First King Island baptisms for 24 years

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Mr Whelan baptises David Stewart while his wife Sumarie watches.

Just a little under five years ago, a rescue mission was commenced to “save” the King Island Seventh-day Adventist Church from extinction. The house at the side of the church had been sold and it was intended that the church be sold as soon as a buyer could be found.

The land on King Island (which lies off the north-west coast of Tasmania) had been purchased and a church had been built with a team of volunteers in early January 1981. At that stage the church had an average attendance of about 40. Over the years the membership had decreased and the last surviving original member (Laurie Morgan) was buried in 2013.

Following his funeral, Barry Whelan and Vivian Hill, both from Victoria, learned that the church was due to be sold, and so they set out to “rescue” the church. After five years of ministry, travelling each week from Victoria,  the King Island church celebrated its first baptisms for 24 years.

Barry Whelan with the baptismal candidates.

The church group and a number of visitors witnessed the baptism of a young newly married couple, David and Sumarie Stewart, on Sabbath, January 19, and the following day a mother and daughter, Kymm and Gracye Hill, were baptised together in the same beautiful natural rock pool (British Admiral pool) just south of the main township of Currie.

“The regular attendance is now between 15 and 20,” said Mr Whelan. “We praise our wonderful God for His gracious mercy and love and may the rescue story continue under His blessing and leadership.”