Found a Church

Hi Guys

 I thought you would like to know that we think we have found the right church for us to get involved with, which is a definite praise point. The church is called the Branch Christian Church and how we found it is a bit of a long story…

About 8 years ago in Albany we were doing some computer work for an elder of the Free Reformed Church there, and one of the jobs he got us to do was OCR a bunch of papers for him so they would be small enough for him to email. So we were scanning some papers and then processing them on the computer to turn them into text, which makes them much smaller. As a part of the process we needed to proof read the papers to ensure that the programme had recognised the characters correctly as it usually messes some up. Anyway the long and the short of it was that we had to read all of the stuff we were processing and before long we were rather fascinated with it all.

The papers were dealing with some interviews that the Free Reformed Church was having with one of their pastors in Launceston, Tasmania. One of the beliefs of folk in the Free Reformed Church is that their children are saved unless they reject Christ, so they do not urge their children to be born again or converted, but assume that they are saved. Anyway it appeared from our reading that this pastor in Launceston had experienced a conversion experience himself and had realised that the new birth was an essential part of salvation. He had thus started exhorting his congregation to be sure of their own salvation and not just assume they were okay. This upset a number of folk in the church and they were interviewing him to determine if his doctrine was the same as the church or not. Ultimately they determined that it was not and he was excommunicated with a few other families who had embraced his teaching, and they began another church together. It was exciting reading because we felt very much that this pastor was rediscovering truths we also hold dear, and we were praying for him back then and every now and then would wonder what had happened to them.

Anyway when we were in Devonport as you know we went to the Christian Reformed Church there (not the same denomination as the Free Reformed), and we asked a fellow there to recommend churches in Launceston and one of the churches that he recommended was the Branch, and from what he said we thought it was probably the church we remembered. Anyway they do not advertise in the paper and so we had a bit of a battle finding where and when they met when we actually got down here. Eventually Kim found a name associated with the church on the internet and we got out the white pages and started to phone up the listings of it and the first person to answer said he went to the Branch and gave us the details. So we finally got to go there, and it was indeed the church we had heard about 8 years ago.

The church had about 120 people there, a mixed bunch of ages and not all Dutch. 🙂 They sang good songs, of which I only knew one, and the preaching was good, sound and evangelical. (I quite liked the songs the Christian Reformed Church sang too, a lot of them were Psalms adapted well to tunes I knew and had a good content and were good to sing). There was a Sunday School for Josiah, which made him happy, and they have an evening teaching session (just teaching, no singing or anything) which Kim also went to and found good. The people were friendly, as they have been everywhere we have gone, and I found myself talking to a couple of ladies about issues raised in the sermon and our beliefs rather than just passing the time – which was great.

Kim also talked to one of the elders about our Baptist beliefs. One of the reasons Kim was worried about going to Launceston Christian Reformed Church is because we would not be able to become members or get deeply involved there because of our baptist leanings. However the elder of the Branch said that at least 30% of their congregation are baptists and that it is no barrier to involvement in their church, which is encouraging. Anyway we shall continue to go there for now and hopefully we can settle in somewhat – until we move to Mole Creek and have to start looking again.

lots of love to you all. Thanks for your prayers.

Cathy

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