The church heritage of church@paravista has its beginnings in the Christian Brethren movement, dating back to England in the early 1800s. In the 1830s and 1840s a number of Anglican clergy, who were committed to the Scriptures, sought to rediscover the New Testament principles of church practice and fellowship. Guided by the Spirit of God, they began to meet in such a way as to follow the pattern of the early Christian Church in the Book of Acts. This involved a focus on the unity of the church as the body of Christ, the centrality of worship, the priesthood of all believers, believers’ baptism and a focus on the Lord’s Table remembrance. What emerged became known as the Plymouth Brethren, named after the place, Plymouth, where they first began to meet.
In 1901, William Neatby wrote about the Plymouth Brethren, “the Brethren sought to affect a fresh start without authority, precedent or guidance beyond the letter of the Holy Scripture. For them, essentially, the garnered experience of 18 centuries was as though it were not. Such an experiment in the hands of eminent men could scarcely fail to yield a considerable harvest of interest and instruction”.
Unfortunately, as has happened with many renewal movements throughout history, some men began to interpret the rediscovered principles in a very narrow way, which gave rise to a breakaway movement known as the “Exclusive Brethren”. This breakaway group became quite distinct from the continuing “Open Brethren” with which church@paravista is aligned. The Open Brethren today has no organizational link with the Exclusive Brethren, and demonstrates Christian fellowship that is characterized by:
From the early leaders in the Open Brethren movement, such as Anthony Norris Groves, the understanding of the church is that it is the household of God where:
Church@paravista had its commencement in 1985. The church fellowship first met in the Redwood Park Primary School as the Golden Grove Christian Church. Then in 1987 it moved to the Tea Tree Players Theatre premises and from there to the Delfin Real Estate building in Golden Grove in 1991. The church remained at this site for 18 years, until the current church@paravista property was purchased in 2009. Because the church was now located in the suburb of Para Vista the church name was changed to church@paravista. The new facilities provided more room for the church and its ministries to grow.
A number of the original members who started the church in 1985 remain as active participants and there are many individuals and families who have maintained an active involvement in the church for over 30 years.
The founding pastor of church@paravista was Roy Montgomery. Roy served the church as the Senior Pastor for 20 years, providing an effective and fruitful ministry. The church grew and flourished under Roy’s leadership, which functioned in co-operation with an Eldership Team, of which Roy was a member. In 2005, Roy felt that it was time to step aside for the next generation of church leadership.
As a result, Danny Lanthois was appointed as the Senior Pastor in 2005, after having effectively served as the Youth Pastor for 8 years. At this time, Luke Dahlenburg was appointed as the Youth Pastor. Danny’s effective leadership and pastoral influence enabled church@paravista to continue to flourish and to grow to become a congregation of some 200 members and participants.
However, in 2016 Danny was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had to step aside for treatment and recovery. This prompted the Elders, in fellowship with Danny, to review the future pastoral needs of the church. This review anticipated Danny’s return to an involvement, with a reduced time commitment, when his health issues were resolved. On his return, Danny did not feel that it was advisable for him to continue as the Senior Pastor, and so he was happy to relinquish this role to a new appointment, as the Elders determined to be appropriate. With a sense of God’s leading and provision, the Elders appointed George Sears (Dr) to a part-time role as the Senior Pastor of church@paravista, commencing 8th October, 2017. Together with this appointment, Danny would continue as an Associate Pastor for 2 days per week.
Church@paravista has as its mission, “to help people become active, committed followers of Jesus Christ.” This means that the church desires to see people encounter Jesus through the Gospel so that they make a life commitment of faith in Him as Saviour and Lord. Thereafter it is the desire of church@paravista that believers grow in their understanding and expression of this faith, to become committed disciples of Jesus and active members of His church.
We encourage all those who are seeking to know more about Jesus, or who have already made a faith commitment to Him as disciples, to join us at church@paravista. Our desire is to serve you in your search or in your growth as a disciple, with the intention that God’s Kingdom, in His church, will grow and prosper for God’s praise and glory.