St Luke's Anglican Church in Enmore a lively, inclusive welcoming liturgical community

History (Page 19)

A History of St Luke’s Enmore.

St. Luke’s Enmore:- recently painted.

Moya Holle has begun a Church History. Additions will be made as they are compiled. This page was last updated on August 4, 2004

Click Here for A Complete List of Rectors of St Luke’s Enmore and St Augustine’s Stanmore

Contents of Chapter One: The Early Years

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Dispute over parish boundaries
  • 1.3 Pew rents as a source of income
  • 1.4 The present church building is erected
  • 1.5 The Rector requests the parish pays his rent
  • 1.6 Highlights from the Vestry Meetings of 1882

Contents of Chapter Two: 1960-1965 Christ Church becomes St Luke’s

  • 2.1 Christ Church in Decline
  • 2.2 The Appointment of Brother John Green
  • 2.3 Christ Church Becomes St Luke’s
  • 2.4 St Luke’s Deviates from the Prayer Book
  • 2.5 Archbishop Gough Unhappy with St Luke’s Worship
  • 2.6 Church Building is Renovated
  • 2.7 The Ladies’ Guild
  • 2.8 Significant changes to the Church’s interior
  • 2.9 Candlesticks Not Permitted
  • 2.10 A New Stimulus at St Luke’s: ABM Training College
  • 2.11 A Revitalised Choir
  • 2.12 St Luke’s Emerges From Testing Times
  • 2.13 Brother John Departs

Chapter One – the first three years
1.1 Introduction

The Church of England Parish of Enmore was first dedicated as Christ Church, with the current dedication to St Luke not until eighty years later in 1963.

The first registered church service of the Church of England in Enmore was held on Sunday June 20, 1880 in a weatherboard building on the Fotheringham Street site, not far from the present church site, which was purchased in 1882.

The rector of that service and Christ Church Enmore’s inaugural rector was the Reverend William H Ullman. Mr Ullman was the incumbent for almost three years until returning to England in December 1882.

1.2 Dispute over Parish Boundaries

The establishment of the new parish of Enmore was neither a smooth nor an easy process, with the boundaries of the new parish hotly disputed for almost a year throughout 1880. It was not until December 1880 that the dispute was finally settled.

In essence, the dispute was territorial, with the rector of All Saints Petersham arguing that Enmore’s western boundary should be at Holt Street rather than Merchant Street, which Mr Ullman contended was the point of equidistance between the two churches (he even paced out the distances!). Ultimately the newer Parish of Enmore was forced to accept the closer Merchant Street boundary. For details of the dispute, click here.

1.3 Pew Rents as a source of income

A substantial source of income for the church came from pew rent, which was paid by Seatholders. The payment entitled Seatholders to sit in a specific pew (with their names on it), as well as bestowing the right to elect churchwardens and synod representatives. The management of the parish was undertaken by the wardens, and there was no Parish Council.

At the first recorded meeting of churchwardens (in July 1880), it was noted that 57 Pounds, 19 shillings, and 5 pence had been received from both pew rent and offertory collections. By August 1882, 148 sittings (pews) had been let for 78 Pounds and 15 shillings.

The first churchwardens were Messrs WT Angus (rector’s warden, and described as a coachbuilder of Cambridge Street), Thomas F Thompson, and Walter J Barker. The first lay synod representatives of the parish were WT Angus and Francis Watkins (a manager of the United Insurance Co.)

1.4 The Present Church Building is Erected

The next year, 1882, was a tumultuous and busy one for all associated with the Parish of Enmore. The land at Fotheringham Street was sold and the present site on Enmore Road purchased. Work on building the new church began soon after, and the Laying of Foundation Stone took place on Saturday 4th March 1882. The offertory was 34 Pounds towards the Building Fund. It took less than three months to complete the church building (which was opened in 18 June 1882), with land, buildings and furniture costing over 3 200 Pounds ( click here for details).

1.5 Mr Ullman requests the parish pays his rent.

Since there was no rectory, Mr Ullman was required to rent a house, which was paid from his stipend. The rent was reluctantly paid by the Ullmans, and amounted to a sum of 87 pounds per year. In March 1882, Mr Ullman wrote to the Churchwardens requesting “a decision with reference to payment of house rent as there was no prospect of a parsonage being built.” With WT Angus absent, the remaining two churchwardens were divided on the matter, so decision was deferred until Mr Angus’ “arrival in the Colony”. Finally on his return in April 1882, it was decided that “considering the present state of the funds at the disposal of the Churchwardens, it would be inadvisable to comply with the request”. (Minute Book – Churchwardens’ Meetings).

Mr Ullman was later given an Easter Offering of 20 Pounds, after a meeting of Seatholders and other members of the congregation, at which time there were indications that Mr Ullmann’s health was not good.

Later in the year, Mr Ullman again requested rent payments of the churchwardens, but again he was refused, with the wardens indicating they had no money, since offertories had fallen, and that “considering ordinary average stipends paid to other clergy ….(it was) inadvisable to make an increase. St Phillips were also approached for additional stipendiary funds, after which St Phillips Glebe contributed 50 Pounds to the stipend for that year.

1.6 Highlights from the Vestry Meetings of 1882

At a vestry meeting in June 1882, the Seat holders’ grip on their pews is loosened. A motion was carried that after the opening of the new Church, “all seats should be considered free after the answer in the Prayer Book ‘O Lord make hast to help us’ instead of after the commencement of the Psalms as at present.” This motion meant that now anyone could sit in any of the pews from that particular point in the Service – usually Morning or Evening Prayer from the Prayer Book.

In December 1882 at a special vestry meeting, there was a long conversation regarding the resignation of the choir, which was the probable cause of a number of Seat holders giving notice of leaving the Church. It is also noted that Mr Senior gave Ten Pounds for the Organist’s salary and stated that he was thinking of leaving the Church. Mr Ogden resigned as Clergyman’s Churchwarden, giving his reasons.

It was the close of the first chapter in the life of the Parish of Christ Church Enmore.

Chapter Two: 1960-1965 Christ Church Becomes St Luke’s

2.1 Christ Church in Decline(click for details)

The inner city suburbs in the 1960’s were in a state of decline, and its churches were no exception as newly weds moved to the outer suburbs of Epping, Chester Hill, Bankstown, Greenacre and Penshurst. Those remaining were the long-established elderly residents and those in need of cheap of boarding-house accommodation.

The Parish of Christ Church Enmore suffered from the population shift and was finding it difficult to stay viable, with Rector, the Revd. Lloyd Newton, raising the matter on at least two occasions with blunt warnings in the Parish Messenger. Continuing lack of money meant it was difficult to maintain the church properties adequately. The future of Enmore Parish was in the balance.

Eventually it was decided that Christ Church Enmore would come under the care of the Rector of All Saints Petersham, whose Rector was the Revd Eric Champion, and who would be assisted by a Curate.

2.2 The Appointment of Brother John Green (click for details)

The Curate appointed by Eric Champion was Brother John Green, who would transform the parish into what we now know as St Lukes Enmore. Brother John had the gift of imparting to the worship at the Eucharist a sense of awe and wonder. Parishioners began to come to his week-day Masses, and the Church building was left open for daily prayer. It was proposed to create a Chapel for week-day services. The early challenge Brother John gave the Parish was “we have to serve as missionaries together – there will have to be changes”. He likened the Parish situation to the “few” in the Upper Room.

2.3 Christ Church Becomes St Luke’s (click for details)

It was at this time that the name of the parish changed from Christ Church to St Luke’s, with the change part of the metamorphosis of the Enmore Parish, the effects of which are still easily recognisable today. For a number of years the Churches of Christ denomination had had a high profile in Enmore, with many confusing the Anglican Christ Church, Enmore with the Churches of Christ. After lengthy discussions, it was finally decided that the parish be dedicated anew, to St Luke. In June 1963, the Archbishop issued the required Faculty for the name change as from St Luke’s Day, October, 1963.

2.4 St Luke’s Deviates from the Prayer Book (click for details)

Deviations from the Prayer Book were the cause of a stern rebuke from the Archbishop of Sydney to John Green shortly after his arrival in the Parish. The Archbishop was informed that the Services proposed in the 1928 Prayer Book for Holy Baptism and Holy Matrimony were being used and the New English Bible for the lessons. The Gloria in Excelsis was omitted during Advent and Lent, emphasising the penitential of these two Seasons.

The Archbishop was told of the 1963 Easter Vigil which had been celebrated with the lighting of the Pascal Candle. Evensong had been said before the Vigil Ceremonies. Archbishop Gough responded by permitting some deviations, but referring others back to Brother John.

2.5 Archbishop Gough Unhappy with St Luke’s Worship click for details

The omitting of the Gloria in Advent and Lent was to the Archbishop a thoroughly undesirable practice. Although Penitential Seasons, Archbishop Gough reasoned that was all the more cause for using the words of the Gloria as an expression of our thankfulness and praise for the forgiveness of our sins and the assurance of our redemption which comes to us in the Sacrament.

The Archbishop asked Brother John to abide by the regulations of the Diocese, or else he would no longer visit the Parish. Easter Services continued to be significant events in the life of the Parish as did the Christmas Eve Service, which was attended by large numbers.

2.6 Church Building is Renovated click for details

Renovations to the Church building were an urgent priority. The altar was moved forward towards the congregation and in front of it three steps were erected. This arrangement allowed for a number of ‘ministers’ to participate in the festival services at Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and St Luke’s tide.

Renovations were made to the Church roof with 750 slates on the church roof replaced, electrical repairs were undertaken and the back fence was replaced. Much of this work was done voluntarily by some of the parishioners, under the leadership of Gordon Green, Brother John’s brother.

The interior walls of the Church were painted free of charge by Charles Giddings from Petersham, and it was discovered the floor was in danger of collapse due to white ants. This required that three quarters of the timber floor joists be replaced and the floor re-timbered. Work was done at week-ends and nights under the guidance of Gordon Green, Norman Ross and Albert Schwer.

Despite so much voluntary labour, money was required for the large number of repairs needed to the buildings. Where will the money come from?

2.7 The Ladies’ Guild click for details

The Ladies’ Guild was an organisation that had been in existence for very many years, raising money for the Church. Shortly after Brother John’s arrival a second women’s group was formed – the Christ Church Women’s Club – whose objectives were the social, educational and spiritual development of members. In 1966 the two women’s groups had merged into one women’s organisation. The Parish Fete was the main method of fund raising between the year 1963 and 1967, with the Ladies Guild combining with other Parish organisations to run this annual event. In 1963, the 380 Pounds was raised. In 1964 the proceeds fell to 280 Pounds, with 280 Pounds raised in 1965. In 1966 the amount reached $725.68.

Parish Concerts and drama performances were another means of raising money, further stimulating and developing the growing social life within the Parish.

2.8 Significant changes to the Church’s interior click for details

As repairs to the church were to be undertaken, there was the opportunity to alter the interior layout of the Church. The altar was against the wall; the communion rails; then choir pews facing each other; further a space (transept) across the width of the church, next the pews for the congregation.

There were four principal elements in the proposal:

(1) The sanctuary was to be enlarged and included a new Holy Table 9 feet by 2 feet 9 inches with four legs and covered by a frontal placed there;

(2) the choir was to be re-sited on the North side in the space between the front pews of the nave and the Communion rails;

(3) a side chapel for week-day use, with seating for 6 was to be established in the south corner of the building and the Holy Table, formerly in the sanctuary was to be placed there;

(4) the Communion rails were brought 13 feet closer to the Nave.

Several anonymous complaints regarding alterations to the interior of the Church were made to the Diocesan authorities as the changes were under way, but an inspection of three Archdeacons confirmed that the work accorded with the Faculty that had been granted.

2.9 Candlesticks Not Permitted click for details

Some months later, the Archbishop reminded Brother John Green that a Diocesan Ordinance did not permit the use of candlesticks in a Church. The decision as to whether they stayed in Enmore Parish Church was left to Brother John. They remained. The candlesticks had been placed on the altar for the first Easter celebration taken by Brother John. As the Parish was not very financial second-hand candlesticks had been purchased for six pounds.

2.10 A New Stimulus at St Luke’s: ABM Training College click for details

A new stimulus to the life of St Luke’s Church occurred in 1964, when the ABM Training College, which began in the 1930’s decided to make St. Luke’s its Parish Church. The College was situated at (The House of the Epiphany) in Cambridge Street, Stanmore, the College Chaplain then was the Revd John Holle, with his wife Moya Holle, the Matron. They, together with the missionary trainees attending the College became a regular part of St Luke’s worshipping congregation. Prior to that, in the time of the former Warden, the College members had gone to All Saints at Petersham.

Many strong links were forged with these missionaries and the staff of ABM, of whom the Revd. Ken Munns was later to become the first elected Rector of the combined Parish of St Luke’s Enmore with St Augustine’s Stanmore. The Parish Youth Group became affiliated with ABM’s youth organisation, the Comrades of St George, who were committed to the missionary work of the Church.

2.11 A Revitalised Choir click for details

The Choir was revitalised in 1965, with the appointment of Alan Munday as the organist and choirmaster. The previous, organist Mr W.C. Scurr had been appointed in 1961. In 1965, at the age of ninety years, he resigned to take up a position at St Stephen’s Newtown. Mr Scurr died in 1973 at the Stanmore Nursing Home, aged 98 years. The Choir was very faithful; practicing before Evensong and then singing Evensong.

2.12 St Luke’s Emerges From Testing Times click for details

In 1965, parishioners indicated they wished to manage Parish affairs without outside help. However a request for a return to full Parish status was not granted, with the request premature due to insufficient funds. Later, it was clear that the Parish status was to be restored, but with features that were to present their own special difficulties.

2.13 Brother John Departs click for details

Regrettably, for the Parish, the Diocesan authorities did not extend Brother John’s time at Enmore. Four years to the very Sunday after he arrived in Enmore Parish, Brother John left Sydney to work in the Diocese of Brisbane. Brother John was to say many years later – “for me, those four short years were the happiest and most fulfilled years of my whole life; and I have never ceased to thank the Lord that he made it possible for me to enter into the lives of those good and Christian folk at St Luke’s Enmore.” Over thirty years later, it is true to say that the dynamism – the work of the Holy Spirit – that brought about the emergence of ‘St Luke’s’ from the old ‘Christ Church’ has continued. The Church in Enmore was never the same after 1963.

Listen Quiet Day

Saturday 4 March 2017 – Listen Quiet Day. St John’s Church Balmain 10:00 a.m. in the Church and grounds, led by Revd Keith Dean-Jones OGS, Rector of Bundaberg (Diocese of Brisbane), Australian Provincial of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd. Enquiries 9755 9181,

Guest speaker

Sunday 19 February 2017. Our Guest speaker will be Ms Julie Sneddon from the Cana Communities. Cana Communities works with the disadvantaged in inner Sydney providing food, shelter, and overnight accommodation.

Parish Retreat at the Stroud Hermitage

There will be a Parish Retreat at the Stroud Hermitage on the weekend of 3-5 March 2017. If you are interested in being part of this special weekend please complete the expression of interest on the back page as soon as possible. Once we know who is likely to come, we can plan the program.

Requiem Mass for Brian Rawnsley

Friday 3rd February at 11:00 a Requiem Mass for Brian Rawnsley will be held at St Luke’s. We extend our sincere sympathy to Janet Widmer and family.


THEATRE PARTY A NEW Australian Musical LADIES IN BLACK. Star City Lyric Theatre – 8 pm Wednesday 18 January Cost $80. Let John Roe know by 13 November if you are interested 0400955772 or