The foundation stone of the first church hall is laid on 11 May
The first church organisation is established – a Ladies’ Guild
Sunday services are suspended because of the deadly worldwide influenza epidemic
Rev C R C Tidmarsh is appointed first Parish Priest/Incumbent
First Vicarage completed
The first St Mary’s church fete is held
Despite the onset of the Depression, St Mary’s is able to show a credit balance
With careful guidance, the church continues its work during the war years
Main church building is burnt down; the cause of the fire is never confirmed
St Mary’s acquires church furniture from St John’s, Latrobe Street
Work on current church building begins
Rt Rev Bishop D L Redding MBE becomes second Vicar
The new church is completed and dedicated
Rt Rev R J Lipp becomes third Vicar
A service at St Mary’s is broadcast live on radio station 3AR
The church bell is installed and dedicated
Rev K H Roberts becomes fourth Vicar
Rev Roberts dies
Rev C F Withington become fifth Vicar
A new organ is installed and dedicated
February 1969 – first appearance of St Mary’s Gazette
St Mary’s Gazette makes its first appearance in ‘duplicated form’ in February 1969, with an apology on page three from the vicar, Rev Fraser Withington, for ‘an unbalanced issue, without the virtue of attractiveness’. He is confident, however, that the Gazette will improve.
April 1969 – death of founding Vicar
The Gazette reports the death of St Mary’s founding vicar, Rev C R C Tidmarsh, who was vicar for the church’s first 36 years.
The urgent need to update the vicarage is raised at the AGM.
During the 1970s – newspaper collection
The church collects newspapers to sell to recyclers and uses the proceeds to pay for the church’s pipe organ. This is achieved by 1978, and funds raised in this way are subsequently devoted to other purposes.
Church agencies, such as a large Mothers’ Union, a Young Wives’ Group, a choir, a Girls’ Friendly Society group, the Church of England Boys’ Society and a vigorous Garden Club thrive in the early 1970s, but numbers begin to decline as times change and with the departure for various reasons of many church leaders.
July 1971 – the vicarage to be replaced
The wardens decide to replace the vicarage entirely. The new vicarage is completed by February 1972.
November 1972 – the ‘Grand Fair’
Actor Leonard Teale officially opens the church’s ‘Grand Fair’. Proceeds total $1150. By 1976 the fair proceeds are $2200.
The church is carrying a large debt, which reaches $26,254 by the December 1972 vestry meeting. By March 1974, the financial situation is described in the Gazette as ‘critical’.
March 1973 – first female vestry member
Fifty-five years after the establishment of St Mary’s, the vicar welcomes St Mary’s first female vestry member, Vera Jones.
The church’s total debt is $25,984 and funds owing on the organ have been reduced to $4527.
Late 1973 – Sunday School disbanded
The previously thriving Sunday School is disbanded, as is the choir. A new choir is formed in 1974, but by the 1975 AGM there is still no Sunday school.
Another woman, Eunice Raymond, joins the vestry.
The debt is still a daunting $25,822, with $3690 still owing on the organ.
Tributes are paid at the AGM to retiring church treasurer, Jack Broadbent, for his decades in the job and in many areas of church life. (Broadbent dies in 1980.)
During 1976 – Rev Withington departs
Rev Withington departs. He is replaced by Rev Fred Bedbrook on part stipend, assisted by the Rev Alf Donnelly, a retired priest.
A new financial program is introduced, with parish giving lifted onto a higher plane.
Late 1978 – new prayer book
The new Australian Prayer Book is being used in the church, although the old 1662 prayer book has not been discarded. The 1662 book is still used on the first and third Sundays of the month at 8am, at 10am on the fifth Sunday, at midweek services and at all home communions.
February 1979 – Rev Victor Maddick arrives
Rev Bedbrook is succeeded by Rev Victor Maddick. The big-picture theme during Maddick’s incumbency is to be consolidation and modest development.
The 1980 church Fair raises $4000.
February 1981 – Rev Victor Maddick retires
Rev Victor Maddick says his ‘uneven health’ has led him to decide to take an early retirement.
May 1981 – Rev John Wight inducted
The new vicar – the Rev John Wight – is inducted by the archbishop.
The Fair raises $6000, an increase of 50% over the 1980 Fair.
Late 1981 / Early 1982
Three members of the church’s founding families die – Gwen Broadbent, Margaret Harrison and Grace Shilcock.
Vestry decides that from November 1983, the 1662 prayer book will only be used monthly, during a trial period.
Norma Grayson provides a delicious lunch after the church’s AGM. Norma, supported by her husband, Hugh, and often a group of ladies, has provided delicious food at many a church function, frequently made and paid for by the Graysons. The names of Lesley Laing and Norma Grayson pop up everywhere, including in Fair preparations, for Meals on Wheels, for an annual Christmas party for senior citizens and in many other areas of parish life.
May 1984 – the hall renamed
Vestry resolves that the lower church hall will be renamed the ‘Manley Hall’, to recognise the services provided to the church by the Manley family over many years.
There is sadness at the closure of the Garden Club, after almost 40 years.
A financial report tabled in the Gazette describes the 1984 financial year as ‘satisfactory … with both income and expenditure about $1000 above budget, with an almost balanced result, as planned’.
An era ends with the death of Roy Manley. Roy served on the vestry for 35 years, and was vicar’s warden for 10 years.
November 1985 – the first of succession of record Fair results
The Fair achieves a record result of more than $7500.
The Sigley name starts to appear in church documents, with Glenys becoming the new coordinator of the junior Sunday school and joining the vestry in 1987. Ernie is often to give his time and talents as MC and or performer in church events.
A parish consultation is held.
The 1986 Fair again achieves a record result – $8788.
Another church stalwart, Roy Duncan, dies. Roy had worshipped at St Mary’s since 1955, and had made many positive contributions to parish life.
The AGM is told that the church’s deficit has been kept to $1100, when a $2000 shortfall had been feared – but there is still a heavy dependence on a good Fair result.
Despite rainy conditions, once again the Fair is an outstanding success, achieving another record result of $9199.
Late 1987 – Glenn Scott becomes youth leader
Glenn Scott joins the church as a youth leader.
St Mary’s stalwart, Harry Nugent, dies at the age of 87.
Despite continuing financial pressure, at the 1988 AGM the church declares a surplus of $2700 for the year.
The youth group flourishes, led by Glenn Scott and youth convenor, Glenys Sigley. St Mary’s and St John’s, Camberwell’s youth groups join for monthly youth services.
The church celebrates 30 years since the church building was dedicated and blessed on 9 August 1958.
The AGM is held in November as a result of legislation enacted in 1987 – the Parishes Act – which stipulates that the church year must now run from 1 October to 30 September.
Though proceeds are lower than in previous years, the Fair achieves a satisfactory final total of $8500.
Late 1988 – attendances trend down
Church attendances continue to fluctuate, but the general trend is down. In 1978 there had been a total attendance of 4720, with congregations averaging 90 per week; in 1983 this was 3627 (averaging 69); in 1985 it was 4058 in total, averaging 78. In 1988 there has been a serious decline to just 2478 for the year, with an average congregation of 47.
Vera Jones, a parishioner for almost 60 years, and a key figure in maintaining the Sunday school, dies at 94. She leaves a generous bequest to the church, half of which is to be devoted to St Mary’s general purposes, and half to the organ fund.
With attendances small and restricted to a few families, vestry decides to suspend the Sunday school.
An ‘experimental’ ecumenical event is held on 27 August after the 10am service, involving a meeting with people from the South Camberwell Uniting Church.
Late 1989/early 1990
St Mary’s continues to depend on a successful Fair result to help balance the budget, and there are diverging opinions on the subject of full-time versus part-time ministry at the church.
In his vicar’s report to the 1990 AGM on 28 October, John Wight speaks of the ‘older folk’ who have left the church and have not been replaced by younger generations.
November 1990 – John Wight’s retirement is announced
John Wight’s retirement is announced; his official duties will conclude at the end of November 1990, but with accumulated leave his official departure date will be in June 1991.
Eric Christianson becomes locum tenens; he wins many friends at St Mary’s through his work ethic, quiet efficiency, sense of humour and devotion to his temporary duties.
David Guy Stanley Rathgen is invited to St Mary’s on 50% of a full-time ministry, with a review to take place in 12 months. The Rathgen family will move into the vicarage on 19 August.
August 1991 – Rev David Rathgen is inducted
David Rathgen is inducted on 23 August. His first service is on 25 August.
The immediate challenge facing the church and David Rathgen is the financial deficit of $4041 expected for the year ended 30 September – it has doubled during the year.
The Fair earns $9000 – short of the budgeted $12,000, but it is a great day of hard work, fellowship and fun.
The 8am service is discontinued, so there is just one service, on Sundays at 10am; the Australian Prayer Book becomes the primary book in use at services – the Book of Common Prayer is used only on the last Sunday of every month.
From 1 October to the second week of December, church attendances are 24% higher than in the corresponding period in 1990.
Vestry endorses a motion to appoint David Rathgen to at least two-thirds ministry from 1 January 1993.
Vestry resolves that the Australian Prayer Book should be used at the 10am service, at the (restored) 8am service on the first Sunday, and at the Wednesday morning service.
The annual statement reveals a pleasing credit balance of $8396.
The net Fair result is $8323.
The diocese agrees to a change of David Rathgen’s terms and conditions to a two-thirds ministry, a little earlier than anticipated: as from 1 December.
Attendance at 10am services averages 58 in the year to 30 September 1993; this increases to 62 in 1994, but declines to 51 in 1995.
St Mary’s is prayerfully supporting Isabel and Lauren Dale, a missionary family in Egypt, and Philip and Margaret Higgins, in Tanzania, among others.
Florence Kendall dies. Florence had been a most active member of vestry, and had taken on a variety of tasks with skill and quiet energy over many years.
The Fair raises $9700.
May 1994 – telecommunication installation
Vestry resolves, subject to diocesan ratification, to accept a Telstra proposal for a cellular mobile telecommunications station on St Mary’s property, including a transmitting device on the church tower. News of the tower installation is later published in the Herald Sun. ‘There is no danger of it falling down, or interfering with your TV reception, your pacemaker, your hearing aid, or harming your own person,’ St Mary’s Gazette assured its readers.
August 1994 – 75th anniversary
The church celebrates its 75th anniversary (which had occurred in 1993) with a ‘back to St Mary’s’ 75th anniversary service, at which former vicar Fred Bedbrook preaches. Attendance: 207
The Fair brings in more than $10,000. With scheduled Telstra income, St Mary’s is optimistic about loosening its heavy financial dependence on the Fair. A surplus of more than $10,600 over expenditure is achieved, and the parish is entirely debt-free for the first time in many years.
The improvement in the church’s bottom line enables David Rathgen to become full-time vicar of St Mary’s from 1 January.
Numbers dwindle at the 8am communion service; the service time is changed to 8.30am, but congregations are almost always below 10 (and fall to an average of six during 1995).
Total numbers attending all services at St Mary’s are steady in comparison to 1994 – 3191 as against 3167 in 1993 – but there is a significant decline of 1183 from the 1992 total of 4374.
‘Tower rental’ features for the first time in the annual financial statements – $13,150, helping to ease the transition from part-time to full-time ministry. Total revenue is up slightly from 1993/94, but there is a deficit of $2331. (There was a $10,629 surplus in the previous corresponding period.)
Sixty parishioners visit the Sigley family’s property at Buninyong, to picnic, chat, and enjoy golf on Ernie’s mini-course in the large backyard.
The Manley Hall floorboards are considered beyond repair. Vestry decides to replace all the flooring, at a quoted cost of $13,000.
A parish camp at Merricks attracts 35 St Mary’s people.
At the AGM a surplus of $4750 is reported; a pleasing result after the previous year’s $2331 deficit.
March 1997 – plans for a new church entrance
A special general meeting authorises the wardens to arrange for the construction of a new entrance for the church, to make it more open and accessible to people passing along Bowen Street (cost: $35,000). Works are completed by May 1999.
Though net Fair proceeds are $11,900, major reductions in income and an increase in contributions to missions leaves the church with a deficit of $19,179 for the year – a turnaround of almost $24,000 from the surplus of $4750 in 1996.
A new Alpha course begins on Tuesdays.
Berry Rathgen is proving to be a popular and contributing church member; her duties include convening CRE teachers for Camberwell South Primary School. But there is an urgent need for two more teachers, one of whom is engaged by April.
Famous Australian tenor, David Hobson, together with the Victoria Children’s Choir, performs at a memorable and well attended outreach concert at St Mary’s.
The Fair raises $9900 (down about $2000 on the 1997 result). Vestry believes ‘the financial result achieved was not commensurate with the effort expended’ … involving ‘more effort for less reward than in past years’.
Frank Roberts departs from the parish, and relocates to the Mornington Peninsula. He had been a parishioner since 1962, and a stalwart contributor to virtually every aspect of parish life.
Three services are held at St Mary’s to mark the end of CRE at the Peate Avenue school, attracting more than 500 children, parents and staff.
Early 1999 – youth ministry gains momentum
The youth ministry, facilitated by two Ridley College students, Chris and Catherine Garcia, gains momentum. The Garcias are engaged for six to eight hours a week to consolidate the church’s youth group, coordinate the youth program, and help with CRE at Peate Avenue and Sunday school at St Mary’s.
Vestry discusses the strip of land parallel to the church’s car park, owned by Boroondara Council, on which there was formerly a block of disused toilets. A vestry working group is set up to ‘look into’ this land, with a view to purchasing it and redeveloping the car park.
October 1999 – banquet auction replaces Fair
Instead of the usual Fair, Glenn Scott arranges a major banquet auction at Port Melbourne Yacht Club. It is a major success, netting a profit of $18,000 (considerably higher than the Fair had ever earned).
The church focuses on missions, with visits from some overseas missionaries; and is also supporting Julie Waddy, a missionary in the Northern Territory. Mission giving totals $3453 in 1999.
There is a disturbing downward trend in overall church attendances at St Mary’s. Average attendances had trended upwards, peaking at about 3700 in 1996, and falling slightly to 3500 in 1997 and 1998. But there is a substantial fall to about 2800 in 1999.
Early 2000 – David Rathgen departs
David Rathgen is appointed to the Anglican parish of St John, Healesville, and St Paul, Yarra Glen, and is to be inducted on 21 June, following his final service at St Mary’s on 18 June. Rev David Smith is appointed as locum at St Mary’s.
February 2000 – another telecommunications proposal
Subject to diocesan endorsement, Vestry approves a One.Tel proposal for a mobile base station. Annual rental is $18,000 with a 5% p.a. increase, and proceeds will be used for property maintenance at St Mary’s. (This income source is to be abruptly terminated when One.Tel collapses in May 2001.)
Vicarage refurbishment is required – or a total rebuild. Major refurbishment plans are approved by the diocese and submitted to Boroondara Council.
Vestry approves Glenn Scott’s plans for a fundraising dinner at The Point restaurant in Albert Park in October. Tickets will be $135 each, and proceeds used to support youth employment and youth counselling. Vestry cancels the 2000 Fair, but its longer term fate is not resolved.
Chris and Cath Garcia move to Glen Waverley. The church seeks new youth ministers. Ridley College is approached.
November 2000 – Rev Roger Ridley announced as new vicar
The treasurer’s report at the AGM on 12 November reveals net income for the year of $13,958. The wardens are authorised to proceed with renovating the vicarage to rental standards, and to find appropriate rental accommodation during the process for the incoming vicar and his family. The cost is estimated at $180,000, and a loan sought from the Anglican Development Fund.
Roger Kenneth Ridley is announced as the new vicar of St Mary’s; 5 December is set for his induction by Bishop John Stewart.
The church celebrates its 83rd birthday with what the wardens describe as ‘a fantastic worship celebration’. Sunday school children organise a pageant to dramatise events in the church’s history.
The Ridley family moves from rental accommodation into the refurbished vicarage.
The annual fundraising event is held in the Royal Botanic Gardens restaurant, featuring entertainers Ernie Sigley, Dennis Walter and Bernadette Robinson. Proceeds are $13,000.
November 2001 – new youth leader
The treasurer reports a satisfactory surplus of $4105 against a planned deficit of $1562.
Bruach Colliton, a young engineering/business student, becomes youth leader – a paid position of 16 hours a week. A youth support working group is established.
St Mary’s is packed for the annual Christmas church service for Camberwell South Primary School.
Home groups had been meeting during 2001, but they are now in recess for varying reasons.
Several long-term parishioners die during the year: in March, the loved and respected World War I veteran, Bert Phillips; in July, Mavis Patton, and in September, Nancy Chessell.
Alpha programs continue intermittently, with a fresh program getting under way on 26 August and attracting 22 people, considered to be a satisfactory participation rate.
The average Sunday attendance at St Mary’s had been 50 in 2001 and 44 in 2002. It is destined to fall marginally to 41 in 2003 and to drop significantly to 32 in 2004.
October 2002 – church dinner raises $20,000
Another highly successful parish dinner is held, this time at the Savoy Plaza Hotel, featuring Jeanie Little. Of the net $20,000 raised, $15,000 is earmarked for youth work at Melton.
There is an excellent attendance of 109 at a service on 21 October featuring the Good News Big Band, which plays foot-tapping Christian music. The visit is arranged by Glenys Sigley.
At the AGM, treasurer Peter Young reports a surplus of $8764, with rental income from the telecommunications towers again positively impacting the bottom line.
The church corresponds with Boroondara Council about a small piece of council land incorporated in St Mary’s car park. St Mary’s is anxious to have its potholed car park asphalted and asks the council if it will seal and landscape the entire area – St Mary’s car park and the piece of council land – in partnership with the church, and incorporating the council land as an additional car parking area. St Mary’s offers to contribute towards the costs.
Warden David Ashton tells the council that St Mary’s car park is heavily used by customers at local businesses, by parents dropping off children at Camberwell South Primary School, and by residents attending the Bowen Street Family Centre. Also, a new office building has just been completed in Toorak Road with restricted parking, placing further pressure on local car parking availability. David Ashton organises a petition to the council on the issue of sealing the car park, but this issue is not to be completely resolved until 2010.
There is a parish weekend away at El Kanah guest house in Marysville (which is destined to be a victim of the Black Saturday fires in 2009, and then to be rebuilt).
June 2003 – ‘Heaven’ disco launched
Vestry endorses Christine Osborne’s proposal for a youth disco, named ‘Heaven’. It is launched on 20 June with an attendance of 11. The aim is to build attendances to 200 monthly, but regular early attendances of more than 50 are considered satisfactory.
The major fundraising dinner has now firmly replaced the Fair. Some believe it is too expensive at well over $100 per person, and that it minimises community outreach, compared with the outreach generated by the former Fair.
It is proposed to offer two parish dinners: one to continue as a major fundraiser, and another to be more of a St Mary’s community dinner at a local restaurant.
The church achieves a small net income of $124, comparing favourably with a budgeted deficit of $5220.
February 2004 – Rev Roger Ridley departs
Roger Ridley submits his resignation from the parish, and conducts his final service at St Mary’s.
In the two months leading up to Roger Ridley’s departure, the average church attendance at 10am services is 32; this decreases marginally to 31 in the two months after Ridley leaves, and in July/August/September the average increases to 34 (excluding Christmas and Easter services). The Wednesday 12.30pm service attracts four or five attendees.
Locums are the Venerable Graeme Sells (February to May), followed by the Rev Barry Green, who is to continue as locum vicar right through to the installation of a new vicar in August 2005. Green is outstanding with his open, friendly, optimistic and encouraging style.
There is another successful church dinner in support of the Oaktree Foundation, Christian Blind Mission International and a locally-based youth project. But the youth disco is discontinued in 2004.
At the AGM, the treasurer reports a surplus of $11,142 against a budgeted surplus of $3399.
Early 2005 – stained glass relocated
The church’s magnificent stained glass windows are carefully moved to new positions, to enable improved transmission of sunlight to enhance the windows’ beautiful colours and emphasise the Christian messages they convey.
A bus is organised to take parishioners to a parish picnic at the Sigleys’ Inverloch property on 21 May. It is a great day of fellowship.
Norma Grayson retires after 14 years of faithful work as hall booking person. Her work was acknowledged by a letter of thanks and a voucher for the Windsor Hotel’s famous high tea.
Andrew Ettles is announced as St Mary’s new priest-in-charge
Andrew Ettles compiles a document, St Mary’s Mission: Looking Forward. ‘Our “core business”, he says, ‘… ‘is to live, take and declare the good news about God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ to the world’ and ‘to do exactly this in the Glen Iris and Camberwell area’.
Changes are made to the interior configuration of the church. The former chapel became a children’s area, and some of the pews and the front rails are removed to provide flexibility in the use of spaces.
August 2005 – Rev Andrew Ettles is instituted
Andrew Ettles is instituted by the Rt Rev Stephen Hale, Bishop of the Eastern region, in St Mary’s on Tuesday 2 August. He embarks on his new role with vigour.
A ‘Commitment Sunday’ is held, described by Pews News – a successor, in part, to the Gazette – as providing ‘an opportunity for us all to commit to the ministry of our congregation’.
Figures tabled at the AGM show that the average attendance at Sunday services in 2004/05 has been 35, and Wednesday service attendances have fluctuated from three to 11.
There is a most satisfactory surplus of $29,830, and proceeds from the major fundraising event enable a donation of $35,000 to be made to various causes, including youth projects in Melton; and $11,604 is paid as a diocesan assessment.
Rising damp in the lower rooms of the church buildings continues to cause concern, as does the poor state of the car park. Despite several representations to Boroondara Council the issue is still not resolved.
December 2005 – ‘Treasure Day’; Carols in the Park
A ‘Treasure Day’ raises more than $2000, but it is primarily intended as a community outreach opportunity – one of the aims of the former Fair. Glenys Sigley works hard to ensure the success of this event.
Vestry approves an outlay of $2400 for purchasing a personal computer.
St Mary’s joins with the Bowen Street Salvation Army Citadel to present Carols in the Park, staged successfully in Bowen Gardens. This is to become an annual event.
More than 800 boys and girls, teachers and parents attend the three CRE Christmas services at St Mary’s.
February 2006 – new family and children’s minister
Emma Manton, a trained pre-school teacher, becomes children’s and families minister (eight hours a week). She facilitates a playgroup ministry, ‘Footsteps’, but soon has to resign to prepare for the birth of twins. She returns as volunteer Footsteps coordinator.
Former long-time vestry member and dedicated worker, Lesley Laing, dies at the age of 82.
Andrew Ettles presents a draft mission and vision statement, building on a document he had presented at the 2005 AGM.
November 2006 – a ‘Fiesta’
St Mary’s stages a ‘Fiesta’, similar to the ‘Treasure Day’ of the previous year, aiming to enable the church to connect with the wider community. Funds raised are to be devoted to TEAR Australia.
The AGM reveals a most pleasing 40% rise in average 10am attendances, from 35 in 2004/05 to 49 during 2005/06. Finances are also most satisfactory: income exceeds expenditure by $17,910.
Late 2006 – Esther Teo become Missions Coordinator
Esther Teo becomes missions coordinator and launches ‘Mission 5000’, aiming to raise the church’s awareness about mission and challenge the parish to commit to ‘taking the gospel to the ends of the earth’. A fundraising target of $5000 is set for 2006/07, to support the church’s link missionaries, now ‘Dave’ and ‘Ruth’.
A team is appointed to develop the church’s vision, to be guided by consultant Rika Mason from Oakseed Ministries.
March 2007 – ‘All About Kids’
‘All About Kids’ (AAK), a monthly worship event for preschool to primary-age children, begins and initially averages about 30 attendees. It complements the Footsteps playgroup.
The AGM reveals a financial deficit of $10,981, largely attributable to the purchase of a new photocopier ($7000) and the replacement of the office computer and church laptop. Rental income is also down.
The Manton family moves to Perth; Angela Ettles steps in temporarily to take on the children and families ministry role.
St Mary’s holds a ‘day of repentance’, including ‘a time for fasting, quiet meditation and prayer’ and a service of repentance and reconsecration of the church.
During 2008 – the ministry at Camberwell South Primary School continues
Andrew and Angela Ettles, Glenys Sigley, Fran Penna and Esther Teo continue St Mary’s stalwart commitment to teaching CRE at Camberwell South Primary School, contacting about 280 children during 2008.
Mid 2008 – lay pastoral minister
Amanda Ballantyne, a part-time pastoral worker at St Timothy’s Anglican Church in Bulleen, is appointed lay pastoral minister (part-time), effective 1 December 2008.
At the AGM a surplus of $11,000 is reported for 2007/08, but the treasurer cautions that the church owes the diocese precisely that amount, which must be paid in 2008/09.
Average attendances at Sunday services slip marginally from 45 to 44 in 2007/08.
The Archbishop of Melbourne offers Ettles the position of incumbent of St Mary’s. He accepts and is installed as incumbent on 11 December.
St Mary’s is evolving into three distinct worshipping communities – the 10am Sunday service, the small 12.30pm Wednesday service, and the very successful All About Kids program, with some overlap.
Three small groups meet, on Monday and Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons, attracting a total of 18 people.
Boroondara Council finally agrees to concrete the car park and landscape the Toorak Road side of the car park, at council expense.
The church’s first website is set up. It has a temporary design and includes basic information about the church, pending its full setting-up.
Long-term Manley Hall tenant Leaping Lizards ends its lease, reducing the church’s planned income by $12,000 in the January to September period. There is a looming large expense – repairs to the church roof, expected to cost $30,000.
Bob and Jackie Stacy depart for Sydney. Supported by Bob, Jackie had played many roles at St Mary’s over the years, including as vestry member, secretary and warden.
Footsteps continues to run successfully on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, albeit with an almost totally new group of children in 2009.
The church runs just two small groups, on Monday and Tuesday evenings, involving 15 church people.
June 2009 – work completed on car park: almost
Work is completed on the car park, aside from landscaping and line-marking.
The church is unable to fund a full-time curacy for Amanda Ballantyne after 2009; however, she agrees to remain as a volunteer, continuing in roles such as CRE teacher and a helper at All About Kids.
There is a significant downward trend in average attendances at the church’s 10am Sunday service (29 in 2008/09 compared with 44 in the previous corresponding period, and 49 in 2005/06).
The financial reports show a deficit of $7500 for the year compared with a surplus of $11,000 in the previous year.
Late 2009 – a tenant for Tidmarsh Hall
Market research firm ChantLink and Associates proposes to take up a long-term lease on the Tidmarsh (upper) Hall. The hall will need to be refurbished into a space suitable for a corporate office within three months.
Approximately $27,000 is set aside to pay for restoration of the church roof.
Works are well under way on alterations to the Tidmarsh Hall ahead of ChantLink’s occupancy. Major demolition work has been completed, a draft lease is being prepared, legal documents drafted, and builders nominated.
March 2010 – ChantLink moves in
Costs exceed expectations, but work on the Tidmarsh Hall is finished in time for ChantLink to move in. The final cost of $60,000 is covered by a loan of $40,000 from the Anglican Development Fund and by withdrawing the church’s savings with the ADF. The church now has no savings and a significant cashflow problem.
A new three-year lease is signed with Telstra for continuing use of the church tower.
St Mary’s hosts a World Day of Prayer celebration, organised by Glenys Sigley, which attracts a congregation of more than 80.
During 2010 – Footsteps expands
CRE continues at Camberwell South Primary School, with St Mary’s supplying most of the teachers.
Footsteps playgroup ministry expands again to two groups, led by Angela Ettles and supported by Amanda Ballantyne, Glenys Sigley and Meredith Ure. ‘eXplorers’, aiming to familiarise primary school age children with the love of Christ, is created.
The Sigleys, Amanda Ballantyne and Angela Ettles host small groups at the church.
The ‘Hebrews 13:16’ group strives to raise money for St Mary’s mission projects; for Christmas 2010, St Mary’s provides drought-affected Kerang residents with money, stamps, and basic necessities. Twenty buckets of goods are packed for Kerang.
Vestry member Alf Baker and his wife Brenda move to Arthurs Seat during the year. Alf had made a positive impact as vicar’s warden.
Treasurer Ian Penna’s report to the AGM shows net income of minus $124,116, reflecting the major expense of refurbishing the Tidmarsh Hall; but a surplus of $5055 is budgeted for 2010/11. Penna appeals for ‘sacrificial giving by all of the community’.
Boroondara Council has still not completed landscaping and line-marking the car park.
Church attendances in 2010 average 26 at the 10am service and seven at the Wednesday service. The faltering Wednesday services are to be cancelled in 2011.
December 2010 – Andrew Ettles departs
Andrew Ettles has been in poor health for some time. After his final service at St Mary’s on 5 December, he departs on sick leave and later resigns as vicar. Ettles’ illness and departure have been sudden, and come as a shock to the parish.
Amanda Ballantyne is appointed to a ministry position in the Bairnsdale region and departs with the church’s thanks and best wishes. She had contributed much to church life as a pastoral worker.
May 2011 – critical talks on the church’s future
Bishop Barbara Darling and Archdeacon Alison Taylor meet with the wardens for critical talks on St Mary’s future. Bishop Darling suggests six ‘possibilities’: continuing the parish as is; closing the parish; merging with a local church; being the venue for a church ‘plant’ from another church; creating a partnership with an Anglican agency; or discussing other options to be suggested by St Mary’s.
The decision is made to appoint a new incumbent; the appointment is to be made by the Archbishop.
Archdeacon Taylor and the Rev Graeme Sells conduct a thorough inspection of the church’s buildings. Maintenance issues include the perennial rising damp in the church and in the Manley Hall, the requirement for extensive interior and exterior painting in both areas, and 11 issues relating to the vicarage. They also note that the status of a lease agreement for St Mary’s Recreation Club is still unclear.
A parish consultation at St Mary’s on 7 August, includes a unanimous motion: ‘That the vestry of St Mary’s meet with the churchwardens and vicar of St Mark’s, Camberwell …’. It is felt that the two churches could join forces on some projects; but the association is not to eventuate.
Plans are set to make monthly debt-reduction payments to the diocese. A structural engineer is to be engaged to assess the rising damp issues.
During 2011 – a new incumbent is to be appointed; but attendances decline
The decision is made to appoint a new incumbent (which will be an Archbishop’s appointment), and locums step in to fill the void created by Andrew Ettles’ departure – Rev Mark Hanson, followed by Rev Edwin Lang, Rev Graeme Sells, Rev Gordon Hargrave and finally Rev Neville Mellor.
Vestry members Glenys Sigley, Ian Penna and Bina Chandy, together with parish administrator, Yih Chern Lian, keep the parish in running order.
Glenys, Esther Teo and Fran Penna maintain St Mary’s commitment to CRE services at Camberwell South Primary School, and to the Christmas services for the school at St Mary’s.
The Sigleys again open their home for Bible study.
Mission outreach includes continuing support of link missionaries Alabaster House and Christian Blind Mission.
Average church attendances fall to 17 at the 10am service and three at the Wednesday service (compared with 26 and seven respectively in 2010). The Wednesday service is discontinued after the 6 April service.
Rev Neville Mellor takes up his locum appointment on 1 October, and will remain as locum until a new appointment can be made by the Archbishop. Rev Mellor does much to help the parish prepare for its new incumbency.
The financial position shows pleasing improvement; in just under four months the diocesan debt had been reduced from $29,000 to $22,000; but the balance of funds borrowed from the Anglican Development Fund still stands at $142,000.
January 2012 – Rev David Huynh is appointed
The Archbishop appoints David Huynh as curate-in-charge of St Mary’s. At the time of his appointment to St Mary’s, David is a gospel minister to students at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Carlton. David, his wife Kylie and young family move into the vicarage on 23 January.
Bishop Darling commissions David Huynh during St Mary’s 10am service on Sunday 5 February in front of 64 parishioners and guests.
David Huynh appoints Bonnie Cheung as a pastoral trainee.
Two Bible studies groups operate during the year; a Monday evening group at the Sigleys’ house, led by David Huynh, and a Thursday morning group for women, run by Kylie Huynh.
After consulting parishioners vestry to devote its energy to developing a ‘contemporary’ 10am service, beginning 1 July, with communion to be celebrated twice a month.
Mid 2012 – church attendances on the rise
There is an immediate spike in church attendances following the appointment of the new curate-in-charge; they rise from an average of 17 in 2011 to 22 in the first half of 2012.
The church continues its support of linked missionaries Alabaster House and Christian Blind Mission.
At the AGM the church reports that income exceeded expenditure by $22,000 in 2011/12. The debt to the diocese has largely been repaid, but the church still owes $130,000 to the ADF. But the loan liability had been reduced by $12,500 in 2011/12, and a firm repayment plan has been established.
Vestry drafts a vision, mission and values document; which ‘the congregation received with great enthusiasm’.
Late 2012 – telecommunications facility decommissioned
3GIS (One.Tel) decides to decommission its phone towers at St Mary’s, effective 2013, leaving a $30,000 p.a. gap in rental income and forcing cost-saving measures. The church reluctantly dispenses with the services of parish administrator, Yih Chern Lian. Glenn Scott’s company is engaged to provide bookkeeping and accounting services.
There is better news when a new 10-year lease is signed with Telstra, which also agrees to back-pay a shortfall in rent dating from 2009; and Optus confirms its intention to remain with the church.
Kids’ Church begins, led by Kylie Huynh. The Kidswise program is adopted.
February 2013 – a ‘Fun Fair’; a café in the hall
Aiming for closer engagement with the local community, the church reintroduces a ‘Fun Fair’, in cooperation with a mission team from the Heathcote Engadine Baptist Church, located on Sydney’s south-west fringe.
Tidmarsh Hall tenant ChantLink abruptly departs. The hall is untenanted for most of the year until a new tenant, the Hidden Cafe, moves in near the end of the year.
A major component of the building master plan will be to develop appropriate infrastructure for the church’s new era. Immediate needs include remedying various problems at the vicarage, clearing and sorting material in the shed undercroft and in the car park, and concreting part of the grounds.
Telstra pays the church $50,000 in compensation for rising damp resulting from the company’s construction works.
At the AGM, the treasurer reports that the debt to the diocese has been paid off, and good progress had been made on repaying funds borrowed from the ADF. Income exceeds expenditure by $65,000.
Weekly congregations have grown to average 30, and ministry opportunities are considered, including the introduction of a French ministry, and/or creating a ministry to the many international students in Melbourne.
(The Parish Act of 2013, passed by Synod, determined that Anglican church governing bodies were now to be known as ‘parish councils’ instead of ‘vestries’.)
Late 2013 – a new name for the church
The church decides to rename itself ‘Camberwell South Anglican Church’, which quickly gains the acronym of ‘CSAC’. The rationale for the name change includes the perception that the name ‘St Mary’s’ suggests the church is a Roman Catholic institution; also that many local community members believe the church is closed or has become a kindergarten. Above all, a new name is in keeping with the church’s new era of vitality, outreach and community engagement.
December 2013 – successful multicultural carols service
St Mary’s organises a highly successful multicultural carols service in Bowen Gardens. South Camberwell Gospel Hall, L’eglise, the French-speaking church, and Camberwell Salvation Army are all invited to participate, as are members of the Camberwell South and Camberwell Primary Schools communities.
Glenys and Ernie Sigley compere the event, at which carols are sung in English, Mandarin and French; 400 people attend.
The Archbishop approves for the new name to be used as a ‘trading name’; the re-launch of the church is set for 23 February.
The church has a new name, a new vision and mission statement, and three new ministries – one centring on reading the Bible together every day as a church; another is a Life on Life Discipleship. The third involves the creation of two missional community groups.
Another successful Fun Fair is held.
March is Mission Month, providing the opportunity for CSAC to consider how it can provide for the physically and spiritually poor of the world.
During 2014 – student ministers appointed; congregation numbers grow; church reconfigured
Kylie Huynh steps down from overseeing Kids’ Church following the birth of Evie. Dianne Martin becomes children and families minister. Under Dianne’s leadership, Kids’ Church resumes in August 2014, using the Kidswise program. Children from nine families participate in Kids’ Church.
As part of David Huynh’s plan to establish CSAC as a training church, two student ministers are engaged: Simon Niam and Matthew Smith.
Congregation numbers continue to grow steadily, increasing from an average attendance of approximately 30 in 2013 to more than 40 in 2014.
The church interior is reconfigured; the old church pews are removed and sold, along with other items of furniture considered surplus to current and future requirements.
The treasurer reports at the AGM that loans from the Anglican Development Fund to redevelop the vicarage and refurbish the Tidmarsh Hall have been reduced by $12,200 in 2013/14. The church achieves an operating profit of $14,352.
Another successful multicultural Carols in the Park service is held in the attractive setting of Bowen Gardens.
February 2015 – REAL Discipleship launched
A church camp is held at Mt Morton Camp and Conference Centre, Belgrave Heights, attended predominantly by young family groups. At the camp David Huynh launches CSAC’s discipleship program, ‘REAL Discipleship’. (‘REAL’: Reading the Bible, Engaging in prayer, Abounding in love and Living for Jesus.)
Serious flooring issues emerge in the Manley Hall. At first it seems that the parish will have to bear the cost of repairs, but the diocese ultimately agrees to partner with CSAC and to make a substantial contribution to the cost of the works. During works, the unavailability of the hall will lead to a substantial reduction in hall hire income.
During 2015 – good growth in congregation numbers
A considerable growth in congregation numbers (Sunday service attendance now averages 56) enables the church to pay off accumulated liabilities, meet financial obligations and generously support local and overseas mission partners.
The Fun Fair, previously held in February, is transferred to Easter week, and is again successful.
June 2015 – first French Minister appointed
CSAC’s first French minister – Jonathan Chaintrier – is commissioned on 7 June, working one day a week through an $8000 diocesan grant.
September 2015 – Chinese ministry begins
CSAC’s Chinese ministry begins on 14 September, with the commissioning of Teik Ch’ng as honorary Chinese minister. Among the first activities is the creation of a Chinese Bible study group.
At the AGM, the treasurer reports a further significant reduction of $14,270 in funds borrowed from the Anglican Development Fund. Overall offering increases to approximately $126,000 and the church reports a tiny surplus of $14.98. Parish council transfers $101,000 into the building fund, to contribute to repairs to the Manley Hall.
Late 2015 – table tennis club launched
A grant from Boroondara Council and the Rotary Club of Balwyn enables CSAC to set up the Camberwell Table Tennis Club.
December 2015 – CRE discontinued
There is another successful Carols in the Park in Bowen Gardens and a Christmas service for Camberwell South Primary School. But the school decides to discontinue Special Religious Instruction. CSAC had provided the school with a succession of teachers over the years, including Glenys Sigley, who has taught CRE/RE/SRI for 25 years.
January 2016 – new tenant in hall
The cafe tenants transfer their lease to Linger Cafe, and in August, the new tenant exercises an option to extend the lease for a further three years.
Early 2016 – Discipleship Minister appointed
David Shannon is appointed discipleship minister. His role includes oversight of the four Bible study groups and one-on-one discipleship in the church. With Dianne Martin’s departure late in the year, he takes over supervision of the children’s ministry.
Teik Ch’ng’s Bible study group stabilises at eight regular participants.
March 2016 – church organ sold
The church organ – which has not been used for several years – is sold for $10,000.
During 2016 – French ministry prospers’ gospel partnership launched
The French ministry is growing. Jonathan and Meg Chaintrier begin a French playgroup on Wednesday mornings; they set up a French book club; and on 7 August, introduce a French service, including Kids’ Church. Attendances at the French service stabilise at about 40 by October.
Simon Niam is in his third year as student minister. Matthew Smith had been ordained and appointed as assistant curate at Rowville and Ferntree Gully Anglican Churches, and had departed during 2015; Simon Niam takes over organising the liturgy for Sunday services and the church roster; and later, handles the music ministry.
CSAC’s Gospel Partnership is launched. This program of deep commitment to Jesus and to CSAC is designed to be taken up by parishioners who could describe themselves as ‘already Christian’.
The church proposes a five-year tenancy for St Mary’s Recreation Club – now known as ‘Camberwell Cue Sports’. The club declines, and in response, CSAC instead proposes a lease agreement involving an annual rental considerably below market rates. The club rejects the offer, leaving the issue still unresolved.
The Montessori Australia Foundation approaches CSAC with a proposal to operate a kindergarten in the Manley Hall, based on a shared use facility with the church. Part of the proposal would entail using the vicarage backyard for a childcare playground.
As this would intrude on the Huynh family’s privacy and amenity, parish council encourages David Huynh to seek accommodation away from the church.
Sunday service attendances rise to a healthy average of 75 per week.
Support from the pastoral leadership team and from the parish council enables David Huynh to spend more time preaching, praying and pastorally caring for the church members. He also takes on pastoral engagements at the Overseas Christian Fellowship in Carlton, at the Fellowship of Overseas Christian University Students at Monash University, and at Moore Theological College in Sydney. He continues as chairman of Connect Ministries.
Rising damp problems continue in the Manley Hall, causing the wooden polished floor to buckle. This has implications for the proposed Montessori kindergarten operations in the hall. The diocese agrees to fund essential repairs to the floor.
The treasurer reports to the AGM a positive bottom line of approximately $32,000. Freewill offering is $141,000, an increase of 12% over the previous financial year. The debt to the Anglican Development Fund is again reduced, by $15,224. Parish council resolves to clear this liability by August 2019.
Late 2016 – Reformation anniversary celebrations
The church participates in celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, by revisiting some of the core doctrines rediscovered during the early days of the Reformation. The commemoration continues in 2017.
December 2016 – another successful Carols in the Park
The multicultural Carols in the Park is again very successfully staged in Bowen Gardens, in collaboration with other local churches.
January 2017 – new Student Minister
Luke Pedersen begins as a Student Minister in training, a two-year engagement.
A highly successful weekend away is conducted at Araluen Lutheran Camp in Anglesea. Peak attendance is on Sunday, with 92 parishioners and guests participating.
Easter is an extremely encouraging time for CSAC, with the Easter Sunday service attracting a congregation of 183.
Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation continues.
May 2017 – vicarage maintenance work begins
The Huynh family move out of the vicarage, enabling maintenance work on the vicarage to proceed.
During 2017 – DiscipleshipTeams set up
The Manley Hall’s drainage problems continue, despite the installation of a comprehensive drainage system. The floor buckles badly during the wetter months.
Twelve Discipleship teams are established in 2017 and early 2018, involving more than 80 participants.
David Shannon runs four Christianity Explored sessions.
The French ministry continues to grow, based on its three elements: a French service, including Kids’ Church (numbers averaging 45); a French book club; and a French playgroup.
June 2017 – vicarage tenanted
The vicarage is tenanted by mid-June.
November 2017 – church attendances top 130
At the AGM, the accounts show that the church’s actual giving for 2017/18 has exceeded budget by $973, totalling $186,173. The church is in a strong position to meet its immediate obligations, despite its continuing reliance on rental income from the telecommunications companies.
Sunday 10am church attendances through 2017 average 131 (2016 average: 75), partly attributable to people moving from the South Camberwell Gospel Hall to CSAC, and partly to an increased number of overseas students attending CSAC. (In 2010 the average 10am weekly attendance had been 26, and in 2011 it was just 17.)
Forty extra chairs are purchased to cater for the ever-increasing congregation.
Late 2017 – Chinese ministry suspended
Chinese Minister Teik Ch’ng departs, and CSAC decides to suspend the Chinese ministry.
Early 2018 – Discipleship teams flourishing
The Discipleship Teams are flourishing, with more people joining the 12 groups CSAC is running.
Plans for 2018 include reinforcing Discipleship Teams as the backbone of the church’s ministry; forming a ‘buddy’ program to encourage cross-generational discipleship; and establishing quarterly men’s breakfasts and women’s brunches during the second half of the year.
February 2018 – new Kids’ and Youth Minister
Greg Wong begins as Kids’ and Youth Minister on 1 February and David Shannon is ordained Deacon in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne on Saturday 3 February.
Another highly successful weekend away is conducted at CYC The Island in Phillip Island. Four talks were given by the Principal of the Reformed Theological College in Melbourne, Murray Capill on the book of Revelation.
May 2018 – church attendances close to 170
CSAC continues to grow, with average Sunday services attendance growing to 169 people
Mid 2018 – REAL Men and REAL Women launched
REAL Men and REAL Women launched to encourage inter-generational ministry over breakfast and brunch respectively.
August 2018 – the first REAL Training month
REAL Training month is organised for the first time, being held on consecutive Wednesdays with apologetic talks followed by courses to help unbelievers consider Jesus and Christians equipped in works of service.