From the Lead Minister

2017 was an important year for the St Hilary’s Network. In the course of the year we gave mutual prayerful discernment to our new Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Directions. Through a combination of draft documents and church board Connect Group visits we refined and moved to agreement on new document. Just calling it a document makes it sound very unexciting. In reality we’re moving closer to alignment as a Network as we ‘strive to transform lives and communities as we share the love of God though the love of God’s people.’ This is aligned with our Discipleship Strategy and we are praying that over time more and more of our Connect Groups will prayerfully discover the mission God wants them to share in together.

As well we seek to actively support each other as we live out our faith in all of our lives.

Flowing out of our new Vision has been the launch of PRIME as the focal point of our new focus on the ministry of and with over 60’s. Mark McDonald has taken on the new role of Director and is gathering a team to work with him. There are two Dimensions to PRIME – mobilizing baby boomers as they move to retirement to see this next phase as an amazing opportunity to serge God and God’s people. Reflecting and clarifying how we can best pastorally care what will be a growing number of older people in our Network and in the community.

In 2017 we also made great progress on the development of plans to renovate the St Hilary’s Site as well as upgrade the St Silas Site. It was exciting to receive such strong support for the preliminary designs for the St Hilary’s Site. This has been a challenging issue for us as a community and in God’s providence we are now moving in a very positive direction.

During 2017 we were very well served by the Church Board and our staff team. I want to place on the record my appreciation for the active support and capable leadership of Matt Crichton as the Board Chair.

In 2017 we said farewell to Nat Clarke who has moved to independent ministry. Sam Crane finished as Curate and is moving to a second curacy to further his development. Rev Wendy Wade played a vital role in being the Acting Minister at St Augustine’s in the second half of the year.

At a personal level it was privilege for Karen and I to bring together a group of Anglican clergy from around Australia for ‘Australian’s Together’. We visited two indigenous communities in Jabiru and Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory. In May I had the joy of leading a tour of Israel and Jordan.

It is a privilege to serve you as Lead Minister.

From the Chair of the Board

This has been my first year as the Chair of the St Hilary’s Network Church Board and it has been both a demanding and spiritually uplifting experience.

2016 was a very challenging year for both myself and my family, but despite this, in the later part of the year, I had a clear and ongoing conviction that I should be more involved in our church’s life by serving on the Church Board. I was particularly motivated because I’m thankful to God for the role this Church has played in my life, and because my generation needs to help our church move forward for the next phase of its 129-year life in Kew, North Balwyn and Mont Albert North.

2017 has been a busy year, but in God’s providence we have made great progress together as a church, building on the work done by those who have come before.

Your Board has spent this year working on ‘Vision 2022’ (the vision for us as the St Hilary’s Network), I want to commend Stephen for his Leadership and for the many hours that he and the Staff along with the Board have put into this plan for the next five Years.

Our Network Vision 2022 is to transform lives and communities as we learn to love our God more deeply and share the love of God with others.

We have been through many drafts on our way to the final version which was launched at our Vision Sunday on the 26th of November. A particular thanks to all of the Board members who visited the Connect Groups and outlined the vision. We listened to your hopes, concerns and ideas for the future – and we hope that this has brought together the dreams of the entire Church community for what we can become in the years ahead. We believe that it was an essential part of the Visioning process.

This past year, we also continued to work through the plans for renovating the St Silas and St Hilary’s sites. The two site Task Groups, ably led by Stuart Marsland and Michael Mammen have run a process to gain input into the site usage from as many people as possible and have come up with designs that meet the goals and design parameters that were agreed in the October 2016 poll.

Both congregations have responded to these proposals during 2017 and we thank you for your input. Based on the feedback received, the St Silas architects are refining the design. The St Hilary’s architect has completed the design updates for John St and resolved all items from the feedback. This was presented to the Board at the March meeting and the Board agreed to submit this to the council to test the assumptions around parking and renovations. Once we have an indication from the council, we will bring the design and council feedback back to the congregation for approval and commence the Capital Appeal.

The Board gathers for prayer, fellowship and board business 11 times a year. Reports from across the Network relating to the various ministries of the Church are brought before the Board. The treasurer presents a monthly financial report. The Board also meets once or twice a year for board training and strategic planning. The Board’s role is Governance; and to ensure that the Ministry goals are being achieved.

This past year we have seen some excellent progress in our Generations ministries with strong growth in Sunday club, Mainly Music and Play Group Ministries. In addition, our Youth ministry has experienced a serve in attendance and Revive Friday nights are an exciting place to be around. It has been wonderful too, to see the Young adults assist with leadership and also to hear about the DNA groups meeting during the week.

Our connect groups are the heart of our Church community and I wanted to personally thank all of you who exercise Leadership in this area. Thank you for your faithful ministry
Our finances this year have been a challenge and required reductions in staffing and other costs along with a number of appeals for the unexpected maintenance items. Our offertory increased slightly this year, however the Board has deemed it prudent to reduce expenditure for the next year in both staffing and other areas in order that we may be able to replenish our cash reserves.

I do want to thank those of you who give so faithfully and ask that you do please continue to prayerfully consider your financial giving to the Network.

Penny White, Tim Fazio, Brian Oldland and Richard Collins did not seek re-election or re-appointment to the Church Board. We extend a very special thanks to each of them for their faithful contributions over their various lengths of service.

I am pleased that we have a full complement of Board members for 2018 with an excellent mix of people from all sites across the Network with many different skills; and I am enjoying working together with them as we seek to implement our vision together.

I ask you all to remember that our Church is not the staff, or the programs or the Buildings, rather it is us, living out our faith together in community and sharing God’s good news.

Our Discipleship strategy that focuses us on the Up (our relationship with God), the In (our relationships of mutual care and encouragement with each other), and the Out (our relationships in mission and evangelism together) is the key to this.

In the coming year we will be focusing on Praying for God’s Vision and the Church as we seek to trust him to build on our 130 Year history of ministry. We call on the entire Church community to continue to pray for wisdom and faithfulness and to remain unified in our vision as a body of believers in Christ.

God’s Plans are not always obvious to us. They can take a long time and we may never see their outcome. That’s why we need to be like the faithful servants of Generations past who ministered to these communities of Kew, North Balwyn and Mont Albert North.

In this secular world we find ourselves in, the message of Christ’s sacrifice for us and his transforming Grace has never been more relevant or urgent.

As Billy Graham put it:

The Evangelistic Harvest is always urgent. The destiny of men and of nations is always being decided. Every generation is strategic. We are not responsible for the past generation, and we cannot bear the full responsibility for the next one; but we do have our generation. God will hold us responsible as to how well we fulfil our responsibilities to this age and take advantage of our opportunities.

Thank you for your prayers, financial giving and the myriad of volunteer engagement which enable the St Hilary’s Network to grow and flourish. We are grateful to God for so much as we respond to our mission of making, maturing and mobilising disciples of Jesus Christ. Thank you

On behalf of the Church Board,


Finance

In 2017 we made significant changes to our chart of accounts which made the recording and reporting far more representative of the income and expenditure that we have. This has meant that there are a number of areas in the detailed report which either did not have a budget line or didn’t exist previously. This makes the comparisons between budget and actual, and the previous year have some missing figures. I trust that this overview will help you to understand the differences from previous years figures as reported at annual meetings. If you have specific questions, please contact either Peter Milne the Treasurer or Richard Bruce the Support Services Director.

Previous Year Comparison

20172016Difference 2016 to 2017
Total Income$1,963,240.04$1,988,812.32down $25,572.28
Total Expenditure$2,008,665.27$1,919,362.52up $89,302.75
Net Income-$45,425.23-$69,449.80up $24,024.57

Specific Items of note

20172016Difference 2016 to 2017
Income
Offertory$1,622,536.88$1,705,942.07down $83,405.19
Rent$95,782.14$81,112.72up $14,669.42
Expenses
Missions$220,953.03$237,403.5015% of offertory income
Diocese Assessment$131,914.00$132,086.00as negotiated
Staff Expenses$1,214,133.96$1,236,106.75down $21,972.79
Facilities$161,921.28$164,468.28down $2,547.00
Other Expenses$79,089.25$107,721.81down $28,632.56

Balance Sheet

20172016Difference 2016 to 2017
Cash on hand$168,561.96$228,796.52down $60,234.56
Total Equity$109,301.40$154,726.63down $45,425.23

2017 Calendar Year Budget v Actual – summarised items

BudgetActualDifference
Total Income$2,052,645$1,963,240down $89,405
Total Expenditure$2,052,645$2,008,655down $43,979
Net Income$0-$45,425down $45,425

Specific Items of note

BudgetActualDifference
Income
Offertory$1,809,925$1,622,536down $187,388
Rent$85,000$95,782up $10,782
Interest Received$3,500$1,188down $2,311
Expenses
Missions$263,500$ 220,953down $42,547
Diocese Assessment$130,000$131,914up $1,914
Staff Expenses$1,323,600$1,214,134down $109,466
Facilities$154,500$161,921up $7,421
Finance Processing$11,000$7,256down $3,743
Other Expenses$86,500$79,089down $7,411
Communications$66,545$62,052down $4,493

Property

The St Hilary’s PTG have advanced plans for renewal and refurbishment of the John Street properties during 2017

Five architectural practices were invited to make submissions for the works. Four practices presented their ideas to the PTG, following which was a unanimous decision to appoint Peter Elliott Architecture.

Peter Elliot has worked with the task group to develop a masterplan design concept which reflects the briefing requirements, planned budget and proposed planning strategy. The plan has been presented to the board and whole congregation and received broad support. The potential for future development of an ELC on the site has been allowed for and tabled, however this will not form part of the proposal in the submission to council. The Church Board resolved to create another group to review the Business and Ministry case for an ELC and this work will continue in 2018.

The design allows for reuse of the existing church roof and east/west end walls. Additionally, the hall will be retained for re-use and the foyer link block will be remodelled to allow clearer circulation. Smaller meeting spaces will be consolidated in a new structure wrapping around the hall and new offices will be provided on Level 1. No structural changes are proposed for Saunders House, the Education Centre, Vicarage, Tennis Pavilion or car park.

The revised plans were presented to the Church Board at the March meeting and were approved to go to council to test the assumptions about Traffic, Environmental and Design considerations and to seek an appropriate planning permit. Depending on timing, this process could take around six months and will involve a consultation process with our neighbours.

The task group are excited about the renovation ideas and look forward to sharing the revised plans with the congregations in the near future.

The St Silas PTG have investigated a number of options for renewal of the Osbourne Street property. Atelier Wagner have continued to develop plans for comprehensively refurbishing the interior of the existing church buildings and adding extensions to the rear of the property.

Scope for the project and likely costs have increased over the past 12 months as the congregational feedback was incorporated into the brief, so a simplified solution to the proposed works need to be found. Atelier Wagner have embarked upon sketch options to find a more cost-effective direction.

The plans need to be updated in sketch format for review by the PTG, after which the proposal will be brought back to the Board and congregation for feedback and then, if there is agreement, submitted for a Town Planning Permit.

An updated cost plan will also be sought with the new plans.

I’d like to thank the members of the three task groups that have been working on these three property renewals, (St Silas, St Hilary’s and Early Learning Centre) for all their faithful and incredibly hard work. Gaining consensus on these briefs and designs has been difficult but I am sure that the result will be properties and facilities that better enable us to do our mission together and prepare the sites for the next generations to come

Stuart Marsland
Chair, St Hilary’s Network Property Task Groups.

Kew

Sundays are such a big part of the St Hilary’s site; Sundays are when our community comes together to worship God, connect with one another and welcome the visitor. Sundays are the fuel that each of us need to be disciples on mission in our work, school and in the wider community. In 2017 the community of St Hilary’s site was full of life and activity. Some of the highlights were:

  • The continuation of our process of renewal in our Connect Groups focusing on the process of “in, up and out”. In 2017 each Connect group crafted a statement of missional intent. Our Connect Groups engaged in outreach activities on their own as well as Network activities such as the St Hilary’s Hope food drive and Messy church.
  • In 2017 we enhanced our Sunday services by rolling out a four week rotation of services. In our 6pm Congregation this was taken a step further with the development of lay ministry teams. The involvement of more young people also enabled us to move towards our goal of multigenerational services.
  • In 2017 we wanted to create safe and inviting environments for Children and families. The team at Tom’s shed enabled us to roll out of check in stations so that we could comply with the Victoria Child Safe standards. We also developed our Sunday programs so as to enhance the engagement with young families at 9am Service.
  • Our Preaching program for 2017 was a real highlight, enabling all of us to hear biblical and topical sermons. During the season of Lent, some will remember the “black curtain”, we worked our way through the theological concept of Jesus’ humanity in the “One of Us series”. Later in the year people enjoyed working through the book of 1 Corinthians as we reflected on Spiritual gifts in the church. Another highlight was working through the Old Testament book of Nehemiah as part of our “Building for mission” which reminded us that together the Body of Christ can achieve great things.
  • In 2017 the Building committee worked with our appointed architect Peter Elliott to move forward with concept plans for the development of the St Hilary’s Site. After the presentation of the concept plans to the parish there was overwhelming support for the ideas, with many people commenting that the concept “just makes sense”. We look forward to moving forward with the development of the site in 2018.
  • Outreach to the community in 2017 involved several big events throughout the year. Along with the Food Drive the St Hilary’s site engaged in a variety of community outreach initiative. In 2017 we were involvement in Kew Carols which was hosted by the Combined Churches of Kew. We also invited the community onto our site for the Annual Talks as well as a very successful Night market and Family Christmas gathering.

It has been a real privilege to lead the St Hilary’s site for the past two years. As I move onto other roles within the Network, I want to thank all those lay people who serve our church. It is because of your ownership of our site that we are an influential church in both Melbourne and Anglican circles.

Yours in Christ

Balwyn North

We’ve had an outstanding year at St Silas. For the third year running, we’ve seen growth in our numbers in our largest congregation at ten am. We’ve also seen a strengthening of the ways in which we’ve been able to play our part in the network vision of transforming lives and communities as we share the love of God through the love of God’s people in each of our ministries and congregations. We have a strong Staff Team and Lay Involvement in all of our ministries and these have been great enablers for us. Some of the highlights of 2017 have included:

  1. Growth in our multicultural outreach and ministry
    Multicultural Ministry is a priority for us with so many Chinese speakers living in the area, and we’ve endeavored to state that often, to staff it as a priority and to make it a visible priority on our stage each week. In 2017 we initiated many community outreach activities such as table tennis, English conversation classes, Chinese conversation classes, Chinese social events and we had the joy of seeing fruit through adult Chinese baptisms. This ministry has been led by Stephen Zhang and Peter Shih, who have worked hard to make our ten am English service accessible to Chinese speakers through creating weekly Chinese subtitles on our slides, installing a Chinese speaking welcomer each Sunday on our front desk and generally making our Chinese speaking visitors feel welcome.
  2. Growth in our Staff Team
    We are bearing the fruit of appointing our very own children’s and families minister for the first time in 2016: Natalie Rosner, along with a new Assistant minister: Tim Horman, and this past year, two multicultural ministers: Stephen Zhang and Peter Shih. All of these appointments have been part-time, and some have been honorary, and I want to thank each of our staff for contributing above and beyond in their ministry. I also value the involvement of their spouses: Brian, Melissa, Gracie and Anita.
  3. Connect Groups
    Connect groups are a critical part of our community life and in 2017 we had strong take up of our groups, which played a significant role in helping some of our new members to settle in to our community. Tim Horman has coordinated our groups.
  4. Community outreach
    FIESTA and Lessons and Carols recorded our biggest numbers ever and it is such a joy to see the church filled to capacity and the site fully utilized for these events. The Generations Team ran a holiday program at St Silas and it was also the venue for several ‘family fun nights’. Our craft table at Macleay Park Carols is an effective annual outreach to the local families.
  5. Children’s and Families Ministry
    We currently have up to 60 children participating in Sunday Club each week. This presents a challenge as we try to find the spaces for their ministry groups on a Sunday morning. Its a good problem to have. We also have an effective playgroup and mainly music ministry each week. Natalie has added to these a weekly connect group for young mums and has run Christianity Explored, both great initiatives.
  6. Community Life
    In addition to our Sunday services and our connect groups, members across all our congregations unite together in volunteering on a Sunday and throughout the week by helping at playgroup and mainly music, on our weekly maintenance team and our monthly mid week communion service.

When I first went to St Silas as the site coordinator, it did feel like a ‘site’, but now it feels each week like so much more – it is a living community of Christ that is on a mission to be his people in that place, together, and an effective and strong part of our St Hilary’s network. I am blessed and grateful to be in my leadership role and to work with my brothers and sisters at St Silas.

Mont Albert North

2017 was a year in transition at St Augustine’s. In July Rev Nat Clarke resigned and concluded his service in the St Hilary’s Network. As a consequence the 4pm Congregation closed as most of the members joined Rev Clarke’s independent church or joined other services in the Network or joined another church. This was a painful outcome but came after an intense process of interaction. Rev Clarke ministered faithfully in his three years at St Augustine’s and was a catalyst to the Network embracing it’s current Discipleship Strategy. He made a big impact in renewing the facilities internally and externally. We wish him and his family well in the future.

In God’s providence, Rev Wendy Wade was available to be the Site Minister and we thank her for her wonderful contribution in the second half 2017.

Rachel Lynar is doing great work as the Children and Families Minister with full to overflowing Playgroup and Mainly Music.

Amanda Lincke has been appointed as the Kindergarten President and the links between Kinder and church have been significantly strengthened.

From the Director

We in are in our third and growing year of the Generations Department led by +Stephen Hale. In 2015 we brought together the Children and Families department and the Youth and Young Adults department. 2016 was a year of consolidation. 2017 saw the leadership change to Richard Bruce transitioning in to the role. The first six months saw the team develop the 2022 vision document along with the church wide process. This was a challenging and unifying time for the team.

Generations is very much a Network wide ministry, with staff and volunteers working at all sites in various capacities throughout the year.

Amanda Lincke oversees our Children and Families Ministries across the Network, and is the St Hilary’s Kew Site Minister in this area. Natalie Rosner oversees the Children and Families Ministries at St Silas, and we welcomed back Racael Lynar from maternity leave to be appointed the first Children and Families Minister at St Augustine’s. The children’s ministry team continue to provide a very high standard of ministry to our kids and families. There are significant number of programs, particularly engaging with people throughout the week… this is definitely not just a Sunday morning ministry which most people see.

Revive Youth was led by Sam Crane, who carried a significant load and is greatly assisted by Lars Vorlicek as a volunteer Youth Worker, as well as a strong team of volunteer youth leaders. The goal of continuing engagement with senior high youth proved fruitful with numbers maintained and increased attendance and involvement in the Kew 6pm service. The Summer and Winter camp proved positive with good numbers and great outcomes.

Sam focused the young adults ministry around the 6pm community at Kew. YAKCONF was not as well attended as hoped, but all that attended had a great time. There were six young adult connect groups meeting throughout the year and many informal gatherings occurred.

Sam concluded as the youth and young adults minister at the end of 2017 to start a new curacy in another parish in 2018. We give thanks to God for his years of investment at St Hilary’s and pray that it may continue to bear fruit that lasts for years to come.

Kate Kerr continues to provide exceptional administrative work to the department making sure all we do is of the highest organizational standards we can.

Ongoing attention is given to the Diocesan and Government requirements to prove that all our activities are safe places for children and youth, as well as their families. This has taken a great deal of resources, time and effort. Amanda Lincke has particularly invested heavily in this work and has placed St Hilary’s at the forefront of Child Safety training, policy and procedure in the Melbourne Diocese.

It has been a privilege to lead such a competent, capable and committed team of staff and volunteers. I look forward to what God is going to do in and through the Generations department in the years to come.

Children and Families

It has been wonderful to see the growth of the Children and Families ministry over the past year. At all of our three sites we have seen enormous growth in our weekday ministries. I give thanks to God for all that he is doing in the Network.

The children and families department is full of life and engages many families in our community. Last year we had the opportunity to build relationships and minister to over 170 families at Playgroup, Mainly Music, Messy church & Family fun Nights.

However it’s not all about the numbers! We want our Messy Church, Mainly Music and Playgroup families to feel loved and cared for by the church and to give them space to think about the God part of their life. We believe as a department we are doing this. Every week 80 volunteers build relationships with children and families in the Network. All of the volunteers experience the joys and the sorrows of life together with these families. We give thanks to God for their Christ like example and for the many gifts they share with the community.

I work with the most outstanding team. Natalie does a wonderful job leading the team at St Silas and uses her gift of evangelism to draw families closer to Jesus. Rachel has done a superb job reigniting the week day ministries at St Augustine’s and Kate supports our team with amazing support and hard work; we could not do our jobs without her. I thank God for their amazing servant hearts.

From the Director

It is an honour and privilege to be able to write the annual report on behalf of the Support Services Team. Much of the work of the team underpins the mission and ministry of the church but goes unseen by most of the parishioners. The work of the team releases the pastoral staff from so much administration, allowing them to focus on their pastoral duties. Having joined the team in March 2016, I have been greatly impressed by the hard work and dedication of the team.

The team in 2017 were:

  • Accountant: Catherine Harris
  • Accounts Assistant: Elizabeth Holloway
  • Communications & Music Minister: Evan Englezos
  • Director: Richard Bruce
  • Facilities Manager: Roy Hamer (concluded)
  • Generations Admin and Database Manager: Kate Kerr (volunteer)
  • IT Support: John Cleary (contractor)
  • IT Network Admin: Lucas Benning (contractor)
  • Office Manager: Andrew Kerr
  • Kew Caretakers: Kate and Bryn Weightman
  • Verger St Silas: James Worboyes
  • Verger St Hilary’s: Michael Holloway
  • Wedding Coordinator: Erin Juers (volunteer)

Support Services is truly a Network wide ministry area, working with each site and staff team. Throughout the year we have not only continued the high level of business support for the Network but have initiated a number of projects. The Check In Systems in the church foyers which have been a model for a number of other churches looking for a similar system. We have updated our financial accounts to be more representative of our current ministry model. Work continues on the development of the Elvanto database as the central place for all our information.

It often feels like we could double the hours we work and there still wouldn’t be enough hours in the day. That said, the team is very effective and efficient in the full breadth of the work that is carried out. Even this report you are reading now is produced by our Office Manager, Andrew Kerr. There is much more that could be written, but I’ll leave it there for this year.

Music

Music is a permanent fixture around the network each week and 2017 was no exception. We have over 100 musicians, 22 band leaders and 40 audio visual operators who volunteer many hours to produce music in every service. We trust and pray that God is glorified in every note that is rehearsed and sung and played and that the music helps everyone to engage with the Living God and sing together as part of His church.

“Thank you for serving us all through the music ministry at the combined service.  The atmosphere was amazing and there were a lot of people worshipping our God. One person said they were touched by the Holy Spirit and another person wants to recommit to being a disciple of Jesus.”

Musicians Weekend Away

Twenty-three musicians and singers from around the network shared a weekend at Amberley, worshipping, composing, playing, learning and sharing together. One of the highlight sessions was when three groups each composed a piece in 40 minutes and performed it for each other. A furious flurry of collaboration, creativity and fun had by all!
“This weekend was a highlight of my year. I loved the workshops and jamming together with all the musos. The fellowship with each other was awesome and I would absolutely love to come next time.”

Thy Kingdom Come

In June, St Hilary’s had the opportunity to contribute musically and creatively to the Thy Kingdom Come beacon service at St Paul’s Cathedral. We were blessed to share in the full gamut of creative worship, including poetry, choirs, interactive prayers and prophetic painting.

Music leadership group

I have been especially blessed to share the ministry with some fantastic band leaders who have been passionate about worship in music and committed to being united together as a network. Many thanks to our band coordinators; Steve Kerr, Erin Juers, Matt Day, Ellaine Downie, Denise Clarke and Michele Campbell who have put in the extra time and effort to help us be intentional and strategic about the role of music across the network.

Sound and equipment

In 2017, we have upgraded the keyboards at St Hilary’s and St Silas’ with new Korg Grandstages. These keyboards are simple for all players to use and they sound great (and were a great price too!)
Thanks to Will Hore-Lacy who has put in many hours upgrading and fine tuning our sound systems at St Silas in the church and hall and assisting to train operators. Thanks also to Andrew Robinson, Matt Crichton and Matt Day who have served faithfully in the same capacity at St Hilary’s.

Young musicians

We have many youth serving in our services. From the regular 6pm youth band, to the 9am and 10am singers and musicians, to the Christmas youth band, I love seeing each one using their gifts, growing their capacity and understanding of serving God and serving the church. Please join me in genuinely thanking and encouraging them all. They are our future leaders and they have so much to offer us.

Thank you, God, for blessing our church in 2017. We pray your will be done in 2018.

Peter Corney Training Centre

Assisting people to catalyse their spiritual growth in Christ and equipping them to serve in Christ’s Kingdom, supporting each stage of their Christian journey with relevant and tailored Bible-based teaching and other training.

The Christian life is meant to be a life of growth. Jesus used the organic metaphor of soil and plant growth and nutrients to talk about our spiritual growth in response to his word. Just as growth for a plant depends on well fertilised soil, sunshine and water, the Christian life depends for growth on us being fed and trained by God through his word and by stretching ourselves to use our gifts for his glory. At St Hilary’s this happens through a number of channels: Sunday services, connect groups, areas of service and the workshops and courses run by the Peter Corney Training Centre (PCTC). The Training Centre is essentially a department of St Hilary’s: a tool for discipleship for the church, providing courses and resources which helps us in our mission to make, mature and mobilise disciples of Jesus Christ.

Over 4,000 people have participated in our training initiatives since we started in 2012, with many Volunteers equipped for their roles each year through the Training Centre.

This past year we’ve run the following Conferences, Workshops and events:

  • Faith & Work Evening conference
  • Reformation Day Ministry Breakfast
  • Christian Fluency
  • Championing Women’s Ministry in the Church
  • Tuning In To Kids
  • SALT 2 Evening Conference
  • Understanding Catholicism today
  • Christianity Explored at St Silas
  • Up Close and Personal with Claire Rogers, CEO, World Vision Australia
  • Multiple Child Safe Training Workshops across our three sites
  • Alpha Marriage Course
  • Alpha at St Hilary’s
  • Annual PCTC Lecture
  • Musicians Weekend away
  • Connect Group Leaders Weekend Away

As part of our goal to provide asynchronous digital resources, we’ve also developed an online Child Safety Course for our Volunteers. For more information: www.petercorneytraining.com.au
The church finances over the last twelve months held us back from our goal to develop more online resources. We look forward to developing more of these resources, finances permitting , including

  • Training Resources for Volunteers
  • More Bible Studies for use by connect groups or individuals
  • Devotionals for individuals
  • Devotionals for families
  • Catechetical resources

If you missed any of our past courses or workshops, you can access recordings at our website or listen to our podcasts on iTunes.

The Training Centre is staffed by myself (Director), Natalie Rosner (Assistant Director) and our Online Content Manager (unfunded & vacant). A number of key volunteers in the St Hilary’s network assist in leading some of our courses, along with our Staff ministry team. Our PCTC Board is led by Simon Day (Chair), Tim Fazio, Alistair Crameri (Accounting) and Anna Hooper- Chapman.

We hope you’ll partner with us in 2018 by using our resources to catalyse your own spiritual growth.

From the Director

As Director of St Hilary’s Hope, it is such a great privilege for me to work alongside so many in our Network who are committed to serving people that are struggling with the many challenges of life. Although much of our work is hidden from public view, the collective impact of the ministries that come under Hope is significant. Hope oversees the annual Food Drive, Kid’s Hope, COACH community mentoring, Crossroads, and the Prague House Fellowship. Through these initiatives, we are able to provide emotional, spiritual and practical support to many people in our wider community.

The Food Drive is of course our most ‘visible’ initiative. The 2017 Drive was the first I have participated in, so it was quite a learning curve to figure out how to lead it at the same time! Thankfully, the Drive is coordinated by an amazing team of dedicated volunteers (thank you team!), who meet together monthly (and weekly in the month prior to collection) over the course of the year to organise and deliver the program. The amount of work that goes into making it happen is significant, and it was wonderful to see the team pull together so many moving parts, and hundreds of volunteers, to deliver yet another successful Food Drive. The buzz of excitement around the network as the food was being bought in and collated for distribution was a highlight for me, and was a visible demonstration of what we are capable of when we work together. Last year, the number of donations increased slightly compared to 2016, which meant that we were able to deliver food to a number of new agencies we haven’t worked with in the past, and were well able to meet our goal of providing enough food to support over 6000 individuals and families. This year we also added the initiative of collecting at local supermarkets, which we plan to extend in 2018.

Recently, a member of the Network asked me why we don’t simply ask for cash donations and then buy food for the agencies (or donate the money), instead of collecting it ourselves. That certainly would be easier! However, the reason we hit the streets together is because there is inestimable value for our church to be out in the local community, to meet people face to face, talk to people about what we’re doing, and invite our neighbours to join us in supporting people who are in need. We pray it will also give us an opportunity to testify, in both deed and word, the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.

The Coach Community Mentoring program continues to provide weekly and monthly support to 5 individuals (and often their extended families too), and additionally, under the Youth Coach program, we have 2 relationships underway and 1 new relationship being established. Also under Youth Coach, we have a mentor working directly with Camberwell High School to provide support to a number of students. We also enjoy a good relationship with the Boroondara Council, and often receive client referrals from them, which means we are always looking for new mentors!

Our Kid’s Hope ministry has continued to grow at North Balwyn Primary, and it is a deeply valued program at the school. We now have a growing wait-list of students who have been recommended to the program. Sue Pollock provides excellent leadership to this ministry, working alongside her team of passionate and dedicated mentors. Currently 7 students are being supported by mentors from our Network, and 2 more will be added in term 2 of 2018. Being able to join in on the mentor meetings from time to time, and listen to the love that the mentors have for the kids they meet with on a weekly basis, has been so encouraging. God is truly at work through our Kids Hope volunteers!

This year I was also able to visit with both the Prague House Community Fellowship, and with Crossroads (which provides a monthly evening of social interaction for people with physical or intellectual disabilities). It was quite moving to see the love of Christ being shared by the volunteers in these ministries, so simply, so profoundly and personally, among often very vulnerable and forgotten people in our busy and outcomes-obsessed society. I thank God for the people who serve in these ministries, and I particularly want to thank Kate Crockett for the leadership she has provided to Crossroads for so many years.

As I reflect on the last twelve months, of what I have witnessed through my involvement with Hope, I am reminded of the words of Jean Vanier, director of L’Arche: “It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of Christ and enter into community with one another.” I think that beautifully captures what St Hilary’s Hope is all about.


We have been conducting an annual survey at St Hilary’s since 2012. Whilst it is relatively easily to evaluate a church based on attendance numbers and finances, the annual survey gives us far more information. It gives us feedback on our Church’s faith, our devotional practices, our beliefs, our feelings about our church and about our missional effectiveness. In 2017, 198 people completed our online survey. It was the first year we did not have people complete the surveys in our services. The following charts summarise much of the data collected in the 2017 survey. Thank you to all who completed the survey.

Our Practice

Feel our faith is connected to everyday life

Sense God’s work in us

Attend church every week

Feel we have grown spiritually in the last year

Pray ‘on the fly’ or once every couple of days

Our Faith

Set aside money for the church

Are serving in the church

Are confident we are living out God’s calling for us

Are helping a younger Christian grow

Have increased giving over the last year

Meet up with other Christians for encouragement and prayer once or more times a month

Pray each day

Read the Bible most days

Our Beliefs

Agree that the only real God is the one we read about in the Bible

Agree that every Christian should be able to explain the reason for their faith

Agree that the Bible is true in all matters concerning faith and salvation

Agree that pain and suffering do not demonstrate a limit of God’s power

Agree that everyone who trusts in Jesus has the Holy Spirit

Agree that the Bible addressed the needs of contemporary culture

Agree that people cannot contribute to their salvation by doing good works

Disagree that there are many paths to salvation

Our Church

Feel connected with God through the praise, prayer, reading and preaching in services

Find the preaching helps them grow and live out their faith

Feel adequately informed about St Hilary’s

Feel strengthened and grown by St Hilary’s church services

Meet up with other St Hilary’s folk socially

Can articulate the mission of St Hilary’s

Of us are enthusiastic about what God is doing at our church

Think our church services are welcoming to guests

Pray regularly for our link missionaries

Are involved in connect groups

Have been attending this church for more than 5 years

Our Mission

Try to live in a way that others will see Christ in their life

Invited one or more people to church

Are confident we can share with others our reasons for faith

Seek to share our faith

Pray for unbelieving friends, relatives and colleagues to come to faith

Have spoken up about our faith in Jesus in the last month