Church planters for the first three projects of the Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities program have met to discuss the vision for Sydney’s fastest growing new suburbs.
The edges of the Sydney basin are expected to become home to an extra 750,000 to 1 million people in the coming years and the State Government is already preparing infrastructure such as rail links. “It is our responsibility to ensure that we are there from the beginning as these new communities are being established,” said Glenn Gardner, the Executive Director of New Churches for New Communities.
The NCNC – along with the Mission Property Committee, Evangelism and New Churches and area bishops – have identified Stanhope Gardens and Marsden Park, both in the north-west growth corridor, and Leppington, in the south-west growth zone, as key sites. “Just about all the land has been sold here and earlier this year there was a land release which saw people camp out at the local shopping centre, in the rain, for three nights, just to get their 400 square metres,” said Steve Reimer, the church planter appointed for Stanhope Gardens.
A development application for a ministry centre at Stanhope Gardens has already been lodged and it is hoped construction can begin in the first quarter of 2017. “Our plan is to build the church here and have the auditorium so we can keep preaching the gospel and reaching out to the thousands and thousands of people who have moved into this area over the past few years, and just continue to do so,” Mr Reimer said.
At least $2.5 million will be needed to complete the project, of which $1.3 million has already been raised. In addition to the contributions all churches make through a 2 per cent levy to fund land acquisition in developing areas, a number of churches have pledged extra donations. “St Luke’s Miranda has committed to donating $50,000 over five years and another two parishes are considering how they can support NCNC,” Mr Gardner said. “This is a great encouragement, especially considering that Miranda parish has its own development plans under way.
A grant of $1 million over three years has also been received from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. Church planters Luther Symons at Leppington and Mark Collins at Marsden Park are watching the preparations at Stanhope Gardens closely as their areas are the next projects on the NCNC drawing board.