Seeking and Sharing the Fullness of Life

MichaelHardinRarely does one find a church that takes Jesus seriously. Many churches use the name of Jesus but manage to find all manner of ways to avoid the costly path of discipleship. South Yarra Community Baptist Church is one of those delightful exceptions. At SYCBaps one finds the entire congregation participating in worship, there is no hierarchy, and Jesus is not just a name but the Lord of Life! That they are a small church and not full of glitz and flash is to their benefit, for flash is usually an indication of superficiality and there is nothing superficial about following Jesus here. If I lived in Melbourne SYCBaps would be my home church. If you visit, I know your experience will be profound, life-changing and beautiful.

Michael Hardin
Executive Director, Preaching Peace
Author of The Jesus Driven Life,  What the Facebook?  and Walking with Grandfather


GeorgeAs a new person to this community, I was really struck by the unique blend of the ancient and the contemporary. On one level the service feels like it was born in the first century; orthodox, ancient and timeless. And yet there are creative, experiential aspects that engage the heart, body and senses. Everything feels deeply considered, the community collaborative and healthy, and the Sunday evening dinner a beautiful extention of the communal table. A very special place.

George


FranYFranDesde que era niña he sentido una conexión especial con Dios y, a pesar de estar lejos de mi país, he podido encontrar en la Iglesia Bautista de South Yarra un excelente lugar para encontrar a Dios. También la iglesia me ha permitido estar con personas cálidas y amables que no tienen interés en lo material (personas sencillas). Ha sido muy bueno contar con personas, pues estar fuera de tu país puede ser, a ratos, algo difícil.

Translation: Since I was a child I have felt a special connection with God and, although I am far away from my country, Chile, I have found in the South Yarra Baptist Church a wonderful place to find God. Also it has given me a place in a community of warm and welcoming people who are not focussed on material things. It’s been really great to have people we can rely on as, at times, being far from your homeland can be a difficult thing.

Francisca


img_2506I have been a part of this church since I was born, and I cannot imagine a more loving, caring and supportive community to grow up in. The children in the church feel like my sisters and brothers, and the adults like cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, beautifully brought together by our love of Jesus Christ. Over 18 years I have seen the children go from playing in another room during the service to the full involvement that we have today, where kids take part in the prayers and singing, do craft activities in the corner and have their own special roles like dancing, holding icons during the Gospel reading and setting the communion table. I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this church.

Acacia


ClementsAs visitors from the UK it’s  always great for Margaret and me to visit South Yarra Baptist when we’re in Melbourne. A welcoming fellowship, it also offers a quite rare blend of richly crafted worship drawing on a variety of Christian traditions and artistic insights, with thoughtful theology in preaching which faces up to the urgent issues and critical challenges facing humankind today. Don’t come if all you want is an hour or so of escapist religious sentiment to keep you in your comfort zone. Do come if you want your mind to be broadened and whatever faith you have to be inspired to explore further what the good news of God’s grace means for today.

The Revd Dr Keith Clements
Former General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches
and author of numerous books including
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ecumenical Quest and Ecumenical Dynamic


callamWhat a memorable experience it was for me to share firsthand in the rich liturgical life of this church. I was struck by the creative and very meaningful worship space and was inspired by the intelligent use of religious art. Corporate worship featured a high degree of enthusiastic participation by members of the congregation – young and old. It included ample readings from the Bible, songs from around the world, with some created by the pastor of the church and set to music by Australian composers. I delivered the sermon based on the readings appointed for the day and found the time in corporate worship at South Yarra thoroughly nourishing.

The Revd Neville Callum
General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance


SinaSouth Yarra Baptist church is a lovely community of Christians welcoming people from all walks of love into their circle of faith and love. Not only were my visits comforting on all fronts, but made me feel like part of it very early on even as a visitor. I highly recommend going there any Sunday to share your beliefs in a circle of warm-hearted people. I surely enjoyed the Sunday services and social settings showing everyone what faith is about.

As Deutsche mag ein Englisher Gottesdienst erstmal neu sein – aber South Yarra Baptist Kirche macht es denkbar einfach, da der Gottesdienst mehrere Sprachen umfasst – ausgedrueckt durch die unterschiedlichen Teile welche durch die Gemeinschaft gelesen werden. Die eindrucksvolle Gemeinschaftsatmosphere, inclusive des gemeinsamen Essens nach dem Gottesdienst, heisst alle willkommen. Es hat mir unglaublich viel Spass gemacht, Sonntag abends Besinnung in diesem Umfeld zu finden.

Sina


Sarah+2South Yarra Baptist has always been a beacon of hope and solace. Five years ago when my husband and I went through a difficult time we found their support, love and care sustained us in this very hard time. Although we don’t live close by we visit as often as we can and marvel at the way this small community of believers finds so much capacity to embrace us. It is a church where we have experienced the transforming love of Christ.

Sarah


WaiKwongSun從小在一家禮儀教會長大﹐但卻從來不喜歡禮儀﹐總覺得太拘謹﹑太不真實。後來終於轉到一家非禮儀教會。但當我來到南雅拉浸信會時﹐我不敢相信。什麼﹖浸信會也有禮儀﹖我看見的﹐實在使我大開眼界。原來禮儀可以如此愉快﹑如此活潑﹐而且是全民參與的﹐包括小孩子在內。禮儀雖然是設計的﹐但用起來卻好像是自發的。

Translation:  Growing up in a Lutheran church, I never liked liturgy, though I struggled hard to keep going along. That is one reason why I later joined a non-liturgical church. You can imagine my surprise when I visited South Yarra. What? A Baptist church with a liturgical service? What I saw was an eye opener. For the first time in my life I was able to witness a liturgical service that is so vibrant and so joyful. Everybody participated, including the children. Though designed and planned, it all seemed so free and spontaneous!

孫偉光牧師
Pastor Wai Kwong Sun

Past-President of the Baptist Union of Victoria


Bouchon - VirginieJ’ai été accueillie à bras ouverts avec amour et chaleur. J’avais ma place dans l’église et cela était important pour moi. Chacun a sa place, peu importe sa différence et sa langue. Chacun est important. La participation des enfants, et de chacun d’entre nous, rend la cérémonie vivante et chaleureuse.  Tous en cercle nous sommes l’un en face de l’autre, ensemble, pour partager ce moment et dans cette configuration, on sent une force, une chaleur, une réelle présence. Je n’ai jamais trouvé cela ailleurs et je n’oublierais jamais votre présence chaleureuse et réconfortante le jour de mon départ. Ces moments là restent un souvenir inoubliable et je vous en remercie.
Translation: I was welcomed with open arms, with love and warmth. I was given a place in the church and it was important to me. Each one has their place, regardless of their differences and languages. Each one is important. The participation of the children, and of all of us, makes the worship warm and vibrant. Everyone is in the circle, face to face, together, to share this moment, and gathered like this, one feels a power, a warmth, a real presence. I’ve never found that anywhere else, and I will never forget how you gathered around me, so warm and comforting, on the day I left to return to France. Our time was full of treasured and unforgettable memories and I thank you.
Virginie

PaulSheppySouth Yarra holds good memories for me of worship and life richly woven together. Experimental but grounded in daily reality, there is an integrity to what happens here. What I found especially moving was that the gifts and abilities of all are used; people are not overlooked here but treasured for themselves. Professor Gordon Lathrop reminds us that the central act of Christian worship includes at its climax a breaking which heals our brokenness. At South Yarra I saw the truth of that.
The Revd Dr Paul Sheppy
Fellow of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage
Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, UK
Author of Death Liturgy and Ritual and In Sure and Certain Hope and Cries of the Heart

Minnie当我第一次参加South Yara浸信会时,我被这里充满温暖和爱的环境所深深吸引。这里的人们欢迎我也鼓励我很多,帮助我度过了艰难的岁月,更支持了我信仰的成长。
这里的聚会形式新颖又互动。与传统的听道不同,每个教徒都会轮流诵读祷告经文,而且还是用自己的母语。于是常常可以听到各种各样的语言在祷告和赞美。这种崇拜方式展现了我们在主内合一同心,尽管文化和背景差异巨大。
欢迎你抽空来参加我们的聚会。你一定会有像我一样宾至如归,与众不同的感觉!

Translation: When first attending SYCBaps four years ago, I was deeply impressed by the warm and loving environment. People welcomed and encouraged me when I was going through a difficult time, but also supported my growth in Christ by words and acts.
The services here are held in an engaging and interactive way. Instead of sitting and listening to sermons passively, everyone in the congregation takes turns to lead prayers or hymns or Bible readings in our mother languages. Therefore, often many languages (including Chinese) are heard, giving thanks and praise to God. This demonstrates our unity as a family in Christ regardless of our diverse cultures and backgrounds. 
Please make a time to visit us. You are sure to have a unique and welcoming experience at SYCBaps!
Minnie

FrankSennIn 2004, I had the honor of preaching at the service. I experienced the worship as an interesting example of the ancient-future model, a convergence of traditional and contemporary elements, a blend of ecumenical liturgical renewal and Baptist practices. … The warm hospitality of the congregation was on full display. I think the order of service and the style of worship at SYCBC is unique, but it is thoughtful and inviting.

The Revd Dr Frank C. Senn
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Lutheran pastor & liturgical scholar extraordinaire
Author of Embodied Liturgy,  Christian Liturgy- Catholic & Evangelical,  The People’s Work,  New Creation, and many more

Click here for a longer version from Frank

In 2004 I was on sabbatical in Australia and was invited to Melbourne and to South Yarra Community Baptist Church by Nathan Nettleton. I had the honor of preaching at the service. I experienced the worship as an interesting example of the ancient-future model, a convergence of traditional and contemporary elements, a blend of ecumenical liturgical renewal and Baptist practices. The content of the liturgy was based on the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. A 10-miniute period of silent reflection was built in after the readings and before the sermon. The Eucharist was celebrated at the round table in the center of the large circle of worshipers using a creative eucharistic prayer. The elements of bread and wine were passed around to the worshipers and, in Baptist style, everyone ate the bread and drank the wine at the same time. The Eucharistic liturgy was followed by a pot luck supper (an agape feast) at which the warm hospitality of the congregation was on full display. I think the order of service and the style of worship at SYCBC is unique, but it is thoughtful and inviting.


ChristopherWilcockThis is a community that both reaches out to others, and that through the care and openness in its liturgies keeps its home fires burning.  It knows that there is a big world out there, but it also knows that, as part of that big world, and if it’s going to make a difference, the community needs to be in touch with its roots.  What caught me is SYCBaps’ conviction that the way we connect, and the One to whom we are connected, matter deeply.

The Revd Dr Christopher Willcock
Jesuit Priest and one of the world’s leading composers of liturgical music

Click here for a longer version from Christopher

South Yarra Baptist Community Church: this is a community that both reaches out to others, and that through the care and openness in its liturgies keeps its home fires burning. It knows that there is a big world out there, but it also knows that, as part of that big world, and if it’s going to make a difference, the community needs to be in touch with its roots. No small amount of this is due to the community’s leader, Nathan, whose vitality and inventive spirit are an inspiration for all to whom and with whom it ministers. My chief lines of contact with the community are firstly as one of Nathan’s teachers when he was a theological student, and then afterwards as a composer when I was invited to write some music for the church’s liturgies. What caught me then, as it does now, is SYCBaps' conviction that the way we connect, and the One to whom we are connected, matter deeply.

 

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