Bessie Pereira Visit

Bessie PereiraThere are still a few places available at the Seeds of Hope dinner being held Monday October 17, 6.30 pm to 9 pm at Kookaburra Cafe, 280 Given Terrace, Paddington in Brisbane. For a seat phone Duncan Macleod at 3377 9809.

Guest Speaker will be Bessie Pereira, co-ordinator of Oikos Australia, a resourcing network for house churches. A range of meals and drinks will be available to order on the night. See the Kookaburra Cafe web site for more details.

Duncan Macleod writes:

At the Forge National Summit in Melbourne I attended a two-session stream on House Church, hosted by Bessie Pereira and Dave Wilson.

I’m part of a house church network on the Gold Coast, the result of a Uniting Church plant in 2002. I was interested to see what’s being learnt about this approach to church in Australia. Most of what I’ve come across so far has been focused on the cell church model in which small groups feed into a congregational focus. What I’ve been looking for is a network that takes seriously the autonomy of each group, the capacity for the small group to be church.

Bessie Pereira introduced us to OIKOS Australia, a “servant ministry seeking to advance God’s Kingdom purposes in our land by supporting and encouraging Home Churches both within and independent of the traditional church.” Oikos takes its name from the Greek word for household. The network provides relevant news and information for house church members, through a quarterly newsletter, personal contact, pastoral care, seminars and speaking engagements.

The most interesting factor we explored was the dynamic of ‘lounge size’ rather than home. As it’s said on the web site…www.oikos.org.au

“It’s not the venue that is descriptive, but rather the way of ‘being church’. Church sometimes meets in lounge rooms, offices, factories, aged facilities, prisons and even car parks.”

We talked through the temptation for a home church to become inward looking. The vision for mission presented by Bessie was for the home church to provide support for the everyday missional life lived by each person. This has real potential, not only in urban environments but also in the rural setting where people often gather in groups of a dozen or less. Bessie had a good selection of resources for browsing, as well as an unbelievably inexpensive source of Robert Banks’ books on house churches. See Bessie’s paper on house church and mission presented to the Australian Missiology conference in September 2005.

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