130 years at Gympie Church of Christ

From its humble beginnings in 1886, Gympie Church of Christ is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year.

The seed for the first Church of Christ church was planted in Gympie in 1877, and the handwritten minutes from this first church are available in our archives at Mitchelton. However it wasn’t until 8 August 1886 when three people met to break bread at the home of Mrs Crane of Horseshoe Bend that the church officially began.

The group had been influenced by the Christian Pioneer paper edited by D. A. Ewers, a Brisbane evangelist who spent 5 weeks with the small group in Gympie.
As the congregation grew too big for home meetings, the ‘Drum and Fife Band Hall’ was used as a meeting place. Then, growing numbers again forced a move to the ‘Oddfellows Hall’ on Red Hill.

American evangelist Austin Mordaunt came to the church and, through his ministry, the church quickly grew. Local records indicate that when a baptism by immersion took place, some 1,500 people gathered to watch, growing to 2000 people at a second such event.

Several outreach missions were held and community interest was so great it was decided to erect a church building. Land was acquired on Crescent Road with several members lending £25 interest-free monies. Much of this money was later donated and the building was soon free of debt.

The church was opened on August 6 1887 and the building still stands today where it is used to house props and costumes for local theatre productions.
In 1907 a church was also established at Eel Creek on land donated 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 Road property to be used as a Sunday School.

The present church building was opened on the corner of Horseshoe Bend and Tucker Street in July 1959, adjacent to a manse that was built a few years prior. Both the church and manse have been extended and remodelled over time.

Along 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.

The Church held a praise service and barbeque lunch on 9 October to celebrate is wonderful milestone.

On Sunday 9 October the church celebrated with a day about stories from people who have been long-term members of the church. 

Fayre Whittle shared her testimony titled ‘My life as a member of the Church of Christ’. Fayre a long-time member, “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. My Grandfather and Grandmother Johnson arrived in Gympie during the ‘Gold Rush years’ of the 1880’s, my Grandfather was a mine.” Fayre’s Grandfather was also a lay preacher at the Crescent Road church.

Lex Buchanan and Ann Kubler shared much of the churches history and Greg Runge, Conference Chair for Churches of Christ Queensland, shared his story of when he lived in Gympie.

It was a special day for all who attended with a barbeque 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.

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Posted October 31, 2016 in Networking blog