Parish of Belmont, Anglican Church Newcastle, NSW Australia

History

Pearson, Josiah Brown (1841–1895)

Bishop Josiah Brown Pearson

Laying Foundation Stone 1890

Laying Foundation Stone 1890

All Saints Parish began in 1887 when Bishop Pearson agreed to a resolution of Synod ‘that the district of Belmont including Pelican Flat, Cooranbong, Newport, Yarramalong and Toronto be erected into a parish on and after July 1 next”.

The first priest, R M Walker, began his work in 1887. He was replaced by GM Brown in 1890, who was at the laying of the foundation stone for the first church, then located between Ernest and Church Streets, in October 1890.

Because of the financial depression in the 1890, aggravated by serious drought, parishes had difficulty maintaining their centres. As a result Belmont was attached to Lambton in 1894, then Adamstown in 1896. The connection with Adamstown continued until 1921.

The priests serving the needs of the community during those years were:

  1894 C F Withey
  1904 W F James
  1907-1910 A P Hannington
  1911-1913 D T Rees
  1914-1918 F A Woodger
  1920-1921 G K Tucker

A typical Sunday for Kennedy Tucker was described as follows “He would hold an early celebration at Adamstown, go by train to Belmont for another service, then to Swansea for an afternoon service, on by bicycle to Catherine Hull Bay for a 7.00 pm  service. Sometimes he bicycled all the way back to Adamstown arriving in the early hours of the morning.”

In 1921 the provisional district of Belmont was re-inaugurated by Bishop Stephen with centres at Redhead, Swansea and Catherine Hill Bay. For the first time there was a rectory at Belmont for the priest.

All Saints Belmont 1st Church

The First All Saints

Under the leadership of the following priests the parish had many problems with the deteriorating state of the building and not enough funds to meet commitments.

  1921-2924 R E O Finger
  1924-1925 W P Langmaid
  1926-1927 J Norman / M Williams - Catechist, E H B Coulcher
  1928 A Capell
  1929 A S Greville
  1930-1937 E S Robinson
  1938-1942 W J Richards
  1945 W A Harris-Wolker as Locum Tenens for 9 months.

 

Image used for fundraising for New Church

Foundation Stone

Foundation Stone

All Saints as it is today

Since then most priests have been in the parish for longer periods of time.

  1945-1950 N M Clout, who was in charge when in 1946 the parish was offered a former army hut. The building was relocated at parish expense to become the church hall. This is now owned and used by St Josephs Catholic School.
  1950-1958 W A Hoare, and it was during his term in 1952 the need for a new church was recognised. The present All Saints in Church Street was dedicated on the 8th of November 1959.
  1958-1964 A C Blaxell was the priest.
  1964-1971 W J Arkell
  1960-1972 G Percy acted as Honorary Deacon

To cater for the growth and proposed developments in the Belmont North / Jewells area a large block of land on the corner of Harrison Street and Ntaba Road was purchased in 1970.

  1971-1981 E K Wheatley was in charge except for 3 Months when Frazer Ham was locum Tenens. The Wheatley family lived in the original rectory. This building has already been moved once to make way for the new church. In 1975 a new rectory was constructed, sometimes causing disruption to the original one due to the very close proximity of the building work.
  1981-1984 J E Southerden arrived to witness the establishment of The Memorial Garden on the northern side of the church in 1983. It was also in 1984 that a house was build on the land in Ntaba Road, Jewells. Included in the house was a large room to be used for meetings and services. Once the house was finished it was occupied by the curate S R Pullin, 1984-1985.
  1984-1993 P.W. Ashley-Brown. During his time we had a curate for the first time [Stephen Pullin]. Sale of the Hall Street land helped finance the Jewell’s Curate’s residence. Later Jewells became an EPA and the residence became the rectory. Under his leadership Stewardship programs were conducted. Following consultation with the people of the parish modifications were made to the chancel. The choir area was removed the chancel level extended to the pulpit to provide an area for performances e.g. nativity plays and musical concerts. This led to the carpeting of the church. Previously the flooring was polished concrete which suffered from deliquescence especially near the Altar. The Centenary room and toilet block were also added.

As there were quite a number of youth in the parish he instigated the formation of an Emmaus Group.

The parishioners also saw colourful banners depicting parts of the bible introduced to add atmosphere to the building. The first of these was the “Days of Creation’ that is above the door between the nave and the narthex, the next were the Pentecostal banners that are on the walls on either side of the cross. With his approval the eastern wall near the organ was changed to accommodate the Revelation memorial window and a small side chapel created. The 100 year old pipe organ was replaced by a pipe less organ.

The church suffered a lot of damage during the earthquake and he was at the helm while the long process of having the repairs approved and implemented took place and arrangements were made to hold services in the hall.
  1985 B N Roach acted as an honorary priest.

ALL Saints supported the EPA financially with gifts totalling $20,000 over the next two years.

At the end of December, 1989 All saints suffered earthquake damage. Besides repairs, structural alterations were necessary to make the building comply with modern building safety standards. The Ernest Street hall was used for services while repairs took place.

Hall

All Saints Hall and Ministry Centre

By the mid 1990’s the parish recognised that a parish centre/hall suitable for parish activities should be built.

  1993-1996 D Kirk The Ernest Street site was sold as a new parish centre built near the church on the Church Street site. During this time also Belmont had its first woman assistant priest, Pat Nelson 1994. Her contribution to parish life was valued long after her time.
  1996-2004 P N Saunders. During this time the parish centre became a focal point for parish activities. The parish boundaries were extended in 2000 to include Croudace Bay, Eleebana and Valentine. As the 1997 rectory there complied with diocesan requirements it was decided the priest would relocate from Belmont to Croudace Bay. This gave the church a presence in the area.
     
     Today the parish encompasses the areas of Belmont, Belmont South, Croudace Bay, Eleebana, Floraville, Marks Point and Valentine.
     
  2005-2010 C F Ford, always began his sermons with a joke. His strength was outreach using examples from the bible to enrich an acronym FRAN. These examples showed how friendship evangelism can extend to Friends, Relatives, Associates and Neighbours. He started BBQ’s to low income areas such as some of the large housing commission developments.

With the assistance of parishioners he began ‘Fun Days for Families’ e.g. kite flying. He chaired a combined meeting of local church priests/ministers which was trying to have a chapel area set aside at Belmont Hospital. People are still trying for this. He also began the ‘Thank You’ biscuits and slices for emergency services in our area. e.g. police, ambulance and firemen. This outreach was extended to parishioners leading up to back to church Sunday, when a person would visit a parishioner who had not been seen for some time.

The church building was again in trouble with dry rot in all the window frames and the original light fittings could no longer be repaired. He oversaw the replacement of both and the need to replace the coloured glass in all the windows with clears safety glass to meet Diocesan standards.

  2010-2012 D M Dries. During this period, the Rector returned to live in the Belmont Rectory. As a result, the church was opened daily, and daily Morning Prayer was reintroduced. The Parish discerned a Ministry Team in 2011. The Ministry Team focussed its energy on the development of a number of key areas, including children’s ministry, and an expanded pastoral care ministry. The music of the parish was also further developed during this period. The parish organ was refurbished, a concert grand piano was placed in the church and the Parish Choir reformed to enhance the liturgy on festivals and special occasions.    
  2013- J Killen.