The Aspley Uniting Church is situated at 748 Robinson Road, Aspley. A covered breezeway separates the Church from our hall and annex and at the rear of the Church we have two buildings which are used by the Aspley Early Childhood Education Centre and School Age Care which are run on behalf of the Church by dedicated professional staff.
A brief history of the Aspley Methodist Church and Aspley Uniting Church is:
– Methodism in Aspley had its beginnings in 1918 when services were held in the Aspley Assembly Hall which ultimately became the Anglican Church.
– In 1932 the Sites Fund of the Methodist Conference acquired five acres of ground fronting Robinson Road for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds ($500.00) and one acre of this land was made available to the congregation at Aspley.
– The foundation stone for a block-brick Methodist Church was laid on 8 October 1932. The Church was erected by a Church member for three hundred and fifty pounds ($700.00)
– In 1955 a master plan was adopted and the first stage was a hall to serve not only as a Church but as an area for social and youth work and other community needs.
– Due to limited finance, it was decided to proceed with the first part of this structure which consisted of the current hall, a kitchen and service rooms with accommodation for the growing Sunday School underneath the stage (currently this is part of the Aspley Early Childhood Education Centre). This was opened on 23 November 1958.
– Further growth made this totally inadequate for the Church’s needs and the whole building, together with a Sunday School wing (the annex as we know it today) was completed and opened by Rev. George Nash on 25 October 1964.
– Over the years the Hall has been used for all the purposes of the Church as well as the social needs of the community and it has been maintained and improved with many added facilities. However, the need for a building set apart for a Sanctuary was ever in the minds of the whole congregation.
– With Union occurring on 26 June 1977 the congregations of the previous Aspley Methodist Church and St Philips Presbyterian Church continued to worship as separate Uniting Churches. (St Philips Church was at the corner of Petanne and Summerfield Streets, Aspley).
– However, while possible amalgamation was considered after Union occurred, it was not until 1983 when the two Sunday Schools were united and the Elders Councils were combined.
– Finally the congregations joined on 1 January 1984.
– The celebration of the combining of the two separate Uniting Church congregations in Aspley took place in early February 1984 at a special week of witness.
– On 14 October 1984 an outdoor service was held and the foundation stone for a new Worship Centre was laid by the then President of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Reverend Professor R A Busch
– Prior to this the original Church, which had been renovated and had become a Chapel and meeting venue, was demolished to make space for the new Worship Centre.
– The opening of the current Worship Centre took place on 24 November 1985.
The following text has been transcribed from the book, “Aspley Unting Church, Our Heritage”, located within Aspley Uniting Church. As it takes time to transcribe, only part of all the text is provided.
Aspley Uniting Church, Our Heritage
Aspley Methodist Church
Methodism in Aspley had its beginnings when the Rev. W. G. Goddard sought permission to hold services in the Aspley Assembly Hall in 1918. The hall ultimately became the Anglican Church. In 1919, rev. David Fletcher, while stationed in the Pine Rivers Circuit commenced regular services in Aspley. In 1926, the Rev. W. Shenton commissioned Mr. Andison and Mr. A. Bowden to collect with a view to purchasing land to build a Church. A Ladies Church Help Society was formed a year later and aided materially to raise funds.
About 1932, the Sites Fund of the Methodist Conference acquired 5 acres of ground, fronting Robinson Road from Mr. Wallin for the sum of £250. One acre of this was made available to the congregation at Aspley.
A Plan was adopted for the church building and the block-brick Church erected by a Church member for £350. The Foundation Stone was laid by the president of the Conference, Rev. E. G. Walker, on 8th October, 1932, during the ministry of Rev. V. Mead. The construction of the building and the material used ere not entirely satisfactory and much work had to be done by the small band of loyal willing workers to maintain it in a serviceable condition.
At the time of the building of the new Church, Aspley was a farming community with a low population density; however, in the years following the Second World War, subdivision began to take place in the area and the population rose dramatically. An Army hut was obtained to relieve the pressure on space for the Sunday School and Youth Work, but this was unable to cope with the increased demand for growth.
In 1955, a MAster Plan was adopted for a comprehensive Building Project. The 1st Stage was to be a Hall to serve, not only as a Church, but as an area for social and youth work, and for use of other community needs. It was decided because of limited finance, to proceed with the first part of this structure, consisting of the future hall, a kitchen and service rooms with accommodation for the growing Sunday School underneath the stage. This was opened on 23rd November, 1958.
Further growth made this totally inadequate for the church’s need and the whole building, together with a Sunday School wing was completed and opened by Rev. G. Nash on 25th October, 1964, during the ministry of the Rev. D. W. Mitchell.
Over the years the Hall has been used for all the purposes of the Church as well as the social needs of the Community and it has been maintained and improved with many added facilities, but the need for a building set apart for a Sanctuary has ever been in the minds of the whole congregation. With the advent of the Uniting Church and the amalgamation of two worshipping congregations, the hope of this planning became, not only a reality, but an urgent necessity. The original Church which had been renovated and had became a Chapel and Meeting Venue was demolished in 1985 to make space for the New Worship Centre.
In the more than six decades of the Church’s life in Aspley, a great debt of gratitude is due to our pioneers. In the very early days the work of the Church was tedious and slow. When the great increase and growth of the area came, facilities were totally inadequate and work was still very difficult. Through the efforts and sacrifices of the Ministers and the people, and their great faith in God, we can give thanks for the progress made. These sacrifices have been in time, talents, and finance and cover activities as diverse as Mission, Pastoral Care, Youth and Social Work. There have been working bees and duty rosters and finance has been raised, not only by direct giving, but by Fetes, Flower Shows, Concerts and work projects.
Our church has had an influence on the lives of so many. Some have passed to their Eternal reward, others have continued to worship and serve in our fellowship and others have taken this influence throughout the wide world.
St. Philip’s Presbyterian Church Aspley
In 1957, as Aspley was becoming a flourishing suburb, the young people in the North Brisbane and District Presbyterian Fellowship Council undertook to conduct a survey of the area to locate Presbyterian families. A meeting of all interested in forming a Presbyterian Congregation was called in February 1958 under the chairmanship of Rev. Mervyn Roberts, the Minister of the Kedron Presbyterian Church.
At that time the Presbyterian Church owned land on Gympie Road, opposite to the Albany Creek Road intersection but the Presbytery decided to sell as it considered it was too close to the Methodist building development. Consequently, a block was purchased at the corner of Petanne and Summerfield Streets.
After several meetings, permission was granted by the Presbytery to build hall and loans were given by the Church Extension Committee and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the City to cover the debt, as well as a Commonwealth Bank loan. At a meeting in January 1959, it was decided to call the congregation St. Philips.
The hall was opened on 7th February, 1960, by Rt. Rev. R. M. Park, Moderator of the State Assembly. Mr. David McNeil was appointed lay preacher, but as the congregation grew so rapidly a Home Missionary, Mr. William McIntosh was appointed and the Church was joined with the Zillmere Church as a Home Mission Station under the Session of the Kedron Presbyterian Church. Rev. Harold Seaton was appointed Home Missionary in January, 1962. A new manse was erected in 1963 and opened by Rt. Rev. Robert Crowe. A grant from the W. R. Black Endowment Fund assisted the construction costs.
The Church continued to grow rapidly and in 1964 when Harold Seaton had completed his studies, the Presbytery felt that St. Philips was ready to become a sanctioned charge. Rev. Seaton was called by the Congregation as it’s first Minister.
As numbers grew, a temporary Sunday School, Kindergarten building was built in 1964. An organ fund was launched which enabled a new organ to be purchased in August 1972. In 1973 a verandah was built on the side of the hall, incorporating a Ministers Office and a Toilet Block. The very active Ladies Guild enabled the modernisation of a well equipped kitchen. Imporvement in furniture and seating and carpeting added to the worshipful atmosphere.
The most publcised event in the life of St. Philips was the visit of Professor Lloyd Geering in 1973. There were packed meetings and services and considerable press publicity which resulted in some members leaving and some new members joining us.
Several Congregational Meetings were held to discuss the building of a Church on the remaining land but in view of the Church Union, it was decided not to proceed. In 1976 the vote on Church union by St. Philips members was 96% in favour.
On Union, St. Philip’s conregation continued to worship as a separate Uniting Church but ultimately the two Sunday Schools were united, the Elders Councils combined in 1983 and finally the Congregations joined on 1st January 1984.
The last Service was held in St. Philips on 12th February 1984, when former Members came from near and far to worship together in that building one last time.
Aspley Uniting Church
The Uniting Church in Australia came into being on 26th June 1977 and both the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches in Aspley were involved.
The celebration of the combining of the two separate Uniting Church Congregations in Aspley took place in early February 1984 at a special week of witness, when Rev. Dr. Scott MccPheat of Auckland, NZ, a former Queenslander, was the Guest Preacher. The Sunday Schools had been united in the previous year.