Final service held at Daylesford Uniting Church

April 28th, 2024Final service held at Daylesford Uniting Church

Sunday, April 21 was the final service held by the Daylesford Uniting Church - as it is now prepared for sale by Uniting Vic. Tas.

Sunday, April 21 was the final service held by the Daylesford Uniting Church – as it is now prepared for sale by Uniting Vic. Tas.

Former ministers who have served the church community and former church members attended the service which was also open to members of the community.

Current and former members then celebrated with an invitation-only lunch at the Daylesford Bowling Club.

Spokesperson Lorelle Thompson Pope said the church buildings had a long history from their beginnings as a Wesleyan Methodist Church.

“In 1861, the first Wesleyan Methodist church was built on the site – this is the older building on the site – now known as the Sunday School. Architects Crouch and Wilson built this structure in early English Gothic style.

“On June 12, 1865 members laid the foundation stone for the newer church; the first service in this building was held on December 10, 1865.

“The organ in the church was installed in 1888, it was built by Mr William Anderson and boasts an impressive 724 pipes, many of which are decorated with Christian symbols. This organ is a rare example of Anderson’s work and is his only instrument in Western Victoria. It has been classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) as being of state significance.”

Lorelle said by the late 1880s the decline in mining led to an examination by the congregation of ways to reduce debt. Rent was received from pew hire as well as organ concerts and annual fairs – these all helped to raise funds to reduce the debt.

“By the end of the 19th century the church had settled into a pattern of steady parish life. The 1950s and 1960s were really the glory days when there was an active Sunday School, tennis clubs and vibrant social activity as well as many worshippers at Sunday services.

“In 1960 the church purchased a caravan to provide temporary crisis accommodation (an early indication of the current changes). There was great demand for this service but by 1990 the caravan was sold and not replaced. However, a Crisis House was loaned to the church from the Ministry of Housing and continued to be used for about four years.”

Lorelle said the congregation of the Daylesford Uniting Church was sad to be moving away from the site but would continue to meet regularly in another venue.

“As we move from the buildings that have housed the church for so many years we are grateful for all that this space has offered – friendships, belonging, community support. We are also grateful for the service of so many ministers over this time – too many to list here and many have passed on, but they each offered so much to the church and the community.

“We also remember the lives that have been changed because of this place – baptisms, marriages, funerals and the many, many church services. All live in the memories of those who shared them.”

Words & Image: Contributed

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