High hopes for next 120 years

Central Leader - - News - By Lisa Sloan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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