Barossa Community Church
Barossa Community Church has been established since 1995 and is a member of the Baptist Churches of SA.
BCC have contemporary style worship in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Our motto has always been that we are a church for people who don’t go to church. We worship at Faith Lutheran College. Children are encouraged to be a part of the service, and a Sunday school program is available for children with ages ranging up to young adolescents.
Our regular worship time is 10:00am to 11:30am with fellowship over a tea or coffee after the service. Our church family is continuing to grow with approximately 90-100 people worshipping regularly on a Sunday. The age groups vary in the church with an even mix of both young and elderly families. Our geographical spread covers not just the Barossa Valley but attracts families from Gawler to Kapunda and Eudunda in the North.
We would love you to come and share with us at our Sunday services or at one of our many study and fellowship groups. For more information please enquire online or give us a call on 08 8563 2158.
The unique beginnings of the state of South Australia are well documented. The Baptist philanthropist, George Fife Angas, aiming to set up, with others, a colony in the British Empire where religious freedom would be guaranteed, and that would never be blighted by the evils of transportation of convicts. His correspondence with the Lutheran pastor, Augustus Kavel, is preserved, telling the tale of a Lutheran community also seeking freedom to express their faith. Angas’s spiritual and material support for the German settlers produced a unique symbiosis: a community comprised of Baptists (and other non-conformist believers from England, also suffering discrimination at home, based on their religious convictions) and Lutherans, based on mutual respect and cooperation.
In this spirit, Angas endowed the land and materials to erect the Union Chapel, opened February 28 1844, for the use of the non-conformist Christians. He hoped they would overlook their differences to work together in the new colony. The building has been restored. It boasted both baptistery (for full immersions) and font (for infant christenings). It is the oldest building in the Barossa Valley.
The first Baptist pastor in the colony, Rev George Stonehouse, was based in Angaston from 1847 for several years (he performed the first Christian burial in Angaston in that year). It was Angas’ dream to establish a Baptist college in Angaston, but the population never warranted it, and Stonehouse repaired to Adelaide to become the founding pastor of the North Adelaide Baptist Church.
Records show that a Baptist congregation was formed in 1849. A founding deacon was William Salter, later to found Saltram’s Winery (1859), celebrating his Christian faith, and the material blessing of God, by naming the vineyard ‘Mamre Brook’ (Genesis 13:14-18). Some confusion exists due the English Baptist practice of open membership. This creates the anomaly that the great hero of the Baptist faith, John Bunyan, is also claimed as a Congregationalist. Although baptised by immersion himself, he allowed that baptism was not essential for membership in the Christian church. So the early union church could be quite properly claimed by Baptists and Congregationalists.
Rev John Hannay, Angas’s son-in-law, arrived in 1855 to serve as pastor. The church was polarised in 1860 when Hannay insisted on immersion baptism for admittance to church membership. This led to the secession of the non-baptising group, and the formation of a separate Congregationalist church, Angaston Baptist Church thence being of closed membership (i.e. only those baptised by immersion, as believers, could be admitted). The baptistery still exists, now concealed under the floorboards of the present pastor’s study of the Zion Lutheran Church.
George Fife Angas, the only one of the state’s founders to actually ever travel to the colony, laid the foundation stone of the church building on November 3 1854. It was opened on October 22 1855, with Rev Hannay preaching at the morning service, and Rev George Stonehouse at the evening service.
Successive pastors sustained the life of a typical Baptists church of the era, albeit one patronised by the leading citizen of the colony, and celebrated Member of Parliament, George Fife Angas.
Declining rural fortunes, and decreasing numbers, led to the closure of the church in 1929. The last service was held in April, and the building was sold to a building contractor, who used the building for storage purposes. The tablets once adorning the interior are now standing in the Angaston cemetery.
The Lutheran church building in Angaston was burnt down in 1941, and the congregation purchased the old Baptist building, which has served as the Zion Lutheran Church ever since.
The small Baptist congregation at Lyndoch has worshipped continuously since 1858, the present building being erected in 1861. For most of their history they have served as an outpost of the Gawler Baptist Church.
The Baptists' cause in the central Barossa Valley was revived by the arrival of Rev Richard Ansoul in September 1995. He writes...”I was born in Sydney, and became a Christian while a medical student. This lead to the training for the Baptist ministry, and service as the pastor of Baulkham Hills Baptist Church, for 28 years. God’s call has led me to plant a contemporary evangelical church in the Barossa Valley, meeting in the Senior Citizens Centre in Tanunda (Now at Faith Lutheran College). The vibrant congregation of Barossa Community Church (a member of the Baptist Churches of SA) now numbers about 100. The church embraces an outreach style, having sent its own leaders, and members, on outreach projects interstate and overseas. Each year there is an outreach trip to the countries of Ukraine and a central Asian country we code-name Calormen. This country is a former Soviet state, a rump communist dictatorship, with a Muslim majority.” Ruth and Richard have travelled under cover to Calormen each year since 2003, then moved on to Ukraine for links with the Kiev Christian University. In 2006 an outreach team was taken to the south of Ukraine to make contact with an unreached people group, the Crimean Tatars. This friendship project has continued each year since then. In recent years this project has extended to the people of Turkey. Richard has written a definitive life of the of the Turkish apostle, using his Turkish name salih Tarsuslu. This has been translated into Turkish and Russian and should be available in late 2013.
This congregation has reclaimed its Baptist history in SA, and extended the apostolic mission to some strategic places on the other side of the world. George Fife Angas said “it is hoped that South Australia will become the centre for the evangelisation of the Southern Hemisphere” (1844). He was only half right.
Our Church Family Fellowship Groups
Our Sunday School program operates during the service and caters for children with ages ranging from 4 to 13. We also have a High School students study group that meets on a Sunday morning
Our youth group also meet each Sunday for high school aged students.
Bible Study Groups
BCC has a number of bible study groups that cater for the large geographical spread of our membership.
Similar to our bible study groups, we have a number of church members who meet during the week at homes around the Barossa for the purpose of prayer and worship.
Through our Pastor, we also have a large prayer circle that is communicated to regularly through a newsletter and/or an online communication. The recipients of this prayer group letter are situated in places all over the world.
Men and Women’s Fellowship
BCC has a number of fellowship events during the course of the year. Some of these activities include:
- Church Camp
- Men’s breakfasts
- Women’s fellowship
- Church lunches and family get togethers
- Church social nights
These events have been held at our church members homes as well as local Barossa Valley parks and venues.
Please contact us if you would like more information about these groups.