Redeemer Baptist Church
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (January 2013)|
Redeemer Baptist Church is a Baptist Christian church formed in 1974 when around 30 families broke away from Castle Hill Baptist Church in Sydney, Australia, to form their own church. It was headed for much of that time by Ps. Noel Cannon who died in 2012.
The Church was formed in 1974 when approximately 30 families broke away from the Castle Hill Baptist Church in Sydney's west to form their own church, under the leadership of Noel Cannon. The members of this church expressed a desire to share closely in each other's lives, beyond once or twice a week as is common in traditional Protestant churches.
Noel Cannon, was a science master at The King's School, Sydney. Cannon and fellow leaders Max Shaw, Alan Nutt, Ian Garth and Bob Bailey were influenced by the Charismatic Renewal.
The leaders were known as elders. None of them had formal theological training. A strong family culture developed within the church. Adults in the church were all addressed as "Uncle" and "Aunt", regardless of blood family relations, a tradition that continues to the present.The church saw itself as "a healing community" and several families opened their homes to care for troubled people of all ages.
The Young People
In 1977, the children of the church elders and other people of the same age saved up for an overseas trip led by Cannon and his wife, Elizabeth. Over a six-month period, they toured the United States and Europe visiting Christian groups who lived a similar lifestyle including the Bruderhof Communities. At this time, a strong bond formed between Cannon and this group who became known as the "Young People". Soon after their return, Cannon promoted four Young People as junior elders. These were his sons, Ian and Jonathan, and Bob Bailey's sons, Phillip and Russell.
The school commences
In 1981, a significant change in direction occurred, with the decision to remove all of the community's children from the government schools they had been attending: Castle Hill Primary School and Castle Hill High School. The decision was reached on a Friday and carried out over the following weekend. The recommendation to community members was to form an independent Christian school. The school was commenced at Thornleigh NSW, at the site which is now McDonalds headquarters.Cannon, who had resigned from The King's School to assume full-time pastoral duties, became the principal of the school.
A television program about the Church which was due to air shortly after the children were removed from the local was not broadcast for "legal reasons".
At the outset, it was a policy of the school to only employ members of the church. During the '80's the school grew in size and relocated to the Burnside Homes at North Parramatta. At this time these buildings were owned by the Anglican church and were used for foster care.
A time of transition
The 1990s began with another overseas tour led by Cannon with some of the Young People and a new group of 20 and 30 year olds called the "Young Young People". This was a more modest trip of one month only involving visits to the Bruderhof Communities. Cannon disputed some of the teachings of the Bruderhof, but the influence of the Bruderhof lifestyle on Redeemer became increasingly more apparent.
In 2004, 16 church members left the Community. There was claims of control by church leaders, the Nine Network reported. One of the original founders of the Church, Alan Nutt told the Channel Nine network: "I think the control has resulted over the years in very serious damage to many many lives, both young people and old people ... ," The Church strenuously denied allegations of being a cult. In addition there were claims made by Channel Nine, that the school controlled by the Church owed 14 of their teachers six million dollars in unpaid wages. The Church was mentioned in the NSW Parliament on a large number of occasions in the affirmative  and in the negative.
Following negative comments made by Greens Senator Dr Kaye in the NSW Parliament, Russel Bailey, elder of Redeemer Baptist Church submitted a citizen's right of reply to the NSW Parliament.
In 2008, a settlement was reached between the school and Grahame Glossop, one of the critics of the school. Mr Glossop stated, "I am very happy that we were able to bring the litigation between the school and myself to a final conclusion. I believe this has been a very stressful period for all concerned. It is regrettable that the relationship we once shared when my daughter attended your school has deteriorated over time. I hold no ill feeling against you the school, or any other parties related to this matter. My only concern now is to get on with my life and put the past four years behind me...I wish you and the school all the best now and into the future."
The Redeemer Baptist School named their library the NF Cannon Library in tribute to the founding principal in August 2011.
- "Sydney church rejects cult claims" (20 March 2005). National Nine News, Australia.
- "Redeemer Baptist School - 10/04/2008 - ADJ - NSW Parliament". Parliament.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Redeemer Baptist School and Mr Graham Glossop - 03/04/2008 - ADJ - NSW Parliament". Parliament.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- Citizen’s Right of Reply (Mr R Bailey) https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:2bXcfi46m0gJ:www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/96b2e3e54c7861e1ca25747200205adb/%24FILE/Report%2520No.%252043%2520Bailey.pdf+&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgI94azCaxWVP3DB7HevQAEy4kEVq1XZzUhgAl9bdPg-4pWVeVEogR00uiSo2Kkub0E_OP04yYIJHEjTNxUDEyhJcZQbAJJIsa5jCHV8g3R9VIkxJ1E9WhN83-ivAwKKY0T9Swv&sig=AHIEtbRZ3oADA7mY0ui9TPzi-C-x23nuIw
- School Opens Library http://www.hillsnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/redeemer-baptist-school-opens-new-library/2266278.aspx
- "Noel CANNON Obituary: View Noel CANNON's Obituary by The Sydney Morning Herald". Tributes.smh.com.au. 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- TRIBUTE TO PASTOR NOEL CANNON http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20120522013