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Presbytery of Western Victoria

The Presbytery of Western Victoria is a large presbytery stretching from the South Australian border in the west to Ballan in the east; Warracknabeal in the north to the Southern Ocean – and some 80 congregations in between. The geographic bounds encompass 17 local government areas (in whole or part).

It includes a number of major centres such as Ballarat, Warrnambool, Horsham, Colac, Hamilton, Portland, Ararat and Stawell. The most remote parts are about five hours driving time from Melbourne.

Industry includes varied agricultural enterprise: dry land cereal and grazing, dairy, forestry, wool and beef production. Tourism and service industries, education and medical facilities are spread throughout the region. The iconic tourist drawcards of the Grampians (Gariwerd), the central and western portions of the Great Ocean Road, and Daylesford appeal to local, intrastate, interstate, and overseas visitors alike (so, in some cases, there’s a seasonal aspect to congregational life).

The congregations themselves range in size from the faithful handful to around 300 members. They meet in buildings comprising a mix of weatherboard, brick and bluestone construction materials. Many are now celebrating 100 to 150 years of witness, and have – in several cases (dating from inherited denominational traditions) – continuously served five generations of the same family(s).

While some congregations are in villages, towns and cities which are growing and thriving; others are in places of population and service decline. To try to overcome the ‘tyranny of distance’, the Presbytery is divided into six regions; each with their own distinct characteristics. Ministering to such dispersed and disparate populations, when the numbers of ordained ministers and deacons in placement are declining, continues to provide us with our greatest challenge.

Many congregations depend on the devotion of lay ministry teams, which are supported through continuing education and training programs which aim to equip the whole gathered people of God for effective witness in their various communities.

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Presbytery of Western Victoria