Final service for St James Church
St James’ Union Parish Woodville held its final service on Sunday April 15.
Several members of the present congregation were descendants of the original pioneers who established Methodism in Woodville in 1876.
The St David’s Presbyterian Church was established in 1885 and in 1974 these two congregations joined together to form St James’ Union Parish. The Methodist church and hall and Presbyterian manse were used for St James and the St David’s church and hall on the corner of McLean/Bowen Streets and Methodist parsonage in Grey Street were sold.
When Rev Brenda Marshall retired at the end of January the decision was made to close St James as numbers were low and it was not financially viable to employ another minister.
Chairman of the Parish Council Jim Worboys is a great grandson of the first resident Methodist Minister, his grandfather and father also taking leading roles in the local church.
He along with Jean McKinlay were on the Parish Council since its inception in 1974 and Esther Knight soon after. They were given a memento of historical significance — Jim a hand bell given in 1882, Jean a glass communion jug given in 1894 and Esther a Silver Bowl given in 1928.
A Bible given by John Lloyd in 1887 was given to his great granddaughters Jean McKinlay and Kath Bly.
David Harding was given a Bible given by his great aunts, a wooden cross made by his father and communion cloths embroidered by his mother.
Past ministers Malcolm and Helen Wall, Robert and Barbara Allan, Wendy Thornburrow and Brenda Marshall all attended and took a part in the service. Wendy spoke on Exodus and the need to remember the past with gratitude and to embrace the new with excitement, trust and hope.
While church members said it was a sad occasion to see the closure of St James and end of an era for Methodism and Presbyterianism in Woodville the service was a fitting conclusion to many years of service to the people of Woodville over 142 years.
The congregation will now join with Holy Trinity Anglican parishioners and have a continuing presence in Woodville.
St James’ church held its final service on Sunday April 15.
Past ministers, from left, Wendy Thornburrow, Brenda Marshall, Barbara and Robert Allan, Helen and Malcolm Wall.
Jean McKinlay, Jim Worboys and Esther Knight.