FORMER Bass Coast Citizen of the Year, Brendan Smith, has resigned as Pastor of the Wonthaggi Baptist Church.

Pastor Smith, together with his wife Christie and young family, came to Wonthaggi from Cockatoo in 2013 to be the Senior Pastor.

During his time at Wonthaggi Baptist, the church has grown significantly. So significantly that the numbers coming each Sunday were not able to fit into the old church – even with removing the back wall.

A new auditorium was needed!

After consultation with many groups within the Bass Coast community, the design was settled upon.

The slab was poured just before Christmas in 2015 and the whole project was ready for move in by May 2016.

Local builders DAS Constructions did a fantastic job to complete the work in such a short time – with a lot of help from volunteers from within the church. The new auditorium has proved a blessing both for the church and the wider community. Many groups have – and still are – making use of the facility. The recent concert by Stringz Costero was one of the first of its type in the world post-COVID.

No one becomes Bass Coast Citizen of the Year by doing just their job. Brendan’s work in the wider community has made him a well-known respected and valued figure in the community.

In addition to his role as church Pastor and active member of the Combined Church Council of Wonthaggi and Inverloch, his work at Wonthaggi Primary School on the School Council has been tireless.

Brendan’s work to bring the Wonthaggi Community Carols to the area each year has been ongoing and appreciated – and continues this year.

In 2016, Wonthaggi Baptist Church was asked to help the fledgling Baptist Church in Grantville.

At that time, the Grantville congregation were meeting in the Council Transaction Centre – which has a very small meeting room. Under Pastor Brendan’s

guidance and leadership, the Grantville congregation has grown and they now meet in the Grantville Community Hall at 4pm each Sunday.

COVID has taken its toll on many people and organisations. Churches – and Pastor Smith in particular – were not exempt.

The huge step of taking the church online with services each week was a major challenge and steep learning curve which was only accomplished with much effort from Pastor Smith and a dedicated team of helpers.

This work along with a number of family health issues has “emptied the tank” and Pastor Smith needs time out to recharge before moving on to another Ministry appointment.

As a church, as a community and as friends, everyone will miss his leadership, encouragement, teachings and enthusiasm: the community wishes him well in wherever he takes up his next Ministry appointment.