History of the Stanhope Presbyterian Church

The following are excerpts from the minutes of the first meeting of the Stanhope Presbyterian Church and from “The Centennial Narration of the Tatura Presbyterian Charge 1882 – 1982” written by Grace Conley.

On the 6 September 1921 a meeting was held at the Stanhope Hall for the purpose of forming a Presbyterian Church in Stanhope. The meeting was attended by Commissioners from the Presbytery of Seymour and representatives of the Rushworth Presbyterian Church.

The meeting unanimously resolved to form a Presbyterian congregation at Stanhope. The meeting also appointed an honorary secretary and treasurer. It was agreed to hold fortnightly services with the first service to commence on the 18 September 1921. The meeting recommended that the congregation was to raise fifty pounds ($100) towards church funds and adopt an envelope system for provide revenue.

On the 14 May 1926 a newspaper article reported that the local Board of Management had agreed to purchase timber and other building materials and commence the construction of a church.

On Sunday 8 August 1926 the church was dedicated to God and named St Andrews. The service was conducted by the Rev Jas Raff Minister of the Charge. The text for the service was Acts 1:8 “you will be my witnesses.”

The Sunday School hall was built mainly by volunteer labour. It was opened and dedicated on the 8 November 1958. It is recorded that “A guard of honour formed by the Sunday School children was a delight and the church was packed for the occasion.”

During the same year Jack McCague was ordained and inducted as an Elder. Neville Ellis was inducted as an elder in 1974.

Around 1961 it was stated that enquiries were made about the possibility of Rushworth and Stanhope again becoming a full Charge.

At this time Jack McCague was appointed Sunday School Superintendent, and the PFA were given permission to hold a social and dance on the assumption it was in the Sunday School Hall only, and with becoming conduct!

At Union the majority of the congregation voted to go into the Uniting Church however rather than split the congregation the majority decided to remain in the Presbyterian Church.