My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.

"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Adelaide City of Churches - A Light on the Hill in North Adelaide

It wasn't difficult for me to find Brougham Place Uniting Church in North Adelaide (formerly one of Adelaide's "congregational" churches until 1975 when it became one of the new Uniting Churches resulting from the unification of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches of Australia). Walking up the hill from the Anglican Cathedral of St Peter, after attending the spiritually uplifting morning Eucharist there, I soon spotted the striking honey-coloured tower across the park, framed by the green of the trees in full leaf, and silhouetted against a perfect blue summer sky.  The church describes itself as "A light on the hill" and it is a beautiful sight. My delight was complete when I found the church doors still open, some time after the end of their own 10am morning worship. I could hear singing, and crept quietly inside, to be rewarded by the sound of the choir practising Christmas songs, including "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Riding through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh." Not quite what I expected!!

The 1891 Doolette Memorial Window 
A very friendly Jenny, one of the pastors, came up to greet me and said she had no objections to me having a good look around while the choir continued their practice, and yes, I could take as many photos as I liked.
It seems very strange for me coming from a cold and wet autumn/winter in the UK, to the heat of a South Australia summer, about to celebrate Christmas with our own traditional songs about snow and sledges! However, the choir were obviously having much fun. I heard someone quip that perhaps a "ute" would be more appropriate than a sledge in Australia (i.e. utility vehicle or what we would call a pick-up truck!).
The outside of this church is a thing of beauty in its own right, but inside one's attention is immediately drawn to the beautiful organ and the equally striking stained glass windows, 8 of them in all, through which the strong midday sunshine was streaming.
A google search told me that this beautiful building is open on weekdays, except Wednesday, from 9-12 noon, and on Sundays from 10 - 12 noon. If you are in the area do go and look at those beautiful stained glass windows for yourself, and admire the organ (dating back to 1882, originally powered by hand bellows!) and upper gallery. website. (where there is much more information besides).
looking towards the galleries at the back of the church

There was a leaflet available which gives full details of the windows and the organ, repeated on the excellent website.

 This church was founded on the 20th October 1859, the foundation stone laid of 15th May 1860 and the first service was held on 22nd  February 1861. The first minister was the Reverend James Jefferis. I learnt that when he was offered a gift of twenty thousand pounds (a considerable sum in those days) for a denominational college, he had a much wider vision, and arranged for the gift to become the nucleus for the founding of the University of Adelaide, whose lovely buildings are to be seen around the city.
This is a vibrant church with plenty of activities for all and with a strong music and arts tradition. 
I picked up the service sheet for the morning's worship, and saw details of Noisy Bucket collecting and Youth Busking at the morning tea after the service. Also coming up were a talk on someone's visit to Israel and Palestine, an educational workshop Beyond Violence, details of a Christmas Trading Table, Cookies and Craft, a spring cleaning Working Bee, a celebration dinner for the whole church community, and much more besides. 

As the website states, here is "a community of hope that has passed faith from generation to generation, standing for justice and truth, equality and compassion, grace and love.  Its cornerstone is built on Christ, the Living Word, spoken in the lives of its members.  The Spirit continues to lead the mission of Brougham Place as it seeks to reach out and make known the love of God."

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Another great visit abroad. I'm just trying to catch up on emails after being ill and otherwise indisposed for nearly four months! Always enjoy your adventures, and your visits to churches. I believe you tracked my organ tour in southern France, didn't you? I even linked audios of organ performances. If you didn't see those, I'll send a link to one of the first ones, and you should be able to track from there.
    Finished your book, The Day the World Went Black, a couple of months ago, but haven't had a chance to do a review, yet. Will try to do it soon. Cheers!