Launch of Rocky Hill Church with the Reverends Brian and Alison Champness

Some of the Rocky Hill Church launch team: Ben and Sarah Harradence, Julie and Ross Gear, Dave McDonald, and Brian and Ali Champness. Photo: supplied
Some of the Rocky Hill Church launch team: Ben and Sarah Harradence, Julie and Ross Gear, Dave McDonald, and Brian and Ali Champness. Photo: supplied

Sunday, February 26 saw the first public Christian gathering in East Goulburn in more than 40 years.

The day saw the launch of Rocky Hill Church under the leadership of the Reverends Brian and Alison Champness.

Brian and Ali are part of the growing ‘F5’ Anglican network in Goulburn.

The network was started by Bishop Stuart Robinson and his wife Jane in 2012.

Their aim was to reach people who are no longer attending church, or for those who are seeking.

F5 stands for Fellowship at 5 and is also the ‘refresh’ key on the computer keyboard.

F5 began in the Cathedral, but now meets at Christ Church in West Goulburn with a relaxed, welcoming style of service.

When the F5 congregation grew to more than 100 in 2016, Brian and Ali started a second service at 7pm called F7, which attracted quite a number of young people.

Bishop Robinson was keen for a new church to be established in Eastgrove to meet the needs of the community.

As such, F7 moved to Eastgrove to become Rocky Hill Church, with the service time changing to 5pm to be more accommodating for families.

The church launch welcomed more than 75 people of all ages to the hall at Goulburn East Public School.

Afternoon tea was served before the service and a barbecue following at 6pm.

Brian and Ali shared that they believe church should be about faith, friends and fun.

“The message of the Good News of Jesus remains the same but the way we present it must remain relevant with every generation,” they said.

A time of worship was led by the church’s music team who sang contemporary songs, including a powerful reworking of Amazing Grace.

Invited guests included the Honourable Pru Goward, Member for Goulburn, who spoke to the congregation.

She expressed her delight that a church had been established in Eastgrove to offer the community the hope and care that Christianity brings.

Before arriving in Goulburn in 2015, Brian and Alison were Children’s and Families pastors in one of Britain’s best Anglican churches (St Paul’s in Weston-super-Mare, home of the world famous vicar known as Britain’ss first Twitter vicar).

They are originally from Newcastle, NSW where they have grown up family and three grandchildren.

Brian and Ali and their team are planning to run a fun Easter Holiday Club for primary aged children from April 11 to 13, and an after-school kids club in term 2.

As part of the F5 team, they have helped start the “Little Sheep Playgroup”, a Friday Youth Group, and they are involved in teaching scripture in six primary schools.

Rocky Hill Church meets at 5pm every Sunday at Goulburn East Public School Hall (entrance via May Street).

The services are relaxed, contemporary and welcoming for all ages.

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