CENTENARY: Frank Slode, Nancy West and Lexie Pratt with the Venerable Lee Shirvill, Rector of the Parish of Alstonville, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone at St Bartholomew’s Church at Alstonville.
CENTENARY: Frank Slode, Nancy West and Lexie Pratt with the Venerable Lee Shirvill, Rector of the Parish of Alstonville, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone at St Bartholomew’s Church at Alstonville. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Decades of Sunday service

IT HAS been 100 years since the foundation stone was laid at St Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Alstonville.

For 71 of those years, Nancy West has attended the Sunday service at the church.

Mrs West's grandparents first attended St Bartholomew's 95 years ago, in 1918.

The longest-standing member of the congregation said she felt like the church had been part of her "whole life" after coming along since she was a little girl.

"It's been a big part of my life and of my whole family's lives," Mrs West said.

As part of the centenary celebrations there was an enactment of the original proceedings.

Mrs West said she was thankful for the foresight of the founding fathers who created the church community in Alstonville.

"I hope the church community will grow in the future while cherishing the founders of the past," Mrs West said.

St Bartholomew's Church minister Reverend Lee Shervill said he was excited to celebrate the church's centenary and hoped the community would "move forward in faith and hope for another 100 years".

His colleague, Reverend Susan Williamson said the community that had devel- oped around the Anglican Parish in Alstonville was the biggest achievement of the past 100 years.

"The original view of the founders was that the church would be a metaphoric lighthouse to the community," Mrs Williamson said.

Mrs Williamson said she thought faith was not as highly prioritised in modern Australia, particularly with young people, as it was some 100 years ago.

"The view in society has changed a lot now where it is almost seen as unusual for people to come to church on Sunday," she said.

"However, looking forward to the future we have great hope that our community can grow in faith, celebrating Christ in a new time."

While the foundation stone was laid at St Bartholomew's in Alstonville in 1913, the church's history spans back as early as 1896 when St Bartholomew's church was built on a site at Ocean View.

It wasn't until 1905 that the building was moved on logs to The Avenue across the road from the present church site.



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