Our Mission - Every person mature in Christ.
Our Vision - Everywhere in Eastwood, Ermington and a little bit more.
Our Strategy - Every open door of opportunity
Our Purpose - Glorify God in every household and every generation.
Never has it been more important in our society to know why we do what we do. Everything is defined by our purpose. And for us as a Parish, here in Eastwood and Ermington, we have been gifted by God to do this in a very special way – across cultures, languages, and generations. I continue to pray that God would use us to be that Church of His that knows no boundaries in who we are able to reach for his Kingdom. I pray that we would take every opportunity to show every person that Jesus cares for them, loves them and wants to offer salvation to them. Because of God's provision, we actually do have the means, the motive and the opportunity to reach every household and every generation for Him.
Last year we were thankful to be joined by Cathy Gravitis and Andrew and Liz Glover, to the English-speaking pastoral team across Eastwood and Ermington. We were also delighted to welcome Lane Sun, with his wife Jamie, onto the staff as part of the Mandarin ministry pastoral team.
We farewelled Josh and Anna with sadness but also with joy as they continue to train for lifelong ministry. We will miss them greatly across both centres.
Our Parish administration under Tiffany Haywood has helped us not only to transition during our lockdown times, but also enabled us to swiftly move back to onsite gatherings in better shape than before. She has overseen decisive and critical changes to our management and administration systems which have greatly improved our communication and effectiveness as a growing church made up of many small and diverse churches.
I cannot list the many ways in which every member of our staff team has blessed us this past year. They have all committed themselves faithfully to the care and equipping of God’s people and have done so sacrificially and with servant hearts. Our staff team meeting is a weekly highlight and I am humbled to work with such an amazing team that continues to grow stronger. Our Chinese ministry team with Christine, Clarence, Lane, Ningjia and Andy is growing in solidarity, working together with more collaboration each year. Our Indonesian Pastor Kian Holik has worked hard to pivot our Indonesian ministries to increase our care for families, as well as joining the English-speaking pastoral team with the 9:30am congregation. Pastor Joe Hong has continued to minister to our Korean congregation, seeing some new growth with families now and a new growth group. And we look forward to welcoming Wilston to our team as we continue to increase our connections with South-East Asia.
My thanks to our Parish Council - Yvonne, Chris, Darrel, Amanda, David, Harry, TseRuey, and Naomi. Many meetings were more straightforward this year, crafting budgets and reviewing expenditures, but so much of our time was being able to give thanks to God for the way he has continued to provide all we need and move us forward step by step with staffing needs, building work, and missions.
Our buildings continue to improve with David Mayes’ expertise – please read the building report and give thanks to God for the amazing way he has enabled us to provide valuable facilities for many more ministries this year.
David Smith has continued to grow our maintenance team across both centres adding functionality and beauty to our sites every week. This care for our grounds speaks of our care for people. Thanks to all who serve in our maintenance teams.
Allan Beeston continued to manage our property licensing and rentals for another year. The community relationships and income generated have been a wonderful outworking of thoughtful and careful stewardship.
And of course, my special thanks to Chris Stretton, Mike Lum and Lee Beeston. Wardens of a large Parish such as ours are always bearing a heavy load but they do so with integrity and gospel purpose, always seeking to honour the Lord Jesus with decisions. Through one of the biggest transitions of operations management over the past few years, they have helped to enable our parish not only to survive, but to thrive in ministry. They bear a great responsibility, and I am very thankful for them.
And finally, my deepest thanks to my family – Heather, Flynn, Jonah and Asher. They contribute so much to our church life up front and behind the scenes, but are also very patient and gracious with my ministry responsibilities which often affect our family plans. I do not take this for granted and am very grateful for their kingdom focus.
I also wish to thank the families and households of all our staff team. They share a deep connection to our church ministries and each family member is an important part of our wider staff family. It is a highlight each year to gather together with staff and parish council families to celebrate the ministry we share in together.
As the senior pastor of English congregations, I am very thankful for the pastoral team of Cathy, Andrew, Kian, Greg, Jason, Suzanna, Jo and Tiff. In their various roles with pastoral work, administration and children’s and youth ministry, this wonderful team cares so deeply for people and relationships. Surfacing after some difficult years has not been easy, we now find ourselves welcoming many visitors and newcomers every week. A special welcome and thank you if you’ve joined us over the past year. However long you have been here, please know that you are a valuable and loved member of God’s family here in Eastwood and Ermington.
As congregations grow, I have been stretched to keep in close touch with every congregation. I value the times when I am able to visit, preach or just share some updates across other language congregations. However, this is often difficult. As we grow as a church in number, I pray that our congregations grow closer together. It is important not to lose that sense of family. Whilst we may not be able to always feel like a “little family” across 10 congregations, 2 sites and 5 languages, I do pray that each congregation and growth group will maintain that sense of close belonging that we have as a collection of small churches and congregations.
Ermington – St Mark’s
It is hard to believe that we have only been in close partnership with Ermington for 2 years. It feels like God has done so much in that time – and he has! Welcoming the Glovers on board recently, into the rebuilt rectory, seeing a playground installed, powerlines moved, and landscaping continuing, not to mention the great joy of 2 Sunday services, Carols with the Christian Brotherhood bikers at Christmas, and a new tenancy with a local dance group – I believe Ermington is really a church for the community, and one of the few gospel communities in a large and growing population. It is a gift to have such a resource of property that we can use for amazing opportunities in our neighbourhood. My thanks to all who have worked hard over these past 2 years to bring life to this gospel partnership. It is a true joy!
Professional Standards Committee
This is my 9th year serving on the Professional Standards Committee for the Diocese of Sydney. This committee hears and acts on cases of abuse by clergy and church workers in our Diocese, including sexual abuse, domestic violence and bullying.
So many new ministries have emerged over the past 12 months such as new social groups and growth groups. Most, if not all, of our regular weekly ministries are up and going again such as playgroups and ESL, and this year has started incredibly well. As we look forward to amazing opportunities ahead, I pray we will never cease to look back and give thanks to God for the amazing work He has done amongst us over the particularly challenging past years. They have been challenging yet formative. They speak of our strength in unity under the Lord Jesus and we have been greatly blessed by His sovereign protection over us.
There is much more to say but I encourage you to read the reports in this booklet straight from the hands and hearts of those who have led the ministries of our Parish over the past year. Thank you to all who have prayed, served and given generously for the gospel this year. I am delighted and excited to enter into my 9th year with this Parish, knowing that God’s plans are always amazing and challenging, but the reward of serving him is eternal.
In this year of Evangelism, this is much work and training to do together. May we extend ourselves to serve, remembering the opening words of Jesus in the gospel of Mark:
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
May God bless you and your households and the ministry of his church, and may we serve gladly with our hearts and hands in the name of our Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.