Commemorating 100 years of St Barnabas
Centenary of St Barnabas Church Celebrated on Raymond Island
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On 31 January, the centenary of Anglican worship in St Barnabas Church was celebrated in the context of an Evening Prayer service. The chapel was packed as A’Beckett Park supporters, Raymond Island residents and Peggy Blythe, the last remnant of the Bundalaguah congregation, came together to give thanks.
At 4pm, the day still stifling in temperatures in the high 30s, the service began led by Bishop John McIntyre and Abbot Laurie McIntyre both resplendent in robes of office and neither showing signs of heat distress.
The hymns sung at the centenary service were the same hymns sung at the chapel’s closing service when still sited in its original home at Bundalaguah.
The Bishop’s reflection was based on a verse of the day’s Gospel reading, Matthew 6: 33, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
The Bishop told the story of the Sudanese Christians, persecuted, driven from their land, enduring years of unspeakable horrors, only to come to Gippsland, where they were given a Church building at Moe, a building that had become surplus to needs, to form the basis for their new spiritual home and safe haven. God did provide, through the agency of the Gippsland Diocese.
Bishop John compared this to St Barnabas chapel, no longer viable by 1989, then to be shifted to Raymond Island where it is now the centrepiece of the new Community of St Barnabas, an Abbey Church.
The readings were performed by priests closely connected with the Abbey chapel: The Ever Venerable Ted Gibson and the Rev.Dr Jim Connelly. In addition, the much loved Canon Percy Moore was in attendance.
The music was enhanced by John Schmidli playing the trumpet and Anne Schmidli singing Panis Angelicus. Despite the organ developing quirks as a result of the excessive heat, organist Judy Rennick managed to make it buckle both to her will and her acknowledged skill.
All the while, soft stirrings of the air circulated through the open windows, augmented by the ceiling fans, and the lake, blue and vast twinkled under the unrelenting sun.
Now Thank We All Our God, sung with gusto, a final blessing by the Bishop and out we went to be met by a substantial drop in temperature and afternoon tea provided by the Abbey’s Raymond Island supporters.
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