As the name suggests, this is a ministry to people living in rural towns and on their related farms. THrough its Gospelair aviation wing this mission also reaches out to those living in remote areas.
While the focus of this ministry at this time is that area of the Wheatbelt from Dalwallinu in the north to Northam to the south, it is a service that seeks to provide spiritual and social support throughout the wheatbelt of Western Australia.
Being a ministry that will largely provide support via this website and its related online links, it is a support service to people in all rural and remote areas in Australia.
The Mission of the Wheatbelt Christian Fellowship
The vision of the Wheatbelt Christian Fellowship is to return an ordained ministry back into rural communities. The aim is to provide Christians from all denominations the possibility of worshipping together and pooling resources together provide spiritual and social support to their communities.
For this purpose Rev. Geoff van Schie was formally set apart for this work by the Christian Reformed Church of Perth on December 7th, 2008. He had been working in Wongan Hills on a monthly basis from April 2006.
The Reality facing rural & remote communities
For many years rural and remote communities have seen the withdrawal of ordained ministers of all denominations as township populations shrink and congregations no longer are able to financially support ministers and their work.
Throughout Australia, churches have closed their doors and many buildings are being used for other activities (restaurants, cafes, craft shops etc).
In many rural communities, small groups of Christians meet (often monthly or fortnightly) in their denominational groupings (Anglican, Baptist, Church of Christ, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Uniting etc.), each struggling to remain a worshipping community.
In some towns, these small worshipping communities meet for a combined interdenominational service, perhaps once a month.
A Servant Ministry
The Wheatbelt Christian Fellowship is a servant ministry of the Christian Reformed Church of Perth (www.crcperth.org.au)
This means that the mission of the Wheatbelt Christian Fellowship is not to establish another small denominational group in rural communities. Rather it’s mission is to work alongside, help and support Christians from different denominations without an ordained minister.
Where such people desire to meet together for worship, worship services are provided and small group fellowships arranged.
In cases where congregations seek assistance by extending an invitation to preach, such requests are most welcome and when possible such invitations are accepted.
Pastor Geoff van Schie
Pastor Geoff has served as an ordained minister of the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia since December 16th, 1978. By God’s grace he celebrated his 40th ordination anniversary on Sunday, 16th of December, 2018.
He has served the Perth congregation since January 1999 as its local minister and on December 7th, 2008 was set apart as its Rural and Remote Communities pastor to provide an ordained ministry to people in rural and remote areas.
He and his wife Florence were married in December 1976 and have four adult children and six grandchildren.
Geoff and Florence have travelled extensively in outback and rural areas. They know the spiritual needs of those living in the bush. They have grown in their care and concern for people outside of the cities.