By Chris McLeod
On Sunday, 25 October, St Jude’s Church, Brighton celebrated the 160th anniversary of the dedication of the original Church building.
The original St Jude’s is now the chapel, and it is still in use for weekday and smaller services. It stands as a testimony to those who wanted to see the Christian faith celebrated and proclaimed in the Brighton community. Of course, in those early days, Brighton was a rural community, and the sprawl of future suburbia was unseen by that small Anglican community. St Jude’s Church has grown in size and in number since then, but we find ourselves again in pioneering times; looking for Spirit guided ways to proclaim the Gospel to the people of Brighton.
On St Jude’s ‘160’ we held an historical re-enactment of the original dedication service (Book of Common Prayer); together with a contemporary celebration of the Eucharist (A Prayer Book for Australia). It was a day for celebrating ‘treasures both old and new’ (Matt: 13: 52). Over 150 people, including descendants of the original congregation, attended the celebration.
We have much to celebrate at St Jude’s, and 160 years of continual Christian life and mission is quite an achievement. Yet, at the same time, the Gospel of Jesus still needs to be proclaimed to the world around us. It is no time to languish in the past, but this celebration helps us to look forward in hope to the future, and knowing that we have our part to play in continuing the Christian witness of St Jude’s. To symbolize this, a ‘round of people of the world dolls’ was placed around a tree near the chapel as a reminder that we are here to serve the wider community.