THE PORT Augusta Uniting Church turns 150 this month, with celebrations to be held over the March 25-26 weekend.
Celebrations will begin with a dinner on the Saturday night, before a special church service on Sunday morning is followed by a light lunch in the church hall.
Jim Hayward, Graham Bull and Norm Heath expect about 100 people to gather for the milestone, including over 40 from out of town.
Mr Hayward, whose father was a Methodist Minister, said the celebration is a great opportunity to celebrate all the people that have contributed to the church.
“Some people aren’t here anymore but we will remember their names with great affection, while some are coming back next week and they’ll bring us more stories,” he said.
The church opened its doors for services for the first time on March 31, 1867 – 11 years after Reverend William Richards arrived in Port Augusta and held a meeting to appoint a church-building committee.
The church became the first united Methodist church in all of Australia in 1897 when Bible Christian and Wesleyan Methodists joined together.
Mr Bull and Mr Heath were both on the restoration committee in 1985 when $300,000 was raised by parishioners to rebuild the entire foundation of the church using 66,000 bricks.
Mr Heath said the church is defined by two key components – both the building and the population that congregates inside it.
“I'm looking forward to meeting with some of the people that when I was a young bloke were contributing to my attitude to life today,” he said.
“They were people that I looked up to and respected. Their values, not just in faith but in living, have affected the way I am as an older man now.”
The three men agreed that the best thing about the Uniting Church is the family environment, with people gathering to worship their faith in a friendly and caring environment. Mr Bull, who battled cancer in October 2016, was grateful for the support he received from the Uniting Church community during the difficult time.
“When I was in hospital I had four ministers come and see me,” he said.
“Now one lady that ministered for me when I had cancer is going through the same thing and I’ve been able to support her and she has been very appreciative.”