In early 2014, Pastor Trevor Mawer received a devastating phone call from a church member—a family had just lost their baby girl, one month out from the due date. The couple had been married in the church, though they weren’t members or attending at the time. But they had connections to the Stanthorpe church (Qld) through friendship, and as Pastor Mawer conducted the funeral service, the support of the church members ministered to their pain and heartache. Despite the loss, four members of the family started attending the Last Empire series run by the church. All seemed to be well, until September 2014, when Pastor Mawer received another heartbreaking call from the family: the father of the young woman who’d lost the baby had been killed in a single vehicle accident.
“The grief that I encountered that night was intense,” recalls Pastor Mawer. “At 2am, the house was full, with about 30 people in various states of shock, disbelief and trauma.”
This time, both of Pastor Mawer’s churches pitched in to help, with Warwick providing space for the service and Stanthorpe providing financial support. Days and weeks after the funeral, the churches continued to minister to the family, and the friendships grew. On a few occasions, Pastor Mawer was even invited to attend some of their family functions and birthdays. But it wasn’t long before his conversations with the family turned to big questions: What happens next? Where do we go?
The conversations eventually turned into group discussions and Bible studies, but in 2015, the family moved to the town of Inglewood. With no church presence, the family called Pastor Mawer for the third time—this conversation, however, was good news. They wanted to know if he’d be willing to come and do “something” with them.
“Now, I live in Stanthorpe, and Inglewood is located more than 100km west,” explains Pastor Mawer, who already travels more than 60km to get to his other church in Warwick. “But when God opens doors, we need to step through them.”
The first Inglewood meeting was held in the home of the young woman who had lost her baby daughter. At 3pm on a hot afternoon, Pastor Mawer was dubious. How many will come? he wondered.
But the family, self-professed non-Christians with little biblical knowledge, had invited everyone they had met in the town. That day, 27 people gathered in the home, and a new church was started.
“But when God opens doors, we need to step through them.”
Today, the Inglewood church plant meets every fourth Sabbath of the month, and the members continue to invite everybody they meet to come and join them. Though the numbers fluctuate, there is a core group of 11 people.
“This is a group who previously had no faith,” says Pastor Mawer. “They are keen seekers, and though the troubles of the world regularly interfere, they are sticking with this.”
Pastor Mawer meets with the group every first and third Thursday of the month, as well as the fourth Sabbath, and would like to thank those who have been willing to support the small church.
“Many people continue to help out spiritually, financially, and by just being the hands and feet of Jesus,” he says. “Please continue to pray for the Inglewood group in the days ahead.”