AFTER MORE than 120 years, the Uniting Church at Kennedy Terrace, Paddington closed on Sunday 23 December.
Now a Cleveland Uniting Church member, John Whitlock commenced attending the Kennedy Terrace Sunday School at the age of three on 16 May 1937.
“Memories really do fade as you get older, but coming together like we did to the place where we grew up, certainly brought back some memories that had probably been long forgotten.
“It was a service of thanksgiving, but also became a service of rejoicing as we were able to rekindle old friendships,” he said.
Mr Whitlock said the kindergarten met in the larger section under the Church building, and sat on little stained wooden chairs with small tables and sand trays where they were allowed to position the figures in the sand.”
“Latecomers were able to look through the side windows and make faces at us.
“We looked forward to the day when we would be old enough to go over to the ‘big’ Sunday School which met in the hall, because we would then be one of the big kids.”
Mr Whitlock said the large green and black motor for the Church organ was just inside the door of the under-church section.
“If the organ motor ceased to work, the organ had to be pumped by hand behind the actual organ, and we boys would enthusiastically volunteer to do the pumping, solely because it got us out of singing.
“At Kennedy Terrace we had a Decision Sunday each year, and I committed my life to Jesus Christ at a very early age, and I rededicated my life each year thereafter.”
Mr Whitlock was encouraged to become a local preacher at Kennedy Terrace and first assisted in a church service in 1952.
“I conducted my first service on Sunday 29th November, and on looking now at the notes from my early services, I realise how much the people of this Church tolerated.
“The local preachers of this Church took me into the pulpit with them, encouraging and giving me training by announcing the hymns and reading the scriptures.”
Mr Whitlock said he was truly thankful for the Kennedy Terrace Church and its people.
“The Church may be closing, but its influence will live on for ever in the lives of lots of people.”
Photo : Kennedy Terrace Uniting Church has closed. Photo by Mardi Lumsden