RANDALL PRIOR AND GILLIAN STEWARD
The 1960s was a visionary time in Alexandra in Victoria. Optimism for the future was high.
The growing number of children in church saw the construction of a building to provide more space for the thriving congregation.
The foundation stone was formally laid in 1966 and the church officially opened a year later on 18 November 1967.
A celebration of the opening brought together past and present clergy, ecumenical visitors, town dignitaries and congregation members.
Of course, the situation has changed dramatically in these last 50 years. In the Alexandra region, a number of churches have closed down and the Alexandra congregation itself has dwindled in numbers.
But that didn’t stop the current congregation from holding a celebration of the building’s golden jubilee last November. People gathered to give thanks for the building and for the people who had served in past generations.
Most significantly, they came to celebrate the hope that is grounded in the Gospel. The gospel reading – Matthew 25:31-46 – renewed the message of God’s compassion for a suffering world and the gift and promise of transformed life embodied in the Easter event.
It seems that whether the church is thriving or struggling its reasons for celebration remain unchanged.