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History - Canberra National Seventh Day Adventist Church

In the early 1950s the Canberra Seventh Day Adventist Church consisted of 18 charter members meeting in various places. In November 1958 with a membership of around 50, a building was opened and dedicated as the church building (now the church hall). During the 1960s the church membership grew to around 170, and in 1969 the Woden SDA church was formed.

In the late 1960s the SDA’s formed a building and finance committee to look into the need for a new church building with meeting and service rooms. "Ken Woolley of Ancher Mortlock and Woolley"

The existing late 1950s building which they had been using as a church was to be retained as the church hall. Woolley researched the basic beliefs of the SDA Church and was provided with a brief, by the building committee, which outlined the needs of the Church based on a typical Sabbath morning service. Woolley prepared plans for the church and in May 1970, with some changes suggested by the building committee, it was agreed to proceed based on the final sketch plans and model.

The design of the church combines concepts in contemporary church architecture with a symbolic design that reflects the beliefs of the SDA congregation. The design is influenced by a number of considerations: the site and its context; the requirements of the congregation; and current trends in architecture and specifically modern church architecture. The design has, in part, been influenced by the material and form of the 1950s building which it replaced. It uses the colour of the red brown bricks and its design reflects, in part, and on a larger scale, the roof line of half of the earlier church building, using the same angle but to a greater height.

The high plain brick wall with windows at the top, facing Gould Street served a number of purposes. It presented a design to Gould Street which does not compete with or overpower the next door Lutheran Church, the wall focuses the attention around the corner to the front of the SDA church on Macleay Street, and the high wall served the aesthetic, practical and symbolic purpose of providing light from above. The design created an inward-looking group of buildings with space for people to gather inside and outside, with a protected courtyard.

The design of the church is also based on and inspired by the SDA doctrine and the absence of much ritual in the service. The liturgy emphasises baptism (focussed on immersion), preaching, singing and discussion. The interior of the church is white, reflecting purity and providing the church with plenty of light. The familiar cross is avoided in the design but can be seen in the form of the pulpit.

Baptism is a key element of the SDA doctrine and baptism is given a prominent position in the design of the church. Woolley emphasised this ritual with the prominent baptismal structure, with a light from above, and the immersion font below. The building itself can be seen as rising out of the water, with the church buttresses rising out of the pool of water in the courtyard. Each person entering the church also symbolically walks in under the level of the water in the pool.

The pool itself provides an interesting moving light reflection on the ceiling of the church. The reflective pool softens the internal light as well as mediating between the internal and external spaces. The dramatic use of light in the interior space highlighting its symbolic functions.

The simple landscape treatment accepted the existing landscape of wide lawns and rows of deciduous trees. A few plane trees are located to Macleay Street.

The church was officially opened and dedicated on 27 November 1971. A plaque marking the opening is located in the church entrance foyer.

In 1989 landscaping to Gould Street was undertaken with a number of trees being planted. In 1993 the church interior was renovated with new carpet, blinds, fans, gas heating and new sound system installed. The seats to the choir were removed and the pews re-finished. Rocks and the bird sculpture have been added to the pool. The link building had a new metal deck roof in 1997. In 1998 the kitchen was renovated.

The SDA Church, Turner was awarded the ACT Chapter of the RAIA Twenty Five Year Award 1996 in recognition of the architectural significance of the building when designed and that the building has continued, over the twenty five year period to demonstrate its architectural qualities. In 2001 the link building was extended, in a style to match its design to provide a youth hall. In 2001 the church membership is around 250.

Past Ministers

Eric Clark (1956-1959)

David Brennan (1960-1963)

Bryce Andrews (1964-1965)

Calvin Townend (1966-1969)

Ray Trim (1970-1971)

Les Blair (1972-1974)

Allan Walshe (1975)

George Best (1976-1978)

William Gerkin (1979)

Graeme Bradford (1980)

Cyril Brown (1981-1982)

Bruce Manners (1983-1986)

Warren Price (1987-1994)

Andre Van Rensburg (1995-2001)

Dale Arthur (2002 - 2007)

Clansi Rogers (2007 - 2011)

Ray Hinton (2008)

Sid Griffith (2009-2013)

Brendon Hayes (2012-2016)

Rjako Celic - (2014-2017)

Justin Lawman, (2017- 2020)

Akhil Ashtaputre, (2018 - 2021)

Andrew Layland, Senior Pastor (2021 - 2022)

Andrew Wilson, (2021 - 2022)

Phil Gates,  (2022)

Nick Chan, (2021 - 2022)

Ben Kosmeier  (2023 - present)

1-3 MacLeay St Turner ACT 2612

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