End of an era in parish’s demise

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Robert Imrie, Glenys Imrie, Claire Diggins and Richard Nield from Boyup Brook's Uniting Church.
Camera IconRobert Imrie, Glenys Imrie, Claire Diggins and Richard Nield from Boyup Brook's Uniting Church. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

After 128 years of Methodist presence in the district, Boyup Brook’s Uniting Church will celebrate its final Mass this Sunday.

Because of dwindling attendances and the age of parishioners, the church will close and be turned over to the Uniting Church head office in Perth.

Glenys Imrie has been a Uniting Church member for 82 years, first in Donnybrook and then in Boyup Brook since 1951, and said she was sad to see it go.

“We just couldn’t keep going any longer,” she said.

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“Everyone is getting too old, our average age is 80 and there is only six of us left and we couldn’t keep things going.”

The first Methodist presence in the district was in 1892, with home visits being conducted by a lay preacher, who would walk from home to home conducting services.

The Boyup Brook church had strong ties to Bridgetown’s Methodist community in its early years, with ministers travelling from Bridgetown by bicycle to hold services.

The first Boyup Brook residents to be married in the church were Ted Hassett and Hazel Smith.

The church’s current parishioners will join the congregations of other denominations in Boyup Brook.

“We’re going in different directions,” Mrs Imrie said.

The remaining Uniting Church parishioners are planning on staying together as a social group, along with members who had already left the church. “We have still remained a group, meeting together quite regularly,” she said.

“We’ve become a close group.”

Despite the closure of the Uniting Church, Mrs Imrie said they were looking to the future.

“The church is just a building, the church is not the building, the building is closing, but we as members are still the church and must keep witnessing within our community,” she said.

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