Doing Life Together
What does "life together" look like at The Billabong? Below are some reports from our various groups and programs about what they got up to last year. We hope you enjoy reading these, and that it piques your interest in joining a group or serving in one of these ministries.
Looking for our 2022 annual report? You can find it here.
In early 2022 Sarah, Martin and Luke honoured Nigel and I by asking if they could pass the baton to co-ordinate Billabong’s monthly church services, held at local aged-care residence Aegis Amherst, onto us… after prayer, when the Holy Spirit confirmed that He would be there to lead us, we agreed!
Lyn, John, and Luke kindly took turns to attend services with us for the first few months until we were comfortable running the services ourselves. Each 2nd Thursday of the month we arrive at Aegis at 10am to sign-in and set-up for the service that starts at 10.30am. Aegis staff play hymns on their laptop until 10.30am.
Three other local churches provide services on the 1st, 3rd, and 4th weeks of the month, including Anglican and Catholic churches, one of which provides a monthly communion service for residents. If there is a 5th Thursday in a month, residents and staff organise the service that week.
When it is Billabong’s week, we bring a laptop with PowerPoints of Bible reading passages, prayers, and hymn lyrics for the residents to follow along with. I am fine with the creation of the PowerPoints, but am thankful we have Nigel’s IT expertise to help with the connection to the aged-care’s projector, etc! 😊
Any volunteers need to know that the worship song ‘Blessed Assurance’ is on permanent weekly request from the Aegis residents and staff and cannot be forgotten! 😊 They do all love to sing hymns!
The service runs for half an hour and initially we would stay after the service to speak to and pray for residents, but with Covid restrictions this has ceased and recent services have ended promptly at 11am.
Any volunteers need to show evidence of up-to-date Covid vaccines and annual flu shots prior to entry. Most of the year we have also had to show evidence of a current negative RAT test, have our temperature taken and wear a face mask. Although recently there are signs some conditions might be lifting.
Due to Covid restrictions, there were times during the year when volunteers were denied access to age-care and services were cancelled at these times. During this time, a decision was made by Aegis to move church services to a smaller, enclosed room, which has limited attendance space. We pray that as Covid restrictions ease, Aegis may be able to move services to a new larger room, as the original space has been repurposed.
Despite restrictions, the services have continued strongly, and have received positive feedback from residents and carer staff. As we say to the residents, it is an honour to be invited to worship God with them, and we always experience a Holy Spirit led and blessed service together!
If you feel led by Father God to visit, join or help this ministry, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks! God bless!
LADIES BIBLE STUDY
Kevin & Jenny Tan
Our Life Group is about 20 in number and 10-14 are regular attendees, mostly retirees. A key emphasis has been to encourage the group to contribute and share in our meetings. Overall, attendance was consistent throughout the year.
We covered topics and also concentrated on the Book of Galatians with a focus that Salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone and nothing else. We also discussed John Piper's teaching on Ephesians 5 - focussing on spirit guided husband and wife relationships (verses 19-33). Often a very sensitive study, it was received well and couples contributed to the discussions.
We supported a number of families who went through health issues. Also a member who suffered (and continues to suffer) chronic back problems over a prolonged time.
Openness was encouraged and even those who are usually more reserved started to share more. There is a great wealth of testimonies as some of us have been Christians for many years
We also encouraged group outings so as to foster friendships - a lunch followed by going to the movies was enjoyed by all and also a dual birthday celebration earlier in the year.
Yoy & Anita Alberastine
We are a Multicultural Life Group. We embrace Believers from various countries and find great joy in sharing life together with our regular get-together on Sundays after church service. We are having a break from the Book of Psalms discussions. Currently, we are doing studies on Ripple Effect.
We are also a Multigenerational Life Group ranging from Teenagers to working adults with Grandkids.
The love of Christ and our care for one another binds us together. We have occasions of ministry time to pray and minister to one another.
We support and pray for each other and endeavor to provide food ministry when the need arises. We encouraged small group fellowship with each other to build closer bonds with one another. We thank God for placing each individual and family into this Cell where they can feel belong to the family of Christ.
Please see attached our Christmas 2022 celebration photo where we had lots of yummy food, loads of fun and laughter and some seriousness with bible quizzes. Everyone left with lots of gifts and good memories. As of today, we have 3 more new families added to our group which is not in this photo.
Sarah Robinson & Martin Dodge
Breakfast for Good is a group who have built strong connections over the past five years. We seek to support each other in life and share our passions for how we can make a difference in this world, however small.
Each month we meet on a Saturday morning in cafes or in our homes with one person leading the monthly topic. These topics included Aboriginal reconciliation, global sustainability, environmental issues and personal wellbeing and health.
We enjoyed a walk at The Spectacles, a long weekend camping in Bunbury and more recently, going to the Escape Room in Fremantle. For us, it is a blend of building strong personal and meaningful relationships with each other and encouraging each other to love God and love our neighbours.
LIFE GROUP SOUTHEAST
The Billabong Lifegroup Southeast continued to meet when feasible over the past year. A number of distractions caused us to miss some meetings or for the meetings to have just a few of us. On a few occasions we were able to meet with most members. The distractions included hard things, particularly health challenges, and good things, such as vacations and opportunities for work. Despite these distractions we continued to grow closer as a small part of the Billabong community. Time spent studying scripture or series like The Ripple Effect have been fairly rare but we have lived life and prayed together whenever we’ve met and in communication in between times.
The future looks to be more of the same but we continue to pray for resolution of the hard things and for opportunities to meet more consistently.
LIFE GROUP SUNDAY TACOS
Sarah & Mike Sheehy, Vince & Karen Stagno
Sunday Tacos is a home group meeting on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 12 noon at the Billabong building and various parks and homes for a BYO lunch and fellowship.
We discuss the sermon for the week, share testimonies about what’s happening in our lives, pray for each other and aim to encourage each other in our walk with God. Recently we have been doing the Ripple Effect studies and are finding them thought provoking and challenging.
We have a desire to see more community connection in the wider Billabong and as such we’ve planned to start organising some church-wide activities over the next year, the first one being a picnic.
We have a mix of ages in our group, from kids in late primary school to people in their retirement. But we welcome anyone to join in and be part of the fun and encouragement.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing" - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
PRAYER GROUPS WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY MORNINGS
Pray without ceasing is the way of communion with our Father in heaven. It is soul fulfilling when we can talk to Him individually or collectively.
PRAYER GROUP SUNDAY MORNING
Samuel Annan and Georgina Jones
Billabong Sunday Prayer group is a group that meets every Sunday an hour before the worship service, to reflect on the impending worship, share an exhortation as the Holy Spirit leads, and pray for the worship and for the leading of the Holy Spirit during the service. We are a group that believes God’s power works through prayer. Our prayer life is not only limited to this space; prayer is also a lifestyle in which we encourage all to be involved. We reflect on the prayer requests we may have for the week and pray for those situations and individuals. We constantly connect beyond Sunday prayers, on WhatsApp, on any issues during the week that require prayer. In those instances, we share on our social platform and pray individually, committing the situation to God.
Kerin Williams and Anneliis Harries
Playgroup has been part of the Billabong Family since the beginning. Some of our current mums even were attendees when THEY were little! Along with some members of our church, diverse families from around Canning Vale and surrounding suburbs gather weekly during school terms to play, create, sing, dance, read stories, and share morning tea together. We also have special events like excursions, mums’ night out and our Graduation/Christmas party.
While playgroup is very fun and beneficial for the little ones, the grownups have just as much to gain. We are blessed to have regular volunteers from the congregation join in on the fun as a way to serve our local community and care for the beautiful mums and carers who come to playgroup as they navigate the challenges of parenting young children.
Some highlights this year have been our excursion to the city to visit the museum (the bus and train rides were a hit!), a weekend “family feast” bring and share meal with current and former members & extended families, and some kid-free outings for the mums to grow our friendships.
As members of the Billabong we want to authentically live out our faith as we journey together with these friends from all different backgrounds, and be a light and a blessing to everyone who comes along.