Springwood's Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church celebrates 125 years

August 17 marks 125 years since the foundation stone and four memorial stones were laid at the magnificent sandstone Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church in Springwood's main street.

The main portion of the church was built in just four months, opening for the first service on December 8, 1895.

Prior to this, services had been held in the lounge of the Oriental Hotel, the verandah of Braemar Lodge, and even under a clump of turpentine trees where a Cedar of Lebanon now stands - grown from a seed brought back from Lebanon by the wife of the church's benefactor, MLC John Frazer.

Reverend James McKee, a New Zealander, set up services in Springwood, travelling the 24 mile return trip from Penrith via Mitchells Pass and Lennox Bridge by horse and sulky over gravel and dirt roads.

To celebrate the 125 year anniversary, members of the church have put up a series of information boards within the church grounds, which they hope locals will peruse.

It includes an article from the now defunct Nepean Times, which reported on a grand ceremony for the laying of the foundation stone and a time capsule 125 years ago. The time capsule containing the late Mr Frazer's will, newspaper articles and a document read during the ceremony, was placed under the foundation stone. Elaborate detail is provided on who attended the ceremony, including a description of the inside of the church: "Internally the walls are plastered and tinted a soft, duck-egg green colour."

Current parishioners Roy and Muriel Carr have been attending the church for 56 years. Mr Carr recalls painting the inside of the church for eight hours a day over a 10-week period. The couple in their 80s, say it's the church community that's like a family, that has kept them there for more than five decades.

"We stayed because of the welcome we got straight away. The love and care that people showed straight away," they said.

Minister Rod Thompson presides over a congregation of 70. During the coronavirus pandemic they've been livestreaming services and more recently allowed parishioners to attend services spread among three locations on church grounds.

"It's lovely to be part of a longstanding heritage," Rev Thomspson said.

He likes the fact they are connected to Springwood's main street, and hopes this encourages people to visit.

"We are a very open church. People need to hear about God's love," Rev Thompson said.

On Saturday morning (August 15), a Scottish themed playlist of music will be broadcast, echoing the strong Scottish heritage present at the ceremony 125 years ago. Many Scottish names were present, the minister James McKee's young son wore a kilt and there was tartan bunting, which parishioners have recreated today.

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