Ballarat South Uniting Church is a congregation serving the Mission areas of Buninyong, Sebastopol, Meredith and Delacombe.
BALLARAT SOUTH UNITING CHURCH PROFILE
Ballarat is the largest inland regional city located in the central western district of Victoria, approximately 120 km from Melbourne. Greater Ballarat has a population of around 101,000, which is rapidly growing and is forecast to double in size by 2050.
The Ballarat South Parish, which is comprised of Buninyong, Sebastopol and the small rural community of Meredith, is located within the greater Ballarat region.
While its ease of connection to Melbourne is well serviced by freeway and connected rail services, it is also the gateway to other Victorian districts and attractions such as various gold rush trails and towns, the Pyrenees and Grampian regions, Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, all within an easy drive.
Ballarat is a tourist mecca, known for its heritage and gold rush history. It has a burgeoning arts and entertainment precinct, with an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and nightlife.
Annual festivals such as Ballarat White Night, the Begonia Festival, Ballarat Winter Festival and Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonder lights offer year round highlights.
Ballarat’s education sector is second to none and offers both public and private options from pre-school to tertiary institutions.
Ballarat has excellent hospital and health care services, including two major hospitals with resident and visiting specialist services which also cater to the broader central western district of Victoria.
Ballarat South Uniting Church – CONGREGATION COMMUNITIES
The Church congregation has four preaching places located at Buninyong, Sebastopol, Delacombe and Meredith. Each of these preaching places have quite varied demographic and socio-economic profiles.
Meredith is a small rural community with a population of approximately 700 people and is located halfway between Ballarat and Geelong (30 mins drive between each city). Worship occurs on the second Sunday of each month. There is a slight potential for growth given its untapped setting. There is a strong ecumenical relationship with the local Anglican Church.
Major music festivals are held twice each year – Golden Plains in March and Meredith Music Festival in December. These bring in huge numbers of people over the weekends. There is a primary school and nearby secondary school in Bannockburn, approximately 24 km away.
Sebastopol is an outer suburb on the south of Ballarat. Worship is conducted two to three times each month on a Tuesday. The Mission Centre caters for Mainly Music (a fun music program for parents or primary care givers to enjoy together with their young children), a craft group and drop-in Op Shop open four mornings/week. There is a relationship with Centrelink where three people come to run the op shop in order to receive their Newstart allowance. The drop-in Op Shop allows people from a low socio-economic background to
come in for coffee and to talk to other people. On Wednesdays the Op Shop holds an open lunch. There is the need and potential for this ministry to expand.
Currently there is no building or services conducted in Delacombe. There is a monthly fellowship lunch between people who used to go to services when they were held in Delacombe (three years ago). There are worship service opportunities that could be held on days other than Sunday (mid- week? Messy church?). Although there are no buildings, we have a relationship with the local primary school. A group of people help with the school breakfast club on Wednesday morning. Delacombe is a growth area, with multiple residential
developments and a major new shopping centre incorporating Kmart, Woolworths and new Bunnings store.
A small village nestled at the foot of Mount Buninyong. It is slightly separated from Ballarat proper, and is a strong growth area. There is a very large primary school (800+ students),
with close access to Mount Helen, which has four secondary schools (two state, two catholic), and a university. There is a kinder and new childcare centre. There are many cafes, a few eateries and a supermarket. It is a village with two faces – one is an older, retired generation that have moved to Buninyong for their retirement and a newer, young professional generation (with young families) that have discovered it’s village feel.
Buninyong has a strong sporting centre, with a vibrant football and netball club, a big tennis centre and lawn bowls club. The town hosts the national cycling championship in January each year which brings a large crowd. There is ecumenical involvement with the three other churches in town at key points through the year, including Christmas, Easter and at the Spring Fair. There is weekly worship at the church, with monthly Eucharist. Mainly Music is held every week on a Thursday and is very popular (there is currently a waiting list).
There is an Open House held on Wednesdays in the church hall which is focused on older women. There is a music group that meets regularly and looks after music for worship. Big town activities include a yearly film festival, carols by candlelight, and Music on the Mount (run by the school) and there is a group of people that are very keen to keep the town moving.