In previous instalments we discussed the origins of the Dural parish and a small number of the cultural and practical contributions that the church made to the local community. This brings us to the present time.
In 1977 we became The Uniting Church in Australia, when the Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist churches entered into a formal union. Members of the congregations were given a vote on the union and this great fundamental change was achieved without conflict or friction.
Careful and prayerful consideration went into becoming the Uniting Church in Australia. By the mid -1970s Australian society was beginning to change. It was wise for the smaller protestant churches to unite and share the honour and privilege of joining together as Christ’s people in Australia.
The Inauguration was celebrated at Dural Church on 26th June, 1977 with 200 people in attendance.
This union saw old organisational traditions replaced with new ways. The congregation now elects Church Councillors and Elders, and all members of the congregation have a much wider involvement. West Pennant Hills was no longer part of our parish but Kenthurst was still with us, together with churches at Arcadia, Glenorie and Dural.
It was decided at some point to move with changing times and consolidate into a single parish centre at Galston. The Dural property was sold in 1986, the Arcadia property in 1988 and the Glenorie property in 1995.
In September 1985, the former Dural congregation – with many members of Arcadia and Glenorie – began to worship as the Galston congregation in the Galston Seventh Day Adventist Church. A site had been chosen for a new church building on School Road, and services were held at the Adventist site for three years while construction took place.
We were very grateful to the Seventh Day Adventist people for allowing us the use of their church on Sundays for a period of three years.
Galston Uniting Church was opened on 22nd October, 1988. The building includes the church, auditorium, meeting rooms, office, kitchen, Sunday school accommodation, and a Long Day Care/ Early Learning Centre adjoining the church complex. (Our minister Rev Geoff Smith is Chairman of the Management Committee of the Galston Early Learning Centre.)
Outstanding features of our church are the Stained Glass Window designed by Terrence Plowright. This is a very modern and colourful concept and proves that stained glass windows do not have to be old.
What is old is our glorious 1887 Fosters and Andrews Organ built in Hull, England originally for the Congregational Church, Bourke Street, Darlinghurst. The organ was gifted to that church by three sisters, the Misses Baxter. The formal unveiling of the organ was on Sunday 10th June, 1888, in the Darlinghurst church, and served that congregation for eighty years – until the property was sold.
How did this heritage organ come to Galston? A small group from our congregation began to investigate the possibility of including this organ in our new building. Purchase of the organ by Galston congregation was concluded on 25th August 1986, and the organ was removed from Darlinghurst and stored for refurbishment.
This refurbishment, a long and laborious task, continued over the next six years with volunteers from the church, under the guidance of Mr. Ian Brown. Mr Brown was a member of our congregation and also happened to be a professional organ builder.
The organ was installed in its new home with the specifications unchanged from when it was built. On 6th June, 1993 the organ was rededicated at Galston Church.
What do we do now:
• Family service every Sunday 10am including a special time for kids
• Weddings, baptisms, funerals, special services (eg Messy Church to which farm animals often visit; Blessing of the Rural Fire Service Fleet)
• KUCA (a kids club, for kindergarten to grade 6)
• The Power (a youth club for grade 6 to grade 10)
• Men’s and ladies choirs
• Over 55s meetings – 2nd Monday of every month, 10am
• Craft group, Thursdays 7.30pm-10pm
• Healthy living for seniors on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
• Classical concerts: The Galston Concert Series
Your participation will always be welcomed.
For more information about the many activities for all ages, please see our website www.galstonunitingchurch.com or telephone our office on 9653-2039. The office is attended on Tuesdays and Fridays.