City UCA is 90
On 3 February, Robyn and I went to City Uniting Church for its 90 th anniversary
celebrations. It was a highly successful occasion attended by many people,
including many old friends – not just from the years that the two of us
worshipped at (and got married at) City but also from elsewhere.
Amongst the many clergy attending, it was particularly good to see D’Arcy (and
Janet) Wood, Norman McDonald, and Norma and John Brown.
Refreshments, mostly provided by the Tongans, were great and the room of
memorabilia most interesting.
We all received copies of a book of sixty five personal reflections contributed by
past and present members of City, myself included. Here is part of Jenny
Rowland’s introduction to that book:
“Canberra City Uniting Church was one of the first new churches to be formed
in Canberra after it began developing as the national capital of Australia. The
Canberra Congregational Fellowship was established on 16 January 1929.
…….. it has been through many changes. There will certainly be more in the
future. It has been the Canberra Congregational Church, the Congregational
National Memorial Church and Canberra City Uniting Church. It became and
remains the only church in Canberra City, known as Civic. As today’s members
celebrate ninety years, we look back on noteworthy moments in our church’s
history, ………. This included City Church’s becoming part of the Uniting
Church in Australia at its inauguration in 1977. Our then minister, Rev. John
Bennett, led all its congregations in Canberra and surrounding areas into the
new national Church. Soon afterwards came the Northbourne Development, for
which Rev. Michael Johnson’s efforts led to the opening of the new Canberra
City Uniting Church in 1988. The beginnings of our Toe Talatalanoa (Tongan)
Congregation also occurred during his ministry. Rev. Dr D’Arcy Wood served as
one of our ministers, while filling the wider role of President of the Uniting
Church in Australia from 1991 to 1994. Rev. Shirley Parkin shared congrega-
tional ministry with him. Rev. Norma Brown was our next minister. A Pacific
Islander minister, Rev. Liva Tukutama originally from Niue, then joined us and
we also had our first deacon, Rev. Mel Prowse-Graham. Then followed Rev.
Ivan Roberts joined by Rev Myung Hwa Park who was also part time at St
Columba’s Uniting Church, Braddon. We next had a brief period of intentional
interim ministry with Rev. Elizabeth Raine. At present we have Rev. Dr Paul
Chalson and another deacon, Rev. Miriam Parker-Lacey who is also part time
with St Columba’s. All these ministers and their families are thought of gladly
and with great appreciation.”
- Brian Rope
St Margaret’s News