St David's Church Mossman set to open new chapter of history

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Victoria Stone-Meadows

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Father Kenneth Lay at St David's Church in Mossman that will be officially consecrated this weekend. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.
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St David’s Anglican Church in Mossman will begin a new chapter of history on Sunday evening when the building is officially consecrated by The Right Reverend Dr Keith Joseph, 11th Bishop of North Queensland.

The church has a rich history and is part of the fabric of Mossman.

It was dedicated in 1952 after the construction of the building finished but no records exist of the building ever having been consecrated.

Current Rector at the church, Father Kenneth Lay, said the church started its life in 1912 at the hands of the then Priest, Father Edward Taffs, after the original church building was flattened by the 1911 cyclone.

“This church was built between 1912 and 1952 and the priest of the day, Father Edwards Taffs, physically built the building,” he said.

“Construction stopped for the first world war, the depression, and the second world war but Father Taffs died in 1950 so he never saw it finished.

“It was in 1952 that the Bishop of Carpentaria came down and dedicated the building because there was a £6,000 debt and you can't consecrate a building that has a debt.

“The parish council minutes from 9 September 1959 show the debt was paid off in full but there is no record of a consecration ever taking place.”

The church will begin its life as a consecrated building almost exactly 60 years after it was first dedicated by the then bishop.

The dedication means the church has always operated as a functional Anglican Church but never had the step taken to be recognised as a consecrated and unencumbered building.

Consecration will not mean any changes to the way the church operates but Father Lay said the ceremony will be a positive chapter in the history of the building and the congregation of the church.

“There will be a mixture of things happening during the consecration ceremony,” he said.

“We have a new bishop and it is his first visit to the church so we will have to lock the doors and he has to ask permission to come in.

“It’s a big ceremony and what will happen is he will come in a be received by the congregation and then he consecrates the church, which is a special prayer.

“Then, at various times of the service when things are about to be used, they will be blessed. The lectern where we read from will be blessed, the pulpit where he preaches from will be blessed then used, the font will be blessed and then the altar itself will be consecrated and used for the communion.

“One of the exciting things that will happen in the service is the cross and candlesticks that belonged to Father Taffs have been donated back to the church and we will be using those for the first time.”

The service at St David’s will commence at 5.30pm on Sunday, 8 September, followed by a supper, and in keeping with the time it should have happened, some of the church folk are dressing in the style of that time.


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