Stirring stuff for Woodbridge anniversary

woodbridgeThe Channel Uniting Church Rwandan Coffee Club has a special reason to enjoy a brew on Sunday 8 July.

The church community will celebrate 120 years of continuous worship in the Woodbridge Uniting Church building, located in the town of Woodbridge 38 kilometres south of Hobart.

“All are welcome to share in this celebration, especially those who have had a connection with the Woodbridge church,” Channel Uniting Church ministry coordinator Victor Malham said.

The Channel Uniting Church community meets both at Woodbridge and at the Kettering Church, where ecumenical services are held in conjunction with the Anglicans.

The Woodbridge church building was born out of fire and later only narrowly escaped the flames.

The building was opened on 17 July 1898 after the devastating 1897 ‘Black Friday’ bushfire destroyed the predecessor Union Chapel, which was used by the Methodists and other protestant denominations.

Over the years the site of the new Methodist church grew to contain a parsonage and schoolroom.

In a 1967 bushfire burnt down the parsonage, and almost consumed the other buildings.

While the anniversary will honour the church’s history, Mr Malham said it is also a chance to celebrate recent church initiatives.

He said the UCA community is very active and committed.

They have for many years helped fund the area’s school chaplain and had recently restarted their youth group.

On the 120th anniversary Sunday, he hopes a few honorary members will join the Rwandan Coffee Club regulars who meet after services.

The Rwandan Coffee Club is the fund-raising vehicle of a group that formed in Tasmania in 1994 to support two refugee Tutsi families that were living in Hobart.

To support refugees but also to fund agricultural, educational and health projects in Rwanda, the Coffee Club sells beverage products from the African nation or other fair trade sources.

The club’s coffee and tea can now be purchased from Woolworths and other outlets in Hobart.

On Sunday mornings at Woodbridge Uniting, caffeine lovers pay 50 cents for their after-church cuppa and the money goes towards helping Rwandan farmers buy cattle.

Over its lifespan, the club has raised more than $3000 allowing for Rwandan families to buy over 20 cows.

“We may be a long way from Rwanda in Southern Tasmania but we know God has called us to serve him the Channel area and beyond,” Mr Malham said.

The special anniversary service begins at 9.30 on 8 July.

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