Adam Cetrangolo and his wife, Heather, are church planters at St Cath's Caulfield South, VIC. Adam recently shared with CTCA about how they became involved in planting at St Cath's, some of the highlights and challenges they've experienced, and how you can be praying for the Church.
Firstly, a bit about Adam and Heather...
Adam has been in paid Christian ministry for nearly twenty years. He grew up and come to faith in Jesus in the Roman Catholic Church as a teenager. Adam has a heart for those he perceives to be ‘post-church’. Adam holds undergraduate qualifications in Arts and Science and postgraduate qualifications in Theology, Ministry and Divinity. He was ordained in the Anglican Church in 2012.
Heather grew up as a ‘clergy-kid’ and has been around Christian ministry for as long as she can remember. She came to faith at age fourteen. At that time she had a keen desire to serve God in any way except through paid Christian ministry. She trained as a lawyer and later as a university tutor, but eventually responded to the call to undertake theological study and offer for ordination. Heather holds undergraduate qualifications in Law and Theology and post-graduate qualifications in Higher Education, Legal Practice and Ministry. She was ordained in the Anglican Church in 2010.
Adam and Heather were married in June 2003 and have one daughter, Mary Helen, who is 2 years old. Adam & Heather have complimentary gifts and enjoy working as a team. Whilst Adam has strong apostolic and administrative giftings, Heather’s heart is primarily that of an evangelist. Heather is actively engaged in local community groups during the week, being a young Mum and part time Chaplain at a local girl’s school.
How did you come to be a church planter at St Cath’s? Tell us a bit about the church plant, how it started, and its vision.
This is a little bit of an unusual story.
Four years ago, Heather and I joined a staff team of a nearby Church that had recently clustered with two smaller churches. My role was to start a young adults congregation in one of the smaller centres, while Heather was to go to the other (St Cath's) and discern the future of that Church (i.e. Renewal, Closure, etc.). Through a long period of prayer, teaching and consultation, Heather and the team discerned that the future of St Cath's would be realised by re-launching themselves with a fresh vision, new ministries and a new contemporary-styled service. This is really when the Church became a 'Church (re) Plant'. St Cath's was re-launched in October 2013 with a fresh vision To reach a post-church generation with authentic encounters with God through real people. The short tag-line being: Real God, Real People.
In the background to all of this was the growing desire for Heather and I to be working together and the immanent arrival of our first child. So at the time of Heather's maternity leave, I offered to take on St Cath's in addition to my other duties. Later that year when the question was raised as to whether St Cath's would continue in partnership or de-cluster from the other two churches, Heather and I made a proposal that St Cath's should become independent and that we were willing to stay on as its Pastors. This proposal was accepted. I then resigned my other role and took up full-time work at St Cath's as of February 2015.
It's complicated. But God has been in it from day one, we are so excited to see what he is doing from day-to-day.
What have been some highlights since the plant started, and how have you seen God working?
There have been so many highlights. But they all come under the umbrella of God's amazing providence. When we started we had little money, few people and limited resources. Since then we have seen God work miracles, people come to faith, people step into ministry and the Church grow in number and faith. Here is just one such story:
In the early days, St Cath's was crippled by significant historic debt. Most of their events were fundraising events to help the Church to 'stay afloat.' Just over three years ago, God put it on the heart of one of our leaders that we should stop fundraising and begin blessing others through a free meals program. This developed into a monthly free dinner and eighteen months later spawned a monthly free breakfast as well. This project began with no budget and no funding, but people were so inspired by it that they supported it. Subsequently the local council supported it too. This has now become a major ministry with a Community Group running it who meet regularly to pray and fellowship together too. Through letter-box drops and word of mouth advertising, many people in the community and beyond gather each month for these meals. The even more amazing thing is that the growth of popularity of the dinners has corresponded to the debt decreasing by 80%.
What are some of the challenges and difficulties you’ve experienced?
There have been so many ... not enough money, not enough people, buildings that need a lot of attention, change management, reconciling being a church plant and an established church at the same time and dealing with the respective expectations of these. But praise be to God that He has been with us and resourced us every step of the way. It's been hard, but God is good!
- Community Groups have recently been launched. Please pray for their ongoing growth, the leaders and the mission areas they represent. May the Lord use them mightily in his Kingdom work at St Cath's.
- Last year we launched the Youth Ministry School - our unique response to delivering youth ministry to Churched and Un-Churched young people. Please pray for ongoing enthusiasm in this area and an increase in leaders and participants.
- Praise God for the new energy at St Cath's generated by new people and increased engagement. We feel as though God is positioning us for substantial and steady growth now, please pray that he would give us the gifts, the boldness and the resources to minister to and integrate newcomers.
visit st cath's
St Cath's meets every Sunday at 9:30am for a Traditional Service, and 11am for an Informal Morning Service at 406 Kooyong Road (cnr Kooyong Road and Clarence Street), Caulfield South VIC. Visit stcaths.net.au for more information. Watch this video (https://youtu.be/GKq_3SXwGHg) to learn more about the St Cath's Youth Ministry.