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Church still going strong

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August 11, 2017

Nagambie’s St John’s Anglican Church is preparing to celebrate 130 years of faithful Christian service.

St John’s was consecrated in 1887, and its 130th birthday will be celebrated on October 1.

A morning service is being planned for the day, with a bring-and-share lunch to follow in the hall.

Past and present parishioners and their families are invited to attend.

St John’s history

It was July, 1874. The field was the countryside called Nagambie, and the sower was Ian Swift, who spoke to a tiny group of people who had met for worship since May that year.

The church was built and was dedicated by Bishop Moorhouse of Melbourne in 1883, and consecrated in August 1887, becoming part of the Seymour parish with St Paul’s in Avenel.

Since then, St John’s has been under the leadership of a number of parish names, but from 2004 until today it has been under the banner of the Parish of Central Goulburn, along with Seymour and Avenel.

During the 130-year journey, St John’s has held countless baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals, as well as a host of social and religious events.

For more than 60 years, St John’s parish has been loyal to the present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who has been the protector of the faith and head of the Church of England since 1953.

The Anglican Church of Australia came into being in the 1970s, thus the church became St John’s Anglican Church.

Edie Perry’s memories

At 101 years old, Edith Perry is the oldest parishioner at St John’s.

Four generations of Mrs Perry’s family have been married in the church, and four generations of the family have been baptised there.

She has seen many changes in her time at St John’s, including many clergy and lay leaders, church choirs, vestries, parish councils, a Girls Friendly Society, Young Wives Group, tennis club, Sunday schools, ladies’ guilds, as well as church fetes, picnics, floral festivals, balls and many other events.

Mrs Perry saw a rectory house built, and recalls how the congregation worked together to see a new church hall built in 1997, and to also repair the damage done by the devastating fire that burned St John’s in 1997.

She saw, as is the case in many churches, numbers start to decline from the 1990s onwards due to Sunday sport becoming popular, family breakdowns becoming more prominent, and families not worshipping together any more.

Mrs Perry still joined in working for the church fetes up to the mid 2000s, and she encouraged St John’s Sunday School children and supported religious education teachers at local schools.

Changes

In recent years, St John’s joined ranks with St Malachy’s Catholic, St Andrew’s Presbyterian and Uniting church members for various services and community events.

One of their missions in this ever-changing world is to reach out to help the community.

Wars, homelessness, poverty, sickness, breakdown of families, sexual abuse, addictions, violence and other problems have all taken a toll on many people’s beliefs.

This is a challenge many churches face.

How to help?

St John’s is reaching out to the community to see what people need. It holds weekly church and monthly hostel services; makes pastoral visits, conducts a holiday kids’ club, a New Year’s Eve children’s activity, and family services once a month.

Recently St John’s has held a Mothers Union visit to Nagambie HealthCare, supported the parish’s deb ball and held a Christmas in July afternoon.

Some members will be at Christ Church hall for Morning Melodies with entertainer Trevor Dennis tomorrow at 10am.

The next family service is on September 3 at 11am.

For more information on activities at St John’s or the Parish of Central Goulburn, phone Fr Gary Atherton on 57990283.

For more information on the 130th celebrations, phone Diane Grant on 57941720.

— Diane Grant

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