St Mark's community still growing after 150 years
FOR over a century and a half St Mark's Anglican Church has overcome challenges and social change to remain an integral part of the spiritual foundation of Warwick.
The grand old building rang in its 150th birthday at the weekend in the presence of special guest the Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey AC.
Reverend Rod Winterton said despite other smaller Anglican churches opting to close around the region recently, the congregation of St Mark's continues to expand.
"The whole fabric of the community has changed, the community at St Mark's is growing but the community of those outlying churches is shrinking,” he said.
Mr Winterton said the community still valued sacred buildings like St Mark's.
"If you have even the tiniest spiritual bone, when you walk into that church it stirs something within you,” he said.
"The number of people that will come into the church and sit, when there's something gong on in their lives it's somewhere they can find some peace.”
Three events were held in honour of the church's special birthday, including a civic reception, dinner at Abbey of the Roses and a service on Sunday morning.
Mr Winterton said it was a privilege to host Mr de Jersey for the occasion and he was interested to meet many members of the congregation.
"I'm very honoured to have been in the position that I am when that event occurred,” he said.
A history book was also launched on Friday night, which documents the 150-year history of the church and is entitled Living Stones - 150 years of St Mark's Warwick.
Seeing the church through its 150 years hasn't always been smooth sailing, but Mr Winterton said the challenges faced by the church today are similar to those it has overcome throughout history.
In 1920, there was a drop in attendance due to Sunday sport while in 1905 more women were attending church than men.
Concerns about money and maintaining the building have never fully disappeared, but Mr Winterton said whenever the church was in strife Warwick was always there to help.
Its long history is a testament to the hard work of volunteers and support of the community, he said.
"The community has responded and it's not just the Anglican community it's the wider community,” Mr Winterton said.
"That's a tribute in itself to the value the presence of that building in the community.”