Gladstone celebrates 101 years

Gladstone celebrates 101 years

On Sunday 23 October, 2022, the Gladstone Methodist/Uniting Church was packed for a service to celebrate the 101st birthday and the centenary of the present Church.

The foundation stone for the church was laid by Rev. W.H. Butler on the 5th October, 1921 and the Church was opened, with the first Church service, on the 22 December, 1921. This Church was preceded by two former Wesleyan/Methodist Churches on the same site, built in 1865 and 1883.

The one-year delay in celebrating the centenary of the Church was due to COVID-19.

The Church sparkled on the day with newly polished timberwork and stunning flower arrangements.

The Church service included the launch of the publication, Fellowship and Food, a chronological history of the three Methodist/Uniting Churches on the present site since 1865 and stories and recipes from the Ladies’ Church Aid, written by two members of the congregation, Anne Reilly and Christine Nicoll.

Also featured was a PowerPoint presentation of some historical events within the life of the Church, with emphasis on the remarkable contribution of Rev. W.H. Butler (minister from 1918 – 1921) to the Gladstone community. Rev. Butler was instrumental in having the present Church constructed.

Special features of the service included Bible readings and hymns from the first service held in the Church.

Beautiful music was provided by Jade Riordon, of the “Ten Sopranos”, accompanied by talented organist, Brian Cox. Further musical items were to be provided by the Kempsey Pipers and Drummers Band, who volunteered to play for the event, but unfortunately inclement weather prevented this performance.

Celebrations continued in the Gladstone Hall with the cutting of a celebratory cake and a morning tea which included an abundance of cakes and sandwiches which have gained the Lower Macleay Methodist/Uniting Church ladies iconic status as expert cooks.

Much interest was generated by a display of Church memorabilia mounted in the Hall. This included memorial items from the Church, craft, produced in the past, by Ladies’ Church Aid members, many photographs, certificates, and wedding dresses.

The success of the event in involving the community was summed up by a local Gladstone identity, who commented: “This was a great day … 23 October, 2022 … (with) the positive service led by Church members, the beautiful singing voice of soprano, Jade Riordon, the sale of a wonderful book and the community fellowship felt at the luncheon in the Gladstone Hall. Congratulations to Church members who arranged this celebration.”

Christine Nicoll 

Gladstone Uniting Church


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