If you love the coast or have always wanted to see The Twelve Apostles—one of the world’s most picturesque natural attractions—then a holiday along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria might just be for you. If you are in the area for Sabbath, then you must pay a visit to Warrnambool church. According to long-time member Barry Ladlow, it’s an active and multicultural church with about 45 regular members and up to 80 attendees on some Sabbaths.
If you arrive on the first Sabbath of the month, you’ll be treated to a themed prayer breakfast. Church members hold prayer meetings in their homes each Wednesday night.
The church hopes to continue developing relationships with their community so that more disciples of Jesus are made.
Pastor Luis Bermudez is also pastor of Camperdown and Portland churches. With Warrnambool being the biggest church in the region, its elders help by preaching and supporting the other churches.
The church has put together a calendar of all of its events and services for the year, so people can know what’s coming up. Regular events include a social every month, where church members can invite community members and neighbours, closing Sabbaths, Adventurers (Warrnambool has around 12) and a weekly craft group that has been running for about 20 years. The youth, who take the service once or twice a year, are going on a snow trip to NZ this year.
Special highlights on the calendar include the Gilson College school mission trip. The college’s Year 9 students run the Sabbath service as well as helping out around the community while staying at the local Scout camp. Wantirna church members also visit every year as a STORMCo (Service To Others Really Matters) trip, where they run a kids’ club for the community.
Being from a regional church does have its challenges however, according to Barry. With an ageing church membership, they are hoping to equip more of the young people to become elders and deacons. Another challenge is the turnover of pastors, but Barry says Pastor Luis has been at Warrnambool for a few years and this has been beneficial. As the community becomes familiar with him and he has time to follow up contacts, the continuity of pastoral ministry is helping.
The church hopes to continue developing relationships with their community so that more disciples of Jesus are made. And if you’re ever driving down the Great Ocean Road, they’d love you to drop by too.