It was a high Sabbath on September 1 for Stanmore Seventh-day Adventist Church (NSW). Not only was it the first day of spring but it was a celebration of 120 years for Sydney’s oldest Adventist church.
The program opened with praise and worship, a prayer and then a historical sketch presented by Dr John Skrzypaszek detailing the early history of Stanmore church.
Before Stanmore church was built, members used to meet in various halls in the surrounding suburbs. In 1897, they ran an evangelistic mission for six months at what is now known as Weekly Park. The membership then increased to more than 100 members and it was decided to purchase the block of ground where Stanmore church now is.
The church was officially opened and dedicated on April 24, 1898. Pastor A.G. Daniells preached the dedicatory sermon. He would later become president of the Australasian Union Conference and then president of the General Conference.
Even the furniture in the church is of historical interest. The pulpit, designed after a similar pulpit at Battle Creek, Michigan, is 111 years old and Ellen White spoke from that pulpit during her time in Australia. And dating back to the late 1800s, the church’s pipe organ is is one of the oldest organs in Australia and is heritage-listed with the Organ Historical Trust of Australia.
Pastor Terry Johnson, president of the Greater Sydney Conference, said a prayer of dedication for the church and its future plans. A plaque was unveiled to commemorate Stanmore’s 120th anniversary.
The worship service concluded with a delicious plant-based lunch and a praise concert featuring several performers including Redeemed, the Mauritian Singers, the Korean choir and the Fijian youth.
“Stanmore church has seen heaps of people come through,” said Litiana Turner, who first attended Stanmore as a five-year-old. “It changes all the time but the love that you find here never changes. It’s like coming home.” She acknowledges previous pastors as well as current pastor Geoff Youlden as being instrumental to keeping the church going.
“120 years is a very special event, but we are hoping we won’t be here in another 120,” says Pastor Youlden. “The purpose of the church is to get people ready for the coming of Jesus.”
Pastor Johnson shared a similar sentiment, saying “120 years is only relevant if it serves to remind the church of their mission and they continue to move forward”.
“If it wasn’t for the faithfulness of these church members, we wouldn’t be here celebrating today.”