High hopes for next 120 years
The Balmoral Presbyterian Church has seen many changes since it began in a small cottage more than a century ago.
It has grown from a congregation of 40 members to more than 200 and now includes people from 12 cultures.
But despite the changes, the values of community and understanding have remained the same.
The church will mark its 120th anniversary this weekend with a dinner tomorrow followed by a special service at the church on Sunday.
Reverend Chong Woo Kim says the occasion is significant for the church.
“The 120-year celebration has a very big meaning for us and we have high hopes for the next 120 years,” he says.
“People who come along will be able to see the history of the church and also how it has changed.”
The Balmoral Presbyterian Church began in August 1888 in a small cottage in Balmoral.
The cottage burned down in an accident on Guy Fawkes day that November and the congregation moved to a nearby house until a new church was built and finished in 1889.
It was built on a knoll above the track which connected Edendale to Epsom, now known as Balmoral Rd, where it stands today.
Reverend Kim says the main change for the church in the last 120 years has been the shift towards a multicultural congregation.
Members come from countries including Great Britain, Korea, China, India, Ethiopia, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga and the Netherlands.
He says members learn a lot from each other about different cultural perspectives and ways of life through regular meetings, discussions and shared lunches.
“To be multicultural is the future for both our church and for society,” he says.
Church administrator Len Scanlen has been attending the church since 1949.
He says it has changed a lot over the years, going from mainly European to multicultural, but he has enjoyed being a part of the process.
The church was particularly helpful for him after he retired in the 1990s.
“The first thing you think when you retire is ‘what am I going to do with myself?’ and you want to try and do something useful for the community,” he says.
“The church has provided something enjoyable for me to be involved with.”
The dinner will be held at Manhattan restaurant in Mt Roskill tomorrow followed by a service at the church on Sunday at 10am.
Bookings for the dinner are essential. For more information phone 625-6422.
Happy birthday: Reverend Chong Woo Kim and administrator Len Scanlen will be helping to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Balmoral Presbyterian Church this week.