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Community & Business

31 July, 2022

St Ambrose Church celebrates centenary

Marking a century of existence, St Ambrose Memorial Anglican Church celebrated 100 years on last Sunday morning.

By Emily Middleton

Beginning as a humbling £1200 peace and thanks-giving donation made by parishioners of St Ambrose Church in Bournemouth, England, it was the support from community members that made St Ambrose in Gilgandra what it is today.

St Ambrose in Bournemouth, England, judged Gilgandra as “the town in the British dominions with the greatest record of achievements in the war”, happily passing on the donation.

Locals rallied with the same community spirit and determination Gilgandra people still have today, to raise enough funds to re-build the existing church.

“There was a church already there, but the ground the church is built on is not great soil, and there was an issue with the original building,” said St Ambrose Memorial Anglican Church treasurer, Julie Sawley.

The foundation stone was laid in 1920, however the church was consecrated on July 26, 1922. The original stone in 1920 states; “To the Glory of God - Nov 22nd, 1920 - This foundation stone was laid by His Excellency - Sir Walter Davidson KCMG - Governor of New South Wales - and blessed by The Lord Bishop of Bathurst - George Merrick - A memorial to the fallen and a thank offering for peace.”

Last Sunday, July 24, St Ambrose was also officially renamed from St Ambrose Anglican Church to St Ambrose Memorial Anglican Church.

“We have to have some major works down in the next few years because of the building’s age, and it’s been renamed it to be a part of the RSL group, in order to acknowledge our history; the church was built because of the men who fought in WWI,” said Ms Sawley.

Celebrations of 100 years began with a church service on Sunday morning, as well as a Welcome to Country by Larry Towney, followed by a ribbon cutting and morning tea.

Representatives from each church in Gilgandra turned out for the occasion, as well as the Anglican Bishop of Bathurst, Mark Calder.

“It was a real blessing, the bishop is a wonderful man of God and he spoke a great message to us,” said Ms Sawley.

“I think everyone felt really blessed to just come together.” St Ambrose Anglican Memorial Church in Gilgandra is a much-loved church by the whole community," she explained.

She said that it’s not just an Anglican church, it’s a church of the Gilgandra community.

“Because of that history, because of the Coo-ee’s, people affiliate that as part of Gilgandra. People come from other towns just to take photos of St Ambrose church because of its unique history.”

The church was filled with many community members on Sunday morning, and the official renaming was consecrated by Bishop Mark Calder.

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