New Times Editor & Communications Officer Catherine Hoffman shares a final editorial and announces that she will be leaving the Uniting Church SA office on Friday 15 June.
A new Encounter
By Bindy Taylor
Communications Manager & Editor-in-Chief
Posted in News
Encounter Church is the first Uniting Church SA faith community to emerge from the Generate 2021 church planting program, receiving official recognition as a faith community on Monday 25 September. Based in Prospect, Encounter Church is passionate about people and relationships, eager to engage with their community and share the love of Jesus.
Mike and Jenny Wardrop are the lead pastors of the church plant, but from its early formation stages they were keen to gather a leadership team focussed on collaborative decision-making.
“The formation of the Encounter Church team was a very slow and careful process,” says Mike. “We wanted people who truly fitted the ethos of the plant and who were comfortable with the time and the commitment required for a start-up church.”
During the planning and development stages, Jenny and Mike eagerly welcomed the many opportunities presented to them through the Generate 2021 initiative. They also took advantage of the many conferences, courses and events on offer locally and interstate.
“We really invested a lot of time in learning from others about church planting,” says Mike. “Some of the most beneficial teachings came from the Church Planting Intensive at Uniting College, and from the mentoring and coaching we received from others who had previously established a plant - both in the Uniting Church and other denominations.”
The Encounter leadership team settled on four key values to describe and shape their faith community: Jesus, People, Real and Generous.
“All of the Encounter values focus on God. For us the word ‘real’ is crucial to our existence. We want to communicate in the most real and honest way possible with authenticity, especially in our life groups. We want life groups to be places where people can share honestly – their struggles, joys and grief,” Mike explains.
“We also want to demonstrate passion for people, building relationships and strengthening communities.
“Generosity is how we give, not only financially, but in spirit - our time and the way we communicate with and serve each other.
“Finally, Jesus: we are devoted to sharing the Gospel message of Jesus and our longing is for people to come into relationship with him.”
Encounter Church is currently worshiping at the RSL in Prospect. At present, the community consists mostly of young adults in their late teens, 20s and 30s, but there are a number of children and several older folk. The community is poised and ready to do intergenerational ministry and are expanding rapidly.
“We really feel like this plant is a call from God, and it’s a labour of love for all those involved,” says Mike.
“We would welcome any support the Uniting Church SA community can provide us. If people are heeding a call to pray for us or support us financially please do so.”
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This week's news and notices from congregations, the SA Presbytery and Synod, and the wider Uniting Church.