Going the distance in a small town with a big history

Simon Roberts

Simon at St Nicholas Onslow for the 1st service

Onslow is a small town with a big history. It is a coastal town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia which originally enabled the export of wool. Today, salt, tourism and in particular the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project (a large scale liquefied natural gas hub) are now the economic engine room for the town.

The Diocese of North West Australia has a long history of serving the town in partnership with BCA. For a number of years resources haven’t been available to provide regular Christian ministry to Onslow’s 850 residents. However, God is at work in this place and there is a group of keen Christians who meet together to read the Bible and pray on a regular basis.

After visits by Bishop Gary Nelson and various locum ministers from Exmouth in 2019/20, the time seemed right to link Onslow with Exmouth and provide ministry support. It might be an 800-kilometre return trip, but this is exactly what is meant by ‘never too far, never too few’ and ‘going the distance’.

On Sunday 14 June at 5pm 18 of us gathered (including four children) at St Nicholas’ Onslow for the first monthly service. While we had met some people on a previous visit to Onslow, and several had joined our live-streamed services from Exmouth, it was a great joy to meet in person to sing, pray and hear from God’s word. Our text was Ephesians 4:1–16, because this was where we were up to in our series at Exmouth, but there could not have been a better passage for that day. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Just as the Christians in Onslow have done a wonderful work sticking by one another and encouraging one another in the Lord, this meeting represented a greater partnership between Onslow, Exmouth, the North West and indeed all of Australia through Bush Church Aid supporters.

Alison and I will only physically be in Onslow once a month. We intend to support the ministry there by equipping locals to grow in their ability to handle the word of truth with confidence & care and to run Bible study groups, all of which we can do via phone and video conferencing. And while we will run a monthly ‘face-to-face’ service in Onslow, at Exmouth we are making our weekly Sunday services accessible to everyone via YouTube.

Please pray for growth of the gospel in Onslow and the partnership with Exmouth Anglican Community Church. Pray that as people come and go from the town, the Lord would continue to bring His people to this place and that He might grant faith and repentance to many who don’t yet know Christ as their Lord and Saviour.    

Onslow Sign
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