Going the distance

norfolk island

Crosslight will go a long way to find new readers, even 2336km.

That’s the distance a parcel of the September issue of Crosslight travelled from Melbourne to new subscriber, the Norfolk Island Uniting Church.

Norfolk Island Uniting Church treasurer Barbara Elliot said the congregation is small, but very active.

“Our church participates and functions within a small community of approximately 2000 residents,” Barbara said.

“Our congregation is small, with approximately 18 regulars. Visitors each week to Norfolk Island help ‘swell’ our numbers to 25 or so weekly.”

“We do not have a permanent minister and instead welcome retired pastors who come for two or three months, live in the manse and provide ministry functions to the parish and the Norfolk Island community.”

The congregation maintains a church, church hall and runs an op shop.

“The buildings are very well maintained and equipped – in a beautiful ‘Norfolk’ style and service the community well,” Barbara said.

“The op shop maintains our financial base for us and provides income for mission both on and off Norfolk Island.”

The congregation hosts an “All Nations Church” from the Fijian community and the church hall is used as a combined churches kids’ club venue.

Norfolk Island UC has a colourful history having been founded by Alfred Phelps, an American Methodist who came ashore in 1879 to recover from an injury sustained while working as a cook aboard a whaling ship.

In the early days there was some tension with the predominantly Anglican locals, who once locked the Methodist congregation in their own church.

Perhaps reflecting its American founder the church has a thanksgiving service every November.

It might be remote but Ms Elliot said island life means enjoying “a sub-tropical climate and beautiful sea-scapes wherever you look”.

Also, of course, there is some good reading to be had.

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