New town pastor promises practical ways to strengthen community spirit

WELCOME: An exciting new era for the Stawell Baptist Church as Irene Gould becomes the church's new pastor.

WELCOME: An exciting new era for the Stawell Baptist Church as Irene Gould becomes the church's new pastor.

Spreading the love of God and offering practical ways to help the Stawell community will be Irene Gould’s mission as the new pastor of Stawell Baptist Church.

She started the new role on July 7 and will have an induction ceremony at the Stawell Baptist Church on Sunday, July 30 at 10am. 

Pastor Gould said she will aim to strengthen the public’s relationship with God and also think about what the church can do practically in the community. 

“I would like to reach out to the community and especially to the marginalised and the lonely, and make them feel like they have a place where they belong to,” she said. 

“This is not just a church service- but it is a space of fellowship and friendship.”

Stawell Baptist Church is a part of a program offering breakfast to disadvantaged school students in the area. 

Pastor Gould said this was the type of initiative she wanted to do more.  

“Churches not only exist to help the community find a relationship with God, but we are there to be practical and demonstrate care, love and support to the community,” she said. 

“I will be visiting the town police to see if there are any other programs we can work on together to help the community.”

Pastor Gould said she was concerned about the high-incident rate of family violence and wanted to make a difference. 

“There are at least three incidents of family violence a week happening,” she said. 

“This is something the church can be involved in and offer ways to help support those affected.” 

Stawell Baptist Church member Jenny Cray said she was pleased with Pastor Gould’s appointment and was excited to see what she could offer Stawell. 

“Irene comes to us with a wealth of experience in Christian Ministry and a heart to reach out to the community in Stawell and the surrounding areas,” she said. 

“She is passionate about the church being relevant to all generations and believes that the church is more than just a place to worship God.

“To be effective the church should make a difference in the community and be a place where all people feel they can belong.”

Members of the public were invited to join Irene Gould and members of the Stawell Baptist Church in welcoming her to the community.

Lunch will be provided after the service.

Churches not only exist to help the community find a relationship with God, but we are there to be practical and demonstrate care, love and support.

Pastor Irene Gould