In 1922 the chapel at the East Ipswich Church of Christ was opened with much fanfare, with the new building even featuring electric light. The young church slowly grew and began a trend for East Ipswich/Whitehill of growth and outgrowth. By the 1950’s there was talk of needing more room.
In the 1960’s the congregation dedicated a new building on the corner of Bright street and Brisbane Road on land adjacent to the old building. It was a modern brick structure. Repeating the pattern in the first 40 years, the gathered church outgrew the building. Space again was an issue, despite new offices for Church staff.
Pastor Norm Flett was Senior Pastor from 1989-2003. In the late 1990’s, he saw the opportunity to purchase 20 acres of land in Raceview in hopes of one day moving the church to that property. He challenged the church with this vision.
The church purchased the land on Whitehill Road and went through the process of relocation. A new building was built which housed worship centre, hall, offices and a kitchen. Churches of Christ in Qld built a Child Care Centre which operates on the front of the property.
In September 2000 with the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony in full swing the church had its first gathering. Since then we have added more meeting rooms and renovated our kitchen and portico area with a small cafe.
Pastor Darryl Seip was employed as Youth Pastor from 1994-2000. He then left to complete more studies in the USA and returned in 2002 to take up the role of Senior Pastor as Norm Flett retired. He stayed in that role until Dec 2018. The last 20 years have been ones of relative stability. The church on Whitehill Road was established in the community. Strong ties were made with Churches of Christ Foster Care and Housing areas that continue today.
Whitehill has developed a heart for its local community and ran a Christmas in the Carpark event for many years supported by the local community. In 2004 there was made allowance in staffing to focus on this area with the appointment of 2 part time staff, Craig Sadler (2004- 2009) & Wendy Turnour (2004-2018) as Community Development Pastors. Paul Hicks continued this from 2015-2019.
After a church consultancy in 2009, it was apparent that the systems in the church needed much attention. So an Executive Pastor, Barry Tramacchi (2010-2014), was employed full time to tighten up policies and procedures and finances.
Whitehill has had a strong mission emphasis with short term mission trips running each year to Solomon Islands and Zimbabwe year about. We support GMP (COCOA Overseas Aid), Watoto, Compassion, Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV) Zimbabwe, Paul & Debbie Howells (Philippines), Frank & Sue Sanders (Vanuatu), Operation Christmas Child among others.
Children and youth have always been a strong emphasis. The children’s ministry ran for many years under the headship of faithful volunteers until 2012 when a part time staff position was made available. Denelle Rosenberg (2012-2018) headed this ministry for 6 years and then Courtney Brown (2019-current) has stepped in to coordinating this ministry. Playgroup has run for many years, as well as MOPS ministry for a season, Mainly Music has run for 5 years or so, and Junior Youth Groups from prep have also been enthusiastically supported by church and community families.
After Darryl stepped out of Youth ministry, we have had several Youth pastors in the role:
Marshall Muller (2000-2001), Craig Sadler(2001-2004), Ben Zambra (2005-2009), Nathan Edwards (2009-2011), Tim Grant (2011-2012), and Ben Kulp employed as Youth & Young Adults Pastor(2012-2019). We are advertising for a part time Youth Pastor at present.
Today Whitehill is a multigenerational church with our 9am service attended by ages 0-90+. We have a solid Young Adult ministry, focused in the 5.30pm service, that has developed over the last several years with a strong emphasis on small groups with up to 50 regular attendees. We also have a passionate group of Seniors who support the work of the church.
Even though the church at East Ipswich/Whitehill has had a fantastic past, we believe our best days are still ahead of us. Building on the faithfulness of those in the past we want to continue to be strong for God for our future generations.
2019 has seen Pastor Mark Westhuyzen lead the church through an intentional interim ministry. We have paused to take stock of our history, who we are as a church, what our community looks like and needs and where we feel God is calling us into the future. Our church is ready for the next phase of our journey- ready to step into what God is calling us to.