A snapshot of history @ Newtown Mission
The history of Newtown Mission began in 1840, with a small group of families gathering in two brick cottages on the corner of Eliza and King Street. The services were held in a room 30×12 feet which was formed by knocking down the diving wall between the two houses.
Due to tremendous growth in the congregation, the decision was made to build a new chapel. Land directly adjacent to the old chapel and school hall was purchased for a sum of 1050 pouds. The foundation stone was laid by the Hon. George Allen on 30th Sept 1859. The building, an excellent example of Wesleyan Methodist architecture, was designed by George Allen Mansfield and constructed by Thomas Abbott.
A new school hall with classrooms and caretaker residences was constructed alongside the man chapel on King Street. The old church on the corner of King and Erskineville Road was demolished to make way for the new school, and the remaining vacant land was sold to Mr Cannon.
St Peter’s Tempe church united with Newtown Methodist Church
During World War 1, 108 members of the congregation in the war.
The church employed several sisters to help with the social work in the church. Sister Ruth Hurst did splendid work in the schools and amongst the women of the mission from 1921 to 1938.
The church was specifically designated a Mission church. The Depression of the 1930s saw much unemployment, and families were being evicted as they were unable to pay rent. Newtown had become working class and the gentry had moved to the surrounding suburbs.
During the 40s and 50s, the chuch was a hub of social activities for the community. The school hall was used as a gymnasium, scouts and guides meeting place and a youth club. The church hall was in use every day of the week.
The Presbyterian and Congregational church united with the Methodist Church to form the Uniting Church. Newtown Methodist Church because Newtown Mission Uniting Church.
The church was characterized by a strong evangelistic focus, emphasis on counselling, rehabilitation, prison ministry, welfare, healing and education. “Messiah College” was founded by Pastor Con Stamos and provided students with a strong foundation in biblical discipleship.
During the ministry of Rev Phil Marshall, the Cornerstone Café was established, featuring live music and a resident band every Saturday night. The employment Initiative program helped provide skills and confidence for people preparing to enter the workforce. And the Tongan worship service was established.
Annandale Creative Arts Centre was established. It was a home to a variety of creative collectives.