Our Story

Westgate’s beginnings

Westgate Baptist Community is a Baptist Church that was formed from the coming together of three smaller Baptist Churches in 1982. This followed a special report on the Baptist Churches and needs in the Western Suburbs. The report was written by Ross Langmead, sponsored by BUV. Ross and his wife Alison moved to the area to establish a small group and work with South Kingsville and Yarraville Baptist churches.

After several years of work and cooperation a new Baptist Community was formed by members from each of Yarraville, Kingsville and South Kingsville Baptist Churches. Westgate Baptist Community was constituted in 1982.  The focus of the community was to witness to the Good News of Jesus in the local area, which had a large sector of disadvantaged and working class people, and a limited availability of community services.

A number of couples and individuals from Eastern suburbs churches moved across to join the existing members of Yarraville, Kingsville and South Kingsville churches. They were attracted by a more radical approach to Christian community and justice, and to reaching out to the people in the local area.

During the 1980’s several innovative projects were initiated (housing, employment training, health clinic, community development). Some of these continue independently to this day. Some links to these organisations are included on the links page.

The call to live as community was taken very seriously. The church was solidly based on a network of active small groups which grew and multiplied. There were even a few close proximity ‘housing communities’ formed during this time.

Westgate Today

Since the mid nineties, Westgate has entered into a new phase of its life as the demographics of the area have changed. The mission projects initiated in the eighties all became completely independent entities with their own ethos and business structure.  In the early 2000’s our engagement with ethnic Karen and Chin refugees from Burma developed as a major part of our mission.

We see the challenge ahead to re-strengthen our connections with the local area and continue to be relevant and vital as followers of the Way of Jesus in the local and broader contexts.

We worship together on Sunday mornings and seek to include the culturally and linguistically diverse nature of our congregation and neighbourhood. Our small group and gathered life continues to be an expression of our sense of the hospitality of God.

We have a lively bunch of children and youth in all age groups and we are committed to teaching and helping them explore Christian faith through our Sunday teaching times, youth groups and mentoring and involvement in ‘hands on’ mission.

For a more detailed description of Westgate’s Milestone between 1982 and 2012, visit here.