By Michael Doran
In 1868 new settlers to the Wandin area held a church service in the home of a Mr. Payne, the start of 150 years of worship in the Wandin-Seville Uniting Church.
The first church on the current site was built in 1868, on an acre of land granted to the group to be used for ‘religious purposes, public meetings and education’.
Work on the stone church began in 1881 with labour and materials coming from local settlers, including the Hunter, Sebire, Hogg, Holter and Payne families.
The first wedding celebrated by the church was between Lydia Gaudion and John Hunter.
The Gaudion’s are one of the pioneer Wandin families and family members have been involved in music for the church since inception. Organist Fred Gaudion retired in August after playing the organ for 68 years.
In 1908 a Mr. Couch was granted use of the land between the church and the hall for his cow, on the condition that he kept the land clear of scrub and ferns.
The kindergarten and a vestry were added in 1936, followed by a new hall and kitchen in 1960.
The Wandin and Seville congregations combined in the early 2000s and stained glass windows from Seville were fitted into the present church.
A prized historical item in the church is an original bible, The British and Foreign Bible Society Holy Bible, published in 1885. The bible was brought to the church by an early minister, John Leigh Green.
On Sunday October 21 the church is holding a day of celebration to mark the 150 year anniversary. There will be a worship service at 10am with Rev. Sharon Hollis as the guest speaker, followed by lunch.
After lunch speakers from the pioneer families and others will tell their stories of life in the area and the church. The congregation is invited to bring any photos, books and items of interest to share with the group.
Jenny Arms of the Church Council said preparations for the anniversary celebrations have been extensive. “Our 150th Anniversary committee has been working on this for the last 12 months,” she said.
“So many families in the district feel part of the church and have a real sense of ownership in what happens here, even if we don’t see them regularly.”
The day will close with afternoon tea and the theme of the day is “come when you can and leave when you must.” For catering purposes please RSVP Jenny Arms on 9736 3292 or firstname.lastname@example.org