Janine van den Tillaart
After being without a minister for 10 months, the Strathfieldsaye Community Church will welcome Rob Edwards and his family to the parish in late May. Rob is no stranger to Strathfieldsaye, as previous minister Steve Weickhardt used Rob’s expertise as the Children's and Youth Minister in neighbouring South East Bendigo to help run a number of holiday programs over the years.
Rob and his wife Michelle have been involved in ministry for decades. They first served in Melbourne before moving to Bendigo in 2004. It was in Bendigo that they welcomed their three boys Nathan, Josh and Pete.
While at South East Bendigo, Rob’s role included coordinating youth ministry, children’s ministry and young adult ministry as well as being involved in leading and running regular church services. In 2019, he was ordained a Deacon.
Rob is really looking forward to his role in Strathfieldsaye and spreading the good news of Jesus. “As my relationship with God grows, so does my heart’s desire to share God’s love with others,” he says. “There have been many situations in my life where God has helped me, guided me and demonstrated that He is in control. Since becoming sick with an auto immune disease in 2010, I have learnt to trust God in new ways and have seen God at work in my life giving me strength to overcome many obstacles.”
Having lived in close proximity to Strathfieldsaye for 16 years sees Rob with a distinct advantage. “I already know some members of the church,” he says. “And I really look forward to ministering to them and with them. An added bonus is that we don’t have to shift town or house and our boys don’t have to change schools!”
As Rob and Michelle start their ministry in Strathfieldsaye during the COVID-19 pandemic they won’t be able to meet the congregation in person for some time. “Our prayer is that the current members will continue to grow in their love and understanding of Jesus,” Rob says.
“I would also ask supporters to pray that I can make the adjustment from being a Children’s and Youth Minister to being the Priest in Charge,” says Rob. “And that the church will continue to be a shining light to the community of Strathfieldsaye and God will provide us with new opportunities where we can share the gospel.”