The Newcastle University Seventh-day Adventist group (Newcastle, NSW) officially became a church company on Sabbath, September 3.
A special service was held in the afternoon, attended by North New South Wales Conference (NNSW) president Pastor Adrian Raethel, church planting director Joseph Skaf, young adults director and associate pastor Blair Lemke, and senior Pastor Ernst William.
The group’s activities started in early 2019 with ASOC (Adventist Students on Campus) initiatives for university students, including their first evangelistic series about Bible prophecies. Later that year, they had a few meetings at Warners Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church.
According to Na Shen, one of the church leaders, “at the time when we first started, we only had one university student, and he was not Adventist at the time.”
The first official meeting at the University of Newcastle campus occurred in March 2020—the same weekend COVID-19 hit Australia. As Mr Lemke remembers, “we had one meeting on campus, the very first launch of the group. Since that time we ran online for several months and then have been meeting in person at the campus since the restrictions have been eased by the government.”
According to Pastor Raethel, becoming a church company is a recognition that the group is growing in their ministries. With the new status, they can also have representation in the decision-making processes of the Church, such as sending delegates to the next constituency meeting.
“A church company is officially recognised worldwide as an entity within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. So now they are part of the sisterhood of churches, and that is really exciting for the Newcastle university church company,” said Pastor Raethel.
According to Ms Shen, the achievement is exciting, but there is still much to be done. “It is a significant milestone, but I see it as just the beginning. We have much more to grow, and just as God gave us this vision as we started, He will give us the vision for the future.”