By Andrew Humphries
Hobart’s Wesley Uniting Church was the venue last Sunday as dignitaries, church leaders and faith community members celebrated a major milestone in Tasmania’s history.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Methodist mission in the state, and Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner and Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds were the guests of honour at a celebration service marking the occasion.
Chairperson of the Presbytery in Tasmania, Caro Field, said the service was the perfect way to honour the 200th anniversary of the first Methodist worship and sermon in Tasmania.
That first sermon, in 1820, was preached by Benjamin Carvosso, who returned to Hobart in 1825 and was Wesley Church’s first minister, from 1825 to 1830.
“That first sermon was the beginning of Methodist mission in Tasmania,” Caro says.
While Moderator Denise Liersch was unable to attend Sunday’s service because of COVID-19 restrictions, she offered a message of congratulations, and blessing, which Caro read on her behalf.
Caro says her own message during Sunday’s service was about the importance of looking forward, while also celebrating past achievements.
“It’s really great to look back, and history is important, but we really need to not get stuck in the past,” she says.
“We need to look to the future and to where God is leading us and what the next 200 years might bring.”
And while she won’t be around to see it, Caro hopes a church that has continued to change with the times will still be a leading light in 200 years’ time.
“I certainly hope so and it’s an interesting thing to think about,” she says.
“The church has changed quite a lot over the years and how we express our faith and worship has also changed.
“The church may come to look very different, but it will remain because we know that God is faithful and God is here.”