
  4. In property matters, we are now starting to receive credits from our retailer for solar energy generated into the grid. The church hot water service broke and was repaired at great expense!
  5. We continue to have very positive feedback on our online worship services and daily prayer. We continue to hear from visiting preachers from all over the world (all of whom are offered our usual honorarium). We also had an amazing 30 languages heard in our Pentecost service, thanks everyone who contributed. If you want to invite others to our online Sunday service or daily prayers, please direct them to this webpage.
  6. Nathan has struggled to reduce his hours and has not been able to take time in lieu so far. He is reluctant to miss out on daily prayers, and is working on some ways to make the online service preparation more streamlined. He has a week’s leave booked in early July. We are seeking people willing to learn how to host the daily prayers, to give him some more flexibility.
  7. Christ Church South Yarra provided a playlist of content for the ecumenical Ascension service and we also held our own online Zoom service using some of the elements of the combined service. The workshop on ‘the Australian Dream’ with Uncle Den was much appreciated as a further insight into how racism is experienced by Aboriginal people in this country. Also the Lenten book discussion on ‘In the Shelter’ was held over Zoom with many stories prompted.
  8. The church anniversary service which is usually held around a meal and includes our annual covenanting rite will be postponed. We will amend the covenant to reflect our current circumstances, and incorporate the rite into our online service. A celebratory meal will be postponed until we can safely gather to eat together again.
  9. The church storeroom still needs a good clear out, but we do not have energy to address this at the moment (sorry John F!)
  10. We have continued to wonder and talk about changes we could make as a church in the aftermath of the COVID-19 restrictions. We have decided to postpone any definite decisions about this until at least August. This will enable the conversations to unfold without a sense of time pressure, and will also relieve Nathan of the immediate pressure and workload of changing how we gather when we have just settled into a good rhythm of online service and daily prayer. We encourage people who want to be involved in the discussions to share your thoughts, and one of the best places to keep in touch currently is by attending some of the daily prayers during the week, where a lot of sharing is happening in the discussion times afterwards.
  11. Dates for your diary:
    July 1 Host meeting via Zoom
    July 5 Discernment meeting or workshop tbc

Next meeting: 1 July 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 May 2020

Download PDF 
Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. The manse tenants have been offered a new rental organised through a different agency, and we are hopeful that they will accept it and leave the manse on 7 May, but there is still uncertainty about this.
  2. We are seeking people who would like to host a story sharing event over Zoom - very easy to host and attend! The liturgy will be presented in the same format as our online prayers. If you are interested, please contact Samara.
  3. We have updated our Safe Church policy with additions designed to satisfy the requirements of the BUV molestation insurance. The changes mostly have to do with screening and training of people being appointed to leadership positions, plus a template Safe Church concern form for those wishing to alert the hosts to potential situation of abuse. The hosts have provisionally adopted the amended policy to meet an interim deadline of the end of May, and will do more research and work before we bring the final document to the church for approval before the final deadline in September. Following further exploration, Shelley intends to join the new BUV Safe Church Facebook group to assist in keeping the Hosts up to date with information and requirements.
  4. In property matters, we are still waiting to receive credits from our retailer for solar energy generated into the grid.
  5. We have continued to have very positive feedback on our online worship services and daily
    prayer. Many have enjoyed our visiting preachers from all over the world. If you want to invite others to our online Sunday service or daily prayers, please direct them to this webpage. Nathan will take time-in-lieu to cover his extra hours accrued during the transition to online worship, but now that daily prayers are running smoothly he does not count them as work time, except for the conversation time at the end where he is playing a pastoral role.
  6. Our church finances have been affected by COVID-19. All income categories are down; expenses are as planned. We anticipate - with government help - a better than break-even situation for the next months. We encourage congregation members who usually give their offering in cash to access the online offering details on this webpage.
  7. Christ Church South Yarra are hosting the ecumenical Ascension service on Thursday May 21 as a Youtube playlist with elements contributed by the 4 different congregations. We will contribute some intercessory prayers to this playlist, but also use some of the other parts in our own online Zoom service to be held at 7pm that day, which will replace the usual 5pm and 9:30pm prayers.
  8. The church anniversary service is unlikely to be a meal around tables this year. We will discuss alternatives next meeting.
  9. The workshop on ‘the Australian Dream’ with Uncle Den is being organised, details to be confirmed soon.
  10. A Catechumenate Study Group for Francesco is being convened. Contact Nathan or Francesco if you are interested in being involved.
  11. We have received a number of suggestions about changes we could make as a church in the aftermath of the COVID-19 restrictions, with many people saying they would like to continue daily prayers online, and find a way for those who are geographically distant or otherwise unable to attend the physical church service to still be able to participate in the eucharist, either on Sunday or at an alternative time. We encourage everyone to keep discussing this, and are making some initial inquiries about the possibility of making our physical gathering space into a ‘Zoom room’ that would enable a physical gathering to be accessible online as well.
  12. Dates for your diary:
    May 12 Discussion forum with Uncle Den 8pm
    May 17 Book discussion online
    May 21 Feast of Ascension with local churches: online playlist,
    and Zoom service 7pm
    May 22 BUV delegates cancelled
    May 24 Working bee cancelled
    May 31 Pentecost

Next meeting: 3 June 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 April 2020

Download PDF 
Those in attendance at the recent meeting via Zoom were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. The 3 month lease on the manse has expired, but Homeground is having difficulty in convincing the family to view the second long term rental that Homeground has found for them. The reasons for the family’s reluctance are unclear, as the house is in a suburb they requested, is in very good condition and is a lower rental amount than they currently pay. The government moratorium on evictions is only for those who are financially unable to meet their rent which is not the case here. Homeground is taking the case to VCAT.
  2. We hope to organise our next story sharing event after Easter, to be conducted over Zoom. If you are willing to share your story, please contact Samara.
  3. The report on Nathan’s annual review has been circulated. If you have any comment on the report, please contact a Host group member.
  4. In property matters, the solar installation has been completed and we hope that the final inspection will happen this week, which will enable us to receive credits from our retailer for energy generated into the grid. We replaced two out of three toilet roll holders.
  5. Johnny our cleaner is still cleaning the hall, but since there is less to do, will will consider other tasks he may be able to do, such as weeding. Other congregation members who are keen to get out and about are welcome to do some solo garden work as well - contact John F to find out more.
  6. The Lenten book discussion on In the Shelter by Padraig O’Tuama will happen via Zoom on Sunday April 5 at 3pm as scheduled.
  7. Araluen Lutheran campsite contacted us to ask if we wanted to reschedule our camp booking for later in the year since it is unlikely to be possible this August. Given the current uncertainty about timeframes, we have decided to cancel the camp for this year and rebook for August 2021.
  8. This month our worship service was initially modified in response to the coronavirus restrictions, and then transferred online with a huge amount of work from Nathan. It has been greatly appreciated by current congregation members, former member scattered across the world, and a few newbies who found us online or by recommendation. We have managed to maintain the participatory nature of the service, and many are also accessing the daily prayers as well. It has also been an important way to check in with how people are finding the changes to daily life. If you want to invite others to our online Sunday service or daily prayers, please direct them to this webpage. Do not forward the zoom link directly or broadcast it publicly, as we want to avoid the possibility that someone will get hold of it and use it to disrupt the worship.
  9. Francesco, a new Christian who has joined the online services and prayers will begin the catechumenate this Sunday.
  10. All of the usual Holy Week services will proceed online, with the addition of expanded liturgies in the daily worship leading up to Maundy Thursday. Some people would like the Maundy Thursday service start time to be brought forward to 5pm, please contact Nathan asap if this is a problem for you.
  11. Our income has dropped significantly due to hall hire cancellations which makes up about 40% of our budget. Congregational giving may also be affected by job losses. We will receive stimulus funds of at least $10,000 from the government (which will be shared 50:50 between the South Yarra and Sanctuary congregations), and we have reserves, so if we cut all optional expenses we should break even over the next 12 months. We encourage congregation members who usually give their offering in cash to access the online offering details on this webpage.
  12. Dates for your diary:
    April 5: Lenten Book discussion, 3pm
    April 9: Maundy Thursday Service, 5pm tbc
    April 10: Good Friday service, 5pm
    April 11: Great Pascal Vigil, 8pm
    April 12: Resurrection morning liturgy, 10:30am tbc

Next meeting: 6 May 2020, 7:30pm, on Zoom

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 March 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. The family who have been living in the manse have decided to continue to the end of their 3
    month lease.
  2. Suzanne Peart is becoming a member of this congregation with the reaffirmation of her baptism as part of our Paschal services. This has been affirmed by the congregation at two previous meetings and will proceed this year - hooray!
  3. Details for our next story sharing event are yet to be confirmed - thanks to Margie Welsford for sharing her story with us last month! If you are willing to share your story later this year, please speak to Samara.
  4. Files on the church computer are in the process of being backed up in case of future computer thefts or other calamities!
  5. The report on Nathan’s annual review will be circulated shortly. We had a record number of responses this year, thanks to all who took the time to support Nathan’s ministry in this way.
  6. In property matters, the solar installation has been completed and we await a final inspection before we are able to receive any credits from our retailer for energy generated into the grid. New recycling bins for the kitchen are in progress but have been delayed by new council requirements that recycling be further sorted.
  7. John F has requested a church garden working bee to deal with prodigious weed growth over summer, details to be announced.
  8. Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to contribute to our simple soup and bread roster for Lent. We continue to appreciate hands-on-deck in the kitchen for clean up, which is much quicker! If you wanted to cook a soup and haven’t let Samara know, please do so that we can relieve someone who is already doing two.
  9. The Workshop on Being African in Australia was well received and appreciated by all participants. Nathan led a simple Lenten Retreat Day at St Luke’s Abbotsford chapel which
    was enjoyed by those who attended, we may decide to do some more in-house leadership for retreat days in future.
  10. In preparation for a possible coronavirus pandemic, we have discussed some ways to manage infection risks (which also applies for other more common infections such as the flu). From this Sunday, in place of shaking hands when we pass the peace, we invite people to bow to each other (as we do in other areas of the service to acknowledge the divine image in each other and the Word) or alternatively to use the Auslan signs for ‘Peace be with you’ if we can find an accurate translation. We are also considering some options for how we share the communion bread. As toilet paper seems to be going missing at an even faster rate than previously, we will also trial the installation of a mega roll in metal dispenser in the men’s toilet.
  11. The Lenten book discussion of In the Shelter by Padraig O’Tuama will be led by Sylvia on Sunday April 5, starting at 3:00pm.
  12. Dates for your diary:
    April 1: Host Group Meeting
    April 5: Lenten Book discussion
    April 9: Maundy Thursday Service
    April 10: Good Friday service
    April 11: Great Pascal Vigil
    April 12: Herring Island Boat boat trip

Next meeting: 1 April 2020, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 February 2020

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Samara Pitt and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. A family moved into the manse shortly before Christmas and really appreciated it. They have now been approved for long term housing and will move out on February 19. Launch Housing will seek another family to move in, and will cover the rent for the remainder of the 3 month lease or until new tenants move in.
  2. The workshop on January 26 with Uncle Den was well attended and very much appreciated by those who came, as we discussed ways in which the 10 commandments shed light on some of the impacts of colonisation in Australia.
  3. We will hold a workshop on “Being African in Australia” from 2:30pm on Sunday 16 February. With a recent and welcome influx of Africans into our congregation, this workshop will be an opportunity to hear from them about what it is like to be an African in our church and in this country, and how we might better understand and respond to the cultural differences that they are dealing with. The workshop will take the form of a panel discussion facilitated by the pastor. Tseyi, Ugo, Nyaluth, Jordan and Rose have agreed to be on the panel, and Hisham is a maybe.
  4. Responses for Nathan’s annual review have been received, and we now await the final report.
  5. Margie Welsford is having a story sharing event at her house on Monday 10 February at 7:30pm. If you would like to host an event this year, please get in touch with Samara - she is seeking a keen storyteller for March!
  6. The church was burgled over Christmas, and the office computer stolen, but it has now been replaced and no files were lost. We now have a digital keypad for the main church entrance, as well as a key safe. Thanks to Ian and Eliz for their work on fixing doors and replacing locks in the aftermath.
  7. In property matters, the reverse cycle air conditioner and kitchen exhaust fan has been installed, the roof rust treatment has been done and the solar installation is in the hands of the installers, manse repairs on the gutter and gate are complete and new recycling bins for the kitchen are in progress.
  8.  John F has been maintaining the church garden solo over summer during YarZar’s absence for other work, thanks John!
  9. In Lent (starting Feb 26) we will simplify our supper after church with a meal of only soup, bread and water. Lent is a time where we are invited to focus on God, and to give up some of the everyday luxuries that we can become overly dependent upon. In a time of climate crisis, the importance of taking only what we need is being highlighted, and this version of the ancient discipline of fasting can reintroduce us to good hunger, and joy and thankfulness for what is provided. We are asking people who are not on the regular soup roster to cook a soup once during this 6 week Lent period, there will be 12 slots in total. If you can help, please contact Samara as soon as possible to organise dates.
  10. The Lenten Retreat Day is March 1st. Further details to come. We are considering In the Shelter by Padraig O’Tuama for our Lenten reading but may have difficulty finding enough hard copies in time - stay tuned!
  11. We will not make any further changes to the membership and covenanting process for this year, as Nathan does not have time to do this in the same year as preparing the new lectionary readings and revised Sunday liturgy. (This means that once again you are encouraged to personalise the Covenant, but whether you choose to or not, to symbolise your commitment you need to sign a copy and hand it in on Covenanting night.)
  12. Dates for your diary:
    Feb 16: Workshop - “Being African in Australia”
    Feb 26: Ash Wednesday
    Mar 1: Lenten retreat day
    Mar 4: Host Group Meeting
    April 1: Host Group Meeting
    April 5: Lenten Book discussion
    April 9: Maundy Thursday Service
    April 10: Good Friday service
    April 11: Great Pascal Vigil
    April 12: Herring Island Boat boat trip

Next meeting: 4 March 2020, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 December 2019

Download PDF 
Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook, Samara Pitt and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. We are waiting on contractor availability to install the reverse cycle air conditioner and kitchen exhaust fan for the small hall, which will then enable us to switch off gas to the church building altogether.
  2. We have received two quotes to install solar panels on the church building, both of which are more expensive than expected ($11,681 - $17,192). After reviewing the two proposals and considering the two companies’ critiques of each other’s proposals, the Hosts are inclined to accept the lower quote. However, since the price is higher than previously expected, we will ask for a final approval of the quote over supper soon to ensure the congregation is on board with this expenditure. Ian will circulate a copy of the proposal with some comments prior to that, and anyone who wants further details is encouraged to ask for them.
  3. A contractor has done a one-off tidy up of the church and manse gardens, which was adequate although he sprayed the weeds instead of weeding by hand which was not made clear in his quote and was not what we wanted. John F and YarZar will maintain it going forward. YarZar is being paid a casual hourly rate to do this.
  4. Samara has rewritten the worship disruption procedural guidelines, slightly altering it based on our experience of roleplaying such an event in the workshop with Simon Moyle. We plan to have a practice run through of this every year or so.
  5. Nathan’s annual review is coming up soon - a survey will be distributed on the topic of Professional Boundaries. Responses will be collected by Sue McDonald who has done this for us before. We encourage everyone to participate, it is an important way that Nathan is kept accountable by the congregation and can receive valuable feedback on his work amongst us.
  6. Dom shared his story on Sunday 24 November, many attended and really appreciated an insight into his story about growing up in the Catholic church tradition and how his faith has changed over time. In 2020 we are keen to start having these story sharing sessions monthly so that we all have the opportunity to tell and hear a story from each other’s lives that helps us to seek God together in our everyday experiences, big or small. Samara will be inviting people to choose a month that they could host a story sharing session at a time and place that suits them.
  7. Thanks to everyone who came and hosted the manse blessing, it was a lovely way to thank donors and prepare the way for new families moving in. We are in the final stages of signing off with Launch housing, and would expect a family to move in over the coming weeks.
  8. A draft calendar of activities for 2020 will be circulated soon - please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions.
  9. Dates for your diary:
    Dec 24, 9pm Christmas Eve Nativity service
    Jan 6 (Mon) 7pm Epiphany ecumenical service @ South Yarra Baptist

Next meeting: 5 February 2020, 7:30pm, Nathan's place (no meeting in January).

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 November 2019

Download PDF 
Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook, Samara Pitt and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. We have received a quote for a reverse cycle air conditioner for the old soup room, which will then enable us to switch off gas to the church building altogether. A kitchen exhaust fan will be installed at the same time.
  2. We are in the process of getting quotes to instal solar panels on the church building. We are unable to put solar panels on the manse roof because it is tiled in slate which breaks easily.
  3. Dom will be sharing his story on Sunday 24 November at 3pm at the church. Afternoon tea will be provided by Tara (and others), all welcome!
  4. We had our second trial of the listening circle sermon, and going forward we will plan to hold them every 6-8 weeks.
  5. We will get a contractor to do a one-off tidy up of the church and manse gardens. After that, John F and YarZar will work on maintaining it.
  6. Samara has been bombarding y’all with tips on the 5 R’s - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle - and we’re still tweaking the bin system to help everyone be clear on what goes where. Keep it up!
  7. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to renovating and furnishing the manse, especially Ian and Nathan, it’s looking great! Homeground real estate will come through soon and do an inspection before organising tenants through their short term rental program for families who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.  3 month leases will enable these families to get a rental record to help them enter the private real estate market.
  8. We have had lots of community activities on - the non-violence workshop, the ritual in the manse, the day at Fryerstown and the ecumenical service for All Saints Day at St Martin’s, thanks to everyone who has participated.
  9. Nathan has been encouraged by several people to accept nomination to the BUV Council, as someone who can represent smaller churches within the Union and increase the diversity of the Council. He has agreed, with some reservations, to put in an expression of interest.  The host group has affirmed this first step. If it goes further, we will make a time for the congregation to discuss the details.
  10. We will not hold the Advent Retreat Day this year, recognising the fairly busy church calendar and the fact that we haven’t yet organised anything!
  11. A first draft of the activities calendar for 2020 is being prepared.
  12. Nathan’s pastoral review is due, and will be on the topic of Professional Boundaries. A survey will be distributed in the next month.
  13. Dates for your diary:
    Nov 13 Working bee
    Nov 24 Dom story sharing, 3pm at the church
    Dec 4 Host meeting

Next meeting: 4 December 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan's place

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 27 October 2019

Ballots conducted after worship

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  1. Members Present and Voting 

Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Liesl Filippi, Dennis Fisher, John Fowler, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, John Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Rita Wang, Margaret Welsford, Glennys Williams,

  1. Proposal Regarding Use of the Church Manse

Motion: That the South Yarra Community Baptist Church manse, situated at 18 Surrey Road, South Yarra 3141 (being the land described in Certificates of Title Volume 05769 Folio 604 and Volume 03665 Folio 961), be made available, in partnership with Launch Housing’s Accommodation Options for Families Team, of 68 Oxford Street, Collingwood 3066, to be used for short 3-month respite tenancies for families working to secure long term housing after experiencing or being at risk of homelessness.

Outcome: The vote was taken by written ballot and the motion was approved unanimously.

  1. Proposal Regarding Signatories

Motion: Acknowledging that the Baptist Union of Victoria holds the titles of the church manse in trust for our congregation, we authorise any two of Nathan Nettleton, Shelley Taylor and Ian Cook to act as signatories to jointly sign tenancies of no more than three months duration on behalf of the Baptist Union of Victoria.

Outcome: The vote was taken by written ballot and the motion was approved unanimously.

  1. The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 October 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook, Samara Pitt and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. We are still researching the best exhaust fan option for our high-ceiling-ed kitchen. In the meantime we will try and open the window during supper duty to disperse some of the condensation.
  2. We are resuming the process towards installing solar panels on the church building, and will seek advice on installers and request quotes soon.
  3. The workshop on non-violence training will be held on Sunday October 13, from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Please rsvp if you are planning to come and haven’t already done so. Some people from Fitzroy North Church of Christ may also join us.
  4. We have received some feedback on the listening circle sermons, with some mixed feelings, and preferences for holding them somewhere between every 4-8 weeks. Several people found it hard to hear, so we will purchase a hand held microphone which will become our ‘talking piece’. We will trial another listening circle sermon this Sunday, further feedback welcome.
  5. The only remaining gas appliance in use is the heater in the old soup room. We will get a quote for a reverse cycle air conditioner for this room, which will then enable us to switch off gas to the church building altogether.
  6. Thanks for all who attended the AGM and contributed to the thoughtful listening circle about next steps for the manse which affirmed our congregation’s commitment to making this building available for good use rather than just making lots of money from market rental. We are going ahead with Homeground real estate in their short term rental program for families who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. 3 month leases will enable these families to get a rental record and enter the private real estate market. We have spent one working bee day on fixing up a number of areas of the manse, and hope to complete this work this weekend so that we can lease it out as soon as possible. Nathan has emailed the congregation seeking furniture and other household items to furnish the manse, so please contact Nathan if you have anything you can offer.
  7. We will be holding a simple liturgy and listening circle on Sunday October 20 at 3pm to mark the unexpected loss of a family from our congregation and our manse. It will be held in the manse if available, or the chapel.
  8. We have decided to employ someone to do lawn and garden maintenance, with John F offering to provide a volunteer supervision/communication role as needed. An asylum seeker who recently visited the church expressed interest. Nathan is researching an appropriate hourly rate.
  9. At the BUV Delegates dinner on October 18, delegates will be discussing a proposal to use the terminology of ‘climate emergency’ which could encourage churches and the government to make the kind of wide-ranging economic and social decisions that societies do when facing a major threat. They will also be discussing how individuals, churches and the BUV can act in response to this climate emergency.
  10. Dates for your diary:
    Oct 13 Workshop (non-violence training), 1:30pm
    Oct 18 (Friday) BUV delegates dinner
    Oct 20 Ritual re loss of family, 3pm
    Oct 26 Day at Fryerstown with the Gahans
    Nov 1 (Friday) Feast of All Saints, 6pm, St Martins

Next meeting: 6 November 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan's place

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 15 September 2019

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Host Group Report
    2. Pastor's Report
    3. Property Matters
    4. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Recipients of our Annual Giving
  5. Election of BUV Delegates
  6. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  7. Matters for Discernment
    1. Future Use of the Manse
    2. Open Floor Questions and Comments
  8. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 September 2019

Download PDF 
Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook, Samara Pitt and Nathan Nettleton.

  1. Church camp was a lovely weekend at Anglesea, with people from South Yarra Baptist and Sanctuary Warrnambool taking their pick of knitting around the fire, discussions on self-determination and language, table tennis, air hockey and pool, opshopping, coffee drinking, travelling liturgy and a communal sermon, singing, jacks, board games, attempted kite flying, lazing about, costume design, watching the footy and Poldark, wattle appreciation…we’re choosing our dates for next August so let us know what will suit you!
  2. Our AGM will be held on Sunday 15 September at 2:30pm, with the option of lunch together beforehand at the Flying Duck at 12noon. We encourage you to attend, we’ll be discussing the manse, care of our gardens and other matters to do with the life of the congregation. Please rsvp to Nathan if you want to come to lunch so he can book for us.
  3. With the manse currently vacant, we are considering a short term lease while we work out what we want to do with it in the future. We are also considering renovations to the bathroom, laundry, pantry and possibly lounge room.
  4. The BUV have invited churches to respond to the draft religious freedom bill. Contact Nathan or the hosts if you would like to be involved in discussion about this.
  5. We will be updating our church contact directory soon - let Nathan know if there are any changes to your contact details.
  6. Uncle Den suggested we might like to see the ‘Australian Dream’ documentary about Adam Goodes. Stay tuned for potential times and dates for a church outing!
  7. A reminder about recycling - plastic bags, serviettes, and materials containing food scraps are not recyclable in Stonnington! Where possible limit your reliance on plastic, and try to make sure recycling isn’t contaminated or it will end up in landfill. New stickers will go on the bins soon to help us with this.
  8. In response to positive comments about our communal sermon on camp, we will be trialling this at church, with the possibility of making this a monthly or bi-monthly practice. Stay tuned!
  9. Dates for your diary:
    Sep 15 Lunch (12noon) and AGM (2:30pm)
    Oct 2 Host group meeting, 7:30pm
    Oct 13 Workshop (non-violence training tbc)
    Oct 18 BUV delegates dinner
    Oct 26 Dinner at Fryerstown with the Gahans

Next meeting: 2 October 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 8 August 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook, Samara Pitt and Margie Welsford.

  1. A number of issues are being addressed to do with the sudden departure of the Stott family from the church manse. Unresolved financial matters have now been settled. Eliz Cook has taken on the full role of coordinating hall hire for now- thanks Eliz. The host group are working with Margie Welsford and in consultation with our Visiting Pastoral Overseers to respond to any pastoral needs during this time. Discussion on plans for the future use of the manse are on hold until Nathan returns from leave.
  2. Mark Innes-Irons passed away on 5 July, and several congregation members attended his funeral in Rosebud. Our love and prayers are with his mother Rose.
  3. Nathan returns from leave on Saturday 17 August. Thanks to all who have been assisting with preaching, hall set up, pastoral care and other tasks during his absence.
  4. Thanks to those who assisted with our working bee on July 21.
  5. Several of us attended the ecumenical service for the Feast of the Transfiguration at St Joseph’s and continued to build the relationships with our local church neighbours.
  6. Church camp is coming up on August 23 - 25 at Araluen Lutheran campsite in Anglesea. Registrations due this Sunday August 11. You are welcome to come for the full weekend or just a day. The program will be organised via Open Space so if you have an activity you would like to lead or share, come prepared! Please speak to Shelley or Eliz if you have questions.
  7. Dates for your diary:
    Aug 7 Host meeting
    Aug 17 Nathan returns from leave
    Aug 23-25 Church camp
    Sep 15 AGM

Next meeting: 4 September 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 July 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. Yvonne hosted our first story sharing event in her and Gilbert’s home. It was a lovely night, and a privilege to hear about her years as a dressmaker prior to getting married, and what her experience in the workforce was like back then.  We hope to organise another one soon! These one-off events in people’s homes or other spaces are an opportunity to share and hear about someone’s experiences of day-to-day life and faith.  If you would like to host an event, or if you would like to hear from somebody else, give them a nudge and let Samara know.
  2. Thanks to all who contributed to the church anniversary and covenanting service especially the generous contributors to our potluck supper for 50 people which was enjoyed by all!
  3. Thanks to Nathan for his presentation on Baptist spirituality last weekend, it was well attended. 
  4. There are still a few tweaks being worked out with the kitchen - in particular we will create a simple guide to the oven settings for those who find the weird squiggly diagrams obscure!
  5. We have developed a simple plan based on Open Space principles should we experience a disruptive invasion of our worship service by someone with a political or religious agenda (as experienced by the MCC congregation in Hawthorn a few months ago).  Samara will circulate an outline of this plan and discuss over supper. We have also penciled in a workshop in October to explore further creative non-violent responses to such an (unlikely) event.
  6. Mark Innes-Irons who attended South Yarra a couple of years ago is very unwell in palliative care and not expected to live much longer.  Please keep Mark and his mother Rose in your prayers.
  7. Nathan is taking leave from Sunday 7 July to Saturday 17 August. We have a range of visiting preachers from within and without the congregation, and other tasks are being covered by congregation members.
  8. There is a working bee on Sunday July 21 from 2pm - please come along to put an hour or 2 into keeping our buildings in good shape. Tasks and materials will be provided or come prepared to fix that thing that’s been bugging you!
  9. Our ecumenical service for the Feast of the Transfiguration is being held on Tuesday August 6 at 7pm at St Joseph’s - save the date.
  10. Church camp is coming up on August 23 - 25 at Araluen Lutheran campsite in Anglesea - registrations are now open! Please speak to Shelley or Eliz if you have questions.
  11. Dates for your diary:
    July 21 Working Bee
    July 28 Afternoon activity tbc
    Aug 6 (Tues) Feast of the Transfiguration, 7pm, St Joseph’s
    Aug 7 Host meeting
    Aug 17 Nathan returns from leave
    Aug 23-25 Church camp

Next meeting: 7 August 2019, 7:30pm, Eliz & Ian's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 June 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. Yvonne is hosting our first story sharing event on Monday 10 June. These one-off events in people’s homes or other spaces outside church are an opportunity to share and hear about someone’s experiences of day-to-day life and faith. If you would like to host an event, or if you would like to hear from somebody else, give them a nudge and let Samara know!
  2. The discernment forum on May 19 used listening circles to discuss the proposed covenant for our covenanting service on June 23 which incorporates some changes based on our 2018 Open Space discussions on this topic. For the covenanting service on June 23, the content of the covenant and the associated rites for membership will be much the same as last year. Those who wish to are welcome to use the new covenant template that gives space for people to offer their own specific actions for living out the congregational covenant this year.
  3. The prayer labyrinth has been installed in the church garden and a few folks from church and other hall users have used it. The early dark and rain of winter may mean that some people haven’t had the opportunity to try the labyrinth on a Sunday, but feel free to come early, take a flyer and have a go. The grass is growing so we may remove it soon, but Samara hopes to install it again in the warmer months.
  4. A few hardy souls braved a cold, wet night to attend the ecumenical Ascension service at Christ Church South Yarra.
  5. With the new kitchen in full swing, it is timely to remind all who assist with supper of a couple of supper safety and workflow guidelines. Firstly, those rostered on to kitchen duty are ‘the boss’ for their evening, please check with them regarding jobs and numbers of people in the kitchen. Secondly, once dips have been opened, they can’t be kept for the following week. Please send them home with someone or throw them out (and preferably recycle the container!) As much as possible, we don’t want to store up food in the church, and there is generally someone in the congregation who will gladly take home any leftovers.
  6. A concern has been raised about how our congregation would respond if subjected to a disruptive invasion of our worship service such as that recently inflicted on an MCC congregation in Hawthorn by a right-wing serial pest. The main protagonist in that situation filmed himself loudly condemning the congregation for their stance on LGBT inclusion, and then uploaded the footage of the subsequent confrontation online. We hope to run a workshop later in the year to figure out some creative non-violent responses to such an event. In the meantime, Samara and Nathan will work on a simple plan to give us some guidelines should this (fairly unlikely) situation arise before a workshop can be arranged.
  7. The church anniversary and covenanting service will be held on Sunday June 23 at our usual worship time of 5pm. At this service, the liturgy and the covenanting rites are wrapped around a 3 course meal. All are welcome! Samara is coordinating a potluck supper so if you are able to bring something to share (a main, a salad, a dessert, a drink, some bread or some dips), please let her know as soon as possible.
  8. Nathan will be away for conferences and annual leave from Sunday 7 July to Saturday 17 August. Thanks to everyone who has offered to preach during that time.
  9. Thanks to all who offered feedback about revising our liturgy. There were lots of odes to parts that people love and value, and a few suggestions about things that could be changed (which sometimes coincided with what other people thought should definitely not be changed!). John Sampson enlightened us as to why liturgy is like sex. Overall, we didn’t get a sense that a major revamp is required. Nathan will start work on possible updates to the texts when he returns from leave. Whatever he comes up with will be circulated for comment and improvement before being used.
  10. Dates for your diary:
    June 9 Pentecost
    June 23 Anniversary dinner, and covenanting service
    June 30 Discernment workshop tbc
    July 3 Host Meeting
    July 21 Working Bee
    July 28 Afternoon activity

Next meeting: 3 July 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place

Minutes of the Special Congregational Ballot on 26 May 2019

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance

Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, Dennis Fisher, John Fowler, Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Gilbert Joyce, Yvonne Joyce, Acacia Nettleton, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, John Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Daniel Stott, Shelley Taylor, Rita Wang, and Margie Welsford.

Apologies

Cameron Cutts, and Glennys Williams.
The two people who sent apologies also sent word that they were in support of the acceptance of the proposed new member.

Approval of the proposed new church member.

1. Suzanne Peart

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Suzanne Peart into the membership of the congregation by reaffirmation of her baptismal vows.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Report of the Congregational Discernment Gathering on 19 May 2019

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Attendance

Cameron Cutts, Dom Filippi, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, John Fowler, Liesl Filippi, Lior Filippi, Merryl Gahan, Nathan Nettleton, Paul Gahan, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman, and Tara Filippi.

Apologies

Daniel Stott, Danielle Stott, Dennis Fisher, Eric Lam, John Sampson, Glennys Williams, and Suzanne Peart.

Consideration of a New Style of Church Covenant

Background 

Last year we began some discussions about church membership - what does it mean to be a member? How is that expressed? What are the pathways to membership? etc.

It became apparent that a key question in this discussion is the nature of our Church Covenant and how it relates to membership. As described in an earlier report, the challenge we are grappling with is to find a pathway that satisfies the seemingly contradictory desires for both:

      • a more inclusive structure that more fully and clearly affirms the belonging of children and other people who connect with us but are unable to commit to much more; and
      • a more rigorous covenant that sets out some clear challenges to be more prayerful, responsible, involved, connected and caring in our interactions with one another.

From that discussion, the pastor tentatively proposed consideration of a model in which the covenant would be separated from membership. Membership would be open to, and almost automatic for, anyone who is participating in our church life. Membership would enable full and valued  participation in the shared life, prayer and ministry of the congregation. Covenanting would be an optional pathway for those who would find it a helpful way to deepen their commitment to and engagement with this shared congregational life.

Some people helpfully suggested that covenanting too could be more accessible if we allow people to write their own personal covenant. The challenge with that idea though is to ensure that what people are writing is not their own personal development plan, but their commitment to engaging with the congregation in its communal life, prayer and ministry; to making church happen. However, the idea has continued to percolate, and we think we may have come up with a workable proposal. 

The proposed draft of this optional covenant (appended to this report) retains all the structure and wording of the exisiting covenant, but it then invites those who wish to covenant to express their own personal contributions to each aspect of our covenanted life. It would not be expected that people would have something in every section.

The hope is that this can be more rigorous, by challenging covenanters to think seriously about the sorts of contributions we can reasonably and realistically be expected to make. But the hope is that it will also be more inclusive and accessible by avoiding any one-size-fits-all approach and allowing people to identify contributions that match their own passions, energies, abilities and availability.

Discussion

A “talking circle” was used to allow everybody present multiple opportunities to share their thoughts, reactions and questions. There was widespread support for the worth of the proposal. There was appreciation of the importance of retaining the overall covenant, and the feeling that the proposal was adding to it in ways which might be helpful to us and more inclusive. There was also recognition of people’s differing circumstances and life stages, and that as a result, how each person expresses their individual commitment to the Covenant will be different, and can change over time.

As with every discussion about the Covenant we’ve had in this church, some people can feel daunted or think that they are not able to commit or contribute. It was felt that maybe talking it over with someone else might be helpful as they might be able to see past any blind spots. Several people who described having felt daunted by it also said that on reflection, it felt doable and worthwhile.

The main unresolved questions were around the means by, and extent to which people would be making their individual commitments known to others. It was noted that for this year, any use of the proposed new covenant could only be a trial, since more than that would require constitutional change, and so sharing the content would be entirely voluntary and optional this year.

Proposal: That we encourage the use of the new style of covenant on a trial basis this year, noting that people will continue to be able to renew their covenanting by simply affirming the existing generic covenant as in the past, and that next year we review the trial before considering whether to adopt it more fully.

Outcome: The proposal was unanimously affirmed.

The gathering was closed with concluding prayers.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 May 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. The kitchen renovation is done!  Some dishwasher gremlins should hopefully be sorted out now, and we’re getting used to the new set up. Thanks again to the workers - Ian, Eliz, John F and Sylvia for all their efforts!
  2. Oxfam ran a candidates forum at the church on 1 May - we look forward to reports about this.
  3. Nathan is taking 6 weeks conference and annual leave in July/August - dates are now confirmed as Sunday 7 July to Saturday 17 August.
  4. This month we had the Lenten book discussion and Holy Week services - thanks to everyone who participated in this great festival of our year!
  5. We have approved an updated version of Nathan’s Statement of Understanding which had expired, with a few minor changes including the increase in his hours made during the last 5 years.
  6. To begin the process of revising our liturgy, Nathan will circulate a short survey to get an idea of specific things that people would like to keep or change or add. 
  7. Nathan will send around a proposed membership covenant for our covenanting service on June 23 which incorporates changes based on our 2018 Open Space discussions on this topic. In particular, it enables people to choose their own particular commitments to our covenant areas and share these with others in the congregation.  We will use our discernment forum on May 19 at 2:30pm to discuss this proposal.
  8. We hope to kick off our first story sharing events very soon! These one-off events in people’s homes or other spaces outside church are an opportunity to share and hear about someone’s experiences of day-to-day life and faith.  if you would like to host an event, or if you would like to hear from somebody else, give them a nudge and let Samara know!
  9. The prayer labyrinth will be installed in the church garden this week - hopefully!  There will be a flyer with some info on ways to use the labyrinth, so give it a go!
  10. Dates for your diary: 
    May 19 Discernment forum on covenant, 2:30pm
    May 24 Delegates dinner at BUV
    May 30 (Thur) Ecumenical service, Christ Church 7pm
    June 9 Pentecost
    June 23 Anniversary dinner, and covenanting service
    June 30 Discernment workshop tbc

Next meeting: 5 June 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 April 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. The kitchen renovation is almost complete, the total cost will come in at a bit over $30,000. Thanks to Ian for his work and Sylvia, John Fowler and Eliz for setting it all up.  Feel free to visit and say ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ appreciatively.  And don’t even think of trying to get away with storing anything on the benches, Ian is watching…
  2. Our statement of understanding with Alison Sampson at Sanctuary has expired so we are updating it to reflect our changing relationship with her as pastor there.
  3. We had our annual Lenten Retreat this month with a small group who appreciated the time at the Community Church of St Luke with Sr Miriam and Mark Bailey from the Transfiguration Community.
  4. We had a proposal that we host a candidates forum before the upcoming federal election, with the event to be jointly convened by local churches, giving us an opportunity to hear from local candidates on issues that we care about.  We think this could be a good idea but would require more preparation time than we are likely to have before this election.  If you are interested in researching or helping with an event like this in the future, please let Daniel know.
  5. Nathan is taking 6 weeks leave in July/August - 1 week of conference leave and 1 week of work time to attend the BWA study commission meetings in the Bahamas from 8-12 July, and the Societas Liturgica Congress and English Language Liturgical Consultation meeting in England from 5-13 August. In between he will take 4 weeks of accrued annual leave to visit Cuba and Mexico (including visits to some like-minded Baptist churches in both countries) and in Scotland, plus a 3 day break in India on the way home. 
  6. The Lenten book discussion will be on Sunday April 14 (Palm Sunday) at 3pm at the church, hosted by Sylvia.
  7. The Maundy Thursday meal at St Martin’s has been cancelled for this year.  Our service will begin at 8pm.
  8. For our church anniversary service on June 23, we will have a potluck meal - Samara will coordinate your delicious contributions! More details closer to the event. Nathan will also circulate something on how we will approach covenanting this year in light of our 2018 Open Space discussions on this topic.
  9. To begin the process of revising our liturgy, Nathan will circulate a short survey to get an idea of specific things that people would like to keep or change or add.
  10. In our covenanting/membership discussions, we had the idea of holding some one-off story sharing events in people’s homes or other spaces outside church where the host can share a little of their experiences of day-to-day life and faith, and guests can reflect and ask questions and get to know each other and how God has moved in our ordinary everyday lives. Samara has worked on a how-to guide for hosting a story sharing event and would love to work with you to give it a go - the more the merrier! Please let her know if you’d like to hear more.

Dates for your diary: 

April 14 Lenten book discussion

Palm Sunday

April 18Maundy Thursday service 8pm

April 19Good Friday service 5pm

April 20Great Paschal Vigil 8pm

April 21Herring Island boat trip, Easter breakfast 10am

May 1Host meeting

May 5Afternoon social activity tbc

May 19Discernment forum tbc

May 24Delegates dinner at BUV

May 30(Thur) Ecumenical service, Christ Church 7pm

Next meeting: 1 May 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 13 March 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. The kitchen renovation is approaching its final stages - thanks to Ian for his work and everyone for their patience!
  2. Thanks to Uncle Den for his workshop continuing our conversations about relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. We also celebrated Lior’s infant presentation with additional friends and family of the Filippis which was a joyful event.
  3. We are considering doing a major revision of our liturgy as it has not significantly changed for a long time. We envisage a collaborative process with the congregation and will begin planning for this. In the meantime, Nathan would value your initial thoughts.
  4. Samara is planning to install a temporary prayer labyrinth in the church garden for use by congregation members and the general public.  This will happen after we deal with the reshooting tree and its thorny offshoots as they will continue to grow and spread underground to neighbouring properties if not removed.
  5. The Lenten Retreat is this Sunday March 17 at 10am at the Community Church of St Luke (Abbotsford Baptist) and will be led by Mark Bailey and Sr Miriam from the Community of the Transfiguration. Please let Nathan know if you are coming.
  6. The Lenten book discussion will be on Sunday April 14 (Palm Sunday) at 3pm at the church.

Dates for your diary:
March 17 Lenten Retreat day, 10am
April 3 Host meeting
April 14 Lenten book discussion
Palm Sunday
April 18 Maundy Thursday service 8pm
April 19 Good Friday service 5pm
April 20 Great Paschal Vigil 8pm
April 21 Herring Island boat trip, Easter breakfast 10am

Next meeting: 3 April 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 February 2019

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

 

  1. The pastoral review on Nathan’s provision of pastoral care and counsel was completed (by 11 people in the congregation, more than we’ve had in previous reviews - thank you!) and the summary report will be circulated soon. It includes a breakdown of Nathan’s work hours and his updated Working with Children Check, police check, BUV accreditation and the audit statement from his pastoral supervisor.
  2. All gifts for our annual giving recipients have now been transferred.
  3. The kitchen renovation is now in full swing and should take 2-3 weeks to completion.
  4. Nathan’s retreat in the desert was a fruitful and valuable time for reflection on his ministry - he will distribute some of his reflections soon. The host group decided that the retreat should be counted as work time, not annual leave, and that the church would also cover the cost of spiritual direction he received as part of the retreat ($1080).
  5. We have had the Christmas Eve service and Epiphany service, and afternoon tea with fairy cakes and eclairs over summer, thanks to everyone for your works of hospitality within our congregation and beyond. In particular, the host group is grateful for everyone’s efforts during Nathan’s leave (including technology challenges!)
  6. The Relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians workshop will be held by Uncle Den at the church on Sunday February 10 from 3pm. There will be tea and coffee provided but as the kitchen is unavailable, please bring your own snacks if you desire!
  7. The infant presentation rite for Lior will be held during the service on Sunday March 3.
  8. Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday March 6. Further details still to come on suggested common reading for Lent, and the retreat on Sunday 17 March.

9. Dates for your diary:
February 10 Workshop with Uncle Den, 3pm
March 3  Lior infant presentation rite
March 6 Ash Wednesday service, 7pm
March 17  Lenten Retreat day, details tbc 

Next meeting: 13th March 2019, 7:30pm, Nathan’s place 

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 December 2018

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. The pastoral review on Nathan’s provision of pastoral care and counsel is underway using an online survey. Please respond as soon as possible - the deadline is Tuesday December 15. Alternatively you can respond using a hard copy or digital version - let Samara know if you want to receive a hard copy.
  2. For our annual giving recipients, we have sent the Nagaland Healing Garden gift which they used immediately to buy a milking cow! The other gifts will be transferred soon.
  3. We have paid this year’s contribution to opt in to the National Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse as part of the participating group in the Baptist Union of Victoria. This means that if there was a finding of sexual abuse within our church, the redress (financial compensation) owed to the survivor/s would come out of the Baptist Union redress support fund as well as church funds. Participating churches will make an annual contribution of $400 + 0.01% of their insured asset value (this means buildings, not land or contents). More detail on the scheme is here.
  4. Our overhead data projector has been playing up again. We've got our original repaired one back and returned the loaned one which was really bad, so it didn't cost us. We are getting a technician to check the settings - work in progress!
  5. We have received a first quote on solar panels for $8800 - $9500 but with minimal detail. Ian is following up a second quote.
  6. Ian has received helpful feedback on details for the kitchen renovation, including options for ovens, sinks and air circulation. He will display the most recent really cool looking proposal board at church for further comment. We are aiming to have the work done by mid-February.
  7. The Ancient Wisdom for Tomorrow’s Worship workshop was held with about 10 participants, 4 from outside the congregation including one who came via online promotion. When organising the workshop, we realised that we should have checked in more closely with those in our congregation who initially expressed interest to ensure those people had a good chance of attending - our apologies for this oversight.
  8. Our most recent working bee saw some good work done, and the Advent retreat was much appreciated by those who attended.
  9. The church activities calendar for 2019 has been finalised and it can be downloaded here.
  10. At our Christmas Eve service (9pm) and Epiphany service (6 January, 5pm) we will ask people to bring a plate - details to follow.
  11. Nathan will be on leave from 7 January to 1 February for a week’s holiday, a liturgy conference and a 13 day retreat.
  12. Upcoming dates for your diary:
  • December 24 Christmas Eve service, 9pm
  • January 6 Epiphany ecumenical service, 5pm

Next meeting: Wednesday 6 February 20198, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 November 2018

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. There was a question raised about whether Nathan should have had to use his annual leave time to finish his chapter on Baptist Spirituality for the forthcoming book on Protestant Spiritual Traditions. We revisited this with Nathan and confirmed that, as this writing work was Nathan’s personal decision, it was most appropriate that he do it in his own time (Nathan is fine with this).
  2. Our church gives away 10% of its facilities hire income each year. We choose four recipients, one overseas, one national, one in Melbourne, and one supporting asylum seekers. The AGM approved two recipients and delegated the task of finalising the other two to the Host Group. For our new annual giving recipients, we have decided to give to RISE (asylum seeker and refugee advocacy group), and fund the purchase of a milking cow and some bamboo planting with the Healing Garden in Nagaland.
  3. We have confirmed the decision that our church should opt in to the National Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse as part of the participating group in the Baptist Union of Victoria, and have authorised Nathan to sign the declaration to this effect on our behalf. We are now going ahead with joining up. Our church’s contribution this year will be $564.10.
  4. Ian has circulated a short survey for feedback on final details for the kitchen renovation, feedback welcome.
  5. Now that we have air conditioning in the church, the cost/benefit of installing solar panels has changed. A $7000 investment would be recouped in just over five years (it was previously more than ten years). We approve installation of a 6kw system, which will substantially cover our usage across spring, summer and autumn based on the past year’s readings.
  6. We were delighted to support Alison as she was ordained this month, and to celebrate with a range of congregation members, friends and family at the after-party! We congratulate her on this significant recognition of her call to pastoral ministry, and the strength and passion of what she offers her congregation and the wider church and community.
  7. The ‘Connecting Stories’ conference for LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies was a significant event for participants, and great place to learn and connect. Everyone appreciated the ice-cream on our sponsor table, and we sold several of Paul Gahan’s books!
  8. We have received some feedback and alternative proposals regarding our membership and covenanting structures. We will explore these, and continue to welcome further ideas.
  9. A first draft of church activities calendar for 2019 is being circulated for your information, feedback and suggestions.
  10. Upcoming dates for your diary:
  • November 11 Ancient Wisdom workshop
  • November 18 Working bee
  • December 3 Advent Retreat Day
  • December 24 Christmas Eve service, 9pm
  • January 6 Epiphany ecumenical service, 5pm

Next meeting: Wednesday 5 December 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 10 October 2018

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. Ian is preparing a short survey for feedback on final details for the kitchen renovation. Stay tuned
    if you have strong opinions about bench top material and the colour of cabinets!
  2. At the Delegates’ Dinner on Friday 19th October, a motion will be presented that the BUV and participating local churches apply to join the National Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. This means that if there was a finding of sexual abuse within our church, the redress (financial compensation) owed to the survivor/s would come out of the Baptist Union redress support fund as well as church funds. Participating churches will make an annual contribution of $400 + 0.01% of their insured asset value (this means buildings, not land or contents). More detail on the scheme is here. We recommend that our congregation participate in this scheme. The deadline for opting in is 14 December 2018.
  3. The Connecting Voices conference for LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies is this weekend (13-14 October) at Darebin Arts Centre. Samara, Acacia, Alison, Sylvia and Margie will be attending to host the SYCBaps table. If you would like to help or attend the conference, tickets are available at the venue, and feel free to promote – it will be an important ‘safer’ place to explore intersections of gender, sexuality, theology, faith and practice.
  4. The Advent Retreat Day is December 3 with Ros Wright – venue to be confirmed.
  5. Nathan finished his chapter on Baptist Spirituality for a forthcoming book on Protestant Spiritual Traditions. He took 1.2 weeks worth of annual leave hours across a four-week period to meet the deadline.
  6. Nathan will prepare a short liturgy for use by people who might want to host a story-sharing session in their home. We encourage people to initiate other ideas or activities that they favour coming out of the open space discussions on membership and covenanting.
  7. Upcoming dates for your diary:
  • October 13-14 Connecting Stories Conference
  • October 20, 2pm Alison’s ordination
  • November 1 (time t.b.c.) Feast of All Saints, St martins
  • November 11 Ancient Wisdom workshop
  • November 18 Working bee
  • December 3 Advent Retreat Day

Next meeting: Wednesday 7 November 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 16 September 2018

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Host Group Report
    2. Pastor's Report
    3. Property Matters
    4. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Recipients of our Annual Giving
  5. Election of BUV Delegates
  6. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  7. Matters for Discernment
    1. Congregational Trends
    2. Practices of Membership and Covenanting
  8. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 September 2018

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Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

  1. Our AGM is Sunday September 16 at 2:30pm, with lunch beforehand for those who wish to share it at the Flying Duck at 12pm. We will be discussing our giving recipients, and there will also be a talking circle to continue to hear from people about ideas for our membership and covenanting structures, and where we’re going as a congregation.
  2. We will be hosting a table at the Connecting Voices conference on 13-14 October for LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies who are committed to cultivating churches where LGBTIQA+ people are fully welcomed and accepted. If you would like to attend the conference sessions, you can buy tickets online for 1 or both days (equalvoices.org.au/conference). (Samara can provide a draft program if you want to see what’s on offer.) If you just want to be at the table for people to talk to during the breaks, that’s an option. We will provide some snacks for delegates (there are not many food options inside the venue) and information about our church. Please let Samara know if you are attending, are willing to be at the table for some of the time, and if you can contribute some snacks. There are conference flyers at church so feel free to promote and invite others.
  3. Church camp was a good time! There was kite flying, artwork, opshopping, knitting, table tennis, a Sanctuary-style liturgy, a friendly and flexible cook, and the camp manager commented: “I was mightily impressed by the in reach work being done in your group. I can see that you are answering a real need and your congregation provides a safe place for some very vulnerable souls.” Thanks to all who attended and contributed to the weekend. We plan to re- book for the same weekend (August 23-25) in 2019.
  4. Our conversation about current trends in our congregation will continue together at the AGM. Some further questions or observations that have come up over the past month: Our recent decline in numbers has not occurred in the aftermath of a crisis (compared to other drops in the past), and the shift from an even spread of ages to a significant majority of over 50s is new for us. How do we interpret this? Where is the energy already at work amongst us? How can we encourage this? We are unlikely to initiate much local mission given the geographic spread of our congregation. How can we continue to nurture people for the work of their daily lives? How can we make known the interesting lives of discipleship already being lived out among us? We continue to seek your observations, responses and ideas!
  5. Our conversation about membership and covenanting structures also continues! We have had some feedback on the draft that Nathan circulated. Some additional ideas that have come up: could covenant commitments be tailored for individual people’s circumstances? Can we begin some of the suggested activities anyway if people are keen, as this discussion continues? We probably can’t ask those preparing for baptism to commit to more than what the rest of us are willing to do in our ongoing lives of discipleship, although we may ask for more focused attention for that period of preparation. Keep sharing your thoughts and feelings!
  6. Nathan is writing a chapter on Baptist Spirituality for a forthcoming book on Protestant Spiritual Traditions. The deadline is less than 4 weeks away so he will be cutting back on SYCBaps work during that time.
  7. Upcoming dates for your diary:
  • September 16, 2:30pm AGM (Flying Duck lunch at 12pm)
  • October 20, 2pm Alison’s ordination
  • November 11 Ancient Wisdom workshop
  • November 18 Working bee

Next meeting: Wednesday 3 October 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 July 2018

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The meeting for feedback on the draft plan for the kitchen renovation indicated that there is general support for the renovation going ahead, and for the basic plan of the kitchen. There is still a range of opinions on some of the details of materials and design. Ian will distribute information and questions about some of the options that require decision for feedback in order to progress the design.
  2. We did not receive offers of help to document local services supporting people affected by family violence, to assist with advocacy on this issue by A Just Cause, and we also did not approach our ecumenical partners in time. The deadline has now passed.
  3. We had our church anniversary service - a celebratory event with abundant food! Thanks to Merryl, Samara and Yvonne who assisted with the meal, and others who pitched in for organisation, set up, clean up and contribution to costs.
  4. Nathan is still working on some draft proposals for changes to our membership structures. These will soon be shared for feedback.
  5. Church camp is approaching 24 – 26 August. Invitations and forms will be distributed in the coming weeks – please consider if you can come and let us know! Do not let financial concerns be a barrier – it’s an event we value even if we do not cover costs, and it’s better to have people attend and contribute what they can, than stay away and miss out. You are welcome to invite friends, and to only come for part of the time. There will be no scheduled program other than what the participants organise, so be thinking about whether there is an activity you would like to run – it could be a walk along the beach, a board game, some singing, some art, a discussion...the space is open!

Next meeting: Wednesday 1 August 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 10 June 2018

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance

Daniel Stott, Dom Filippi, Eliz Cook, Gilbert Joyce, Glennys Williams, Ian Cook, John Sampson, Liesl Filippi, Mark Moroney, Merryl Gahan, Nathan Nettleton, Paul Gahan, Robert Toseland, Samara Pitt, Sylvia Sandeman, Yvonne Joyce.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Eliz Cook, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, and Ian Cook.

Outcome: The votes were taken by secret ballot and all were affirmed.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 June 2018

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. A meeting for feedback on the draft plan for the kitchen renovation will be hosted by Ian on
    Sunday June 24 at 2:30pm.
  2. The response to Jill Friebel’s letter of apology has been sent, and the BUV has been updated on this. We have also contacted the two main spiritual direction bodies, Australian Network for Spiritual Direction and the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction, regarding their processes for accrediting potential Directors wishing to use their websites. which has been received with appreciation.
  3. The BUV has requested help from Baptist churches to document local services supporting people affected by family violence, to assist with advocacy on this issue by A Just Cause. If you are interested in helping Sylvia with this, please let her or Nathan know – resources on how to find and approach services will be supplied. We are also approaching our ecumenical church partners to see if they have anyone who would be willing to assist.
  4. We will have our church anniversary dinner main meal catered this year, while Yvonne will provide her wonderful desserts. Please let Nathan know if you are attending, and any dietary requirements. If you wish to contribute to the cost of $20 per person, there will be an offering bowl available on the day.
  5. The church covenant and host covenant for the coming year have been circulated for approval. Sylvia has stepped down from her host group role after many years of generous contribution in this capacity. Hosts continuing are Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.
  6. The second Open Space conversation on membership pathways was well attended, thanks for your contributions and for initiatives that have come out of the conversations. Nathan will draft some proposals for changes to our membership structures based on the discussions, which will be shared for feedback.

Next meeting: Wednesday 4 July 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 May 2018

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Ian has received some informal feedback on the draft plan for the kitchen renovation. If you wish to provide more detailed feedback in person, Ian will host a meeting on Sunday June 24 at 2:30pm.
  2. The planned storeroom refit has become less urgent with the departure of the hall hirer who was the biggest user of storage space.
  3. The hosts have drafted a response to Jill Friebel’s letter of apology, as well as a letter for our congregation containing more information in response to concerns raised about this situation. Nathan will circulate these to anyone who wishes to see them, with the opportunity to voice any serious concerns about the letter to Jill before it is sent.
  4. Church camp (August 24 – 26) will include members of Sanctuary Baptist this year.
  5. Chris Barnden will continue as Visiting Pastoral Overseer for the congregation during his secondment to Global Interaction which ends in December, when he will return to his role as Regional Minister.
  6. The Ancient Wisdom workshop has been scheduled for Sunday October 14.
  7. The combined churches feast of Ascension is at Christ Church on Thursday May 10, 7pm. All
    encouraged to attend, let Nathan know if you are able to do the bible reading.
  8. The second Open Space conversation on membership pathways is on Sunday May 20 at 12:30pm. Nathan will email the list with some themes that have emerged from our discussions so far. Please read the report that has been circulated and come with your thoughts, ideas and questions about how we can better live out our call to be Christ’s people at South Yarra. All welcome, even if you didn’t attend the first Open Space gathering on this topic. Let Nathan know if you are coming and if you can bring some food to share.
  9. Thanks to Daniel and Lydia for organising tea and cake in the church garden last Sunday, the lemon meringue pie was delicious!

Next meeting: Wednesday 6 June 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 11 April 2018

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Ian has drafted a plan for the kitchen renovation. This will be circulated to the congregation and you are invited to meet with Ian to ask questions and provide feedback. A time will be organised with those who are interested. We are also seeking feedback from a hall hirer that uses the kitchen.
  2. Thanks for John F who has offered to purchase cheese and dips for suppers for the next 3 months.
  3. Chris Barnden, who was our regional minister and a Visiting Pastoral Overseer for the congregation, has been seconded to Global Interaction. We are contacting him to find out if he is willing to stay as VPO during his secondment.
  4. As part of our Safe Church responsibilities, we are arranging it so that updates from the Commission for Children and Young People go to all members of the Host Group.
  5. Thanks to everyone for your participation in and contributions to the Holy Week worship services, and we welcome Acacia Nettleton, Uncle Den Fisher and John Stanshall into membership of South Yarra!
  6. A number of us attended and enjoyed the Maundy Thursday dinner at St Martin’s. We were asked at the door to contribute $10 per person which we had not known about – a confusion that was probably due to the changeover of priest. We will clarify this for 2019.
  7. This Sunday from 12:30pm is the first of our Open Space conversation on membership pathways. Please let Nathan know if you are coming and if you can bring some food to share.
  8. Tea and Cake in the church garden will happen on Sunday April 29 at 3:30pm.
  9. We will not run the Ancient Wisdom workshop in the workshop slot on June 24 in the church calendar, as the weekends leading up to that slot are already quite full. We will propose an alternative date after the next host meeting.
  10. If you are wondering if you might become a designated host of our congregation, please contact Nathan or a host group member. Anyone is welcome to come to a meeting to check out what we do, just let us know when you would like to come!

Next meeting: Wednesday 2 May 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 25 March 2018

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance

Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Cameron Cutts, Dom Filippi, Liesl Filippi, John Fowler, Mark Moroney, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, John Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Daniel Stott, Shelley Taylor, Robert Toseland, Margie Welsford, Glennys Williams.

Apologies

Merryl Gahan, Paul Gahan, Gilbert Joyce, Yvonne Joyce, Steven Wong.
The five people who sent apologies also sent word that they were in support of the acceptance of the three proposed new members.

Approval of the proposed new church members.

1. Acacia Nettleton

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Acacia Nettleton into the membership of the congregation upon her baptism.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

2. Dennis Fisher

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of Dennis Fisher into the membership of the congregation upon his baptism.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

3. John Stanshall

Motion: That we approve the acceptance of John Stanshall into the membership of the congregation by reaffirmation of his baptismal vows.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 March 2018

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. We encourage congregation members to consider as part of our Lenten reflections how we give to the church financially and in kind. Nathan will send out more on this soon. We also encourage people to consider whether they might become a designated host of our congregation. Please contact Nathan or any host group member if you wish to discuss this.
  2. We are looking for someone to take on purchasing of cheese and dips on a permanent basis, using church funds (preferably someone who is not on the soup roster). Please contact Sylvia or Nathan asap if you could offer this. If no-one takes this on, we will return to having those on the soup roster also purchase cheese and dips, although they will be reimbursed.
  3. The letter of apology to the congregation from Jill Friebel was read at a congregational meeting on Sunday 4 March, and will continue to be made available to those who wish to hear it and were unable to attend on that day. Please contact Nathan to organise this if you have not already done so.
  4. For the purposes of the Reportable Conduct Scheme, Samara will be designated the Head Of Organisation, responsible for ensuring that we have systems in place to prevent child abuse, and for ensuring that complaints or suspicions of child abuse are dealt with appropriately. The work of this role will be carried out by the host group as a whole and with the support of the BUV.
  5. We have agreed to continue our auspice of Sanctuary Warrnambool by providing administrative support (mostly bookkeeping) for an additional 12 months once the current arrangement expires mid-year.
  6. A congregational ballot to approve those seeking membership of the congregation this Easter will be held on Sunday March 18 during supper.
  7. The Lenten readings discussion will be held on Palm Sunday (March 25) – more details to follow.
  8. In response to expressions of interest, we will have an Ancient Wisdom workshop later in the year that introduces and explores the elements of our liturgy.

Next meeting: Wednesday 4 April 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 February 2018

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. We are continuing to research options for our kitchen refurbishment. If you come across other comparable churches who have redone their kitchen in the past 10 years to a level less than a full commercial kitchen, Ian would be interested to hear about details and cost.
  2. The 2018 church calendar has been distributed. Please let us know if you spot any issues!
  3. A special working bee will be organised soon to tackle the storeroom refit in order to store hall hirer belongings more effectively (and our own).
  4. We have received a letter of apology to the congregation from Jill Friebel, former pastor at South Yarra Baptist. She has requested that it not be distributed in writing, so there will be an opportunity to hear and consider it on March 4 after supper for those who wish, or at another time to be organised individually with Nathan if you are unable to attend on that day. This option will also be available to former members of the congregation.
  5. The annual pastoral review on Nathan has been completed with 8 people responding. This year’s area of focus was the areas of preaching, teaching and worship. The report will be distributed via email and hard copies made available for those who require it.
  6. The Lenten reading this year will be a booklet of short excerpts for reflection compiled by Nathan. We are cancelling the Lenten Retreat Day as no venue or leader has been organised.
  7. Uncle Den is leading a discussion this Sunday from 2:30pm on how Aboriginal people experience some of the structures of non-Aboriginal society, and how we in this church might respond. [*This has been postponed.]
  8. We are considering scheduling an Ancient Wisdom workshop that introduces and explores the elements of our liturgy. Please let Nathan know if you would like to attend this so we can decide whether there is enough interest to go ahead.

Next meeting: Wednesday 7 March 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 December 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The Safe Church policy that complies with the new Child Safe Standards has been ratified by the congregation and is now available on our website.
  2. Thanks to those who gave ideas on kitchen refurbishment options. We will seek a quote for initial advice from Fred Batterton, an architect who works a lot with churches and specialises in sustainable design.
  3. The electrician has done a thorough inspection to try and find the reason for the recurring problem with circuit breakers and our lights. He didn’t identify the problem, but replaced several items that were likely suspects – we will monitor the situation!
  4. The church camp has been booked for August 24 – 26, 2018.
  5. We decided to take down the church signs supporting the marriage equality campaign once the law has been passed by Parliament.
  6. In order to store hall hirer belongings more effectively (and our own), we will refit the storeroom with adjustable shelving and charge a small fee for storage. This will be done in two stages so we can assess how the shelving is working before completing the refit.
  7. The annual pastoral review on Nathan is underway, focussing on preaching, teaching and worship. A questionnaire has been distributed by email, and Samara and Sylvia are available to take verbal responses if you prefer to participate in this way. Please return feedback to Sue McDonald by Friday 15 December.
  8. The final Advent service and Vigil for the Feast of Nativity is on Christmas Eve Dec 24. The (shorter than usual) Advent service will begin at 5pm, followed by a shared meal, and then the Vigil will begin at 9pm, followed by celebratory food and drink.
  9. We host the ecumenical Epiphany service on Saturday January 6, please mark this date and attend to welcome visitors from our neighbouring churches.
  10. Our church and laughingbird email has been moved to the free non-profit Gmail platform,
    hopefully the problems some people were experiencing with emails not getting through should
    now be resolved.
  11. The 2018 annual dates calendar will be distributed once final changes are made.
  12. Nathan is acting as moderator for Footscray Baptist, which means he will assist them as they search for a new pastor. He plans to use Open Space as part of the process!

Next meeting: Wednesday 7 February 2018, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 19 November 2017

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance

Daniel Stott, Dom Filippi, Eliz Cook, Gilbert Joyce, Glennys Williams, Ian Cook, John Fowler, John Sampson, Liesl Filippi, Margie Welsford, Mark Moroney, Merryl Gahan, Nathan Nettleton, Paul Gahan, Rita Wang, Robert Toseland, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman, Yvonne Joyce.

Approval of the “Safe Church Policy”

Motion: That we approve and adopt the “Safe Church Policy” (as recently distributed) for our church, and that it replace our previous Safe Church policies (27 October 2002 & 7 December 2016) and Safe Children policy (16 February 2014).

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 8 November 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The second data projector came back from being repaired for the second time but had yet another new fault. In light of the ongoing problems, we have proposed to the repair company that we just keep the loan projector as a permanent replacement for the one they haven’t been able to fix properly. We’re awaiting their reply.
  2. Repair on the faulty oven is still underway. We are seeking advice on refurbishing the kitchen to update it and make it more appropriate for the use of the congregation and hall hirers. For this reason we will delay replacing the fridge until we know how an alternative kitchen arrangement might affect our choice. We are also seeking an electrician’s advice on the recurring problem with circuit breakers and our lights.
  3. Our church and laughingbird email is in the process of being moved to a Gmail platform to address the issue of messages not getting through to some members. Gmail is free for non- profits.
  4. The church camp date for 2018 will be booked for August 24 – 26, based on feedback that this weekend is better than July 27-29 for a few people. If you strongly prefer the July date, please let Sylvia know immediately as we need to book within the next week.
  5. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped at the For Crying Out Loud service to support LGBT+ people during the marriage equality campaign. We have had feedback that it was much appreciated by those who visited, and had a significant impact even on people just knowing that it was happening.
  6. The Advent Retreat Day will be held from 10am to 3:30pm on Sunday 3 December in the Himbury Centre at Whitley College. Peter Bentley will be our facilitator.
  7. The final Advent service is on Christmas Eve Dec 24 this year. The (shorter than usual) Advent service will begin at 5pm, followed by a shared meal, and then the Vigil for the Feast of Nativity will begin at 9pm, followed by celebratory food and drink.

Next meeting: Wednesday 6 December 2017, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 8 Octber 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The final Safe Church policy will be circulated and put to congregational vote in the coming weeks. Thanks to everyone for your input. As part of the policy, hosts will be indicated on the photo board so that the church leadership is clearly identifiable.
  2. The faulty oven is being repaired this week, and work towards replacing the fridge will proceed after that. Thanks to Ian for this work.
  3. The church camp is being booked at Araluen in Anglesea for 2018, final dates to be confirmed once we know their availability.
  4. To support LGBTIQ people during the marriage equality campaign, signs have been put up on the property, and also on the church website and Facebook. Engagement with the church on this issue via our social media is high and increasing, and requires a significant element of pastoral care. A liturgical event for those feeling caught in the crossfire is being discussed this week.
  5. The Advent Retreat day scheduled for December 3 will proceed according to our usual format. We will approach Peter Bentley about leading it for us.
  6. We are interested in revisiting our catechumenate and membership processes and exploring their purposes and how well they are working. We will plan a time for discernment and discussion on this` in 2018.
  7. Our church and laughingbird email is becoming increasingly unreliable with messages not getting through to some members, so we are looking at moving to a paid server for email only.
  8. Our next working bee is scheduled for October 15, and the All Saints Day ecumenical service is on Wednesday November 1st at St Martin’s Anglican, 6pm.

Next meeting: Wednesday 8 November 2017, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 17 September 2017

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Host Group Report
    2. Pastor's Report
    3. Property Matters
    4. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Recipients of our Annual Giving
  5. Election of BUV Delegates
  6. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  7. Matters for Discernment
    1. Church Camp
    2. Marriage Equality Support
  8. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 September 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Nathan Nettleton, Eliz Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The report on our Open Space gathering will be distributed soon. Thanks to everyone who attended – some enlightening conversations were had!
  2. We have just today received our second projector back from the workshop after almost three months. The first one has been returned to the workshop, to address the new fault that it was returned with – a greenish hue across the whole image. They think they have identified the fault and we may have it back this week. We won’t be returning the loan one until we are sure that both are working properly.
  3. We will be discussing the future of the church camp at our AGM after we had a great time but also made a $1600 loss this year – please come prepared with your thoughts on this as we decide whether to book for 2018.
  4. The church AGM will be held on Sunday September 17 at 2:30pm. All are welcome to meet for lunch at the Flying Duck from 12noon before the meeting.
  5. We are starting to look at the church’s use of social media and any guidelines we may want to put in place. We started this conversation at the Open Space day, but please let Nathan or Samara know if you have further thoughts to contribute.
  6. After the great appreciation expressed for the story sermons over the past weeks, we will keep offering this opportunity to congregation members on a regular basis. Samara will send around some information about the intentions of story sermons and how they can be developed. Please contact Samara or Nathan if you would like to explore this possibility.
  7. Sanctuary Warrnambool celebrated their one year anniversary on August 27, and 19 people covenanted for the coming year.
  8. We are looking at replacing the fridge, which is old and uses a lot of power. Please talk to Nathan or Ian if you have ideas about what we should consider for buying a more efficient replacement.
  9. We have an Advent Retreat day scheduled for December 3. Samara is interested in whether congregation members would like to run a smorgasbord of Open Space style activities on Advent themes (Art? Lego? Meditation? Story circles?), and also whether an alternative date would be possible. Please talk to Samara if you would like to contribute an activity or discuss possibilities.
  10. Our next working bee is scheduled for October 15.

Next meeting: Wednesday 4 October 2017, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 9 August 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.
Apologies from Nathan Nettleton who is overseas.

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  1. An Open Space gathering is coming up on August 20, 1pm to 4pm to discuss how we can live out the aspirations of our Safe Church policy in the day-to-day life of the church. Some areas for discussion might be:
    * What does “respecting confidentiality” actually look like in practice?
    * When does identifying a particular group as in need of special care actually feel like an unfair highlighting of their difference?
    * When is it appropriate to intervene to address the behaviour of someone else’s child?
    * What’s the difference between an appropriate natural friendship with a child, and the favouritism that is part of “grooming”?
    * How do we support those among us who have suffered traumatic experiences?
    * How do we create a safe culture in our church’s use of social media?
    Come, bring your own questions and experiences to contribute to a deepening culture of care at South Yarra.
  2. The new supper roster has been distributed – thanks to all who have joined up to share in the work of our common meal.
  3. Sanctuary Warrnambool have their one year anniversary service on Sunday 27 August at 4pm. If you are planning to attend the service, please let the host group know...we might send a little something along with you!
  4. Thanks to Daniel for organising the indigenous planting day – we got a good number of plants in the ground and look forward to seeing them grow over the coming months.
  5. Thanks to everyone who contributed to and attended church camp – another enjoyable weekend – the kite flying was a particular hit! If you have not yet done so, please forward payment to Shelley as soon as possible. This year a significant financial subsidy came from our common church funds, so we will discuss ways ahead for camp at the AGM in September.
  6. Great appreciation to Liesl, John Fowler, Danielle and Roslyn who have contributed sermons and stories over the past weeks, including the ecumenical service at St Joseph’s for the Feast of the Transfiguration. We have been blessed by what you have shared with us.

Next meeting: Wednesday 6 September 2017, 7.30pm, at Nathan's place

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 July 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.
Apologies from Nathan Nettleton who is overseas.

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  1. We will host a modified Open Space gathering on August 20, 1pm to 4pm to discuss how we understand and live out our Safe Church policy. An invitation and the policy will be circulated this week.
  2. The hosts have all completed Safe Church refresher workshops in the past 12 months, which means we are up to date with our requirements.
  3. Our new supper roster will begin in August which we hope will spread the workload and expense out more manageably. Please contact Sylvia if you can assist with cooking, clean up or purchasing cheeses, crackers and dips (the latter will be reimbursed from church funds). Thank you to all who have already offered their help.
  4. A reminder that the ecumenical Transfiguration Service will take place on Sunday August 6, 6pm at St Joseph’s Church, 30 Fitzgerald St South Yarra in place of our usual service. Rev Roslyn Wright, our pastoral overseer, will be preaching as our representative, and we encourage you to come!
  5. Forms have gone out for church camp – please return them to Shelley ASAP to assist with planning. Payment can be made closer to the Camp, but as soon as you are able to is great. We have some spare spaces, so if there is anyone you would like to invite, please see Sylvia.
  6. Nathan is away until 16 August. His usual tasks will be covered by the host group and various other congregation members. Any questions, ask a host!
  7. Jobs looking for people: Thanks to Acacia for picking up the task of keeping the noticeboards and brochure table tidy and up to date. We are still looking for people to collect flowers, leaves, gumnuts etc for our creation station each week – it’s a fun job!
  8. Samara has been added as a new bank account signatory to replace Paul Holdway.
  9. The next working bee has been rescheduled to Sunday 15 October.
  10. Sanctuary Warrnambool are coming up to their 1 year anniversary in August. Samara will be assisting them to review their first year as a congregation.

Next meeting: Wednesday 9 August 2017, 7.30pm, location to be confirmed

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 11 June 2017

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance

Cameron Cutts, Daniel Stott, Danielle Stott, Dom Filippi, Eliz Cook, Gilbert Joyce, Glennys Williams, Ian Cook, John Sampson, Liesl Filippi, Margie Welsford, Merryl Gahan, Nathan Nettleton, Paul Gahan, Rita Wang, Samara Pitt, Yvonne Joyce.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Eliz Cook, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman and Ian Cook.

Outcome: The votes were taken by secret ballot and all were affirmed.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 June 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The host covenant has been reviewed and revised, and is ready for affirmation at the church anniversary.
  2. The new Child Safe standards have now been incorporated into our Safe Church policy. We will host a modified Open Space gathering on August 20 to discuss the questions of how we create and uphold a strong culture of care and respect that reflects our deepest desires for the flourishing of God’s people in this place.
  3. The data projectors are in the process of being fixed due to a number of issues. Some components were not under warranty ($600) and we also purchased a second hand Apple TV unit to enable the iPad to connect wirelessly ($110).
  4. Thank you for everyone’s ideas and offers towards our suppers – it is clearly a much valued and appreciated activity for us all! While not every idea or preference could be taken on, the hosts have tried to respond to the key messages we were hearing. When the next roster period begins on 7 August, we will have more people rostered on each week so that the workload is spread out more manageably. We will also commission someone to purchase cheese, crackers and dips to the value of $50 weekly using church funds so that the tithing congregation is contributing to the costs even if they are not able to be on the roster. Sylvia will send information about the new arrangement and invite you to contribute as you are able.
  5. The Church anniversary dinner will take place on 18 June. Please let Nathan know of your attendance and any dietary issues, and contact Sylvia about assistance you can offer with tasks on the day.
  6. An early reminder that the ecumenical Transfiguration Service will take place on August 6 at St Joseph’s, in place of our usual service. Roslyn Wright will be preaching as our representative, and it would be good to have a strong presence from the congregation there as well.
  7. We discussed our welcome to Rainbow families and congregational feedback on this question. It seems like we are on the right track with our current practices, and we encourage people to identify us as an LGBTIQ friendly church where relevant. We will keep being aware of this question.
  8. While Nathan is away (3 July to 16 August), his usual tasks will be covered by the host group and various other congregation members. Any questions, ask a host!
  9. We have identified the need for a new space to pray for and with people after the service. Nathan is working on a way for people to indicate during our stational ‘prayers of the people’ time that they would like prayer, so that pray-ers can be available after the service in the chapel to pray with those who request it.
  10. There are a couple of jobs looking for people: 1) keep the noticeboards and brochure table tidy and up to date and 2) collecting flowers, leaves, gumnuts etc for our creation station each week. Please let Shelley (noticeboards) or Samara (creation station) know if you can take either one on.

Next meeting: Wednesday 5 July 2017, 7.30pm, place to be confirmed

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 May 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The liturgy booklets have been updated with additional images to assist people in recognizing where we are up to in the liturgy.
  2. Nathan’s time fraction has been increased to 0.8 beginning 1 April 2017.
  3. We have received a range of feedback and ideas on how we do suppers so that we can continue to share abundant and generous meals together, while enabling all who wish to contribute to do so in a way that is manageable for them. We are considering using money tithed by congregation members to the church to pay for the cheese and dips so that the financial load is spread more evenly. We are also considering having more people on the roster each week so that the workload is lessened. Please continue to send us your feedback over the next month.
  4. Church camp is going ahead on July 28 to 30 at Araluen Lutheran camp in Anglesea. Please contact Sylvia if you are willing to assist in planning the camp.
  5. There have been some concerns raised about the risk to children from cars in the carpark area. We are sourcing some signage to raise awareness for drivers. We also ask all congregation members to respond if you see children leaving the building unsupervised, and to be aware of children and others moving through the carpark area. Please drive slowly and carefully at all times. Let’s take good care of our kids!
  6. During Nathan’s absence in July/August, Cameron and Samara will be organising some storytelling in the ‘sermon slot’. Stay tuned!
  7. A heater is being purchased for the prayer chapel.

Next meeting: Wednesday 7 June 2017, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 April 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. The plaque acknowledging the traditional owners of our land, the Boonwurrung people, has been ordered.
  2. The company who installed the data projectors have now visited and inspected them. The problem is in the projectors themselves and they are still under warranty from the manufacturer, so the claim process has been commenced.
  3. The Host group recommends that Nathan’s time fraction be increased to 0.8 beginning 1 April 2017 given that he regularly works this many hours to cover his current job description. We have no expectations of additional work in increasing his time fraction. Nathan made it clear that he doesn’t want to be paid full time because he doesn’t want to have to do more hours than he presently does. This decision will be implemented unless we hear a request from the congregation for further consideration.
  4. Suppers in Lent have been well received, with some interesting conversations about whether elements of this simpler meal might be worth carrying over into the rest of the year. At this stage, we will revert to the usual arrangement after Lent, and we will investigate what barriers might exist to people continuing or becoming involved in the supper roster. Would you like to be involved, but cannot commit to the current expectations? We’d like to enable all who wish to contribute to do so in a way that is manageable for them, and that our meals together continue to feel abundant and generous but not wastefully extravagant. Samara would love to hear your responses and will be in touch!
  5. We have asked Sanctuary Baptist Warnambool to provide us with a report on their first year. We will continue to provide admin support until their newly formed leadership team is ready to take this on themselves. You can check out their new website.
  6. Church camp is scheduled for July 28 to 30 at Araluen Lutheran camp in Anglesea. We are waiting for final indications of interest to see if we have the numbers to go ahead. Please speak to Sylvia ASAP if you are planning to attend.
  7. The issue of how we might, as a congregation, more actively welcome rainbow families (the LGBTIQ community) to the church has been raised. We ran out of time to discuss it at this meeting, but we are keen to hear further ideas and suggestions to bring to our next meeting.
  8. The issue of what space is available for people to request personal prayer or ministryduring or after the service has been raised. (Now that we have supper in the worship space, that location is busier after the service.) We ran out of time to discuss it this meeting, but we are keen to hear further ideas and suggestions to bring to our next meeting.

Next meeting: Wednesday 3 May 2017, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 March 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. An updated congregational contact directory is on the way!
  2. The Aboriginal Heritage walk at the Botanic Gardens with Uncle Dennis was strongly appreciated by the group who were able to attend. We thank him for his warmth and his honesty with us, and also for making the time for us on a busy day! We encourage those who couldn’t make it to organise an alternative date - the walks are offered almost everyday.
  3. Church camp is scheduled for July 28 to 30 at Araluen Lutheran camp in Anglesea. This is always an enjoyable time. We need to confirm with the venue that we have the numbers to go ahead, so you will soon be asked if you are planning to attend.
  4. Nathan is taking leave for 6 weeks in July and August to attend conferences and join Margie on the Camino! A preaching roster will be organised for this time.
  5. Margie is due to finish at Whitley in December and will no longer have housing at the College, so at this stage the plan is for Nathan and Margie to move back into the manse in December.
  6. We will arrange for a plaque acknowledging the traditional owners of our land, the Boonwurrung people, to be installed inside the church. The plaque will be sourced through the BUV.
  7. We are delighted that Leisl has volunteered to begin compiling a booklet on the saints that we refer to in our liturgy and icons.
  8. We have received several excellent suggestions for common reading material this Lent. Nathan will email our recommendation to the congregation for those who want to participate.

Next meeting: Tuesday 5 April 2017, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 February 2017

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Ian and Eliz have generously offered to refurbish the chairs that have torn fabric at no cost. This will occur in lots of 12 over the coming months.
  2. We have received further feedback on the “Safe Church – Rights and Responsibilities” policy that we provisionally adopted in December. Ian, Nathan and Samara have formed a working group to examine the feedback and bring a draft and plan for discussion of key issues to a congregational gathering as soon as possible.
  3. In light of feedback from the congregation, we are overturning the previous decision to suspend suppers during Lent. Instead, a Super Simple Supper of Soup during Lent will be offered, to shift the focus of the meal to our relationships and basic nourishment. An email will be sent out with details and inviting people to join those who have already offered to contribute to those suppers.
  4. The piano needs tuning! This is being organised.
  5. A number of new people in our congregation will be invited to begin the process towards membership that starts with the Lenten season.
  6. Uncle Dennis Fisher has suggested that we gather a group to do an Aboriginal Heritage walk at the Botanic Gardens for which he is a guide. Nathan will email the congregation to determine interest and a possible date in February.
  7. The 2017 church activities calendar is on its way!
  8. Open Space actions have been progressing. Margie is inviting people to read 1835 about the founding of Melbourne and the conquest of Australia, to be discussed in May.
  9. We have received several excellent suggestions for common reading material this Lent. Nathan will email our recommendation to the congregation for those who want to participate.

Next meeting: Tuesday 7 March 2017, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 December 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Ian Cook, and Samara Pitt.

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  1. We have provisionally adopted a “Safe Church – Rights and Responsibilities” policy to ensure that we meet the January 1 deadline for compliance with the new Child Safe standards. Nathan will circulate the policy to the congregation for feedback, and we will aim to present a revised and improved version for formal adoption at a February congregational meeting.
  2. The congregation voted via online ballot to approve the installation of air conditioning for the church hall (16 for and 1 against). The electrician has been contacted for installation dates.
  3. Licence agreements for the carpark lease to MIA, and for passenger vehicle access through our property to the neighbouring property at 11 Cromwell Road have been negotiated for the next 5 years and will be sent to the BUV for execution.
  4. Nathan contributed to Andrew Woff’s memory book on behalf of the congregation. Andrew Woff was our regional minister in the past and has just concluded at the BUV after 16+ years.
  5. We had positive feedback on directed input and time alone at the Advent retreat, and the venue worked well.
  6. John B was sleeping in the church toilets, preventing access. After three warnings the toilets have now been locked again and he appears to have moved on.
  7. Open Space actions have been progressing with contemplative prayer in the chapel on Wednesday evenings (Peter), a discussion on connecting with the LGBTIQ community (George), a group reading ‘Talking to my Country’ (Margie), and in the same spirit, a proposed art exhibition (Acacia). If you want to part of any of these actions, or have further ideas of your own, we encourage you to contact the appropriate people and get the ball rolling!
  8. Sylvia has requested volunteers to organise and contribute to supper after the Christmas Eve service. If you can help out, please let her know.
  9. We are seeking ideas for some common reading material next Lent for the congregation. Please send suggestions to Nathan.
  10. We incorporated some additions (indicated in red) to the draft host group covenant based on feedback. The host group will continue to reflect on the covenant in future meetings.

Host group covenant (draft)

Through our prayerful discernment and the affirmation of the congregation, we believe that God has called us together to host the congregational life, prayer and ministry of South Yarra Community Baptist Church as its Host Group. To this end, we make the following agreements with one another:

  • To develop ourselves as prayerful people so that we can seek the will of the Lord in all our activities.
  • To trust the Spirit of God to make God’s will known to us, and to trust each other to work together in good faith.
  • To act with love and respect towards each member of the group, with all our skills, strengths and weaknesses.
  • To be actively present in host and congregational gatherings, modelling a pattern of full participation in the life, prayer and ministry of the church.
  • To tend to the physical, emotional and spiritual environment of the church.
  • To encourage the congregation in discernment of visions, dreams and the undertaking of tasks.
  • To foster practices of care and safety which enable the congregation to share problems and concerns.
  • To be transparent in all our actions - except where confidentiality or protection of privacy is required. 
  • To carry out our responsibilities and tasks with diligence and close collaboration with each another, communicating regularly; and to be willing to be graciously called into account if we fail to meet our agreed commitments.
  • To support each other, as sisters and brothers in God’s family, to address grievances promptly and respectfully, and to seek forgiveness and reconciliation across anything that divides us.
  • To be aware of, promote, and comply with all aspects of the church’s “Safe Church – Rights and Responsibilities” policy. 

We stand together in this covenant, acknowledging that there will be times when we will stumble as we struggle with ourselves, each other and our calling, and knowing that all our efforts are dependent on the guidance, love and grace of the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ.

Next meeting: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 2 November 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt. Apologies were received from Ian Cook.

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  1. Our Advent Retreat Day will be on Sunday 27 November, 10am to 3:30pm. Maria McCormack from the WellSpring Centre will lead. Venue has been changed to the Whitley College's Theological Studies Centre at 52 The Avenue, Parkville.
  2. Our BUV Delegates will report back on the topics discussed at Gathering once minutes are made available.
  3. John B has been sleeping outside the building. Nathan is working with him to ensure other church users are able to access the facilities, and to encourage him to find appropriate accommodation.
  4. We have now made the shift to Powershop as our electricity provider with 100% green energy.
  5. We will replace the struggling office printer and broken scanner with a new Brother MFC- L9550CDW A4 Colour Multifunction Printer to be purchased for $468 after a current $200 cash back offer from the manufacturer.
  6. Nathan will look to see what’s involved for us to become compliant with the new Child Safe Standards, and will ask for help if required.
  7. After our lively open space church review, we encourage everyone to take the next steps on anything you are passionate to see happen! That next step could be getting a group together, talking it over with another person, doing some research or just giving something a go. Nathan will send out an email to help get things rolling, and we will create an Open Space Action Spaceon the whiteboard to let others know how our open space ideas are coming to life.
  8. We feel that the lectionary illustrations by Chris Booth are too small to work well in our notice sheet, so we will discontinue once the trial period has ended.
  9. We will farewell Fan on her final Sunday with us on November 13 before she returns home.
  10. We will update our contact list and photo board which have become quite outdated! Sylvia and Nathan will be in touch about this.
  11. We have drafted a new host group covenant based on host group discussions of the old one over the past year. If you think anything significant has been omitted, please let someone on the host group know.

Host group covenant

Through our prayerful discernment and the affirmation of the congregation, we believe that God has called us together to host the congregational life, prayer and ministry of South Yarra Community Baptist Church as its Host Group. To this end, we make the following agreements with one another:

  • To develop ourselves as prayerful people so that we can seek the will of the Lord in all our activities.
  • To trust the Spirit of God to make God’s will known to us, and to trust each other to work together in good faith.
  • To act with love and respect towards each member of the group, with all our skills, strengths and weaknesses.
  • To be actively present in host and congregational gatherings, modelling a pattern of full participation in the life, prayer and ministry of the church.
  • To tend to the physical and spiritual environment of the church.
  • To encourage the congregation in discernment of visions, dreams and the undertaking of tasks.
  • To foster practices of care and safety which enable the congregation to share problems and concerns.
  • To carry out our responsibilities and tasks with diligence and close collaboration with each another, communicating regularly; and to be willing to be graciously called into account if we fail to meet our agreed commitments.
  • To support each other, as sisters and brothers in God’s family, to address grievances promptly and respectfully, and to seek forgiveness and reconciliation across anything that divides us.

We stand together in this covenant, acknowledging that there will be times when we will stumble as we struggle with ourselves, each other and our calling, and knowing that all our efforts are dependent on the guidance, love and grace of the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ.

Next meeting: Wednesday 7 December, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 5 October 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Our Advent Retreat Day will be on Sunday 27 November, 10am to 3:30pm. Maria McCormack (who led a good retreat day for us in 2012) from the WellSpring Centre will lead. Venue will probably be the Centre for Theology and Ministry, 29 College Cres, Parkville.
  2. At the BUV Delegates dinner, there is often a topic for discussion in which delegates from each church are meant to represent the views of their congregation. We will make the discussion topics available to the congregation for comment before the gathering to assist our delegates (currently Shelley and Ian) to do this.
  3. The company was good but the food disappointing (or completely absent!) at our pre-AGM lunch, so we will change venue next year. The AGM went well with the new format of receiving reports with minimal discussion, to leave time for more in-depth discussion of key topics.
  4. Thanks to all who attended Tony Mathew’s funeral to support Jill. We were very impressed with Bereavement Assistance which is a non-profit organisation for people who may have no or few funds for funeral expenses.
  5. Nathan will keep a detailed record of hours worked over the next 3 months to analyse which activities are contributing to his average overtime of 10 hours per week. We may need to have a broader conversation about which activities we want him to complete in his paid work for the church, and whether his current paid hours are sufficient.
  6. John who was sleeping at the church has moved on. He cleaned up the space well before he left.
  7. Ian is investigating whether we could refurbish the chairs by replacing the foam and the side areas only, which could be cheaper. Stay tuned!
  8. We will change to Powershop as our electricity provider with 100% green energy once we have found out some final details about off-peak rates and contracts.
  9. In response to our congregational listening circle on solar panels and air conditioning, Nathan and Ian will research proposals to present to the congregation.
  10. Given the range of reflections and questions about how we use social media as a church, we will refer this to a congregational meeting for discernment.
  11. This month, the lectionary illustrations for the news sheet will be by local artist Chris Booth (also Samara’s housemate!) They are being made available free for October with a range of other lectionary resources through VCCE (Victorian Council for Christian Education), but there will be some subscription charge after that if we want to continue using them. Feedback welcome.
 Next meeting: Wednesday 2 November, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 11 September 2016

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Minutes of previous meetings
  3. Reports
    1. Pastor's Report
    2. Host Group Report
    3. Property Matters
    4. Membership Report
  4. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Recipients of our Annual Giving
  5. Commitment to Ongoing Reconciliation
  6. Elections
    1. Treasurer
    2. BUV Delegates
  7. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  8. Revision and Re-adoption of our Church Constitution
  9. Property Use, Power Consumption and Environmental Footprint
  10. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 7 September 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Church camp 2017 will be 28-30 July.
  2. The BUV have provided a template letter for Baptist churches to send a letter to Malcolm Turnbull seeking a more humane asylum seeker policy, to be signed by the pastor and congregation members. Samara will organise the letter for signing at church.
  3. John, a recent guest at our service, is homeless and has been sleeping at the church. As we do not have the facility to provide a home, Nathan is encouraging and supporting John to find suitable accommodation.
  4. We are researching options to refurbish our chairs as a number of seats have torn cloth but we do not want to send them to landfill if they can be repaired. New lighter chairs were considered, but even good quality plastic chairs cost $100+ each and would be less comfortable. Initial research indicates that re-covering and replacing the foam on the current chair seats (and maybe backs) could cost $40 - $85 per chair, and should extend their life by another 20 years. We recognise that the current chairs are heavy, but we have enough people who can lift the chairs safely, so we encourage only people who are physically capable to do this.
  5. We will discuss matters to do with our electricity consumption and environmental footprintat the AGM, including switching electricity provider, installation of solar panels, air conditioning and church hall use.
  6. We will run our church review on Sunday October 16, from 12:30pm to 4:30pm, using a creative consultative process called ‘Open Space’. More details to come.
  7. Advent Retreat Day is on Sunday 27 November. Details on venue and leader to follow.

Next meeting: Wednesday 5 October, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 3 August 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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    1. We are proposing to change to Powershop as our electricity provider to support the commitment to renewable energy sources. Prices are comparable and they also give one off donation to Oxfam if we switch. We will check implications for our gas supply, and if the solar panel scheme (see point 2) is tied to particular providers.
    2. We are looking into a scheme run by Baptcare to help churches install solar electricitypanels by arranging quotes for inclusion in a large discounted group purchase plan. Further information to follow.
    3. We have had positive responses to the “Congregational Input to the Agenda” tool trialled for this month’s host meeting. The “Congregational Notification of Decisions” will now be trialled in a similar format so that people can more easily affirm our decision or express their reservations.
    4. As considered at the discernment workshop, we will change our current arrangement of two scheduled congregational meetings per year to a pattern of calling congregational meetings for significant discernment matters as they arise. One meeting per year will include the AGM.
    5. We received positive feedback about the church camp, and will book the venue again for 2017. Thankyou for everyone’s input and participation, especially the organising group of Sylvia, Cameron and John Sampson.
    6. Car park restoration work by the builders of the neighbouring property should begin before long. We have also requested that the basketball pole be straightened.
    7. Our Church Constitution is due for its five-year review and re-adoption. Nathan has prepared a document proposing some suggested amendments to better reflect our present practices. We approved the document for circulation to the congregation in preparation for our AGM in September.
    8. We have a working bee scheduled for Sunday 21 August. Tasks include painting ceiling, looking at women’s disabled toilet door, usual tasks.
    9. We will conduct our major church review this year as an Open Space event on Sunday 16 October, 12:30-4:30pm. More details will follow.

 

Next meeting: Wednesday 7 September, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 6 July 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. A big thank you to all who attended and helped out at the Anniversary Service.  It ran smoothly, we renewed our covenant, the food was wonderful (the chocolate cake was described as ‘heaven on a plate’ – thanks Yvonne!), we shared with old friends, and six unexpected guests, and farewelled the Sampson-Holdway family.

  2. Nathan has begun negotiations with the mortgagees of the neighbouring property at the rear of our carpark regarding access and payments.  They have made an initial payment of $15,545 into our account which covers some of the debt, a bond to cover further works on the carpark and the first month’s rental so that they can begin works prior to selling the property.  The discussions have been proceeding in good faith.

  3. Church camp is coming up July 29-31.  Please see Shelley to fill in a form if you want to come.  Paul Gahan is planning to launch his new book at camp!

  4. The discernment workshop will be held on July 17 at 2pm at the church.  We will not seek to conclude the baptism discussion on this date, but this will be revisited in light of our learnings about discernment.

  5. Alison will begin her Warrnambool role at the start of August.  A new Warrnambool bank account has been set up to receive contributions towards her wages from that date.  Nathan will send the account details to the congregation for anyone who wishes to contribute.

  6. The Stott family are looking at next steps for the Indigenous garden planting.

  7. The large oven in the kitchen has a broken part which can’t be replaced.  Ian is seeking a replacement oven on Gumtree.

  8. At this stage, we are not seeking someone to replace Anne Spence as a Visiting Pastoral Overseer(VPO).  We have two valued VPOs in Roslyn Wright and Chris Barndon, and we initially instituted three VPOs when there was no functional lay leadership group amongst us.  If we see a need for a particular type of input or eldership in the future, we will seek someone on those grounds.

Next meeting: Wednesday 3 August, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 12 June 2016

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance

Alison Sampson, Cameron Cutts, Eliz Cook, Francisca Cubillos, Francisco Naranjo, Gilbert Joyce, Glennys Williams, Margie Welsford, Nathan Nettleton, Paul Holdway, Rita Wang, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman, Yvonne Joyce.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Eliz Cook, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman and Ian Cook.

Outcome: The votes were taken by secret ballot and all were affirmed.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 1 June 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson (until 10pm), Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Thanks to Alison for her role chairing the host group and for redoing the host liturgy, which has introduced a valuable culture of discernment into the host meetings. Nathan will take over compiling agendas and chairing the host meetings for the coming months while we continue to think about the best approach in the longer term.

  2. Sylvia Sandeman will remain as coordinator and spokesperson of the host group.  She will also take on a new voluntary position as Coordinator of Pastoral Hospitality and Care.

  3. Daniel and Danielle will take over the Hall hire task from Eliz.  Thanks to Eliz for her faithfulness in this role for a long time!

  4. Alison will finish at South Yarra on 19 June, and will then be paid a number of extra weeks by South Yarra to cover her outstanding leave entitlements.   After that she will be paid from the grant from the Baptist Union for 1 day a week of wages for 1 year (available from 1 July) and from our new Warrnambool bank account which will receive contributions from the Warrnambool mob and from any members of the South Yarra congregation who wish to contribute.

  5. The Church anniversary service will take place on June 19.  Sylvia will organise the meal, and Nathan will plan the liturgy, taking feedback from last year’s service into account.  We will alsocommission Alison and the whole Sampson-Holdway family at this service.

  6. We will hold a Discernment and Membership workshop on 17 July at 2pm, which will follow on from the baptism workshop in April.

  7. Suggestions after the Pentecost service included making the peace greetings slide available for people to practice, and an audio version for pronunciation.  Next year we would also like to prepare parts in other languages for people who haven’t learnt a second language, but would like to have a go.  The languages on the church sign would be a good place to start.

  8. A good number of people attended the Enneagram workshop.  Peter covered it well in the available time.  It was useful for the group to learn how we can work together.   We note that there are a lot of 6s in the host group at the moment!

  9. After trialing the Pascha and Pentecost music setting in a higher key we thought it improved!  We are willing to do it again next year.

  10. Plans for Church camp are progressing. Merryl and Sylvia are also investigating possible alternative campsites that we could consider for coming years.

  11. The Indigenous garden planting was planned for autumn. Sylvia will contact the congregation with possible next steps.

  12. We will be installing LED downlights in the church hall to replace the aging halogen downlights when the faulty circuit is being fixed.  They are much more energy efficient that what we currently have.

  13. potential buyer for 11 Cromwell Rd contacted us for a preliminary conversation about access through our property for renovations.  Nathan mentioned the outstanding debt and how we would approach negotiating access so it can be factored in to any deliberations.

Next meeting: Wednesday 6 July, 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 4 May 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Samara Pitt, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, and Shelley Taylor.

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  1. Our pastors’ superannuation payments will be set up to be SuperStream compliant from 1 July.

  2. Thanks to all who participated in the Baptism workshop, it was a rich conversation.  A summary of the recommendations has been circulated. We would like to offer another opportunity for people to tease out some of the implications of these recommendations, in particular how baptism relates to membership and how members participate in the decision making of the church.  The July 17 workshop will be on how we do discernment communally, and this will include discussion on the recommendations from the baptism workshop.

  3. Church camp will go ahead on July 29-31 at Araluen Lutheran camp, Anglesea.  Please let Sylvia know if you are coming or would like to help with organisation.

  4. The church website has been revamped – check it out at southyarrabaptist.church.  Thanks to Sina and Nathan for their work on this.  If you notice anything that needs changing, please let Nathan know.

  5. Alison will finish her work at South Yarra on June 19 (church anniversary) and will take some of her accrued leave before she begins at Warrnambool on July 17.

  6. We have received no suggestions for any change to the church covenant, so we will readopt it as is at the anniversary service in June.

  7. The Enneagram workshop will be held on Sunday May 22 from 10am to 4pm at the church.  Those who want to participate will need to pay $10 and complete an online survey before the workshop.  Nathan will circulate information on this.

Next meeting: 1 June at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting on 20 April 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Some responses to Alison’s letter to the congregation regarding her call to plant a church in Warrnambool suggest that it may have been better to provide more time and space for people to express their emotions at the time.  The host group will consider ways we could help the congregation to process big announcements, and would value any ideas that people have about how to do this well in future
  2. The details of Alison’s employment through South Yarra as she begins the church plant in Warrnambool are being drafted in consultation with the BUV. Alison will move to Warrnambool in early July. She will remain employed but not paid by South Yarra for up to two years. We are applying for a BUV church planting grant for 0.2EFT, and will seek contributions to cover the rest of her time. This arrangement will begin once she has moved. South Yarra will also provide ongoing administrative and liturgical support as set out in the attached document ‘Expectations v2’.
  3. The hole in the ceiling of the supper room was caused by a leak through the central guttering on the roof.  The whole length of gutter will be replaced as it is rusting in several spots, and once this is completed, the hole in the plasterboard will be repaired.
  4. Samara will provide an update to the congregation on the Sanctuary movement for the 267 asylum seekers at risk of being returned to offshore detention.
  5. We are looking at numbers and plans for the church camp.  Thanks to Cameron and Paul Gahan who have offered to help.  Sylvia will contact the congregation as soon as possible to see if we have enough people to go ahead with the booking.
  6. We are seeking feedback on the church covenant before we readopt it at our covenanting service on June 19.  Please let Nathan know of any suggestions.

Next meeting: 4 May at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 2 March 2016

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Offering Sanctuary to Asylum Seekers – Gracetree Baptist Church in Coburg was pleased to receive our offer of financial and people support as a potential Sanctuary location.  At this stage, it is hard to know what will be needed and most useful.  Samara will continue to provide updates as appropriate and as things develop.
  2. The workshop on baptism will be held on April 24.  Its key aim will be to work out how we make decisions on who we baptise, and who decides.
  3. We need volunteers to organise the church camp in July.  Sylvia will send an email to the congregation.
  4. St Martin’s usually have a Maundy Thursday service and meal that we attend. A request for rsvps for this, other Paschal services, and the Herring Island boat trip on Resurrection Sunday will be emailed around soon.

Next meeting: 6 April at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Congregational Business Meeting on 14 February 2016

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Minutes of the AGM
  2. Pastors’ Reports
  3. Pastoral Review
  4. Host Group Report
  5. Property Matters
  6. Membership Proposals
  7. Financial Reports
  8. Commitment to Ongoing Reconciliation
  9. Offering Sanctuary to Asylum Seekers
  10. Rest from Supper Roster
  11. Church Giving: Discussion of possible recipients
  12. Date for Next Meeting:   AGM - 11 September 2016

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 8 February 2016

Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Offering Sanctuary to Asylum Seekers – a number of churches have responded to the call from the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce to offer Sanctuary to asylum seekers currently in Australia who are under threat of being returned to offshore detention.  We will discuss whether is anything we want to offer at the congregational meeting on Sunday.
  2.  The Lenten Retreat will be held at the Centre for Theology and Ministry in Parkville on February 28., 10am to 3:30pm.
  3. While we appreciated the rest from the supper roster over January, we thought it would be better to have this break over Lent from 2017.  This will be discussed at the congregational meeting on Sunday.
  4. Lenten booklets have been distributed, you are welcome to pass them on to any friends who are interested.  (Alison had this great idea while on ’leave’, so she may take some actual leave later in the year!)
  5. Supper music preferences are in, and gentle instrumental music is the winner!  Thanks to all who gave feedback.

Next meeting: 2 March at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 9 December 2015

Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Daniel Stott is taking on the newssheet.  Thanks Daniel!  Please contact him with anything that should go in.
  2. You are invited to sponsor a plant for the Indigenous planting in our garden.  Alison will provide more details.
  3. Nathan’s annual review has been completed – thank you to those who contributed.  Feedback will be circulated early in 2016 before the congregational meeting in February.
  4. A workshop on the Enneagram (a personality indicator) is being planned for 22 May 2016.
  5. Alison will be coordinating catering for the Christmas Eve Vigil service at 9pm.
  6. Sylvia will be organising catering for the Epiphany service on January 6 at our church.
  7. Even if you can’t commit to the supper roster or a weekly task, we always appreciate help in the kitchen or packing up the hall after the service.  Feel free to steal a teatowel off a host!

Next meeting: 3 February at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 4 November 2015

Those in attendance at the recent meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt

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  1. Lauren is ready to hand over the preparation of the weekly notice sheet.  If anyone is interested in picking this up, please let her or the host group know.
  2. We are seeking a new Visiting Pastoral Overseer.  Please let the host group know if you think of anyone who might be suitable and willing.
  3. The workshop on Confession, Lamentation, Repentance, Atonement will be run on November 15 at 2pm by Matt Bell from the Indigenous Hospitality House.
  4. The Advent Retreat is on 29 November, 10am – 3:30pm at the Centre for Theology and Ministry in Parkville.  Lynette Dungan will focus on teaching a variety of methods of prayer.
  5. Nathan’s pastoral review is in progress. Feedback due Monday November 9.
  6. The supper music experiment continues – please give any feedback to Nathan or anyone on the host group.
  7. Annual leave dates for pastors – Alison will be on leave January 4 - 9, and Nathan will be on leave January 9 – 16.
  8. Maintenance – some slipped tiles on the manse will be repaired asap.  The church hall resurfacing will occur between Boxing Day and New Years Eve.

Next meeting: 9 December at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 7 October 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt

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  1. Steven Wong has resigned from the host group due to family commitments. We acknowledge with appreciation his contribution to the host group, and we would be very glad for him to return at another time.
  2. Anne Spence has resigned as a Visiting Pastoral Overseer, also due to family commitments. We acknowledge her faithful and helpful contributions during her time as VPO including conducting pastoral reviews, leading retreats and meeting with pastors.
  3. We will thank and farewell Jenny Gillan as music director during and after the service on October 25.
  4. The new church sign design has been finalised, will be installed soon.
  5. We are also installing an external noticeboard on the front of the church listing hall users.
  6. The Advent Retreat is on 29 November at the Centre for Theology and Ministry in Parkville.  We will focus on teaching a variety of methods of prayer.
  7. Nathan’s pastoral review topic is ‘Leading by example’.  Questionnaires will be distributed soon.
  8. Daniel, Danielle and Lydia Stott are the new manse tenants – hooray!  They will begin moving in on 9 October.
  9. The hall floor will be repolished in January at a cost of $4500.

Next meeting: 4 November at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 9 September 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Samara Pitt, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman and Shelley Taylor.

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  1. The Host group is preparing a letter to inform the congregation of our response to Jill Friebel’s visit to the service on August 9.
  2. The Host group review is happening Sunday 13 September.
  3. All Saint’s Day is on Sunday November 1. A combined service will be held at 6pm at St Martin’s, so there will be no service at South Yarra on that Sunday.
  4. On November 15 at 2pm there will be a workshop on “Confession, Lamentation, Repentance, Atonement: how non-Indigenous Australians are wounded by our history, and the Christian traditions that offer a path to healing”. It will be run by Matt Bell from the Indigenous Hospitality House and ANTaR Victoria.
  5. The Advent Retreat is happening on Sunday 29 November. If you have any suggestions for who could lead the retreat, please speak to Nathan.
  6. Jenny’s music tasks will be divided up among a number of congregation members. Thanks to all who volunteered. Samara will be following up with you all.
  7. Nathan, Margie and Acacia are not going to be moving back into the manse after the Gillans leave, so we are exploring suitable tenancy options.

Next meeting: 7 October at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 16 August 2015

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The full minutes and reports are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Minutes of previous meeting
  2. Pastors' Reports
  3. Host Group Report
  4. Property Matters
  5. Membership Report
  6. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Recipients of our Annual Giving
  7. Commitment to Ongoing Reconciliation
  8. Elections
    1. Treasurer
    2. BUV Delegates
  9. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  10. Date for Next Meeting

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 5 August 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Samara Pitt, and Ian Cook (from 9pm)

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  1. SYCBC adopted the BUV Safe Church policy in the past, but it has been superceded by a new Safe Church policy, so the congregation needs to formally adopt the new one. It commits the host group to going to a safe church training session once every 3 years. Everyone except Alison, Steven and Samara has been in the last 2 years, but we agreed we should all go within the next 6 months. Samara to send around dates.
  2. Church sign: it was suggested that the sign could include ‘welcome’ in a number of languages that reflect local immigration/language patterns. Nathan has drafted a version and we will check that the words are appropriate with speakers of those languages.
    Alison will check the accuracy of the words where she can, the rest others can follow up or we can leave until Nathan gets back.
  3. Church Camp: The church camp was very successful. Araluen works well for us and is now also part of the history so we would like to continue there. Eliz to book for 29/7/2016- 31/7/2016.
  4. Advent workshop: Matt Bell is booked to run this Confession to Atonement workshop on November 15.
  5. Host group review: Nathan will ask Chris Barndon to Anne Spence to run this review on Sunday September 20 at 2pm with the host group.
  6. Lunch before AGM: As the Flying Duck still seems to be closed for renovations, Sylvia will investigate Bridie O’Reilly’s, the old South Yarra church site!

Next meeting: 9 September at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 1 July 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Samara Pitt.

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  1. Baptist marriage rites: The BUV Gathering affirmed that marriage is defined for Baptist pastors as being only between a man and a woman. Our congregation will need to decide whether we want our pastors to refrain from doing state paperwork for marriages which would mean that marriage ceremonies conducted by our pastors are available to all. Nathan will prepare a discussion paper in preparation for the August AGM.
  2. Church sign: The wording and design for the new sign outside the church has been approved, which includes an acknowledgement of the traditional custodians. Sylvia and Nathan will organise for it to be made and installed.
  3. Nathan’s leave: Nathan will be overseas at a conference from 9 August to 2 September.
  4. AGM: The date will remain August 16, as advertised.
  5. Website income: Income from the laughingbird website will continue to be used for conference costs for contributors, and will be split 75:25 between Nathan and Alison.
  6. First Aid box: Eliz will maintain the church’s first aid box. Please contact her if you notice something is missing or has run out.

Questions to the Congregation

Eucharist at the Anniversary dinner: We are keen to hear feedback from the congregation on the Anniversary dinner. In particular, we would like to hear whether people feel that it is important that the Eucharist element of the meal be more clearly identified in the liturgy. For example, would it be better to use the some of our usual words and actions (such as serving bread to each other, and toasting with wine and water) in the midst of the meal? Are there other things that we should consider?

Next meeting: 5 August at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 14 June 2015

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance
Alison Sampson, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Jenny Gillan, Margie Welsford, Mark Moroney, Nathan Nettleton, Paul Gahan, Paul Holdway, Rita Wang, Robert Toseland, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Eliz Cook, Samara Pitt, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman and Steven Wong.

Outcome: The votes were taken by secret ballot and all were affirmed.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 3 June 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, and Shelley Taylor.

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  1. The Church Covenant and the Host Covenant will be circulated to the congregation this week, in preparation for a vote seeking confirmation of the Church Covenant and the Host Group for the coming year.
  2. Nathan reported that Margie has been told that her contract at Whitley will only be renewed until the end of this year. When she finishes at Whitley, they will have to move house. Margie will continue to seek a further contract extension, but if no extension is granted, their family will probably move back into the manse at the end of this year in accordance with the Host Group’s preference that Nathan live in the manse if possible.
  3. The Church Directory has been printed and will be circulated over the next few weeks.
  4. The Host Group will engage in a self-review over a half day on 20 September.
  5. The BUV Gathering voted to affirm the decision already made nationally that Baptist pastors will not be able to marry gay couples even if the law changes.

Next meeting: 1 July at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 6 May 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, and Shelley Taylor.

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  1. The Hosts accepted a provisional quote for new signage: $500 plus GST for the larger sign at the front, and $300 plus GST for the smaller sign on the building, making $800 plus GST in total. In consultation with the Boonwurrung Foundation and the reconciliation action group, we are finalising the format and wording of an acknowledgement of traditional custodians. Changes and/or re-doing the artwork may lead to an additional cost of $100 or thereabouts. Once finalised, the new signs will be ordered.
  2. The Covenant has been lightly edited to reflect suggestions made by church members, and to remove redundancies. A copy will be distributed to the congregation for comment.
  3. We have found a rug specialist to advise us regarding a new rug for the sanctuary. Nathan and Ian will finalise the research, and make a recommendation as soon as possible.
  4. The Citizens Advice Bureau is the new agent for government emergency relief in this area, and does not wish to collaborate with SWERNI. The CAB will distribute relief in the form of supermarket vouchers; there will no longer be assistance for utilities, pharmaceuticals or other things. Stonnington Council is considering options, particularly since the funding has dropped from $56,000 to about $26,000 p.a. We decided that, for the time being, Nathan’s time and expertise is our church’s contribution to the situation.
  5. The Boonwurrung Foundation was contacted regarding an acknowledgement of traditional custodians. The Foundation expanded our draft wording to read “Long before the South Yarra Community Baptist Church purchased and occupied this building, the Yalukit Weelum (people of the river) of the Boon wurrung language group of the Greater Kulin Nation were and still are a part of the 10,000 generations that went before. We acknowledge with respect their Elders past and present and to the future, and commit ourselves to work together for recognition and justice for the First Peoples of this country.” We will use this wording inside the building.
    Boonwurrung Elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs would like to talk with us about appropriate artwork. Representatives of the reconciliation action group will meet with her.
  6. We will include a rite of belonging for our Junior Catechumens in the annual covenanting service.
  7. The Host Group will undergo a review in August and September 2015.

Next meeting: 3 June at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 15 April 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Alison Sampson, Chair, Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor , Steven Wong.
Ian sent an apology for being unexpectedly detained at work and arrived late.

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  1. The BUV has asked for prayer points from our Church which will be included in the May BUV Better together in prayer. They are asking 20 Churches for each time. We agreed Nathan write up and send in a paragraph on our workshop, Interfaith Jewish dialogue,SWERNI and ongoing work on reconciliation.
  2. Update of congregational photos on wall and congregational directory: Alison is working on the update of the congregational directory and is checking the privacy issues with the 60 people she currently expects to include.
    We agreed the directory be without photos and that people be asked to supply a photo for the wall if necessary.
  3. Replacement of rug in sanctuary: Nathan has circulated Hosts a quote for $4790 for a comparable carpet to what we have from the business who originally supplied it.
    We discussed the possibility of rectifying the problems or replacing the carpet . Ian and Eliz agreed to get another quote for new carpet and Ian to look at possibilities for repair.Nathan to provide detail of current rug.
  4. We agreed last meeting to hold off replacing the Church signs until we were sure our wording of our acknowledgement of traditional custodians was acceptable. We agreed Alison check the wording with our reconciliation working group and with Aunty Caroline Briggs. Sylvia will get details on sign-writer used by another Church.
  5. Church camp is booked for the end of July and we need someone to organise it. Sylvia will circulate an email asking for volunteers to act as an organising committee.
  6. We usually have an anniversary lunch coupled with a long regular service because of the conventing rite. We agreed we have a special one off shorter liturgy integrated with three courses of dinner, instead of lunch and later service. The Pastors will reorganise the liturgy. Food organisation also needed.

Next meeting: 6 May at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 2 March 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Steven Wong.

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  1. The host group has decided to develop a new prayer station dedicated to offerings of money, time, and other resources (for example, material gifts to the ASRC; abundant fruit harvests to be shared out after the service, etc.). The placement and structure will be considered over the coming months.

Next meeting: 15 April at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Congregational Business Meeting on 22 February 2015

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The full minutes are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Minutes of the AGM
  2. Pastors’ Reports
  3. Host Group Report
  4. Pastoral Review
  5. Property Matters
  6. Financial Reports
  7. Pastor's Statement of Understanding: Alison
  8. Commitment to Ongoing Reconciliation
  9. Church Giving: Discussion of possible recipients
  10. Date for Next Meeting:   AGM - 16 August 2015

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 11 February 2015

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Steven Wong.

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  1. The Host Group has received and endorsed Nathan’s Review prepared by Ann Spence. The Review will be distributed to the church for comments in time for the next Congregational meeting on 22nd February 2015.
  2. The Host Group received and affirmed “A Commitment to Reconciliation” prepared by the Working party. We acknowledge that it will always be a work in progress and should be reviewed each year. The Commitment will be distributed to the church for comments in time for the next Congregational meeting.
  3. Concern has been expressed that when offering drinks after the service, we should not prioritise the offering of wine to the neglect of non-alcoholic drinks. This concern has been noted by those most involved in offering drinks. It was also noted that the new supper table arrangements may have partially taken care of this anyway.
  4. The Host Group completed its work on the changes to Alison’s Statement of Understandingthat were required after her position was changed from a completely honorary one to a paid one. After discussing the symbolic implications of various ways of understanding and expressing the arrangement, it was agreed that the “appointment consists of 0.2EFT which is paid, and 0.2EFT which is honorary and is gratefully received by the church as a gift from Alison” and that “remuneration for the paid component will be per the BUV recommended stipend.” A copy of the revised Statement of Understanding will be distributed to the church with these decisions, and with the revised sections highlighted.

Next meeting: 2 March at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 3 December 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor. Steven Wong sent an apology.

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  1. We received the following letter regarding Alison’s candidature for ordination:14 November 2014 Rev Nathan Nettleton
    2 Leonard Street
    Parkville VIC 3052 
    Dear Nathan, Thank you for the reference you provided the PLSC  for Alison Sampson and for your contribution to  her DSG Report. The PLSC met with Alison and  Paul on the 7th November. I am pleased to notify  you officially that the committee provisionally  accepted Alison as a candidate for the ordained  Baptist ministry and we look forward to meeting  with her again in 12 months time. I know that you  and the members of the South Yarra Community  Baptist Church will continue to encourage and  support Alison in her ministry among you as she  embarks upon the ordination track. Please convey  our appreciation to the members of the DSG for  their very thorough and constructive report. We  would not be able to fulfill our responsibilities  without the DSG’s feedback. Grace and Peace Marita Munro Chair PLSC 
  2. The design of the invitation postcards has been done, using one of Paul Gahan’s paintings and an invitation to the church. Printing was waiting for confirmation of the new church website URL, but that confirmation arrived by email during the course of the meeting, so production of the cards will now go ahead.
  3. A call for interest in being part of a Working Group on Indigenous Reconciliation went out to the congregation, and Alison, Samara, Sylvia & Margie have expressed interest in being part of it. That’s enough people so it is underway.
  4. Ian and Nathan reported that the electrician who was involved in the data projector installation has been back and has been able to solve the long running problem we had with a one of the electrical circuits in the church which kept shorting. Not only is the problem fixed, but we were pleasantly surprised by how reasonable his bill was, so we will be sticking with this electrician in the future.
  5. We sorted out the main content of the program for 2015, and Sylvia will complete it and distribute it after her holiday.
  6. Hall hire rates have not been increased since 2009 so we authorised Eliz and Nathan to review and raise the rents as they see fit. We agreed that one-off parties are usually more stress than the are worth, and we authorised Eliz to not accept party bookings.
  7. We need to provide a supper after the ecumenical Epiphany service that we are hosting on January 6. Sylvia will coordinate the food with a bring a plate approach.
  8. We discussed plans for the Lenten and Advent retreats next year. We agreed that Alison will lead the Lenten Retreat. We agreed to look for different venues next year, and Alison will seek out venues for both retreats. We will give some more consideration to how we promote it to the congregation.
  9. Some questions have been raised about whether we should include members of our congregation who have died, such as Lindsay and Frances, in our gallery of Saints icons. It was noted that we presently put people who are absent on the right hand side of the second beam, and so members of the congregation who have died could be similarly shown on the left hand side. We agreed to go ahead with this, and that they would remain there as long as seems relevant. Nathan will arrange for the pictures.
  10. Alison shared a basic description of an idea she has for open-to-the-public story telling nightsin the school holidays, perhaps after Easter. She reported that Samara had experienced something similar in the UK and was excited about trying something like that here. We discussed logistics, timing and advertising, and agreed that we like the idea and it should be further explored. Alison and Samara will have further discussions about this and begin planning.
  11. The question has ben raised about food after worship, and perhaps having soup again, at least sometimes, instead of the nibbles. We noted that the nibbles had grown into a meal sized event which makes it more work and more expense that originally anticipated. We discussed ways that the supper could be symbolically linked more strongly to the Eucharist, by setting tables that run from the communion table through to the present nibblies space. We agreed to introduce the changed table set-up in February, and to encourage the rostered caterers to consider soup or other options.

Next meeting: 11 February at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 6 October 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Steven Wong.

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  1. We have only received one expression of interest so far for the Ancient Wisdom workshop on 16 November despite advertising on the Laughing Bird website and printing out flyers. It will be advertised in the next BUV Communications.
  2. We have decided that if sufficient numbers are not forthcoming for the Ancient Wisdom workshop, we will instead use that day to run a workshop for our own members on Christian – Muslim relationships. This workshop would have only some brief input from Nathan and Nur, and then be mainly an opportunity for questions and discussion prompted by the ideas that Nathan has raised.
  3. On discussing the content of the proposed new street front signboards, we have decided to include an acknowledgement of the traditional indigenous owners of the land on the board.
  4. Nathan and Eliz reported the AA Group, who are using the hall on Sunday mornings have booked and paid up until Christmas. They have been tidy in cleaning up and have requested the use of a presently unused cupboard in the kitchen. We agreed to allow the AA Group to use this cupboard and will have it labelled for their use.
  5. Nathan and Alison have just received the draft Mission Review report. It will be circulated to the Hosts and then the final version will be circulated to all members.
  6. Discussion of the garden redevelopment has been deferred to next month because Alison will meet tomorrow with the coordinator of the local community gardens.
  7. Anne Spence (one of our Visiting Pastoral Overseers) has accepted the invitation to receive the questionnaires for Nathan’s annual review and to write the summary report. The focus of the review will be on Leadership and Teamwork. The questionnaires will be distributed for completion and return to Ann by late October.
  8. We concluded our discussion of the ownership of the laughingbird.net website domain name. We agreed that the site and its domain name belong to the church, but if Nathan leaves AND the church no longer wishes to maintain the site, Nathan will be given first right of refusal on taking it over.
  9. We discussed printing postcard size invitation cards containing details of the Church service times including a welcome to all people. We will explore the costs and the design of the postcard, and speak to Paul Gahan about including some of his artwork on it.

Next meeting: 3 December at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 3 September 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Steven Wong.

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  1. The next BUV Delegates meeting will take place on Friday 10 October . Nathan, Alison, Shelley and Ian will be representing us at the meeting.
  2. The new Data Projectors have been purchased. Installation is scheduled to take place on 25 & 26 September. The changeover of the fluorescent lights to LED lights in the hall & the repair of a powerpoint in manse will be done by the same contractors at same time.
  3. We are working on replacing the increasingly tired looking signboards at the front of the property. Please contact us soon if you have suggestions for additional information that should be included on them.
  4. The Working Bee has been postponed to the afternoon of Sunday 5th October (previously 14 Sep).
  5. Our annual Advent retreat is scheduled for Sunday 30th November and Anne Spence, one of our Visiting Pastoral Overseers has agreed to lead it for us.
  6. The idea of making the lawn area at the back of the church available for a community gardenwas raised. Stonnington has very few of these, and the Armadale Baptist Church is now providing space for one. It was noted that of the few that Stonnington does have, two of them are very close to our church, but we will explore whether there is more demand here and consider this further.
  7. We agreed to relax our previous policy of not allowing permanent hall-hire bookings on Sunday mornings. A local AA group, who were meeting in the old Uniting Church property that is about to be demolished around the corner, have approached us about a Sunday morning meeting.

Next meeting: 6 October at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Congregational Annual General Meeting on 17 August 2014

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The full minutes are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Minutes of previous meeting
  2. Pastors' Reports
  3. Host Group Report
  4. Property Matters
  5. Membership Report
  6. Discernment and Support Group Report
  7. Financial Reports
    1. Report for past year
    2. Budget for coming year
    3. Recipients of our Annual Giving
  8. Elections
    1. Treasurer
    2. BUV Delegates
  9. Acknowledgement of those doing necessary tasks
  10. Date for Next Meeting:   15 February 2015

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 6 August 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman and Steven Wong.

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  1. Nathan has been obtaining quotes on installing data projectors to replace the old overhead projectors. The Host Group agreed that we should now proceed with this. Nathan will send an email to the congregation outlining the decision and the reasons. If there are concerns from the congregation, we will provide an opportunity to discuss the matter further at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
  2. Nathan wrote to the congregation about a proposal to change the service times for the Easter Services in 2015, but had received no response. We agreed to go ahead with the proposed change of times.
  3. A funeral workshop will be held on 31 August 2014 from 2pm to 4pm. Nathan will write to the congregation explaining the content of the workshop and to call for expressions of interest.
  4. The Host Group discussed the success of the camp and proposes the church rebook the same camp site for next year.
  5. There have been no suggestions for new recipients for our giving. The Host Group proposes we continue to provide financial support for our existing charities and to put this to a vote at the next AGM.

Next meeting: 3 September at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 2 July 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, and Shelley Taylor. Ian Cook, and Steven Wong sent their apologies.

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  1. Alison reported that she and Nathan had met with the BUV consultants about our review of the congregation’s mission. They are going to write up a report based on the information we have provided them from our conversations.
  2. The camp committee has done the groundwork for the camp and all is underway. Shelley is taking the registrations.
  3. Nathan reported that both he and Alison will be on leave during the week that commences next Sunday, 6 July. Nathan will still be at church on the Sunday’s and his leave will be time in lieu. He will remain on call for any pastoral crises.
  4. We discussed the church’s website, noting that it has been identified by many people during the mission review as an important aspect of our church’s mission. Nathan reported that Sina has offered to redesign and rebuild our website for us. We agreed that this was a wonderful offer and we decided to accept it. In finalising that with Sina, we want to check what it will mean for other people doing regular updates of the material on the site. We also agreed that at the same time, we should separate the church and resources sites into two separate domains.
  5. Nathan proposed that while our funeral rites are fresh in the congregation’s memory, it might be good to hold a Sunday afternoon workshop to allow people to learn more about what we do and why, and to consider how to make and communicate their own choices for their own funerals. It was noted that there is often difficulty after a death sorting out who is responsible for how the rites are to be done - the family or the congregation. Communicating preferences beforehand can help ensure a smoother handling of the arrangements. We agreed to go ahead and offer such a workshop, perhaps in late August, and to prepare some paperwork to help people make decisions about their own funeral preferences and communicate them to those who need to know.

Next meeting: 6 August at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Special Congregational Meeting on 8 June 2014

Ballots conducted after worship

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Attendance
Steven Wong, Sylvia Sandeman, Samara Pitt, Ian Cook, Margie Welsford, Eliz Cook, Robert Toseland, Paul Holdway, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Mark Moroney.

Approval of the Covenants

Church Covenant

Motion: That we approve the Church Covenant (as recently distributed) for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Host Group Covenant

Motion: That we affirm the Hosts’ Covenant (as recently distributed) by which they seek to govern their ministry for the coming year.

Outcome: The vote was taken by secret ballot and the motion was unanimously approved.

Affirmation of the Hosts

Motion: That we affirm the ministry of the following people as our Host Group for the coming year (noting that the Group is open to new members joining it at any time): Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Shelley Taylor, Sylvia Sandeman and Steven Wong.

Outcome: The votes were taken by secret ballot and unanimously approved.

The Meeting was closed with the closing of the ballot.

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 7 May 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor. Steven Wong was absent due to illness.

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  1. The working bee, originally scheduled for next Sunday has been postponed until the following week, 18 May, so as not to clash with mother’s day.
  2. The investigation of changing the fluorescent lights in the hall to LED tubes looks promising and the installation is likely to go ahead.
  3. Sylvia agreed to take on the central coordinating role for this year’s church camp and will be contacting a number of people about organising particular activities. It was agreed that the camp worship service might use a different liturgy to our normal Sundays. It was also agreed that we will make a decision before this year’s camp about whether to rebook the site for the next year.
  4. Ian had circulated a Financial Report for the first three quarters of the financial year which showed that things are about where they were expected to be.
  5. New offerings pledges to enable us to begin paying Alison have been enough to pay a stipend at close to 50% of the BUV recommendation. This will now be set up, with payments backdated to 17 February. Changes to her statement of understanding will be made to reflect this.
  6. We have been investigating the possibility of installing ceiling mounted data projectors. A quote has been received from a company recommended for their work at St Kilda Baptist. The quote is around $7500, which is considerably more than we had hoped and budgeted for. We will seek further quotes before deciding whether to proceed.
  7. We decided not conduct a review of the Music Director’s work this year, because the last review was a major one and the implementation of its outcomes has only just been completed. We will do Jenny’s next review in June next year.
  8. The Church Covenant is reviewed annually, but since no suggestions have been received for changes to it this year, we agreed that the covenant be readopted, unchanged, for the next year.
  9. This year’s Church Anniversary lunch will be organised as a potluck, and Sylvia and Alison will coordinate it.

Next meeting: 2 July at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 2 April 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Steven Wong.

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  1. Baptist Financial Services have offered a scheme of anonymous receipt of electronic offeringsat no cost to the church and the Host Group agrees to follow up. Ian will include a notification to the congregation if we proceed with it.
  2. Church camp is booked at the previous venue from 25 to 27 July 2014. Sylvia will send an email seeking volunteers for the camp committee.
  3. Host Group reaffirms decision from last meeting  to pay Alison as close to 60% of the stipend as we can achieve commencing 17 February 2014. Host Group agrees up to $100 per week of this can be from existing church funds. Nathan will send another email to the church with a cut off date for the new pledges.

Next meeting: 7 May at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 19 March 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor and Steven Wong.

  1. Due to the problems with our aged fluorescent lights, Ian is looking into acquiring suitable LED tubes for the hall. He advised there are the gold standard tubes which cost $65 each and have a life standard of 50 years. It would cost approximately $2,000 to buy these tubes and about $500 for an electrician to install them. Ian advised there are $12 tubes which theoretically have a life span of 30 years. He will replace a tube in the kitchen to check how it works. If he is happy with the tube, the Host Group have given him the authority to arrange an electrician to fit the cheaper tubes. The cost of the cheaper tubes and an electrician could cost approximately $1,000.
  2. Alison has been in the role of Associate Pastor for a month. She has preached twice and met with her Discernment Support Group (DSG). She has been keeping a record of how she spends her time. About a ¼ of her time has been on sermon preparation and she has also been doing some pastoral visits. She is working towards ordination and has met with representatives of the Pastoral Leadership Selection Committee (PLSC). The DSG will write a report that will go to BUV and congregation on 6 August 2014. She is arranging an external supervisor, as required in her job description, which the church will pay for if required.
  3. Alison has met with Chris Wanstall about gathering information for our Mission & Direction review. She will use pastoral visits to ask mission & direction questions & Nathan to do it with home group. It was suggested it would be good to talk to people who aren’t regular attendees to get their views on mission and to look at people who visit our website but don’t attend our church.
  4. Ian is handing over the responsibility for manse maintenance, and it will be a Host Group responsibility with Nathan as first point of call until we have someone else willing to take it on.
  5. There was a recent incident with cash stolen from offerings. We will now provide the opportunity for people to lock handbags in the office, and the offering will also be locked away after counting.
  6. Acacia is again co-ordinating the Easter Morning Herring Island trip.
  7. Alison’s Honorarium was discussed, and she absented herself from this discussion. Some members of the congregation felt a misgiving about Alison not being paid for her position. The BUV’s recommended minimum stipend for a student pastor 0.4EFT is $373 per week (including superannuation). Host Group felt that we should seek to pay as much of this as we can raise. Nathan to write an email requesting members to make a pledge for Alison’s honorarium.

Next meeting: 2 April at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Minutes of the Congregational Business Meeting on 16 February 2014

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The full minutes are not reproduced here, but are available for download via the button above.

Outline of the Meeting
  1. Minutes of the AGM
  2. Pastor's Report
  3. Host Group Report
  4. Financial Reports
  5. Pastoral Review
  6. Property Matters
  7. Mission and Direction Discussion
  8. Special Business - Appointment of Associate Pastor
  9. Safe Children Policy
  10. Policy regarding “WWCC Interim Negative Notices”
  11. Church Giving: Discussion of possible recipients
  12. Date for Next Meeting:   AGM - 17 August 2014

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 6 February 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Steven Wong.

  1. Statements of Understanding
    Host Group approved the Statements of Understanding for Nathan Nettleton, Alison Sampson and Jennifer Gillan. The Statements of Understanding will be circulated to the congregation.
  2. Proposed appointment of Associate Pastor
    Host Group unanimously recommends the appointment of Alison Sampson as Associate Pastor under the terms and conditions of the Statement of Understanding. The proposed appointment will be brought to the next Church meeting on 16 February 2014.
  3. Mission & Direction Consultants
    Following initial discussion with Chris Wanstall , BUV Mission & Direction Consultant at Host Group meeting on 22 January 2014, the Host Group wishes to invite Chris Wanstall and Antonio Rodriguez to assist the Church in planning our Mission work. Nathan will formally invite them.
  4. Packing up the Church after the worship service
    We discussed the importance of allowing those people who wish to have a quiet moment after the service the space to do so. The time in the circle after worship is a space for people to seek prayer if they wish, or to sit in contemplation if they wish.
    In recent times, it has been noticed that in their eagerness to help, a number of people have commenced tasks such as clearing of the communion table, rubbing off of the prayers, taking down the photos, blowing out of candles, putting up the screens, and moving of the curtains straight after the worship service. As we spend some time setting up the hall to have a worshipful space, it seems that we should not be wanting to start and pack it away the moment Nathan finishes the sending out.
    The question was asked whether all those who have a hand in starting to pack up after worship could be encouraged to "hang 10" on starting these task . After discussion, it was suggested that the cue for starting to pack up should be when there was no longer anyone praying or contemplating in the Worship space.
    Decision: Newsletter notice to remind congregation members to wait until the worship space is completely clear of people praying or contemplating before starting to pack up. Nathan to remind people of this.

Next meeting: 19 March at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house

Summary of the Decisions from the Host Group meeting held on 22 January 2014

Those in attendance at the meeting were Eliz Cook, Ian Cook, Nathan Nettleton, Sylvia Sandeman, Shelley Taylor, Steven Wong. Apology from Alison Sampson.
Visitor: Chris Wanstall, BUV Mission & Direction consultant

  1. Expression of gratitude to Eliz.
    The Host Group records its gratitude to Eliz Cook for her work on keeping the minutes of our meetings for the past 3 years or so. Eliz took over the role, somewhat reluctantly, in September 2010, when there were no other Host Group members who were willing or able to do it. Her commitment to the Host Group and the Church has been evident in the uncomplaining diligence and reliability with which she has fulfilled the task over that time. Now that she is able to be relieved of the task, we wish to express our gratitude for her faithful service through this formative time in the group’s development.
  2. We received a note from George Warren, our Advent Retreat Leader, expressing gratitude for leading retreat.
  3. We agreed to use “God on the Cross: Reflections on Lent & Easter” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for this year’s Lenten studies.
  4. BUV Mission & Direction discussion
    Chris Wanstall, BUV Mission & Direction Consultant facilitated discussion with Host Group to assist us to identify our goals for mission.

Next meeting: 6 February at 7.30pm at Nathan’s house