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Cnr Kembla and Burelli Sts, Wollongong Sunday @ 9.45am
Growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Brett had little contact with church or religion, until half way through his teenage years when he became friends with a missionary ‘kid’ who invited Brett to his youth group. It was here where Brett realised he was in rebellion with God, where in fact God was actually calling on him to repent, ask for forgiveness and He would accept Brett into His family. In Brett’s words, that didn’t seem a hard decision at the time and God saved me. After completing Girraween High School in ’84, Brett continued his studies at Macarthur IAE obtaining a Diploma in Welfare (Youth Work) by ’86.
This initially led to him becoming a youth refuge worker with Presbyterian Social Services (1987-1989), followed by 5 years as a youth development officer with Western Sydney Drug and Alcohol Resource Centre. Supported by family, especially his wife (he married Ruth in ’89), Brett then focussed his entire attention to Gospel ministry, commencing a Bachelor of Ministry at Sydney Missionary and Bible College from ’95 to ’97. Fully equipped to take up Ministry, Brett went on to become both a part-time Youth Worker with Parramatta City Presbyterian Church and part-time pastoral care worker with Presbyterian Social Services at Royal North Shore and Prince of Wales Hospitals, whilst he and Ruth participated in a candidates course with European Christian Mission in preparation for cross cultural ministry in Spain.
In August 1999 he, Ruth and their two children (Sarah, by now 7 and Dylan,6) moved to Cordoba, Spain to commence language study and cultural adaptation with view to implement a church planting program in the town of Cabra (pop. 20,000) and the surround towns on behalf of the European Christian Mission in conjunction with Australian Presbyterian World Mission (Mission partners). By June 2001, Brett and Ruth were collaborated with his Spanish co-workers Abel and Rafi Nuño on the church planting project, which included developing a youth ministry and music ministry, a home Bible study group, establishing a church council of local leadership and developing an out-reach program for the church. On a community level, amongst other things he was involved in tutoring in English, and ran various groups in a local high school. Concurrently, Ruth who also attended and completed her certificate of Theology at Sydney Missionary and Bible College between ’95-97, co-lead the Women’s Bible study; coordinated and taught at the Sunday school; trained women in developing and leading bible studies and participated in a variety of community events, including tutoring English to the locals.
In 2007, it was time to come home to Oz and the entire family returned to Wollongong, where Brett took up the role of assistant pastor at City Central Presbyterian Church Wollongong (and is now the Pastor), while Ruth returned to working as a Physiotherapist and is involved in women’s and children’s ministry in the church. As Brett simply states, I enjoy teaching Gods word and have a passion for sharing the gospel with people and encouraging people in their Christian growth. I enjoy listening to people, hearing their story, meeting them where they are at and sharing Christ with them.
In his spare-time, Brett likes all sports (except synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and ice dancing); loves football, enjoys a surf or three, and playing the bass and some guitar. Ruth likes music, gardening, photography, painting (in fact most creative activity), and keeping healthy. Ruth and Brett have two adult children.
Bruce Christian was ordained as a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1975 and has served in Sydney – at Engadine for 5 years and at Rose Bay for over 28 years. In 2008, Bruce ‘retired’ to work 2 days/week as part-time Chaplain at Sutherland Shire Christian School at Menai.
He lives at Bulli north of Wollongong with his wife, Pat, and they have 5 adult children and 16 grandchildren. In his spare time he writes the daily Bible Study notes for the Australian Presbyterian. Bruce served the Church as the NSW Moderator in 1990/91 and the Australian Moderator-General for 1997-2001. He is the Convener of the Presbyterian Aged Care Committee. Prior to gaining a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Sydney University as preparation for the ministry, Bruce had gained Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees at UNSW, and had worked for 10 years as a Civil Engineer with Sydney Water.