Burnt-out church puts faith in Eternity
Eternity Church senior pastor Mark Raymond, holding the mic, lead the Sunday service at the church in Kambah. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Its old home burnt to the ground in the Canberra firestorm almost a decade ago but it was relocated, rebuilt and in the intervening years has changed its name a couple of times.
Now, as it prepares to celebrate Christmas, the church originally known as New Creation Ministries at Holder, and which was rebuilt at Kambah and called the Parkway Church, has had yet another change. The congregation has decided it will be Eternity Church.
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Pastors Mark and Deb Raymond were living in England in January 2003 when they learnt that the church in Holder, then being run by Ms Raymond's father, Pastor John Macknamara, had been destroyed.
Ms Raymond said that after the fire church services were initially held in Weston Park and then at a high school. "They had their first service at the park because they couldn't hire a hall at the last minute. [Then] they went to Stromlo High School for five years,'' she said.
The Parkway Church - named after the Tuggeranong Parkway - finally opened in 2007. The Raymonds returned to Canberra 18 months ago to take over the running of the church and the new name was adopted to signify a new direction for the congregation.
The church is involved in many local community projects, including supporting a women's refuge, assisting cancer patients and the Raymonds are hoping to encourage more co-operation with other churches to assist families in crisis.
It is also supports an orphanage in Indonesia.
A Christmas service will be held at 9.30am on Tuesday.
"For us [Christmas] is a very core or foundational part of our faith so it's a big deal,'' Mr Raymond said.
"But we haven't made a big deal of it, if that makes sense. We've walked along the path that it's a personal faith sort of issue and tried to help people make sense of it.''