The district pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the southern half of the Northern Territory is appealing for prayer following recent social unrest in Alice Springs, the Territory’s third largest town.
Media have reported a rise in crime and antisocial behaviour in recent weeks. Locals are leaving the town and shops and businesses are shutting down.
Pastor David Gilmore said the situation has become very serious and he is appealing for church members across the South Pacific Division to pray for the town.
“We know that God is leading even in these very challenging times,” Pastor Gilmore said. “Please pray for the church in Alice Springs and for the local police and government leaders who are dealing with the crisis.”
Despite the unrest, the work of the Church in the Northern Territory has been moving ahead with unprecedented power thanks to the Holy Spirit’s moving and providence, according to Pastor Gilmore.
In May 2021, 24 people from the Finke community and Alice Springs were baptised in a combined special Sabbath service. More than 30 people have been baptised since then. New areas throughout the large district are opening up as far as Tennant Creek to the north and from Haasts Bluff to Kintore in the west and Finke to the south. More baptisms are about to be conducted shortly.
There are plans to build a new church in Alice Springs and materials are on the way for the construction. The aim is to make the new church a hub of influence to support the people in this large desert region.
Along with his ministry commitments, Pastor Gilmore is busy assisting those in need. Working for SecondBite in partnership with ADRA, he regularly distributes loaves of bread to families around Alice Springs.
“The Lord is really working, communities are opening up,” he said. “I’ve just been able to connect with a community next to Uluru—there’s a lady there who is a Sabbath-keeper. She’s invited us to minister there at Mutitjulu; she wants us to build a chapel up there. We enjoyed the Lord’s leading as we visited this iconic centre of world renown next to the ‘Big Rock’.”
With the support of five Bible workers, Pastor Gilmore cares for a huge district that includes three Adventist churches—at Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Finke—chapels at Mungkata and Haasts Bluff, and small groups of believers in various other communities. These areas also need prayer as “violence and crime are not isolated to Alice Springs”, Pastor Gilmore explained.
“This vast, sparsely populated region includes more than 300 communities, outstations and town camps,” he added. “They are of almost exclusively Aboriginal populations with at least nine different languages and people groups included among them. These are God’s beautiful sons and daughters. He loves them dearly. We believe God’s work will triumph thanks to your prayers and support and God’s great ability to turn tragedy into victory.”