Below details a brief history of Aberfeldie Baptist Church from each decade of the church’s life:
Aberfeldie Baptist Church began in 1947, with the opening of a Sunday School on Sunday 11th May (which happened to be Mother’s Day). After a few months, parents of the Sunday School children and others in the community commenced worship services, with a small folding pedal organ providing the music. In April 1949, the Home Mission purchased four adjacent blocks of land at the corner of Price Street, along Buckley Street, Essendon.
In late 1952 after much discussion and debate, work commenced for construction of the Aberfeldie Baptist Church hall (to be built on Buckley St) . It was completed and opened on Sunday, 22nd March 1952 and acted as a worship centre, a Sunday School and a day kindergarten. The Church grew very rapidly over this period, with nearly 200 children enrolled in the Sunday School.
A large group of people from the Church practised for months to put on quality, fun-filled concerts. The Kanyana group was formed in 1960, and many memorable Church fetes were held over the years. The church was forced to relocate from Buckley St due to the State Electricity Commission of Victoria requiring the land the church was on. The church hall was raised and moved across two house blocks to the current Price St location at an estimated cost of £450. In 1965 after much prayer and discussion the new brick church building was completed. This building is still used for worship today
The 70’s saw many groups within the church thrive – the Baptist Youth Fellowship, Boys Club, Girls Club, Netball Club, Cricket Club, Junior Christian Endeavour, and Baptist Women’s Fellowship. Two weekday playgroups were formed as an outreach to the mothers and toddlers of the community. In the mid-seventies the pancake breakfast tradition came into being. To start off Sunday School each New Year, the children and teachers met for a time of breakfast and fellowship together. This tradition is still being upheld at Aberfeldie today.
At the beginning of a new decade, Church life was as busy as ever. The church resource centre was established and Bible study groups met weekly or fortnightly. The Playgroups thrived, reaching 185 mothers and 265 children in total. But the most ground-breaking achievement of the eighties had to be the establishment of having tea and coffee after the morning service. This still continues today after each Sunday morning service and is often accompanied by chats and games of pool or table tennis.
There was a growing need for counselling in the area. In response, the Aberfeldie Baptist Counselling Centre began in a room in No. 3 Price Street, Essendon, the current Church House, on November 1990. Easter of 1992 saw Aberfeldie hold the first Good Friday Festival in Bradshaw Street Park. This tradition has grown over the years, with over 1000 people from the community now passing through the event each year.
At the end of 2000, a mobile telephone transmitter was installed in the Church spire. This provided communications needed for certain businesses (eg – Telstra) and income back to the church. A “Time To Build” campaign was held with many church folk committing themselves to financially supporting the building of an upgraded hall, foyer, office and toilet facilities. Over the years the Building Fund began to grow significantly, culminating with the demolition of the old church hall in November 2006. The new church building was officially opened on December 7th, 2008 with a service held in the new multi-purpose hall.
The church continued strongly in the “Teenies” with many groups continuing to do strongly. New youth groups TNT (primary) and G2G (secondary) were launched with each group meeting on alternate Friday nights during the school term. Make and Mingle is still a success after many years, as are our Hymn-Alongs and men and women’s group. Many church people meet for “growth” groups during the week for bible study, supper and discussion. Sunday services still continue at 10am every week, whilst worship is also held at 11am on the first Wednesday of every month. Aberfeldie Baptist Church is made up of younger and older people, as well as people who fit somewhere in the middle. Despite many years of history, we maintain the philosophy that the church is made not of brick or wood but of believers of Christ. Where we meet is not so much as important as to why we meet – to serve, follow and to worship God. We are uncertain of our future and the directions we will take, but we believe God will guide us to follow his plan for this church. We would love for you to join us as we move forward together as a church.
List of Pastors and Ministers of Aberfeldie Baptist Church
|Peter Ewing||Student Pastor||1947|
|Robert Bawden||Student Pastor||1948 – 1952|
|R. Kingsley Smith||Student Pastor||1952|
|Rev. J.E. Newnham||Minister||1953 – 1954|
|Ronald Ham||Student Pastor||1953 – 1956|
|Peter Broughton||Student Pastor||1956 – 1957|
|Chris Ward||Student Pastor||1957 – 1958|
|Rev. Ronald Ham||Minister||1959 – 1962|
|Rev. Arthur Jones||Minister||1963 -1968|
|Rev. Barrie Sutton||Minister||1969 -1970|
|Rev. Eric Aspinall||Minister (interim)||1970|
|Rev. George Ashworth||Minister||1970 -1976|
|Rev. Bob McMillan||Minister (interim)||1976 – 1977|
|Rev. Hans Bohm||Minister||1977 – 1978|
|Rev. Barry Westerman||Minister||1979 – 1983|
|Rev. Philip Bryant||Minister||1983 -1986|
|Rev. David Morland||Minister||1987 – 1994|
|Rev. Geoff Emonson||Minister||1995 -1999|
|Pstr. Peter Clark||Minister (interim)||1999 – 2000|
|Rev. Darren Cronshaw||Minister||2001 – 2005|
|Rev. Tony Burgum||Minister||2005 – 2011|
|Rev. Brian McKelvie||Minister (interim)||2011- 2012|
|Rev. Ken Westwood||Minister||2012 –|