Pioneering spirit still going strong


Wandin Seville Uniting Church’s big year of celebration has been a real family affair and that is set to continue.

Later this month, a special morning service will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Christian worship at Wandin, on the eastern fringes of Melbourne.

The service will be followed by an afternoon event called “Making History” when speakers from the region’s pioneer families will tell their stories.

“Many locals have an interest in this pioneers’ church as their families helped establish it after they moved to Wandin to set up their farms,” Wandin Seville UC chairperson Jenny Arms said.

There have already been a number of anniversary events.

In August, the church held a ‘Music to Your Ears’ weekend, which included a family bush dance.

The dance floor saw plenty of action as the 70 people attending showed off their moves to the tunes of Australian bush band Eat Ya Greens.

“The young children especially enjoyed the event,” Jenny said.

The next morning the church hosted its annual Hymnfest, with a local choir and soloist on hand to help the congregation belt out the all old favourites.

At the service, Fred Gaudion was presented with a gift on his retirement after playing the organ at Wandin Seville for 68 years. 

“Fred’s family is one our pioneer families in Wandin,” Jenny said.

“Members of his family have been involved in music for the church all this time.”

The first event for the 150th anniversary year was a Pioneer Harvest Thanksgiving Service held in March.

“It was a combined parish service where church members from Yarra Glen and Healesville joined Wandin Seville to celebrate all things green and growing in our valley,” Jenny said.

“There was a wonderful display of fruit and vegetables. After the worship service, members bought items such as tomatoes, apples, lettuce, cherries, peaches, eggs, herbs and flowers.

“All the money went to Healesville Inter-Church Community Care Inc (HICCI) at Healesville and the excess produce also went to HICCI for distribution to families in need.”

In May, the church hosted a Gardening Spectacular with classes in flower-arranging, talks on landscape garden design, the sowing, buying and selling of plants as well as a session exploring and understanding a labyrinth as a part a spiritual journey.

“Of course, part of our hospitality to all visitors was a delicious Devonshire tea,” Jenny said.

Moderator Sharon Hollis will be the guest speaker for the 150th anniversary service at Wandin Seville Uniting Church on 21 October.

“Everyone is invited to worship followed by lunch,” Jenny said. “Come and join us to celebrate 150 years of faithful service to our Lord and God at Wandin.”

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