Bayside began meeting in a lounge room in Liberty Grove with weekly core group meetings from June 17th 2000. Public worship gatherings started in the Bicentennial Park Tea Rooms December 10th 2000. The space had an outdoor shelter where morning tea was served. All that we needed (apart from chairs) for the gatherings was carried in a trailer- a sound desk and speaker right through to the ceramic (what were we thinking) coffee cups and tea. This trailer carried Sunday gathering needs every week until 2018.
In June 2001 we had outgrown the Tea Rooms and moved to function /activity rooms in the State Sports Centre. This was a difficult venue with no certainty that we could meet there each week and the only space for a kids program was in the basement change rooms. These rooms could only be found via a trail marked with footprints and arrows we laid out each week.
Concord Baptist generously made some space for us to use as an office until 2003 when the studio apartment attached to the Bartlett’s home became an office for the church until 2009. Many meetings were held in the Bartlett’s and Spencer’s lounge rooms.
February 2001 we moved Sunday gatherings to the brand new Newington Community Centre. This was a great space where Bayside grew quite significantly. In the end though we outgrew the space and with toddlers in the foyer, teenagers outside and kids in the activity rooms, we were overflowing.
For 6 months we also had access to a unit in the commercial section of Newington to use on Sunday mornings as well as the Community Centre. We searched high and low for a larger space. Including putting a proposal to Auburn Council to redevelop the Community Centre. We also made plans to rent from Paraquad who owned the building across the road. After much prayer and work behind the scenes we decided as a church we would rent and fit out the Paraquad building, We voted together as a church to move forward and less than 24 hours later the new General Manager of Paraquad decided the building was no longer for rent.
In 2006 Breathe was planted as a distinct congregation at Gloria Jeans in North Strathfield. Breathe met on Sunday evenings after the café had officially closed. The manager of the store was a person of peace who made it possible to try something new.
2008 saw Sunday am gatherings move to the newly rebuilt facilities at Concord West Public School but continued mainly music and Crosseyed at Newington Community Centre. Bayside rented a home in Newington to provide a meeting and office space as well as housing two of the staff team.
In 2009 we made a made a major bid to create a multipurpose Community Centre with the Strathfield Bowling Club. Although we were one of the top 3 tenders we were not successful and the building remains empty.
In 2009 also came the extraordinary blessing of a church building and house in Homebush West. The Strathfield Homebush church had become a small older congregation who decided they wanted to give the resources they had stewarded for many years to Bayside. It has become known as the Arthur Street Centre and has been used as office space for the staff team, meeting space for the church including for parenting and marriage courses and the home of Crosseyed. The building has also been used to support local playgroups, for locals to host baby showers and other events, a home for the Korean Presbyterian church and Koala kids providing rental income for the church. The old house was sold and a home bought in Newington that has been used for pastoral staff.
Breathe moved to Wentworth Point in 2007 and for a number of years met in the Pulse Function Centre. By 2015 Breathe was no longer able to use the space and had great difficulty securing places to meet. At one stage any signs that were put up were torn down and removed which was a very discouraging season. Breathe concluded as a congregation in 2017.
In 2017 Bayside explored the idea of planting another expression and started gathering a core group to plant Freshpoint, often meeting at Arthur Street and hosting a couple of events in the local park. This group decided not to continue planting in 2018
In 2020 with lockdowns in place across the country due to Covid-19 Bayside gathered on Zoom and then as restrictions eased met in lounge rooms and parks as well as at Concord West Public School. This rhythm of meeting in different ways continued through 2021 and we were well positioned with the second lockdown.
Over and over again we have made different venues our home. God has continually provided a way often through the considerable kindness and generosity of others. Including, the gift of a trailer to carry equipment from 2000-2018 and Strathfield Homebush Baptist.
The kindness and facilitation of local council, school staff, real estate agents and café owners over the years has made sharing facilities easier and led to some great relationships.
Simon Thorne has offered some brilliant designs over the years for different venues and although those venue options have never materialized, his architectural and design skill helped Bayside think about the possibilities.
Then there are all the Baysiders who have served as venue managers over the years. These people are first to arrive and last to leave, they have played a very significant role in helping Bayside gather, for which we are all very grateful.