about us

Our plans

What is St Columb’s about? - Living with hope in Jesus Christ.

As an Anglican Church, we continue the worship and community begun by Jesus Christ. Most people are aware of the gap in our culture between just living for what we see and the hunger for something that goes beyond what we see. This encourages us to put the case for the person and teaching of Jesus Christ as central to how we form our lives. Our aim is to live with hope in him and to recommend that hope to others.

What does St. Columb’s plan to do? 

Our plans for what we will do are shaped by principles of how and why we do things. We find plans and principles need to go together so that when the details of our plans vary because of changing circumstances, we have agreed principles to help us adapt to new situations.


Teams, trusting and accountability 

Parish Council with the Vicar have final oversight of our ministry together; the Church Wardens have a particular responsibility for finances and property; and the staff are employed to facilitate our ministry as a parish. This plan is our commitment to trust our teams of staff and volunteers to design, manage and run their ministries. Parish Council in turn requires our teams to respect its oversight and final responsibility for managing the whole Church. 

Permission to fail 

We expect that some activities we start will have a short lifespan. We do not expect that all of our ideas will work at first or even after we have persisted with them but we want our members to have permission to try. 

Personal best and grow steadily

These plans are our commitment to aim for our personal best in our discipleship, worship, teaching, evangelism, administration and community life. As we are changed to become like Jesus Christ, we are told to measure our progress by comparing ourselves only to ourselves (Galatians 6.3-5), therefore these plans are also our commitment to grow steadily, to be unashamed of small things, small meetings, gatherings and events because we know God uses all things grow people in Christ.

Stages of life

Since 1883 St. Columb’s has organised its ministries based on stages of life. We run separate ministries for children, youth, young adults and adults, yet many of our ministry activities mix the age groups together so that the young can benefit from the wisdom of those who are older and the older can benefit from the enthusiasm, energy and ideas of the young.

Worship & prayer

Worship and prayer 

We all worship something because we need purpose, a bottom line in our lives. Christians are committed to worshipping the creator rather than any part of creation since the Bible teaches that is the point and fulfilment of human life. To worship God together is to experience freedom, joy and change. It is our chief purpose and future as a church. We long to do this well, worshipping, as Jesus said, in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).


  • To grow the Christian maturity of each of our members through their participation in worship. To achieve this, we have made two decisions: One is that worship is to encourage and disciple Christian believers, the other is to use the gifts he gives members to serve each other in our times of worship together.

  • Encouraging our small groups to develop as small churches. In our time-poor and divided urban communities, smaller groups that meet for worship, prayer and support are attractive to many. They can also more readily allow for diverse expressions of worship (eg. for youth, in foreign languages, etc)

  • Maintain two public Sunday services.

  • Develop our worship services to better relate to the changing culture around us. (1 Cor 9:19-23)

  • Work towards a congregation that focuses on people from India and Sri Lankan backgrounds (see ‘Young Adults’ below).



What we will teach

The Anglican Church of Australia calls the Bible “… the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation.” To put that another way, God may speak to us in creation and our conscience and reason but, in the Bible, he speaks clearly to all human beings. Our calling is to teach and live out this gift of God’s word to us.

Teaching, discipleship and mission does not only happen in our public programs, courses and small groups. It is also seen in our encouragement of each other, the words and actions in our daily lives.

How we will teach

Faith does not mean believing despite the evidence, it means trusting because of the evidence, therefore, we will not promote unexamined faith positions. We welcome questions and debate about our convictions because these questions help us to better understand our own beliefs and lives. We recognise that everyone has faith commitments, and all serious faith commitments deserve to be examined with gentleness and respect (2 Timothy 2.24, 25).


  • Train each other in evangelism, worship by mentoring evangelists, worship and prayer leaders and teachers.

  • Run courses that address particular life needs such as parenting skills, a marriage course and courses that explain Christianity.

  • Publish educational and testimonial material based on the experiences and research of members of St. Columb’s.



These projects are to help us serve our local community and to give us opportunity to discuss the benefits of Christian commitment with those who are interested.

  • The pathway for outreach is: contact -> hospitality -> worship

  • Contact events include social activities, seminars, sports activities, playgroups, Christmas and Easter services.

  • Hospitality events include visiting those who are ill or in need, a coffee with someone we met at a church service, an invitation to a meal, an invitation to an evangelistic course, new members dinners/lunches.

  • Worship is turning to God. This could be as simple as praying before a sports match or as life changing as a conversion prayer or joining the regular worship at St. Columb’s.

  • We support the Café that runs at St. Columb’s as part of our community contact as well as a venue for hospitality.

  • As mentioned under Teaching above, we will use training courses as well as our worship services as an opportunity for educating people about Christianity.


Children  (revised parish council October 2020)

We want to invite you to join us in supporting families as they raise their children as disciples of Jesus.

We believe that God has used the 2020 pandemic restrictions to teach us to listen better to what he is up to amongst our children and families - we have learnt or been reminded that:

  • Our focus needs to move from running engaging programs for children to spending more time talking with families

  • Research and the Bible teach us that it is families who have the biggest impact of the spiritual formation of children

  • Children belong to their home family and their church family so being involved with and appreciated in the regular life of the church is really important for their discipleship

  • Our ministry staff focus on who and why rather than what. To put that another way, our emphasis is on regular contact with our familes and resourcing them rather than running a program

  • We put our children into appropriate ministry roles. This gives them the opportunity to learn along side others and to contribute their gifts on our rosters and in other places of our life together

  • We will use exisiting events to help train and support our community (parents, carers) in faith skills that are important to children.

  • We mark milestones. The start and finish of school, big birthdays, moving up to the youth ministry. We will celebrate our lives together becuase God is involved there.

  • We run a children's section in our family worship time. This includes a kids' talk and craft and sometimes a song.

  • We pray for our children and their ministry with us. Our childrens' teams meet twice a year to lift before God this ministry.

  • We run Sunday morning programs (Kids Church & Mini Kids) with our 10am worship to help families and our community with the task God has given us of discipling new generations as followers of Jesus.



Our theology of youth ministry is to involve the teens in the life of the adult congregation as they mature. At the same time, we will run small groups for teenagers that focus on their concerns and include their peers. This is a strategy for overcoming the gap between years spent outside the worshipping congregation in Sunday school and youth activities and the life of our adult congregation. We aim for a high degree of participation from the youth to help them mature as Christians. We uphold State government Child Safe practices and aim to pass on the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. 

  • Continue to develop small groups for youth (on Sunday mornings and at other times) that address the specific interests of teenagers.

  • Integrate senior youth (year 10 upwards) into our regular worship services.

  • Continue to develop youth camps with other churches.

  • Recommence a regular Friday evening youth outreach event.

Young adults

Young Adults 

Young adult culture continues to change rapidly and as we are located near a multicultural University we will grow our ability for cross-cultural mission and our capacity to communicate well with young adults.

  • Continue our sports ministry and develop pastoral visiting, hospitality, prayer and discussion opportunities for people involved in that ministry.

  • Develop small groups then a congregation that focuses on young adults from an Indian or Sri Lankan background (see ‘Worship’ above) by employing a part-time specialist in this area who is able to work with our sports and university contacts (see ‘Staff’ below).

  • Partner with Christian Union at Swinburne University in office accommodation, teachers, pastoral support and funding towards a staff member/pastoral worker that is shared with St. Columb’s.

  • Use our 6pm service as a venue to train young adults as service leaders, preachers, prayer leaders, musicians and in pastoral and outreach work.

Adults & retirees


In our culture those in the middle of life are over-busy this means we will need to employ pastoral staff to ensure pastoral, evangelistic and discipleship work for adults is properly resourced. That said, women and men who live as mature Christians have a significant impact on our world in many ways, seen and unseen. This is why we want to challenge and resource our adults through our activities to keep growing as Christ’s people at home, at work and in their personal networks. 

  • Being hospitable, caring for and noticing people makes a difference to lives. This is especially the case in urban churches like ours where a sense of being cared for, identity and belonging no longer comes from living in our locale. These essential human things we have to build by other means. Which is why we are asking all our members to make it a regular part of their lives to invite people for dinner or to catch up informally.

  • We will undertake pastoral as well as evangelistic training for adults.

  • We will employ a part-time children’s and families’ worker.

  • Develop a series of events designed for Swinburne staff.


A growing proportion of the Australian population is moving into retirement. We are also living longer and healthier lives so retirement is generally an active season. However, retirees in our area, if they are healthy, do not have any more time available for traditional voluntary roles than adults in the middle of life. We want to encourage our retirees to work out how they can serve God and the world with the gifts, time and experience God has given them. We want our retirees to share the wisdom of maturity they have to serve others with in this new season of life.

  • Develop a series of meal based gatherings, perhaps even courses, with topical speakers that people can be invited to (eg. Swinburne Staff, other retirees).

  • Help develop a pastoral care and mentoring team that aims to work with younger people from our ministries.

  • Develop recreational activities for our members and contacts to be involved in.

Small groups & care

Small groups and care 

Our first way of caring for and encouraging each other is to meet together for prayer and worship. Our second way is to be determined to keep growing up as Christians. Our third way is by belonging to a small group where we can study and pray together, be supported and also offer care.  Our fourth way is our team of staff and volunteers who care for those outside our small groups. This plan recognises that some people will belong to our small groups that we seldom see in our public worship services. For them, their small group well may be their church and we are committed to continuing access to a variety of small groups for a variety of people.

Partnerships & missions


We send 10% of our budgeted giving income to missions and we also support the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. This means over 20% of our budgeted giving supports organisations other than St. Columb’s. We do this because we want to be generous and model generosity to our members. The organisations we support are reviewed every two years by our Parish Council and have at least one of the following characteristics:

  • People from our congregation are involved with the project

  • The project reaches a people group we are also reaching in our Hawthorn based ministries

  • The project is informed by Biblical truth and values – whether educational, evangelistic, social justice or development projects.

  • We also set aside 20% of our annual mission budget for one-off discretionary projects.


We have established a number of partnerships with organisations outside of St. Columb’s. These partnerships contribute a great deal to our life together and we are planning to develop more partnerships as opportunities arise.

Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students

Christian Union at Swinburne University is now combined with the Overseas Christian Fellowship. It is overseen by AFES. We plan to deepen our relationship with CU by providing facilities and resources but chiefly by supporting staff workers at Swinburne CU that are also part of the St. Columb’s staff team. We are aiming to provide up to two days per week of support by the end of this plan.

With this we are planning to employ, part-time, a minister who will help us to establish a congregation at St. Columb’s based on our contacts with people from Sri Lankan and Indian backgrounds.

Diocese of the Northern Territory - St. James Kewulyi

In 2017 we began a partnership, through the Anglican Diocese of the Northern Territory, with indigenous Christians from St James Kewulyi. The aim of the partnership is to build a long-term relationship between St Columb’s and our indigenous brothers and sisters in Kewulyi so that we can learn from each other and grow in faith together. We are planning to arrange regular visits by St Columb’s parishioners (who have been recognised by the Diocese of the Northern Territory and accepted by the people of Kewulyi) to develop the relationship by working on projects together. The first project is to refurbish a building in Kewulyi to make it suitable for church meetings.  It is a ministry adventure that we can give little firm direction to but it is written into this plan as a sign of our commitment to pursue the relationship where ever the Lord may lead it. Funding for this project will come from individual donations towards the expenses of those travelling to the Northern Territory, from the discretionary component of our mission budget and from funds for building works held by the Diocese of the Northern Territory.

Keriva Counselling

Keriva Counselling services is a ministry we run and support. Keriva consists of independent counsellors who are vetted by our church wardens and agree with the goal of this counselling ministry. Keriva's goal is to enable its clients to deal with the life issues they are facing by providing professional counselling and psychological services with counsellors who are familiar with Christian commitment. Since the Bible is clear about the uniqueness, value and worth of all people the counsellors aim to make counselling available to all, including those who may be struggling financially. Keriva specialises in its service to those with issues that relate to their faith journey, over the years this has included clergy, missionaries, chaplains and other pastoral and church workers. Our plans for 2018-2022 are:

  • To develop new counsellors who are able build their own regular client base. At least one of these counsellors will be a qualified Psychologist so that Keriva can take advantage of the Medicare rebate for counselling sessions.

  • To develop skills for longer term, affordable, counselling for those who have suffered trauma from church institutional abuse as part of an Anglican response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse.

  • We will continue to maintain the web site, email system, calendar booking system, printed flyers, on-line advertising, insurance and general management of this ministry. We will continue to make sure Keriva complies with State and Federal laws on child safety and any emerging policies of our Diocese on safe ministry practice.

  • We will maintain and gradually develop the counselling area to give it a professional and welcoming aesthetic in order to assist those with deep needs to feel more secure in this environment. This is to be paid for by the counsellors with St. Columb’s contributing at its discretion.

Romana House (revised parish council July 2020 - from the AGM report November 2020)

Caring for the poor not only demonstrates God’s love of the poor but also enriches those who serve the poor. In this spirit Parish Council established a ministry in 2020 that:

  • meets a real and existing need,

  • does not duplicate existing services that are provided to the materially poor in the local community,

  • is sustainable in the sense that the St Columb's community is prepared to support it in the long
    term, taking into account the location, time, resources and other commitments of its members, and

  • is accessible by a broad cross-section of the St Columb's community, recognising that we do not all
    have the expertise needed to deal with many of the issues that cause material poverty (including mental illness and addiction).

Romana House: Servants Community Housing
Servants was set up by the Hawthorn West Baptist Church in 1986 to provide affordable accommodation that is safe and secure for vulnerable individuals, many of whom suffer from long-term mental illness. Many have been homeless. Servants provide live-in care and logistical support, together with an evening meal six nights a week (Sun-Fri). Their first residence was Carrical House, West Hawthorn, now with 38 residents. In 2011 they established Hamer Court, High Street, Kew (28 residents); in 2014 Romana House, Kew (24 residents); and in 2018 converted the Hawthorn West Baptist Church manse into accommodation for six women.
Servants' CEO advised that since the COVID-19 restrictions began, a monthly Saturday drop-off of packaged food suitable for a meal (lunch or dinner) that day, cookies and a quantity of fruit sufficient for each resident, was very much needed at Romana House. This would not only be of material benefit to the residents, but also be interpreted as a mark of respect, dignity and acceptance from the local community.

Parish Council's request for volunteers drew an enthusiastic response from the parish, indeed an entire Small Group volunteered to be on the roster as a team. Another member of our group has enlisted the assistance of a warm-hearted neighbour. Armed with an initial bulk package of 500 fully compostable food containers and 500 paper bags, we set to work and delivered our first effort on 5 September. This has been followed by deliveries on 3 October and 7 November. Currently we are on a 4-monthly rotation for the first Saturday of the month and experimenting with what each of us is best able to cook in bulk that the residents enjoy. So far so good! New cooks and bottle washers are always welcome in this ministry team.

Staff team

Staff  team

St Columb’s is committed to employing staff who will use their gifts in love 'to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.' (Ephesians 4:12, 13). Their ministry is not only to do ministry but also to equip or train others in ministry so that they can continue to do ministry well after they have left St. Columb’s. Growth in our staff numbers will be linked to the numerical growth of the congregation and our income. We will aim to employ the following people by the end of this plan:

  • a full-time vicar (6 days/week – in 2017: full-time)

  • a part-time assistant minister with youth and young adults (4 days per week in 2018, 3 days per week in 2019)

  • a part-time sports chaplain (3 days/week – 2017: 3 days per week)

  • a part-time children and families minister from 2018 (2 days per week from 2018, 3 days from 2019)

  • a part-time office manager (1 day per week in 2017 to 2 days per week by 2022 this role to expand when average attendance is around 120 per week.)

  • a part-time outreach worker in partnership with CU Swinburne. (Support for 1 day/week – starting in 2018)

  • a part-time Indian / Sri Lankan minister (2 days/week) who will develop small groups and a congregation focused on young adults from an Indian or Sri Lankan background using contacts in our sports and university ministries. This role is to commence when average attendance is around 110 per week.

  • casual staff and contractors: to aid the administration of our sports ministry, regular cleaning, gardening and maintenance, bookkeeping and support for worship services/parish events.

Property & budgets

Buildings & Grounds  (revised parish council November 2020)

This plan is a commitment by the Parish Council to maintain our current buildings in good order, refurbishing the existing structures on a case-by-case basis. Our priority is to use the capital assets of St Columb’s to serve the gospel, the community and the poor as that is what the land was set aside for by our church and local community. We recognise that income from some of our properties will be necessary in order to fund the significant cost of maintaining heritage buildings, developing our grounds for community use and supplementing income for our ministries. We will not seek to reduce our overall property holdings by selling property. Loan arrangements will be short-term expedients designed to cover costs while we prepare for a new income stream to meet the loans. Each significant building or grounds project requires a detailed plan developed by Parish Council. (revised - parish council November 2020)

(Estimates in 2017 dollars)

  • Projects paid for by our annual appeal, grants and partnerships (These are included on our budget but works will be limited to the funds raised)

  • The completion of our landscaping plans from 2012. (est. $80k)

  • Sound system and video upgrade (possibly tax-deductible. est. $20k)

  • Projects paid for by our maintenance budget. (Our maintenance budget in 2017 is set at $12,000/annum). The following are our anticipated expenses listed in order of priority.

  • Fencing on the East boundary (est. $4k)

  • Repairs to the clear windows in the church (est. $20k)

  • Repairs to the roof on the small hall (est. $15k)

  • Minor upgrade to counselling area to meet required standards ($5k)

  • Security system (cameras. est. $4k)

  • Unforeseen expenses will include replacing heating systems, uninsured costs of storm damage (roofs), repairs to drains, sewerage and irrigation. (est. $15k over five years)

  • Projects paid for by appeal to public charities (These projects are not included in our budget but will an extra office staffing cost in order to make applications to beneficent institutions. They rely on a tax-deductible fund).

  • The repair of the stained-glass windows in the church.

  • Projects that we will not attempt in this five year plan. (These items are not included in our budget)

  • The repair of the pipe organ. (est. $400k – we will consider finding a new home for the organ)

  • Re-stumping under the vestry rooms and sanctuary area in the church. (est $60k)

  • Refurbishing the vestry offices. (est. $15k)

  • Substantial repairs to the church roof (est. $70k)

  • Replacing aged wiring in the roof of the church (est. $15k)

  • Roof and external wood work on 448 Burwood Road (est. $45k)


Parish Council has developed a draft five-year budget for these ideas to help us both to test how viable they are and to be responsible in caring for the congregation of St. Columb’s. The ideas presented here will be a challenge to our 2017 congregation but we are also planning for growth over the five year period and linking the expansion of staffing and building works to the growth of our congregation.