by S Lowe 5THE FM wattlerangenow
The Millicent Baptist Church held a church service with a difference on Sunday 1st March. The service was initiated by Pastor Arthur Tzanakis who personally delivered invitations to people he realised had been hurt by the church, inviting them to take part in this special service in the hope that healing could begin for the church, the community and for individuals who could then move forward.
“A friend of mine did it in Adelaide in a church that had a history of upheaval and conflict and I thought we needed to do a similar thing.”
“I didn’t realise the magnitude of hurt until I began visiting people. If hurt is left, it festers and it is not good for the church or Millicent. It brings negativity upon the church and as God’s representative it brings negativity on to God.”
“People see this and they say – is that how Christians behave and it becomes a stumbling block to so many.”
I asked Pastor Tzanakis what reaction he received to his invitations.
“A mixed response,” he said.
“I had one negative phone call, one very gracious, some were positive. It was a mixed response but generally saying, it was a positive thing to do.”
“I hoped by the tone of the invitation, people realised there was no pressure for people to attend or to continue to attend after Sunday’s service. It was just a chance to say, we’re sorry.”
“People did come as a result of their invitation and it was a very positive outcome, it was very affirming.”
“Through out this process, I realised that there were people in our community that had been hurt by the church and had never attended since.”
“A person came to the service on Sunday even though they had always thought they would never be able to come again because of past hurts, but they did, and it was truly a God moment.”
“We continue with an attitude of expectancy, available to chat privately if needed, open to the Spirit of God and with the hand of God extended to our community.”
Pastor Tsunamis journey into ministry began in Adelaide in 1998 at Bible College SA where he studied for 4 years and then at Burleigh Baptist College in Unley. He spent 6 years with West Care Mission working with the homeless. This was followed by 3 ½ years in Port Pirie
He said, “Then I went to Phnom Penh Cambodia for 2 years. I went kicking and screaming, but God called me, so I went. I worked with the pastors and the people there and God blessed me with a lovely wife, Nita. We were married in Adelaide 16 months ago and we accepted the call to Millicent Baptist Church in October of last year.”
Baptist Church services are held every Sunday at 10-00 am at the Baptist Church Ridge Tce Millicent.
‘Seeking to share God’s love in our community’ – Pastor Arthur Tzanakis