The Alliance Church Calwell is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia (C&MA).
Under the auspices of the Woden Valley Alliance Church, a demographic study led by Roy Towner was undertaken in 1989-90 as ground work for the establishment of a ‘daughter church’ in the Tuggeranong valley.
In October 1990 the first service of the Tuggeranong Alliance Church was held at Lake Tuggeranong College. In 1991, the Rev Rod Russell-Brown was called to become the first pastor, and he commenced ministry in February 1992.
In the first few years, the church was managed by a committee from the ‘mother’ church. The church became autonomous in March 1992, with the adoption of the C&MA constitution and appointment of Elders.
During 1996, the church re-located to the Tuggeranong Community Centre to take advantage of superior facilities. Land soon became available in Calwell and between November 1997 and February 1999 a new church building was constructed on the site. The building was dedicated to the glory of God on Sunday 14 February 1999.
In February 2000, the Rev Rod Russell-Brown was elected President of the C&MA. The church subsequently called John Coman as its pastor and he was inducted in February 2001. John focused on building the relational strength of the church.
John stepped down from ministry in December 2003 and Pastor Ross Sutherland was employed as a part time church administrator in January 2004. In October 2004, the church officially appointed Pastor Ross as its pastor and he lead the church until March 2010.
In 2006, the church adopted a vision to establish new campuses and in 2007 a City Church was established. The church initially met in a building adjacent to the City bus interchange and later in the Ainslie Arts Centre.
In 2013, the City congregation decided – in recognition of its growing maturity - to operate as an independent church of the C&MA, allowing it the freedom to develop its own unique flavour and approach to ministry. The Calwell congregation blessed and affirmed the decision of the City congregation.
Over the past 20 years, the church has sent out many short term and long term missionaries and pastoral workers around Australia and the world.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
The Christian and Missionary Alliance, or “the Alliance” as it is most often known, is an evangelical denomination with an Australian representation of some 50 churches. Internationally, the Alliance includes some 7,500 churches, 1,200 career missionaries, and 2.5 million members on six continents.
Founded in 1887 at Old Orchard, Maine, by Dr. Albert B. Simpson, a Canadian-born Presbyterian minister, the C&MA was originally established as an evangelical foreign missionary organisation that received support from an alliance of Christians from several denominations and nationalities.
A.B. Simpson entered the ministry at age 21 after graduating from Knox College in Toronto. He became pastor of the Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto, and in his eight years there, saw some 750 persons added to the membership.
He then pastored a respected church in a major American city, but his spirit soon grew discontented as he assessed his congregation in light of the city and its need. During a time of fervent prayer, he became aware that before anything could happen in his church, something must first happen to him. As he sought and surrendered to God, Simpson experienced an anointing of the Spirit that transformed him and his ministry.
This experience not only revitalised his local evangelistic ministry but also touched his spirit with the plight of the unevangelised around the world. This burden for the whole world led him to accept a pulpit in New York. He wanted to be at the centre, in touch with the lives of those radiating to the ends of the earth.
He began publishing an illustrated magazine on foreign missions – believed to be the first of its kind. He founded the first bible institute in America in 1882 known as the Nyack Missionary College. He was the first to introduce the “faith promise” method for missionary support. Between 1884 and 1919 he sent 300 workers around the world including the Congo, West Africa, Jerusalem, the Philippines, Japan and South America.
The deep expression of his heart was revealed when he wrote:
“To the regions beyond I must go, I must go
Where the story has never been told;
To the millions that have never heard of His love,
I must tell the sweet story of old”
This experience was at the heart of Simpson’s “Fourfold Gospel” – the Alliance emphasis on the believer’s relationship with Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King–and sparked what was to become the Christian and Missionary Alliance of today.