Cessnock Bellbird Uniting Church uses Synod grant to transform ministry

Cessnock Bellbird Uniting Church uses Synod grant to transform ministry

Cessnock Bellbird Uniting Church’s Bellbird Church and hall has been unused as a worship centre since 2016. Since then, it has been used for a permanent monthly garage sale and storage space. Recently, the congregation started planning something new. 

Cessnock Uniting Church Council Secretary Anne Hawkins told Insights that the congregation now has plans for a new ministry centered on families and young people.  
“The property is flat and fully fenced, so it is great for kids. The yard and the buildings are all fully accessible,” she said. 

“We will start Cubby Club (our playgroup) at the beginning of Term Three (23 to 24 July) – on Tuesdays from 10 to 12noon during school terms.” 

“Messy Church will start on the first Friday of each month, between 4-6pm, beginning in September. We will be offering craft and fun activities, then church, followed by food, all based around a theme (‘Creation’ for September).” 

“We will also have special occasions such as Teddy Bears picnic (we give teddies to all our baptismal children); Thanksgiving for our kids; Pets Blessing; Dinner Church; church around the fire pit and whatever other ideas we can enthuse the community to become involved with.” 

Cessnock Uniting Church is the recipient of a Synod Missional Grant, which Ms Hawkins said would help prepare the church, hall, and garden to be able to deliver worship and other services. This includes sound and music via a new sound system and speakers, a smart TV, and a computer.  

“There’s currently no internet, so the grant will establish this connectivity,” Ms Hawkins said. 
“Our new gardening team are now able to landscape the bare grounds to suit these outdoor missional opportunities. We hope one day to be able to market the beautiful heritage listed church as an intimate spiritual wedding venue and attractive historical backdrop for photos.” 

“We look forward to offering an original faithful worship space, invigorated for refreshed expressions of church, playgroup, and community gatherings, that is both visually attractive, and up to date in IT, hospitality and presence.” 
“The Bellbird community is growing quickly, as families and early retirees build new homes around us. We are conveniently situated on the main road, though still enjoying the song of Bellbirds.” 
“This gift has further encouraged and enthused the congregation to move forward. We are very grateful for Synod recognising and supporting the missional opportunities in regional areas through this Missional grant.” 

“Synod, Presbytery, and congregations are together ‘putting our money where our mouth is’ – in other words, we are demonstrating the love of God in a practical and realistic way.” 

The Synod’s Missional Grants provide congregations up to $10,000 for missional activity through the Synod Growth Investment Fund. The next round of Innovation and Missional Grants is currently open and closes on 16 August 


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