Forum 82 - Aug 2012

(see below for some excerpts)

Denominational Archives given Official Foundation

The 2012 Queensland Baptist Assembly gave official recognition to the Baptist Church Archives Qld by adding a specific section to the Constitution & By-Laws. The section, No 25, is headed, ‘Recognition of Role and Work of the Archivist’ and begins, ‘The Baptist Union shall establish and maintain an Archives for the collection, preservation and management of its physical and electronic records.’ which shall be ‘under the control of an Archivist appointed by the Board.’ It goes on to specify that ‘All sections of the Baptist Union, including Board, ASG, Charter Groups Service Groups, Ministry organisations, and officers, shall keep formal records of their activities, and these records shall be transferred regularly to the Archives, or be cared for in a similar manner by the originating organisation.’

The new article explains that ‘Records housed in the Archives shall be subject to rules of access with the purpose of maximising their preservation and facilitating their use by bona fide researchers.’ and that ‘Records of member churches, organisations and individuals related to the denomination and to Baptist work generally may also be accepted by the Archives.’ In the case of churches that cease to function, the new By-Law states that ‘The Baptist Union shall encourage [them] to transfer all records to the Archives.’

These new provisions were introduced in consultation with the Archives and it is hoped that they will not only put the denominational Archives on a firm footing, but also serve to encourage local churches to care for their records properly as well.

Anniversaries and Celebrations

A number of churches are currently marking significant anniversaries. The Minden District Baptist Church family celebrated its 130th anniversary on 22 April, 2012 with a large number of people attending a celebration service and luncheon. Greetings from local civic officials were received and as were messages from previous pastors. Some of the long-standing families of this historic German Baptist church were well represented, including members of the Truloff, Lehmann, Sippel, Schumann and Schulz families.

Windsor Road Baptist Church marked its 135th anniversary on June 2-3 with elaborate celebrations including an open day on the Saturday and a service and lunch on Sunday 3rd. A great deal of work was done by organisers, especially Ian and Sue McQuay, in inviting former members and friends and setting up colourful displays of the long years of the history of the church which were arranged around the inside of the church. A special background feature of the anniversary was the digitization of church records.

Nearly as old is Gympie—at 125 years; initial services took place in 1887, although the church was not formally constituted until 1889 and then lapsed before reforming some years later in 1897. Celebrations are planned for later this year. Silkstone Baptist Church celebrated its centenary with a series of events commencing last year and continuing throughout 2012. The church was formed as an outreach from Ipswich Baptist Church under the energetic leadership of Rev J C Farquhar who had the vision of establishing church in key areas of the city as it grew in strength and importance. Silkstone developed into a strong work and has continued its important ministry to the present, despite many changes in the life of the district. Nambour marks also marks a century as a constituted church, as does Rosalie, whose activities commenced almost 30 years earlier.

Rockhampton has celebrated its 150th anniversary. Carey at Bulimba can virtually claim a similar age—it was formed as a merger of Norman Park in 1967 with Bulimba; this church which was an outstation served by Wharf St and Jireh at different times, can trace its history to 1862 or possibly even earlier. Southbank (Vulture St, South Brisbane) is 140 years old.

Gatton celebrates 75 years, while anniversaries marking 60 years since work began fall this year at Deception Bay and Sunnybank while a jubilee can be marked at Innisfail.

Changes are taking place in other churches too with Lindum being absorbed by Wynnum, and Geebung, established in 1923, merging with Sandgate after 60 years as a constituted church to form a new united church. Sandgate itself is 125 years old. Another one of similar age is Rosewood which commenced as Lanefield.

This all means plenty of rejoicing and many opportunities to reflect on the pioneers and pilgrims of the past. It seems that the next sesqui-centenary to be celebrated will be Annerley which began its life in Fairfield with a church building erected in 1865. The church later relocated to its current position in Annerley and another church was commenced a short time later elsewhere in Fairfield.

History of the Senior Girls Missionary Union Published

The history of the Senior Girls Missionary Union (SGMU), has been written by Bill Hughes with the support of a number of former “senior girls”, has now been released, and is available for sale. The SGMU was a highly successful and hardworking organisation which provided financial, personal and spiritual support for overseas missionaries following its establishment in Queensland in 1924. In its earlier years the SGMU mainly supported women missionaries in India and Bangladesh, but it later expanded its work to cover other parts of the world as well.

The history covers the establishment of the SGMU, the nature of its work, the contribution of women to the work of the overseas missions and the type of missionary work that the organisation supported. A number of attachments list the main office holders of the SGMU Central Executive, SGMU membership statistics, year by year funds raised by the SGMU and the names of Queensland missionaries who served in India from 1855 to 1966

In its heyday the SGMU was supported by women at a time when many were homemakers and were not bound by involvement in paid employment. As more and more women moved into the paid workforce the numbers available for this type of missionary support work diminished and other ways of supporting missions were developed. But the work of the SGMU was quite remarkable and the history of this fairly unique organisation is well worth recording.

Copies of the history are available at a cost of $10 (plus postage where applicable) and may be obtained from Bill Hughes (07-3256 8897 or 0409 915 685) or by contacting the Queensland Baptist Archives by email at

This is just one of a number of monographs that Bill Hughes has produced. Others include “A History of the Biloela District Baptist Church”, “A History of the Gladstone Baptist Church, 1966-2011”, “The Deagon Baptist Mission”, and Gracemere Baptist Fellowship, 1991-2011”. He also wrote the centennial history of the Warwick Baptist Church which was published in 2011.

The histories of Biloela, Gladstone and Gracemere were produced as part of the Central Queensland project, for which Bill also wrote the history of Mount Morgan church (this is being revised with additional information which has recently become available). These are all available on a print-on-demand basis.