A place to belong

Bill Walker and Maureen Chappell, the two longest serving members of Bellarine Peninsula Church of Christ, cut the cake for the 40th birthday celebrations. 169759

Bellarine Peninsula Church of Christ in Tareeda Way, Ocean Grove, celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special service where past and present members gathered to celebrate the milestone, travelling across the state and from interstate.
The present minister Rev Mark Simpson outlined to the congregation a brief history of the church which saw the first members meeting in 1976 in a large rumpus room of a house in Dare Street to cater for holidaymakers. This proved popular so meetings became weekly and on 19 June, 1977, the church was officially inaugurated by the then president of the Churches of Christ Conference for Victoria.
In 1980 the church moved from their home meetings at the kind invitation of the Uniting Church in Ocean Grove and shared their church on Sunday mornings. They later met in the Senior Citizens Hall and then at the little Newington Uniting Church in Wallington Road.
They bought horse stables on the Kingston estate and after the fit-out and extension they moved in to their own church in 1999 where they still meet. The congregation has blossomed despite some setbacks along the way and people have paid tribute to the influence the church had on their lives over the years.
A past pastor Rev David Wanstall (1999 to 2003) was the guest speaker and he encouraged the members to continue reaching the community. Another past minister Pastor David Taylor closed the meeting with a blessing, and a lunch followed the service where old friends and new caught up and shared stories.
Pastor Mark referred to a recent National Church Life Survey which found 100 per cent of the members felt the church was a place to belong, love and nurture, which was an extraordinary statistic.
He said the church was always open to new members and continued to seek ways of serving the community.