Merger saves Surfers’ Church

Judy Adamson

After months of uncertainty about the future of Sydney's only Anglican-funded surfers ministry, from February the head of Maroubra Surfers' Church, Steve Bligh, will become rector of a nearby parish: Holy Trinity, Kingsford.

Surfers' Church had received funding from the South Sydney Regional Council as well as the Church Army, and this came to an end in December.

Under the new arrangement, the cutting-edge surfers "mission base' will now come under the umbrella of Holy Trinity.

Mr Bligh said the possibility of combining the two ministries hadn't initially occurred to him when the parish became vacant in June last year.

However, once he started thinking about it, "I threw my hat in the ring because I thought there would be a good synergy here".

As a result of previous preaching invitations and friendships with past ministry staff, there were positive contacts already made with some church members.

There are also connections with the surrounding unchurched community, with whom Mr Bligh had contact during his eight years teaching at Randwick Boys' High School.

During the interview process, Mr Bligh and the nominators discussed how the surfing ministry could continue effectively and be connected to Holy Trinity, while he "worked on shepherding God's people in the church and helped lead the church forward in mission in the Kingsford and Daceyville area."

Mr Bligh hopes the merger will provide an even stronger Christian witness for the surfers' ministry.

"With the surfing community I'm dealing with a lot of hedonism" Holy Trinity, Kingsford typifies a lot of established churches where you have people who've been committed for a long time and they've got a real sense of love for each other," he said. "That's one of the indicators of a healthy church and it's great to have that critical mass of godly people from which to do mission. That really excites me."