130TH HONOUR: Vennie Kenyon cuts Gympie Church of Christ's celebratory cake along with current pastor Sam Bartlett. It was a labour of love for Vennie whose sister, the late Marcia Hopkins, cut the cake for the 125 celebrations.
130TH HONOUR: Vennie Kenyon cuts Gympie Church of Christ's celebratory cake along with current pastor Sam Bartlett. It was a labour of love for Vennie whose sister, the late Marcia Hopkins, cut the cake for the 125 celebrations.

Church of Christ Gympie celebrates 130 years

THE Church of Christ celebrated 130 years of its presence in Gympie on Sunday, October 9.

The Gympie Church of Christ was founded on August 8, 1886 with a meeting held in the home of a Mrs Cane of Horseshoe Bend.

As the congregation grew too big for home meetings, the Drum and Fife Band Hall was used as a meeting place, then once again growing numbers forced a move to the Oddfellows Hall on Red Hill.

Several outreach missions were held and the interest was so great it was decided to erect a church building.

LANDMARK: The Church of Christ in Crescent Rd was opened in 1887 and now houses props and costumes for local theatre productions.
LANDMARK: The Church of Christ in Crescent Rd was opened in 1887 and now houses props and costumes for local theatre productions.

Land was acquired on Crescent Rd with several members lending interest-free money. Much of this money was later donated and the building was soon free of debt. It was opened on August 6, 1887 and a manse stood alongside.

The church building still stands and is used to house props and costumes for local theatre productions.

In 1907 a church was also established at Eel Creek on land given for the purpose by Mr H. Fittell.

After many from the congregation moved into Gympie and elsewhere, this little church was moved to the back of the Crescent Rd property to be used as a Sunday school.

Services and Sunday schools were by now being held at New Veteran, Amamoor, Kia Ora and Monkland.

In 1930 a church was built at Monkland and this building now forms part of the Gympie and District Historical Society museum site.

The present church building was opened on the corner of Horseshoe Bend and Tucker St in July 1959, the manse adjacent having been built a few years prior. Both the church and manse have been extended and remodelled over time. About 20 years ago an extensive church hall was added and the kitchen renovated thereby providing very serviceable areas for youth activities and catering purposes.

With several other local churches, the Gympie Church of Christ was involved in the establishment of Cooloola Christian College and continues participation in the school life today.

Pastor Sam Bartlett has ministered with the church family from January 2016.

The 130-year celebration on Sunday, October 9 was a day about stories from those who have been long-time members of the Gympie Church of Christ such as Fayre Whittle, who shared her testimony titled My life as a member of the Church of Christ.

MEMORIES: Sisters (from left) Tyrel Ward, Joanne Buchanan and Rilla Roberts check the memorabilia at the 130th celebrations.
MEMORIES: Sisters (from left) Tyrel Ward, Joanne Buchanan and Rilla Roberts check the memorabilia at the 130th celebrations.

"I guess you could say I was born into this church, as my grandparents on both sides and my parents were members of the church before me,” Fayre said.

Fayre's Grandfather and Grandmother Johnson arrived in Gympie during the gold rush years of the 1880s. As well as being a miner, her grandfather was also a lay preacher at the Crescent Rd church.

Lex Buchanan, along with Ann Kubler, shared much of the church's history while Greg Runge shared his story of when he lived in Gympie and his current role as conference chair for Churches of Christ Qld.

It was a special day for all who attended with a barbecue lunch and, of course, the celebration cake, which was cut by Vennie Kenyon, who was thrilled to have this role as her sister, the late Marcia Hopkins, cut the cake for the 125 celebrations.

- ANDI OWEN

Gympie Times


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