NewStart began as a conversation that reflected the dream of two men. Roland Hearn and Brad Mercer had become friends on an internet chat page called Naznet. They lived on opposite sides of the Pacific. Roland in Queensland, Australia and Brad in Texas, USA. In their talking together they realised they both believed the same thing about the church – it should be a place of love. That understanding had implications for every area of life and the more they talked the more comprehensive became the application of that principle. They began to talk together of starting a church. The opportunity came to be in 1998. Roland and his family, wife Emmy and children Kaylah, Jonathan, Braden and Tylah moved to Dallas, TX to join Brad and his family, wife Karen and children Wesley, Charlotte and Jacob, in discovering if they could make this hope a reality.
The product was a church called NewStart Frisco. It was launched at Easter in 1999. Very soon people were seeing their lives changed for the better and hope became the increasing reality of those who gathered together.
In 2004 Roland returned to Australia to begin to try and put the pieces together to see the same kind of church born here. Roland was raised in Brisbane and loves the RiverCity, so he called the future church NewStart RiverCity. In September 2006 Brad moved his family to Brisbane to help the new church get off the ground. A few months later heartbreak became their united reality. Brad was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. He passed from this life to his eternal hope in December of 2007. The dream, while stalled, was not lost. Throughout 2008 a small group of people began to gather. That group has continued to meet in homes and in public places looking for opportunities to love and serve others.
In 2013, at our denominational conventions in the US, Roland connected with Emman, Jade, Caleb, and Savana Zoe Chapman; and with Stephen and Jaclyn Tarrant. These two families soon decided to relocate to Australia and be a part of the unfolding dream. They arrived in Australia in June 2014 but had already become a part of the fellowship through six months of video conference calls on Sunday mornings (in Australia). From the first moment the fit was perfect, and there has been a continuing of the desire to find ways to better love others both within the church family and beyond it. In January 2016, Stephen and Jaclyn, and their new baby Tirzah, returned to Scotland. In that same month Emman took on the lead pastoral role as Roland took on the responsibility of serving the Nazarene District as the Missional/District Superintendent. Roland will continue to be part of NewStart’s Pastoral Team as well. Under Emman’s and Roland’s co-leadership we are excited about the next steps on this journey of love.