St Ninian's Uniting Church

cnr Mouat and Brigalow Sts, LYNEHAM, ACT

             A Brief History of the Church at St Ninian's

 
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Welcome to 
St Ninian's Neighbourhood

brochure available here

Christmas 2012 Collage here

Book Sale
Friday 10th &
Sat 11th October, 2014
9am - 1pm

In the 1830’s and 1840’s, when free workers were reluctant to work and settle in the inland, some of the major landholders on the “Limestone Plains” assisted the migration from Scotland of shepherds and other workers with suitable skills. It was not until the early 1860’s, however, when the Free Selection legislation enabled these people to own small holdings of their own, that a stable Presbyterian community developed. They had no minister and services were usually far apart or irregular until 1861, when the minister from Braidwood, and later the minister from Queanbeyan. came every four weeks and held services in the Canberra School House in Reid. Permission to use these premises was withdrawn in the following year, stimulating the Presbyterian community to build their own slab and bark church on, or very near, the site of the present church. The first service was held on 4 January, 1863. This was the beginning of the Canberra Presbyterian Church as an outstation of the Queanbeyan charge.

 Construction of a more permanent church, built of local Black Mountain stone, was commenced in the early 1870’s and the little stone church was dedicated and opened on 13 February, 1873. By 1887 it was becoming obvious that this building was too small, and plans were made for an enlargement. The early 1890’s were a period of depression in Australian agriculture and this, coupled with the devastating drought of 1895-1903, made the chance of carrying out the enlargement seem remote. Nevertheless the necessary funding was procured and during the years 1898-1901 the church was extended, using the same Black Mountain stone as before. The extension was opened on 27 October, 1901.

 However, the drought and depression took their toll and many of the small farmers were forced to sell their property to the larger landholders. The problems were exacerbated by the decision to make Canberra the Federal Capital and the subsequent resumption of land by the Commonwealth. As is happening today, the young people could see no future on the land and left for the major cities, reducing the pool of young Presbyterians who would have replaced the aging founding fathers. The land on which the church stood was sold to the Government in 1912, but a 10 years’ lease on the building was granted. Services became infrequent as attendances declined and, since no-one would accept responsibility for the church after 1912, the Queanbeyan Committee of Management eventually closed the building in 1920. When the lease expired in 1922 and the land was taken over as part of a grazing lease, the Queanbeyan Committee had the seats and organ removed. Initially, the building was used as a barn, but when the lease changed hands again, it was deserted.

 One day the stone church caught the attention of the recently inducted (1940) minister of St Andrew’s, the Rev'd. Hector Harrison, as he drove along the Barton Highway. It was in an appalling state of disrepair, but the structure was sound and Mr Harrison recognised its potential and decided to attempt to restore it to its former use as a place of worship. On 21 September, 1941, he held a Pioneers’ Memorial Service, attended by over 200 people, on the site. With the agreement the Department of the Interior, the current lessees made the land available and a restoration fund was instituted. The fund was well subscribed and the restoration was quickly completed. On 15 February, 1942, the church, now called St Ninian’s (the name chosen by Mr Harrison), was re-dedicated and re-opened for worship, under the charge of St Andrew’s. In 1950 it was transferred to the charge of St Columba's, Braddon, and in 1957 St Ninian’s congregation elected their own Board of Management.

 In 1961, with the rapid growth of Canberra, accommodation became a problem and services and Sunday School were held in the Lyneham Primary School while a church hall was being built.

 

 In 1977, on the inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia, the congregation elected to become part of the new Church. By that time growth in the congregation was producing further problems of accommodation in the church itself and in 1979 it was again extended, using the same Black Mountain stone, to become the building we know today.

 In 1994 another room was added to the Hall to accommodate the younger Sunday School children and to provide suitable space for small meetings.

 These are the names of St Ninian’s ministers since it became a Parish in its on right: Rev'd W H Ives (1959-1964), Rev'd I M Ogilvy (1965-1968), Rev'd F J Watts (1969-1974), Rev'd J A Murray (1974-1987), Rev'd A J Watt, Assoc.(1975-1985), Rev'd D W Erickson (1988-1996) Rev'd R G Birch (1997-2003), Rev'd Theresa Angert-Quilter (2004-2009), Rev'd John C Blair (July 2010-present)

 

 

 

Service Times

Sundays

9:30 am

  • Holy Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month

  • Worship at the 9:30am service includes a choir anthem and features a pipe organ.


Rediscovering Courage:Faith and Justice Expo

held in Sydney on 9th August, 2014 was full of inspiring, energetic, vibrant and caring people.

Our Moderator set the scene with his words -  "The church can't disconnect Jesus from what is happening in the world around us". 

Congratulations to all involved!