The north-west regional Victoria town of Patchewollock may only have a population of 133 people, but more than 100 churchgoers and visitors gathered at the local Uniting Church in early November to celebrate the congregation’s 90th anniversary.
In 1927, the Patchewollock Uniting Church foundation stone was laid at its current site on Yenolom Street. Patchewollock Uniting Church secretary Sandra Mole said local volunteers were instrumental in constructing a place for community members to practice their faith.
“They played a huge role volunteering their time and labour to help complete the church. It was built for a cost of £1098,” Ms Mole said.
“The brick building is a testament to their determination, courage and tireless work – not only the original trustees who fought so hard to build a church in which locals could gather to worship and celebrate their faith, but to all members of the congregation who have maintained it since.”
A number of past and present congregation members attended the anniversary service, along with visitors from the Central Mallee Co-operative Parish.
Some travelled long distances to join in the celebrations. Rev Rob Dummermuth and his wife Barbara journeyed all the way from Western Australia to deliver the sermon. Mr Dummermuth was a minister in the Central Mallee Co-operative Parish from 1992 to 1997.
Another special guest was Joyce Matheson, wife of the late Rev Les Matheson.
“All present enjoyed a talk from Rev Rob Dummermuth on his past work as a patrol minister with Frontier Services as well as a sing-a-long of many favourite hymns,” Ms Mole said.
The service also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Patchewollock Friendship Circle. It was formed by a ladies’ guild in November 1967 and the group has met on the third Tuesday of every month for the past five decades.
“The Friendship Circle provides Christian fellowship and friendship to locals, and contributes to the rich fabric of our church life in many varied and different ways,” Ms Mole said.
During the service, former congregation member Ron Jackson unveiled a plaque commemorating the church’s opening. Arthur Pattinson unveiled another plaque in honour of the Friendship Circle and the congregation’s Sunday school.
Following the service, attendees enjoyed a shared basket lunch and cut the anniversary cake at the Patchewollock Memorial Community Centre.