SONLIFE CHURCH has moved into the long-empty St Mary’s Hall on Oxford Street in Leederville.
“This is our fifth home,” says founding Pastor Binh Nguyen. “We started in my living room,” with about 13 people in 2011.
These days about 200 people attend his engaging service.
Pastor Nguyen was originally from southern Vietnam and his family left as refugees when the regime in the north took over.
He was one of the original boat people, leaving at age four.
It was a desperate voyage and they drifted for days without enough food and the hardships led to their faith.
“My parents came to know Jesus out at sea.”
Sonlife Church were temporarily located in the Loftus community centre and then at UWA lecture hall, before moving into a warehouse on Cleaver Street in 2014.
But Pastor Nguyen says they’ve bought St Mary’s and it will be their permanent home.
“This is it: a stake in the ground, a presence in the community,” he says.
“We get to be a lighthouse in this part of the city…”a city on the hill,” where everyone can see us.”
They had their first service on September 30, but Pastor Nguyen says they plan to be more than a Sunday-only operation.
He says they want to be a part of the local community, “blessing the businesses” by injecting money into the local economy, and he has plans for members to visit residents at the nearby Rosewood aged care facility.
“If we can be their family, if we can go over there and sing songs with them and just encourage and love them? I can’t wait to do that.”
Pastor Nguyen says a community welcome service is planned for later in the year once they’ve had a chance to settle in.
by DAVID BELL