The beginning of a work of God in Wanniassa
The story of gospel ministry in Wanniassa begins on 4 July, 1838. It was then when Edward Smith, age 33, offered himself for service in the colonies with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Robert Campbell, of Duntroon fame, provided a residence and the greater part of his stipend.
Smith’s ministry took in Ginninderra to the north west and reached into the Tuggeranong in the south, following the circuit-model of ministry. Every first Sunday in the month he would ride eight miles from Mt. Campbell to conduct services at Wanniassa. This ministry would have been difficult – but 180 years later, praise be to God, both Ginninderra and Wanniassa have churches full of people that believe and proclaim the gospel!
138 years after Edward Smith began his ministry in the Wanniassa area, another young man (John Mason), also in his 33rd year, moved to the area. In the wake of the explosive growth of Canberra during the Whitlam years, a number of opportunities opened up for ministry in the city. John and Judith commenced ministry in the latter part of 1976.
The first service was held in the library of the then Wanniassa Primary School on 24 October 1976. At the Annual General Meeting in March 1978 it was agreed to name the church St. Matthew. Matthew is the author of the first Gospel, having been remarkably transformed by Jesus from a crooked tax collector and brought into His family and service (Matt 9:9-13). This name was chosen given Canberra was well populated with tax collectors and other public officials.
In October 1984, the building of St Matthew’s was dedicated following a mammoth effort from countless church members – Including the cleaning of some 30,000 second-hand bricks that were used in its construction. But more importantly, over the following 40+years, hundreds of people have been brought into God’s family through St Matt’s. Thousands of God’s people have been nurtured in the faith, equipped for service, comforted in hard times, and sent throughout Australia and the world as servants of Jesus’ gospel. St Matt’s has not been immune to troubled relationships and conflict. Yet God has preserved His people, strengthened His church, and gripped His people with the love of His beloved Son.
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St Matthews Anglican Church
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