On 2 February 1964 at Watson Primary School, the first worship service of the new congregation of the still un-named Presbyterian Church in the Watson and Hackett suburbs was attended by 106 adults and 87 children. What was to become St Margaret’s Uniting Church was born.
On 1 and 2 February 2014 St Margaret’s will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Saturday evening dinner and book launch, and a special worship service at 10.30am on the Sunday followed by a special morning tea. All are welcome to attend the Sunday events.
The church is truly blessed with a central position in the northern suburbs of Canberra. Located at the corner of Antill Street and Phillip Avenue, it is right at the cross-roads and shares the site with Holy Cross Anglican Church. The site also has become the home of three very successful and important community programs initiated by St Margaret’s – Meg’s Toybox, Stepping Stones For Life, and Ross Walker Lodge.
The people who have comprised the St Margaret’s community over the years have been many. At the start they primarily resided in the suburbs of Hackett, Watson and Downer. Now the majority live in suburbs of Belconnen, but still have a great sense of belonging to a community. Many past members have moved elsewhere, but frequently have retained a strong connection. Many have responded to an invitation to return for the anniversary celebrations.
As well as the past members who will join the celebrations with current congregation members, there will be a number of special guests. Rev Jan Alblas played an important role in St Margaret’s early days. In 1963 he was appointed to initiate steps for a congregation to cover the Watson-Hackett area. Rev Alblas was then Minister of St Aidan’s in Red Hill. He will be present at the celebrations, together with the first Minister of the St Margaret’s congregation, Rev Don Erickson. Also attending will be other past Ministers, including Rev Paul Cameron and Rev Paul Swadling, as well as Rev Barbara Allen who went on to become an ordained Minister elsewhere after being a candidate from St Margaret’s. The first couple married by the first Minister (at All Saints as St Margaret’s buildings had not been completed) will also be attending.
The Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and the ACT, Rev Brian Brown will also be a special guest, preaching at the service and launching the book that has been published for the occasion. “Reflecting on 50 Years: 1964-2014” is not a formal history. Rather it is a collection of written pieces and photographs that reflect in various ways on the journey and achievements of St Margaret’s over its fifty years.