Although officially retired decades ago, Mr Gardiner has remained very active in the Springvale community.
“John said quite a few years back he would preach his last sermon when he was 90,” Mr Gardiner’s wife Mary said of the occasion.
“Our minister Paul Creasey made it a very memorable day.
“Paul presented John with a candle saying he had shined a light for many years and that the light is still shining.”
Joined by extended family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, the service was a celebration of Mr Gardiner’s lifelong commitment to active ministry.
Mr Gardiner began training for the ministry in 1954 and was accepted as a candidate in 1959 aged 34 years-old, having only recently qualified as a Master Plumber.
“His friends said he was changing from a plumber to a preacher to save souls from going down the drain,” Mrs Gardiner said.
“He was a Home Missionary at Edithvale Presbyterian Church and later at Clarinda Presbyterian Church where he began very successful youth services.”
Mr Gardiner was ordained and inducted into Norlane Methodist/Presbyterian Church in 1965 and then Scots Dandenong Presbyterian Church in 1969.
From there he went to Nightcliff Uniting Church in Darwin and later finished active ministry placement at Southern Peninsula Parish and retired in 1990.
In recent years Mr Gardiner has taken services in many parishes including Emerald, Tecoma, Blairgowrie and most recently at Springvale.
Rev Paul Creasy commended Mr Gardiner for his faithful service and ongoing commitment to active life in the Church and broader community noting his role in the congregation’s ministry outreach programs.
“His enthusiasm and his energy are just amazing and he’s still going strong,” he said.
“He’s never deterred and has just been a fantastic support in helping to drive the vision of the congregation’s ministry.”