Rev Mark Illingworth has recently concluded his placement at The Billabong Uniting Church, after 15 years of service. Rev Luke Williams will continue ministry with the congregation. Christine Iacobellis reflects on this journey.
Once upon a time, there was a green pool of water with minnows, frogs and turtles in a kingdom called Canning Vale. The land around was wild where rabbits roamed and snakes slithered. God had plans for this land and sent a family to begin carrying them out. This family could see a glimpse of what God saw. They imagined what beauty the land held and saw how it could be a real hub in the kingdom of Canning Vale and even other kingdoms beyond.
This family saw past the littered car bodies and burnt out shed and saw a meeting place for people who wanted to worship God. With twinkly eyes and big ideas, this family thanked God for a chance to transform and use the gift of the land. The family gathered with others to see the land.
“Look”, they said, “can you see what it will be like when the community comes here and gets to see God in what we do?”
Some said “No, not really, are you mad?” but others said “Yes, I can kind of see what you mean.”
And so together they set about cleaning up, constructing, landscaping and transforming. For many years, the family changed the lives of other subjects and even in other kingdoms further away. They held feasts, celebrations and erected great tents, encouraging others to look to God and live like the great King Jesus. They lent a hand, prayed regularly and took time to know those around them. They did this always with willing hearts and big smiles.
Like all good adventures, things didn’t always run smoothly. There were times of despair and hardship, but through all the years, the family clung to God. Eventually, the pool of water changed and is today no longer on the land because another, bigger house for God is being built.
God has now chosen a new little family just starting out to continue to do God’s work in the kingdom of Canning Vale.
We at The Billabong and under our Heavenly King, thank the twinkly eyed family for their faithfulness. Mark, Deb, Anneliis, Bek and Zac; we thank you for shining the light of God outwards to us in all that you do. We thank you for being steadfast and standing alongside us as we wait for our happily ever after.
Image: The site of the Billabong Church in Canning Vale.