The Brunswick Uniting Church came into being on 20th March 2005 bringing together the congregations of South West Brunswick, Union St. West Brunswick and St. Andrew's, Sydney Rd. Brunswick.
A Joint Council Task Group (South West Brunswick & St. David's congregations) was established in October 2002 in response to a request from the St. David's congregation to review the linked congregations model that the congregations operated under at that time. Conversations were also held with St. Andrew's Sydney Rd. congregation. The Task Group completed a report titled 'Vision Paper' in May 2003.
The congregation met in July 2003 to discuss the Visioning Paper and agreed to estalish a committee to 'review the feasibility of the integration of the three congregations'.
The Vision Feasibility Committee (VFC) began meeting in July 2003 with three representatives from each congregation and was convened by Rev. Ray Gormann, minister of the West Brunswick UC Parish. Shawn Whelan was Chairperson and Barry Cook was Secretary.
The Committee focussed on three key areas:
1. Outreach and Mission.
2. Worship, Children and Youth, and Fellowship.
3. Property and Resources.
An Interim Report was presented to the Councils in November 2003. A combined meeting of the Councils & Committee was held in December 2003 to identify ways to move forward.
The VFC continued to meet, fortnightly for a period of time. Two papers were prepared one of which was a Mission Paper which arose from the understanding that 'Mission and Outreach are what we believe is driving this whole process'. A second report was presented to the congregations in May 2004 which included a questionnaire seeking people's reactions to the committee's recommendatios.
Congregational Meetings were held on Sunday 15th August, 2004. The question put to the congregations was: Do you support the merger of the Sydney Road, Union Street and Melville Road congregations at Sydney Road and the appointment of a transitional Council to facilitate the detail and timing of that merger? The outcome of these meetings was: 'St. David's members voted 16 to 3 not to approve the proposal while South West decided by consensus, and St. Andrew's by agreement to become a new congregation on the Sydney Rd. site.'
A Transitional Council of the South West Brunswick and St. Andrew's congregations was established and held its first meeting on Tuesday 26th October 2004. Work began almost immediately on the Renewal Project that was to ultimately lead to the redevelopment of the Sydney Rd. site and transformation of our Worship Space.
The 'De-linking Service' for the South West Brunswick & St. David's congregations was held on Sunday 6th March 2005. This service included the 'Severing of the Ties' for Ray Gormann and the St. David's congregation. The final service of the South West Brunswick congregation was held on Sunday 13th March 2005.
The 'Opening Service' of the Brunswick UC congregation was held on Palm Sunday, 20th March 2005. Members of the South West Brunswick congregation walked from South West Brunswick UC, Union St. to St. Andrew's, Sydney Rd. Everyone met outside on the lawn. We all processed into the church carrying cloths of the four liturgical colours - white, green, red and purple. Clare Boyd-Macrae and Kirsty Bennett, chairpersons of the two separate congregations welcomed each other and the congregations into the new congregation. David Mills, chairperson of the Maribyrnong Valley Presbytery blessed the team ministry of our minister's Ray Gormann and Richard Arnold. Richard Johnston, General Secretary of the Synod, spoke of how we might convey the person of Jesus to the people of Brunswick. New name-tags and Directory's were distributed. Ray told the children about the trapdoors which they hurried to find after worship. An olive tree was planted by the oldest and youngest members of our congregation, Vera Pierce & Adam Moorhouse, to mark the occasion.
To read the all the reports relating to this journey please click here.