Dennis Ang is animated as he speaks of a new year and reveals his hope for 2019. It is not a resolution dreamed and declared in the dying moments of 2018 – it is a hope founded in faith and focuses on a tiny, weathered 119-year-old church in Krambach.
Krambach Presbyterian Church sits gently in the landscape next to Krambach Public School. Its footprint is small, its exterior is tired, and the interior offers vintage styling that stamps its place in history. Dennis sees its age, knows its heritage, but seeks only to talk with passion about its future in the Krambach community.
This is a terrific community; it’s pretty vibrant for such a small place, and most things focus around the pub. Things are happening all the time either at the school, hall, the markets, in the fire brigade, and it is a wonderful community to call home.
For three years I have taught scripture at the school, and now just feels like the right time for the church to increase its connection to the community and offer services twice a month.
It’s exciting, and the fact that Krambach is such a vibrant community gives me hope the church will be embraced. This time next year I hope to see a full church with people of all ages, to hear the laughter of children, with us planning for full-time services, instead of twice a month!
What is driving your passion to grow the church community in Krambach?
Churches are closing. You go into some churches now, the dying churches, and there are no young people, no families, and some of the people in those congregations are happy with that – as long as it stays the same for them – until it comes time for their funeral, then they are happy. I am not happy with that.
As the school scripture teacher, I have been very encouraged by the eagerness of the children, and the acceptance of the staff and the acceptance of the parents, so I think the time is right for us to grow the church community by offering more services.
The services will respond to the needs of the people; we know people need God, we know they need the gospel, but how they receive the Word will be according to what they want. So if they want services in the church, that’s great; if they want services outside under the trees, we can do that.
How do you see God at work and is He working differently than 10, 20 or 119 years ago?
God is unchanging and works in the hearts of people in the same way He has always done. It is people and society that have changed; we are much more secular, and religion has given itself a pretty bad name.
I’m going on 70, so I’ve been around for a while and hopefully, I’ll be around for a little bit longer! I see it as my duty, but more than that, I see it as a privilege to share the gospel with this community – I’m not always good at it, but I try! I’ll be preaching along with locals Doug Smith, John Thompson, Bill Blakie, Wade King and Pastor Paul Smith of Wingham Presbyterian Church.
Rob Archinal stands outside the church and laughs loudly as he shares memories of his January 1994 wedding in the church in searing heat. He is intimately connected to the building and passionate about contributing to an exciting new chapter in its story. Rob, why is it important to keep the church doors open to people?
I’ve got a bit of a passion for this church and small churches, because I think it’s easier to connect and build genuine relationships with people. A small church is intimate, and by God’s grace this church has never shut its doors – it’s been at a very low ebb at times, but it’s never shut its doors.
A community needs a church to have its doors open so people can come if they would like to, and we want people to come as they are – however they feel comfortable – to meet with people in our community and hear about Jesus.
What does your faith add to your life?
My faith gives me absolute hope that no matter what happens, everything will be OK, and it’s that hope I want other people to have in their lives. It’s powerful and life changing. When I was young, if someone had told me that I would be a Christian attending church, I would have laughed them out of the room! I was anti-Christianity, because I thought church was just religious rules and traditions, but when I read what Jesus said, it changed my life.
A bloke once said to me, “You won’t like me because I think the trouble with the world is religion”, and I said, “That’s what Jesus said!” We really want people to see Jesus and not religion.
Pastor Paul Smith of Wingham Presbyterian Church encourages Dennis and Rob in their passion to increase services and desire to grow people’s faith in community with others. He is excited and hopes the community will come and see.
God is love, and He created us to love and serve others. In a church community there are opportunities to grow and when you look at the New Testament, it’s the body of Christ, it’s about working together, bringing those different gifts to help one another.
As a pastor I am biased, but a church community gives you the opportunity to do life with people. To be loved, supported and challenged – you are going to be given opportunities to forgive other people, and you are going to be given opportunities to serve others. I really hope that in time the people in this area will say, this is our home church, this is our community, and this is where we want to serve and come to know God.
Krambach Presbyterian Church will open for services at 9:30am on the second and fourth Sunday of the month.