This week's reflection offers hope in our dark days
Last worship service for Cross Roads Uniting Church
By Roger Norris-Green
Posted in Faith
Cross Roads Uniting Church, located at North Yelta on the outskirts of Moonta and situated within the Moonta Parish, will have its final service on Sunday, 11 August. It has been in existence for over 140 years. However, earlier this year the regretful decision was made by the remaining members of the congregation that it was no longer viable to maintain a congregation at Cross Roads and so the time had come to amalgamate with Moonta Uniting Church.
In the 1870s there were three Methodist churches at Cross Roads—Primitive, Bible Christian and Wesleyan.
The majority of worshippers were of Cornish descent and possessed a vibrant faith, and in 1900 the three churches combined. The Bible Christian was chosen as the main worship centre, the Primitive Church was turned into a Lecture Hall while the Wesleyan Church became the Sunday School. The Sunday School closed in 1970 due to falling numbers.
In March 1973, the worship centre was damaged beyond repair by a tornado and the congregation moved to the Wesleyan Church.
The original bell from the Ebenezer Bible Christian Chapel is still on the western side of the current Cross Roads Uniting Church.
During its lifetime, the Cross Roads Church has held regular services. The Cross Roads Methodist ladies Guild raised money to support the church and also help needy families in the district. The Guild celebrated its 100th Birthday in 2012.
At least four ministers, Rev Gordon Rowe, Rev Fred Rogers, Rev Stan Harper and Rev Eric Goldsworthy, received their early Christian training at Cross Roads.
In 1977 the Cross Roads Wesleyan Methodist church became part of the Uniting Church in Australia and in more recent times has been a part of the Moonta & District Uniting churches. Sadly, the numbers attending worship declined over the years and recently only a handful have regularly attended evening worship.
Shirley Arney, long time worshipper and member of the former Lay Ministry Team, commented: “Cross Roads Uniting Church has been my spiritual family and home for 30 years plus. I have known some very sad times and have found comfort in going to my church at any time to sit or kneel and spend a quiet time with Jesus. I remember great celebrations at Cross Roads, like our Guild’s Centenary and the church’s 140th anniversary. The biggest celebration was my second marriage, 18th October 1997. Our church was full and overflowing.”
Comparative new worshipper, Gaye Austin, said she’d found the friendship offered both by the Church and Guild ‘uplifting’. Gaye’s experience has been that “everyone is very warm and welcoming. We gather to celebrate our love for God and each other.” She realised the church with its falling numbers was no longer viable but said that she was sad the decision had to be made to close the building’s doors and join with others.
Current pastor Trevor Phillips said: “We celebrate all that the Cross Roads church has meant to so many people over its 140+ year history. We celebrate the life and hope it has brought to the community around it. Although it’s sad that the Cross Roads congregation will no longer gather in their building we look forward to what God is doing through the rest of the Moonta & District Uniting churches.”
Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of South Australia Moderator, Rev Sue Ellis, who was once a minister of this parish, will lead a Thanksgiving Service for the life and witness of this church on Sunday, 11 August at 3:00pm, followed by a light buffet tea. All are welcome to attend.
Pictured: Nola Bowman, Gaye Austin, John Austin, Shirley Arney, Brian Goldsworthy and long-term organist Margaret Wearne are the stalwarts of Cross Roads Uniting Church.
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