On Sunday, 9th July Tom Spurling, Rev Anneke Oppewal, and Pastor David and Val Higham attended morning worship at Black Rock UC to officially bless the merger, (or “Marriage”) of two churches: St Andrew’s by the Sea, Black Rock Uniting Church and Cheltenham/Mentone Uniting Church. A new congregation was formed, for the time being known as “Charman Uniting Church”. Di Paterson describes the “courtship.”
Two plus years ago Cheltenham/Mentone UC came to join us at St Andrews Black Rock UC for just 6 months while their Church was being renovated. Two years later we had grown together as the people of God worshipping at Black Rock. After a time of
discussion and prayer, Black Rock decided to merge with Cheltenham/Mentone, but you can’t have a “Marriage” unless both parties say “I do!”
Cheltenham/Mentone were delighted to merge, so we became engaged and began preparations for the “wedding,” which was held on 9th July, 2023 at Black Rock.
Tom Spurling, Chairperson of the Presbytery, led the service of Recognition of a new Congregation. There were several declarations of “I do.” The congregations, Church Council members, Rev Greg Fry and Pastor Di Paterson all declared their commitment to moving forward together, followed by a blessing, the formal announcement and thunderous applause. We then shared in Holy Communion as one Congregation – in the interim called Charman Uniting Church.
After the service we all enjoyed the celebratory lunch with soup, sandwiches, party pies and sausage rolls, accompanied by a slice of the beautiful “Wedding Cake!” It was a time of wonderful fellowship, and it was a joy to have the longest serving members from each congregation cut the cake. We will continue to worship at Black Rock until our building has been renovated, then it will be a new beginning for us all as we join together as the “Charman Uniting Church”.
Pastor, “Charman Uniting Church”