Preachers

Richard Coombs

Richard comes from New Zealand where he did his theological studies at the NZ Baptist Theological College (now Carey Baptist College). He pastored two Baptist churches in New Zealand before coming to Melbourne in 1988.

In Melbourne, Richard pastored the Beaumaris Baptist and North Balwyn Baptist churches before becoming Australian Director for MECO Australia (Middle East Christian Outreach).

Richard has travelled extensively through the Middle East and preaches regularly in churches and at Mission Conferences.

He is also an adjunct lecturer in Church History at Melbourne School of Theology (MST) and is currently the Chairman of Belgrave Heights Convention.

He is married to Margaret, and together they have three married sons and eight grandchildren.

Richard is an ordained minister with the Baptist Union of Victoria.

Ernie Laskaris

Ernie grew up in rural Australia, moving to Melbourne in his early teens. After being an atheist for the majority of his life, he was converted in 2015 and immediately began his theological studies – now graduated from Melbourne School of Theology, where he was taught by both Richard and Michael, with a Bachelor of Theology (Honours).

He is now a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland, where he is continuing his research on the religious and philosophical thought of Søren Kierkegaard.

Ernie's ministry began as a pastor of a local house church, which now gathers in the upper room of Wattle Park Chapel. He had been an itinerant preacher since 2016, but now works as a regular preacher at Wattle Park Chapel (beginning in early 2019), functioning as a pastor for the young members of the congregation.

Aside from ministry and academia, Ernie is an avid fan of professional wrestling and eating Nutella from the jar.

Michael Bräutigam

Michael originally comes from Germany where he studied theology and psychology. He served there as a pastor of the Free Evangelical Church. He and his wife, Jenni, lived for several years in Scotland, where Michael tutored in theology and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh with a thesis on the Christology of Swiss theologian Adolf Schlatter. Michael is also an ordained minister with the Free Church of Scotland.

In early 2015, Michael and Jenni moved to Melbourne. Jenni serves as a paediatric nurse at the Royal Children's Hospital, and Michael teaches theology and psychology at Melbourne School of Theology and Eastern College. He is responsible for setting up their new Centre for Theology and Psychology.

Michael has also published various works on Jonathan Edwards, Dutch Neo-Calvinism, and the relation between theology and culture.