Our Story

our story

In 1929 an Ashburton Baptist fellowship began with 20 people.

our story cooeeIn 1934 a timber church was constructed in Marquis Street and the fellowship constituted as a church proper. The church grew with the rapid expansion of the Ashburton / Glen Iris area in the 30s, 40s and 50s. This early growth was expressed in the construction of a new brick sanctuary in Y Street in 1959.

The impetus of the new building and visionary leadership promoted an exciting period of achievement during the 60s which included fine preaching, a large vital youth group, all-age Christian education and a community care program.

The 70s commenced with the construction of the Christian Education and Social Activity Centre in Marquis Street. During this decade the church developed interests in counselling services, small groups, a youth coffee house and an active letterbox-drop program covering over 6000 homes throughout the district. The church also sent out a number of members for missionary service and supported others wishing to train for and enter the Christian ministry.

The church community continued to grow through the 80s, with the development of dual Sunday morning church services, the purchase of 6 Y Street and the establishment of the Baird Street house for country students. In 1985, the church community was proud to support the appointment of one of its members, Winsome Abbott as the first woman President of the Baptist Union of Victoria.

A number of developments and changes occurred throughout the 90s. In 1991 the Constitution was amended to include membership by profession of faith based upon significance of baptism and confirmation in other Christian traditions. In 1993 the Church established The WellSpring Spirituality Centre, an ecumenical ministry that has achieved international reputation. The residence at 11A Marquis Street was purchased and extended in 1994, becoming the Elsie Salter House Day Care Centre. In the same year Thurman House was established at 6 Y Street as a Job Training and Placement Service, later becoming an agency of Baptist Community Care.

Construction works were undertaken in 1996, connecting the existing place of worship and the Christian education centre with a new foyer and church café. This work also involved increasing seating in the sanctuary, establishing offices for the staff, and building purpose-designed facilities for the Wellspring Centre, including a library/resource room, chapel and prayer rooms.

During the ‘90s the church actively supported the ordination of women and their participation in leadership. Our first female pastor was Rev. Jill Manton who was ordained from Ashburton Baptist in 1992. Jill was also the Director of WellSpring from its inception until 2003. Since that time, ABC has supported several women and men on their journey to ordination.

During the ‘90s the church supported indigenous leadership training at Bimbadeen College, Cootamundra. Support was also given to refugees seeking residency in Australia; the church has continued to support the asylum seeker cause. A second Country Student House was also established in 1998 in Y Street; however, due to a decrease in demand, the decision was made to revert to one student house only, now located in Welfare Parade, Glen Iris.

Our present Pastoral Team consists of Rev. Dr Geoff Pound (Senior Pastor) and Rev. Keren McClelland (Associate Pastor).

The church celebrated its 80th Anniversary on Sunday 26th October 2014. You can see the photos of our history that we displayed that day here.

Pastoral Leadership History

Mr. S. Margetts

1929-31

Mr. S. McKittrick

1931-33

Mr. A.E. Gallop

1933-35

 

Rev. W.J. Eddy

1935-38

Rev. Harry Horsfall

1938-51

 

Rev. Ray Taylor

1951-58

Rev. Peter Stockman

1958-66

 

Rev. Ron Ham

1966-73

Rev. Keith Wilson

1973-77

 

Rev. John Haig

1977-84

Rev. Peter Walker

1985-96

 

Rev. Peter Bentley

1996-03

Rev. David Griffiths

2003-05

 

Rev. Ken Luscombe

2005-11

Rev. Rowena Curtis

2011-12

 

Rev. Dr. Geoff Pound

2012-