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Photo: Ipswich City Uniting Church. Supplied.

Cornerstone of faith: historic Ipswich church celebrates 170 years

It’s been 170 years since the first service was conducted in the Wesleyan chapel in Ipswich in 1848, giving birth to a faithful congregation who have continued to serve God at the Ipswich City Uniting Church. Join the celebrations on 29 April at 2 pm, and read church council member Ruth Duncan’s reflection to find out more about this historic building and its legacy of love.

The pulse of the beating heart of any community throbs strongly where people meet the needy, the strangers in the street, those who hunger for more than food. No place would fit this description better than Ipswich City Uniting Church.

The timber Wesleyan chapel of 1848 was rebuilt in 1858 of red brick, and the congregation expanded in numbers and service to the growing “Limestone” community. This heritage church has stood proudly at the corner of Limestone and Ellenborough Streets, a symbol of its Methodist roots over the past 170 years.

Its internal beauty is revealed in the traditionally shaped sanctuary, scissor beams and magnificent stained glass windows which reflect the designs of those early settlers. The tributes expressed in the plaques and windows bear signs of service to God and nation, of how the faithful stewards of this building have been remembered.

These words remind us of how Scripture inspired their outlook in shaping the direction of their mission to the Ipswich community.

The community organisations that have grown from the original visionaries kept the God-heart of the city alive. For many years, Wesley Mission Ipswich provided outreach to the local community through management of Blue Care, Lifeline and Light Industries. The subsequent transition of Blue Care and Lifeline to UnitingCare provided our Ipswich City congregation with an opportunity to refocus its own mission.

The strength of the original Spirit-heart provides impetus now for the congregation’s connections with other community organisations continuing to meet new needs in Ipswich. It is the inspiration of the past faithful that helps us continue their dreams and visions to the future.

This church is a living organ through which sacraments are celebrated, where Christ walks and talks with the lonely and unloved, where the fresh air of the Holy Spirit invigorates and strengthens us, where broken lives are renewed and the hungry are fed with more than food.

This is the heart which beats strongly to nurture the love of God beyond the walls to the people in the streets of Ipswich City—“Finding new life together in Christ”.

Celebrating the 170th anniversary of continuous worship services in this place on 29 April at 2 pm, we invite you to join in thankfulness to God for the out-pouring of Spirit-filled work to establish a place of worship, where the gathered congregation has continued to meet in joyous fellowship.

Come to celebrate the ongoing journey!

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