The Fassifern Parish

The Fassifern parish of the Uniting Church came into being on 22nd of June 1977. We are now part of what had been up until then, a great vision.

The ecumenical movement is not just a modern happening. The Minutes of a Quarterly Meeting in October 1920, reminded us that Union has been in the thoughts and prayers of people over many years. There we have recorded the result of the voting in the Boonah Circuit on the proposed basis of Union of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches. The Boonah Methodist Congregation recorded this vote for union 116 yes and 3 no.

It would not be hard to find in the history of this century reason why the early moves for union were not followed through. However, in the decades following the Second World War, the Churches found common challenges that required their greater co-operation and it is not surprising that the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches once again moved towards union. The path to union had its complications, understandable in view of the property involved and traditional loyalties. The Presbyterian Church of Australia had to vote twice because of the lack of a clear cut decision when the first vote was constituted. Complex enabling legislation had to be prepared for passage through all State Parliaments.

In the meantime, however, much preparation was taking place at local levels, supervised by the Joint Advisory Council of the three Churches. In 1969 the Boonah Methodist Church and St Thomas’ Presbyterian Church entered into an area of co-operation within the Boonah Methodist Circuit and in 1970 discussions were held between the Circuit and the Flinders/Milbong Congregational Churches. These discussions continued over the next five years. For the Fassifern it seemed logical to have one Parish for the 10 congregations (and Harrisville Presbyterian ) with two Ministers to serve in that parish. The Parish boundaries Commission was so advised towards the end of 1974.

A social evening was planned for 4th October 1974, to enable folk of the Congregations to get to know each other, and a Guild Rally Day, to include the ladies of the ten Congregations, was organized at Moogerah Dam for 27th February the following year. The July to September, 1975 “Circuit Scene” announced its wider circulation with the Congregational Churches being included in the Preaching Plan.

Meetings at the end of 1975 and the beginning of 1976, further considered the setting up of a Co-operative Parish. The Courts of the three Churches gave their approval and a Service of Inauguration was held on 6th June, 1976. The new Parish comprised the Church at Boonah, Kalbar, Harrisville, Mt Alford, Milford, Maroon, Carney’s Creek, Flinders and Milbong. It was not possible to include the Harrisville Presbyterian Church at this stage because of its association with North Ipswich Charge. Appropriately, the name of the Quarterly newsletter changed from “Circuit Scene” to “Parish Scene”, with the July to September issue of 1976.

The final local preparation for the inauguration of the Uniting Church was carried out in April/June quarter 1977, when Elders and other visitors had the task of contacting about 500 families who belonged to or were associated with the Church, to deliver a special Uniting Church Brochure and to invite people to become members or adherents of the new Uniting Church.

Thus, when the Uniting Church came into being on 22nd June 1977 the Fassifern Parish was structurally prepared, due to a great extent to the very capable supervision and guidance of Rev Ted Hutton and in later stages Rev Harold Kilah. At Union, two dedicated churchmen, Messrs. Lloyd Naumann and Cedric Moore were appointed Secretary and Treasurer of the Parish, ensuring the quality of administration that would see the new Church safely through its early years.