Bridge to the Bay
More than a century ago Christ Church, Lavender Bay planted a congregation down the road in its former school at Kirribilli. This month that comes full circle as members of the church plant — which has grown into Church by the Bridge — return to Lavender Bay.
“We’ve got two Sunday evening congregations that are totally full,” explains Paul Dale (pictured left), curate-in-charge at Church by the Bridge, “so we’ve combined resources [with Lavender Bay] and are sending some people over to start a new service”.
The rector of Christ Church, Pat Collins (pictured right), says his parish “started an evening service a couple of years ago but we didn’t have the resources to make it work”.
When he was approached by Dr Dale midway through last year about the possibility of using Lavender Bay’s buildings for another Kirribilli service he took it to his wardens and then asked the congregation, “which was overwhelmingly in favour of it”.
“Our people are keen to see the gospel shared and see growth in the area, and are keen to help fellow Christians,” Mr Collins says. “There’s quite a healthy congregation here although the style [of Kirribilli] is not the style of service we have.”
The new congregation, to be called Church by the Bridge at Lavender Bay, will remain under the umbrella of Kirribilli at the request of the Christ Church parish. Says Dr Dale: “Theirs is a traditional service — that’s their strength — and they want to respect and retain that, whereas we run more contemporary services. Our idea is this new service would attract more people to the Lavender Bay-McMahons Point area for evening service but also attract more people to the morning service already at the church.”
He says there are about 30 people in the core group for the move, covering a wide demographic from early 20s to late 50s, with couples and singles, “because I believe that reflects the demographic we’re trying to reach... I’m really thankful for the congregation at Lavender Bay, Patrick and the wardens in terms of their heart for the gospel”.
The Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, is also delighted by the plan.
“I think it’s very exciting,” he says. “In historical terms, Kirribilli came from Lavender Bay, so that’s a wonderful gift back from the daughter to the mother.”
Says Mr Collins: “Yes, we go way, way back — and we’re still friends. How about that?”