I have been Warden of St John's Anglican Church Camberwell, Melbourne Australia for 5 years.

Our parish is typical of many in an established suburban area. The region has had an aging population profile that is now being regenerated by younger, affluent families moving in as the elderly move on.

Whilst St John's has maintained its congregation numerically, it has not been able to make significant inroads into attracting the younger families to participate in the life of our church.

We made contact with Fr Max as we understood he had extensive experience in rebuilding parishes in a similar situation to St John's Camberwell.

Following meetings and research, Fr Max lead a planning day for the Clergy and Vestry of St John's. He was able to share his strategies with us and provide us with input for the direction we needed to take.

The participants were particularly impressed with both the clarity and practicality of the approach taken by Fr Max.

We have gained tremendous insight into parish planning in the following areas

(a) Engaging in a meaningful manner with our local community rather than working superficially.

(b) Developing programs that are relevant and useful to those people outside the church.

(c) Planning worship that is acceptable and meaningful to those not fully immersed in the existing church.

(d) Committing these strategies with thorough planning and
participation of our existing membership.

Because of the confidence and insight Fr Max has given us, we have now targeted 100% nett growth of church service congregations over the next 3 years and already we are seeing evidence of the success of our new direction.

We commend the vast experience and practical approach that Fr Max can bring to parishes in a similar position to that of our own.

  Peter Volk
Vicar's Warden

4 Dundas St

Val Smith
Bob Smith
Previous Church Wardens, St Aidan’s, Miramar

Father Max Bowers conducted a seminar at St Aidan’s Church, Miramar, Wellington, on Effective Family Ministry.

This followed his preaching at the morning service.

We were tremendously impressed by the quality of his presentation. Not only was he very well prepared but he brought (from Australia) his own data show equipment and high-quality illustrations of the work he had been doing.

He was an extremely good communicator. Perhaps the most impressive part of the seminar was the infectious enthusiasm Father Max had for his vision of an outward, growing church.

While we found parts of his approach a challenge, we had no doubt about the hard work and dedication that had gone into making the ideas into reality in his own parish.

During a visit to Melbourne last year we were delighted to experience the lively family-oriented fellowship at his parish church.

Sadly, the climate in St Aidan’s was not conducive to following up the vision Father Max brought to us.

While we warmly recommend his seminar, we would suggest that it would only be worthwhile if there existed a genuine desire for growth, new ideas and willingness to change fully supported at the highest level in the parish.

"Father Max Bowers over many years has been at the frontline of imaginative parish ministry. He is committed to using symbol and substance to communicate the Gospel clearly and in a contemporary fashion that evokes interest and response."



Bishop Andrew Curnow

Bishop of Bendigo, Victoria