The Annual Church Crawl for the parishioners of St James Parish, Morpeth was enjoyed in bright sunshine on Saturday 26th August. It is so inspiring to see the many differing ways in which our Christian faith is expressed as a missional Church.

The church buildings tell of the history of the times. Some were constructed in the 19th century, have been lovingly maintained through the years and restored as required. St Peter’s at Hamilton has welcomed countless people for baptism, confirmation, weddings and funerals over the years since 1858.

St Peter’s Swansea, Morpeth guests

St Stephen’s at Adamstown, where The Order of St Lawrence had its origin, has been beautifully restored since damaged by floodwater. Many will have enjoyed the fine dinner theatre here in the hall, a regular outreach to the wider community.This is one of the few churches to be open every day for people tom drop in to pray of reflect.

Charlestown’s St Alban is a more modern building, appropriate to the congregation’s family and children’s ministry. Here ‘Godly Play’, a forerunner to ‘Messy Church’ nourished the faith of the young people. A community garden, tucked away in the carpark, is flourishing.

On to hear the history of the Parish of Windale and of The Church of the Transfiguration. There is an outstanding ministry here of outreach through ‘Coffee and Care’ as needy people select from the racks in the Op Shop, where there is always an open door into the church.

After an excellent lunch in Swansea we visited  the Swansea Church, an ‘A’ line building,dedicated in 1958 by Bishop Housden. also named after St Peter. The stained glass windows are both modern and traditional, and give light to the whole area. A beautifully prepared and informative leaflet traces the history of the Anglican Church in these parts since 1856. The congregation has widespread ministry to the peoples on this eastern part of Lake Macquarie from Blacksmiths to Guandalan

Finally the cars parked outside St Laurence Church in Morisset, to be welcomed by several parishioners. This building is able to hold several hundreds, the seats arranged in an arc, and has a beautiful sense of serenity. It is probably the youngest church in the diocese, consecrated in 2006, and fully paid for. This scenic area of Lake Macquarie has several Retirement Villages, many of the residents forming the congregation, and are places where the clergy and lay people minister to the infirm. We were recipients of their ministry of hospitality as we tucked into an excellent afternoon tea.

As we visit these churches of our diocesan family we feel connected to one another, encouraged by the faithfulness that is expressed in so many diverse ways. Thank you for your welcome.

George Garnsey- at 1911 Estey organ – St Peter’s, Swansea

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