50th Jubilee in Box Hill, Victoria

Jun 8, 2021 | Events

The first divine services in Melbourne were conducted in the Footscray area in the early 1950’s. As more migrants arrived, and the membership grew, a mission was established in the suburb of Mitcham, located on the other side of the city. Subsequently, services were conducted in English on Sunday mornings in Footscray, and in German on Sunday evenings in Mitcham.

The hall in Mitcham became unsuitable over time, and in the early 1960’s the congregation moved to another venue in Blackburn and, soon after, to a hall in Burwood.

Some years later it was decided that a more permanent location should be found, and so a parcel of land was purchased in preparation for the building of a new church for the congregation.  First, however, it was necessary to demolish the existing house that stood on the block, and many members sacrificed their time to assist with this task.  Once construction was completed, many hands again made light work of the finishing touches required, including the establishment of the gardens.

On November 22, 1970, the church in Box Hill was dedicated by District Apostle Otto Gerke, who was accompanied by Apostle Eric De Lisen.  The rector at this time was Priest Rudolf Braun.  Since that time the congregation has been supported by a number of rectors: Evangelist Horst Lethaus, District Elder Geoff Barker, Evangelist Hans-Peter Hoppner, Evangelist Derrick Yon, and Evangelist Kevin Malan.  The current rector of the Box Hill congregation is Priest Keith Riddle.

A number of further congregations have been established as a result of missions supported by the Box Hill congregation, including the Croydon and Hallam congregations.

Due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns, the celebration of the 50th jubilee was put on hold until earlier this year.  In April, District Apostle Schulte took advantage of the reduced restrictions to travel to Melbourne, where he conducted the festive divine service.  On this occasion he was joined by Apostle Lodewick.  At the conclusion of the service the congregation enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship together.