Church of God
A number of facets of the union are yet to be finalized. To aid in this process, the church board and council of each former congregation have been combined into one new council that will serve until an annual general meeting can be conducted later this year or early in 1997.
Attendance since merger has averaged 32 men, women, and children. This is consistent with pre-amalgamation numbers in each congregation. We are now developing a few ministry areas, including children's church and an outreach to men, that have not been available before because of not having enough members. Please pray for the congregation in this time of merger and refocusing.
At the same time, we have experienced some reversals in the Church of God in Australia. For example, the Nepean Valley Community Church has been closed temporarily. This relatively new church plant at Penrith, near Sydney, had been led by Pastor Garry Power. Recently it had experienced the loss of several key families in the core group who were looking for a congregation with more "established" children's ministries.
Similar reversals at nearby Canley Heights Church, and their loss of Sister Jean Bobrowski and Pastor Lloyd Chilver's mother, Miriam Chilver, have provided the need and opportunity for Pastor Garry and other continuing Nepean congregation members to worship together and help out at Canley Heights. The Canley Heights congregation has formed a steering committee to initiate changes which are hoped will bring fresh vision and vitality to the church.
Among outreaches at Canley Heights is its Thursday Kid's Club. Attendances are varied from four to twenty-two children, but enthusiasm is high and many children have received Christ as their Savior through this program. A few also come to children's church (Sunday school).
Recent Kid's Club activities have included participating in the World Vision Famine Fighters eight-hour fast on June 15 to raise funds for food and aid abroad. Younger children played games and watched videos while older youth took part in a 40-hour fast while washing cars, playing games, and watching videos.
A day care center (paid care for children) called "Rainbow's Place" has been started in the church's facilities by one of the ladies from Canley Heights Church. It is hoped that the center will not only meet practical family needs in the community, but will also open the doors of opportunity for local witness.
We are grateful for a number of persons who have come to serve the church in Australia in recent months. Among these, Tri-S students from Anderson University came to Sydney and served the church in practical ways through painting and performing other tasks.
In the absence of missionaries Ben and Marge Chandler, on a year's home assignment in the United States, we have been served for three months each by three special assignment missionary (SAM) couples. These couples are Joe and Millie Crane, from Indiana, Dick and Vila Hird, from Illinois, and Mr. and Mrs. Ira Johnson, from Canada.
Additionally, Brother Amos Moore, missionary from Meghalaya, India to Nepal, will be our key speaker at our annual family camp meeting at Camp Berachah, October 2-6. Theme for the camp is "Holiness Unto the Lord" and will also include sessions led by Ben Chandler, visiting during his home assignment, and the Johnsons. David Ravell, missionary from Australia to New Zealand, also will join us for this camp meeting.
We thank God for Marge Chandler's successful brain surgery in Canada on April 24. During the seven-hour operation, doctors were able to remove the major part of a benign brain tumor from behind her eye. The Chandlers have been asked to consider taking on another term of service in Australia as coordinators of the new leadership development post and in a mentor role for Australian pastors. This will be a position offered in partnership between the Missionary Board (U.S.A.) and the Association of the Church of God in Australia.