“In Christ you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22
On Sunday 1 November we celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the Anglican Church of St Simon and St Jude, Woodbridge, the oldest surviving Church in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel district.
The day commenced for Gayelene and me with a boat ride aboard the Penghana with Captain Tim, from Kettering to Woodbridge: clergy travel 1800’s style. Helen and Ray Phillips met us at Kettering to ensure we were all aboard. Ray knew of my fears of sea travel – it was a perfectly calm day, and a calm bishop 🙂 Ray then took our car on to Woodbridge. His father was a rector there.
Paul Martin and team greeted us with lively music at the Woodbridge Jetty, along with many parishioners and well-wishers including the ABC TV! Also the Revds Norman Kelley and John Middleton, the Venerable Helen Phillips as we we led a long procession up to the Church: a wonderful sight!
We entered the Church to the rousing song “All things bright and beautiful.” Revd Julie Kelley led the service. Highlights included a skit “Building up the Church” (presented by Norman Kelley, Rex Williams and Margaret Cannell), a presentation “The Lord Building the House” (“Snapshots” of parishioners) and a Bishop’s Award to Mrs Alice Sackett. I preached on Christ the cornerstone of the Church who thus gives its alignment and life, Ephesians 2:13-22. We left the service singing “You shall go out with joy.” Great stuff! A true celebration of God’s goodness and God’s people in the local community over 125 years.
A fabulous lunch followed in the Woodbridge Community Hall. I commended the many community members, about 50-60, who participated in the church renovations and preparing the lunch! Amongst the attendees were: Dr. Grahame Bury (Mayor of Kingborough Council), Mr Bruce Neil and his wife Pennie (Bruce is a major owner of Peppermint Bay Restaurant and donated money for the church belfry), Kingborough Councillor Michelle Higgins (who has been involved in church renovation working bees), Revd Bob Imms and his wife Miriam (representing the Woodbridge Uniting Church), and Mr Byron Wolfe (Chair of Cygnet/Channel Parish Council) with his wife Merlene and the Cygnet ministry team and parishioners.
The Chairman of the Woodbridge Community Association, Mr. Graeme Rae, took time off from BBQing to launch the book “The Life and Times of Woodbridge Anglican Church,” written by Julie Kelley and Leonie Beaumont. The book traces the beginnings of ministry in the area, “The Channel Mission” in the 1860’s, when clergy travelled by steamship from Hobart, about 3 hours, to make pastoral visits and conduct services. Well worth the $10 – get your book today! You can obtain a copy of the book by emailing Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org, phoning 03 62674903 or writing to Box 202, Woodbridge 7162. The book costs $10 + $2 for postage.
What a joy-filled blessing to be part of this wonderful celebration! We all left immensely encouraged and proud of the church’s role in building community and in the church being built by the community. A life giving story that bears repeating. Thank you one amd all. Praise the Lord!
Photos courtesy of ABC News and Woodbridge.com.au/Index
Read the ABC News report Restored church marks milestone here. The 7pm Sunday ABC TV report on the occasion was excellent.