History

For over one hundred years, faithful souls have worshipped and served Jesus Christ as Lord and Master in the fellowship of His church in the Church of England (now Anglican) parish of St John the Evangelist, Gordon.

The site – said to be the finest piece of real estate in Gordon – was first used as a school in 1823, but it was not until 1872 that a church was built there.

The first church was built as a result of a petition sent to the Governor through the Bishop of Sydney by 36 local inhabitants. Robert Pymble, William Henry McIntosh and John Brown were appointed trustees and the land was knocked down to them for 37 pounds. The church was designed by Edmund Blacket and the foundation stone was laid on October 26, 1872.

The history of St John’s has been recorded in several publications. In 1923 a History of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Gordon, was written by Mr Henry Selkirk, FRAHS; to mark the centenary of the church in 197 a history was published by St John’s Parish Council; in 1997 the 125 Year History, edited by John C. Moon, OAM, was published. This latter publication incorporated a reprint of the centenary history. Copies are available from the Parish Office.

The history of St John’s cemetery, which adjoins the church, began earlier than the church itself, the first recorded burials having occurred in 1867. Pioneers at Peace by Jill Lyons (Spurwood Press, 1994, ISBN No. 0 646 19503 4) relates the history of the cemetery. A cemetery map and an index of burials and commemorations are included.

Together, these books provide a comprehensive record of the life and people of St John’s which, towards the end of the 19th century, was the centre of ministry for the area from Roseville to the Hawkesbury and, early in the next, sponsored the establishment of churches at Hornsby, Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Pymble, St Ives and Turramurra.

You are invited to browse the following pages, containing information and some pictorial material on specific aspects of the history of the parish.

BAPTISMAL WALL HANGING

The quilted baptismal wall hanging was presented by the members of Caritas on the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of St John the Evangelist Church, Gordon, on October 26th, 1872.

The Wall Hanging is composed of two sections:

1. The Central Panel
A “Celtic Chain” design was chosen for the central panel (mottled blue and pink material on a cream background).  This was to symbolise the linking together of God’s people through Baptism thus becoming part of God’s great spiritual family.

2. The Quilted Border 
The quilted border contains the key baptsimal symbols

THE CROSS – The Cross symbolises man’s reconciliation to God the Father, which comes through the redemptive work of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  The quilted rays of light emanating from the Cross symbolise God’s Love reaching out to all mankind.

THE DOVE – The Dove symbolises God the Holy Spirit who brings, Light, Life and Peace. The Holy Spirit’s presence is symbolised by wind and fire – and these intertwining elements are quilted to incorporate the lighted candle.

THE CANDLE – A lighted candle is presented to each Godparent at the Baptism.  The lighted candle symbolises the “passing from death into life” and is undergirded by the prayers of the congregation that the ‘newly baptised’ may shine as a ‘Light’ in this world.

THE FONT – The Font is a replica of the ceramic portable font, which holds the water consecrated for public baptism.The surrounding quilting symbolises the mystical property of the washing away of sins, and the resurrection power of walking in newness of life.

THE OIL – It was customary for Prophets, Priests and Kings to be anointed with Oil. At Baptism the Sign of the Cross is made upon the forehead with oil, symbolising that God’s favour has been bestowed, and praying that he/she will continue faithful to Christ until life’s end.

Mrs June Moon was pleased to design and complete the hanging for St John’s as a permanent reminder of the Lord’s great blessings over many years.