New Hammondville Sunday service rekindles an 80-year chapel tradition

Hammondville Sunday church service rekindledWhen Archdeacon Bob Hammond established his 1930s rent-buy homes scheme at Hammondville for battling families, he made sure there would be regular Sunday church worship in the local Brasnett Community Hall.

On Sunday 7 February 2021, that long tradition of worship will be rekindled at Hammondville with the launch of HammondGrove Community Church in the lounge area of the Village Centre. The services, to be held fortnightly at 4pm, are intended to serve the residents of Hammondville’s Independent Living Units community as well as other residents who wish or are able to attend.

HammondCare Pastoral Care Coordinator, Pastor Ian Wooley, who is overseeing the services, said the new church will replace regular Sunday services dating back decades formerly in the Bond House chapel. Those Sunday services run by a rotating roster of clergy from nearby churches were paused due to pandemic lockdown.

Pastor Wooley said the lifting of restrictions presented an opportunity to give the HammondGrove residents their own church community. “The service will not be run according to any specific denominational tradition and will include elements of church services we all know and enjoy – singing, praying, fellowship, Bible reading and preaching,” Pastor Wooley said.

“Everyone will be made welcome.

“Many of the ILU residents are anxious about venturing too far at the moment due to the pandemic so this will suit their needs.”

Back in the1930s, volunteers from Hammond’s St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway, would travel each week to Hammondville to ensure those services went ahead. This continued with the completion of St Anne’s Anglican Church in late 1940.

According to Meredith Lake’s history of HammondCare, Faith in Action, Hammond established the Pioneer Homes scheme as he wanted the residents to have the opportunity to “develop as God’s children”, as well as have an opportunity to pay off a house. Setting up regular worship services was part of that vision.

Chapel services were held onsite when residential aged care services were established with Bond House, which included a chapel.

John Hall, an ordained Uniting Church minister, has been attending the Bond House chapel Sunday services for more than 40 years, even running some services. His wife Margaret plays the organ. Rev Hall said he and his wife are looking forward to being part of the new HammondGrove Community Church on Sunday.

“Whenever you led the service back in the 1980s you would pray beforehand with Matron Birt,” Rev Hall fondly recalls.

HammondCare Head of Pastoral Care and Volunteer Services Rev Andrew Nixon said the service would have much in common with the HammondGrove Community Church established for ILU residents in Miranda in early 2020. “Both groups are encouraged and excited by the existence of the other,” Rev Nixon said.

“There has been Sunday services in some shape or form dating back to the beginnings of Hammondville. It’s great for us to be continuing that grand tradition.”

He said the new church would be about re-establishing a fully-functioning faith community at Hammondville.