A short History

Three Buildings (1913 – 1997)

The land on which the first church was built at Morisset was purchased in 1911. We believe that the cost was about seventeen pounds ($35.00). The first service was held in June 1913 and the first wedding at about the same time, the couple had intended to be married in the Church of England, unfortunately it was blown down in a gale the week before! (It’s an ill wind …)

For many years services were conducted on a monthly basis by lay preachers and ministers from Toronto. In the early days travel would be on horseback or by sulky, then in the 1950’s by motorcar. A morning service would be conducted at Dora Creek after which the preacher would travel to Martinsville for lunch. A service at the Union Church there would follow with one at Morisset Hospital later in the afternoon. An evening service at Morisset and return home would bring this “Sabbath’s Day journey” to a close.

In September 1922 the Morisset Masonic Lodge signed a ten-year lease to use the Church building for their monthly meetings. The lease, a single foolscap sheet, required the Lodge to build an ante room onto the Church and:-

“That in the event of the Lodge installing a new light, we (the church Trustees) will supply all benzine or kerosine for the same, and that the Lodge have the right to remove the lighting plant at any time provided that the present lighting system is left intact.

A further ten-year lease was signed in January 1933. The Masonic fraternity ceased to use the church on the building of their own lodge room in 1937.

During this time mains electricity had arrived in Morisset and in September 1929 the church was wired to take advantage of this innovation. History does not tell us who kept the lighting plant. Additionally twelve pounds ($24.00) were spent on repairs to the building.

The 1962 Methodist Conference appointed a married probationer to the then Lake Macquarie South Methodist Circuit, to reside in Morisset. A parsonage was purchased in Newcastle Street and on Wednesday, 27th January, 1962 the parsonage was dedicated and the Revd. Les Wearing was inducted into the circuit.

In 1965 need was felt for expansion and the round brick building was erected. This was first used as a hall and a kitchen was added to it in 1970. A decision was taken in 1976 to use the existing church as a hall and use the newer, brick building as the church. In 1979 the septic system was installed and the rear section of the timber building converted into a kitchen.

A fire to this building in 1980 meant further renovations were needed. A larger kitchen was built, the front porch was removed, a side porch added and the stained glass window installed. The renovated building was reopened in July 1982.

In the late 1980’s it was considered that the minister’s residence in Newcastle Street was not up to Synod requirements. It was decided to sell the home and build a new residence on the corner of Bridge and Yambo Streets, adjacent to the church buildings. The new minister’s residence was opened on 28th April 1991.

A Congregational Meeting held on 10th November 1991 resolved to apply for a Mission and Resource Fund grant to extend the church building. The original intention was to build over the top of the round church building. Discussion with officials of the Lake Macquarie City Council made it obvious that there would be great difficulty in complying with Council’s parking requirements. In any event, the first application for a grant was refused.

After some deliberation it was decided that the Bridge, Yambo Streets properties should be sold and a new site sought. Eventually six and one quarter acres of land at the corner of Awaba and Stockton Streets became available and was purchased in April 1994. Action to build commenced immediately.

The first meeting of the Development Committee was held on 13th April, 1994. In May 1994 a further application was made to the Mission and Resource Fund for a grant and a loan.

The outreach of the church on the new site commenced in December 1994. Since its inception twenty-five years previously Morisset Meals on Wheels had been seeking a permanent home. The organisation had sufficient funds for the material to build a kitchen and meeting room but were unable to acquire land on which to build. The offer by the church for them to utilise a part of the land was accepted. With voluntary labour the building was quickly completed and opened on 5th November, 1995.

Also in December 1994 verbal notification was received that the May application had been successful. A grant of $280,000.00 and a two year interest free loan of $100,000.00 had been approved. Plans for the new building were drawn up. No easy task. Alterations requested by Synod, the Development Committee and Congregational Meetings meant that the fourteenth set of plans finally met with approval.

After some preliminary clearance the first service of worship was held on Sunday, 8th October, 1995. This took the form of an open air service of Holy Communion.

Development of the site officially commenced in March 1996 when the contract was signed with the builder. When the builder moved out in January 1997 the building was almost to lock up stage. Since then there have been many working bees – painting, electrical wiring, concreting, tiling and lots of free advice. All have helped to have the building ready for the official opening on 12th and 13th April 1997.

It would be impossible to thank by name or give credit to everyone who through the years has made a contribution to the concept and the building of this wonderful new centre. It is only through the dedication, loyalty and faith in God of people from the beginnings in 1910 and on through the following eighty-seven years that we are able to move to and celebrate the opening of this new building.

To God Be the Glory

By Albert Shaw & Elaine Cox