Uniting Church’s final service

The doors close for the final time at St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Tumut on Saturday.

Over 170 years of tradition in Tumut came to an end on Saturday when the Tumut Uniting Church held its final service.

The church was virtually full on what was a stunning winter’s day, and many had come from far and wide.

Gay Kell, a parishioner at the church for 62 years, said the day was nice but sad.

“It is always sad when something ends, but it was good to see everyone there,” she said.

“I was quite astonished to see how many were there.”

People came from as far as Wagga, Canberra and Sydney. Not everyone who wanted to come was able to do so.

“We had some apologies from people who ended up with Covid,” Mrs Kell said.

It was an extra special occasion for Mrs Kell as many she had taught at Sunday school as youngsters were there.

“It was great to see the Sunday school kids,” she said.

After the doors were closed for the final time, an afternoon tea was held in the hall.

“There was lots of talking and reminiscing,” Mrs Kell said.

The St Stephen’s Uniting (Presbyterian) Church, Tumut had its beginnings about 1849, with early services held in the Police Station. The first Presbyterian Church was built on the corner of Herbert Street and Russell Street, and was opened on April 6, 1856.

The current building dates back to 1877.

It was announced in May that due to a decline in active membership, the church would cease its services.

All church buildings located at the Wynyard Street site will continue to be maintained by the Riverina Presbytery of the Uniting Church – as the church owns the buildings.

Mrs Kell said that the church would still be able to hold weddings and funerals, and that the Tumut Community Pantry would continue to operate as usual out of the hall.

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