‘A Bit Ambitious…’: a History of Ashburton Baptist Church

Published: Friday, 14 March 2014

Dr Roslyn Otzen is a former member of ABC. Here is a presentation, entitled " 'A Bit Ambitious...': a History of Ashburton Baptist Church", that she recently made to the Baptist Historical Society. 

ros otzen sI have titled this talk 'A Bit Ambitious...'. It was Peter Stockman who used the phrase to describe the new church building Ashburton built in 1959. But it seems to fit well with several other aspects of the Church's life, and indeed, my account of it. I will look at three themes which have interested me greatly in the history of the Ashburton Baptist Church.

The first is the place of women in leadership in the Church.
When I began my research, no one at Ashburton was aware that one of the most significant of the founders was a woman, Mary Maria Upton. She had been a member at Collins Street Baptist Church, before transferring her membership to Camberwell in 1918, having moved from South Yarra to Glen Iris. She was absolutely critical in Ashburton's tenuous early years, was one of the three of the first committee, carrying out much of the negotiation with the Home Mission. She played a key part in what IP Abbott always referred to as 'The Cause', from 1930. She held the church together providing the needed 'social glue' as you can hear in the Minute of February 1932. Mrs Upton had accommodated a replacement minister in her own home, 19 Fuller Avenue, when Mr McKittrick was on holiday.

What I learned from having breast cancer

Published: Thursday, 13 March 2014

dianne taylorWhen Dianne Taylor discovered in 2011 that she had breast cancer she felt confident that this was not going to be a death sentence and she would be OK. Following 3 months of chemotherapy Dianne underwent major surgery. Critically ill, she struggled to stay alive and to hold onto her faith.

In October 2011 I was working hard to build up my business, with 70-80 hour weeks, as well as an active social life and family commitments.  I wasn’t looking after myself, but at least I made time for my annual breast screen, as both my mother and sister have had breast cancer.  The initial results were fine, but I was under the care of my sister’s cancer surgeon and he always had his patients’ mammograms double checked by a particular radiographer that he trusted.  She noticed a slight shadow - tiny but enough to recommend a biopsy.  The shadow was so small and indistinct that when I went in to have the biopsy this same radiographer tried to talk me out of it, saying it may be unnecessary. She showed me a huge needle, and said the actual one they use is even bigger!  My purpose in telling my story is to share some things I learned that might be useful for you.  The first one is to pray about everything and listen to your intuition, to whether you feel peaceful or unsettled.  Mine was telling me to go ahead, just for peace of mind. 

The day after the biopsy I received the dreaded phone call from the cancer surgeon to tell me I had to see him as soon as possible to discuss my biopsy results. My diary was full, as usual, and I told him that I didn’t have time to see him, and asked him to tell me over the phone.  He said “I’ll be here from 7am to 6pm tomorrow and you can come at any time between those hours and I will fit you in”.  I knew at that moment what the news would be. 

Longing for Dazzle in Your Day

Published: Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Old timers used to view ads like these at the Civic Theatre in Ashburton, Melbourne as they crunched their popcorn while waiting to see the latest movie.

 Click image to play video

For 80 years the people of ABC have been ambassadors of cleansing. Not a superficial whitewashing over life’s stains but the deep down cleansing from our mistakes and everything that life throws at us.

The message we still yearned to experience daily is how a relationship with Christ transforms drabness and brightens the dreariness of life.

Monday may no longer be washing day in Ashburton and the laundry may no longer be the exclusive domain of the Glen Iris housewife but we long to live a life that is fun and distinctive.

A life that gets us singing!


Studies in ‘Living the Beatitudes’

Published: Wednesday, 05 March 2014

beatitudesGeoff Pound has prepared a sermon and study series on 'Living the Beatitudes'.

  • Introduction to the Beatitudes (9 March 2014) - Matt 5: 1-12
  • Blessed are the Poor in Spirit; Blessed are those that Mourn (16 March 2014) - Matt 5: 3-4
  • Blessed are the Meek; Blessed are those that Hunger (23 March 2014) - Matt 5: 5-6
  • Blessed are the Merciful; Blessed are the Pure in Heart (30 March 2014) - Matt 5: 7-8
  • Blessed are the Peacemakers; Blessed are the Persecuted (6 April 2014) - Matt 5: 9-10
  • Rewards and Joy of the Blessed (13 April 2014) - Matt 5: 11-12

 Click here to download the study material.

Youth and Reconciliation

Published: Tuesday, 04 March 2014

Do you know what young Australians think about the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians?

In 2012, Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition launched the Yarn About Youth program to find out what issues matter to young people and how young people and the youth sector can progress reconciliation.

They discovered, for example,

  • 90% think the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is important
  • 35% think the relationship is good
  • 16% think that we trust each other
  • 51% think the relationship is improving
  • 80% think Australia is better off because we have many different cultures
  • 67% rank their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories as high 

Click here for more information.

I’ve Just Met a Girl Named Maria!

Published: Monday, 03 March 2014

Delving this week through the earliest records of the Ashburton Baptist Church, I’ve just a met a girl named Maria.

Not exactly a girl but Mary Maria Upton had the energy of a young woman.

19 Fuller Street Glen IrisOpen Home

Maria lived in 19 Fuller Avenue, Glen Iris (pictured) with her husband, William James Upton and their five children, Nellie, Will, Hilda, Arthur and Millie.

Check out her house here on Google Maps because her house was always open to visitors, newcomers and because her house was always open to visitors, newcomers and people needing friendship. When Ashburton Baptist only had a rented hall, Maria’s home was always available for prayer and business meetings.

They said of Maria that her hospitality to visitors was without limit.