the Church in the Village
Mudgeeraba Uniting, affectionately known as ‘the church in the village’, is a small church with a big heart. We’re big on following Jesus. We’re big on serving our local community and the wider world. We’re big on believing in the transforming power of the gospel to bring real change into people’s lives and circumstances. We’re big on taking the Bible seriously. We’re big on offering to God our worship which is Christ-centred, sincere and dynamic. But we are also a small church, where it’s easy to make friends; where people know one another well enough to care for each other.
This church has been a part of the Mudgeeraba community for over 125 years, formerly as a Presbyterian church, before the Uniting Church came into being. The little chapel, believed to be the oldest on the Gold Coast, remains in its original location on the property where it is still used for traditional worship and as a place of quiet prayer.
What We Believe
We are part of the Uniting Church which is a uniquely Australian Church formed in 1977 by the union of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational denominations. At the time of union the church prepared a founding document called the Basis of Union, which forms the basis of our beliefs. You can read it here.
If you would like to know more about the Uniting Church in Australia you can read it here.
Consistent with our Uniting Church heritage we stand in the evangelical and reformed tradition and hold an orthodox faith position. Briefly put, we believe that:
- God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, known in three persons.
- the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the primary way in which we hear him.
- on the cross Jesus bore our sins as an atoning sacrifice; if we confess him as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved and will share in the resurrected (eternal) life. (cf 1 John 4: 7-10 and Romans 10: 5-13)
- the church is the body of Christ and that each member has a gift from the Holy Spirit and there is no gift without its corresponding service. (cf 1 Corinthians 12)
- we are called, according to the commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 , to go into all the world to make disciples.
- we are called according to the message of Jesus in Matthew 25: 31-46 to care for the community, especially the disadvantaged and underprivileged.
Our vision & Values
Drawing on the mission of the pioneers of our past and looking to the future we seek to fulfil the Great Commission expressed by Jesus in Matthew 28 and Acts 2: 42-47. Our vision is to be a loving Christ-centred community caring for and serving Mudgeeraba and beyond. Our mission is to be a church community that
- desires to know Christ and make him known
- builds a community of believers
- empowers people to proclaim the Gospel and serve the community
Our nine values that underpin our vision are:
- Biblical Worship
- Devoted Prayer
- Christ-led Transformation
- Empowering Leadership
- Passionate caring
- Intergenerational Connection
- Inviting Hospitality
- Daring Faith
- Bold Outreach
We’ve been around a long time. In 2015 the Mudgeeraba Uniting Church Chapel celebrated its 125th birthday. The first service was held here in July or August 1890, and it’s been a centre of worship ever since. The chapel also served as the first primary school in the district. We’ve expanded into a second building since that time, and we’ve added the Community Care Op Shop ‘Queenslander’ and the old Bank to the site.
The site has changed quite a bit, but our willingness to love and serve Jesus and the people of Mudgeeraba and surrounds hasn’t changed at all. With God’s help, we’ll still be here in 2040 to celebrate the Church’s 150th!
Please read on for more details on the early history of our church and congregation.
Early History of the Mudgeeraba Uniting Church
Brisbane Presbytery 4th April 1889
A request was read on behalf of the Presbyterians of Tallebudgera, Mudgeeraba, Nerang and Southport, to be formed into a regular congregation. The request was granted.
On April 2nd 1889 the Southport, Tallebudgera, Nerang and Mudgeeraba areas became officially known as the Southport/Tallebudgera Charge. The Rev W. Adam Smith, MA, began working in the area about September, 1889, as an agent for the Home Mission Committee, The son of a clergyman, he was born in the Parish of Towie, on Denside, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on May 1, 1824. He arrived in Brisbane in 1864.
While working in the South Coast region, Rev Smith applied frequently to the Home Mission and Christian Education Committees for financial assistance to appoint a minister, but the aid was deferred.
The acute shortage of funds meant that the Home Mission and Christian Education Committees made frequent grants to supplement Mr. Smith’s salary. Tallebudgera, Mudgeeraba and Southport appear to be the main centres in which Mr. Smith conducted his good work. Mr Smith reported in June 1890, that a new church building would soon be completed at Mudgeeraba. He continued to minister to the Tallebudgera and Southport areas until his death in 1894.
William Laver, patriarch of the present Laver and Franklin families at Mudgeeraba, donated the land upon which the Mudgeeraba Presbyterian Church was built in 1890. A church committee, headed by James Griffin Anderson, who was an Upper Mudgeeraba farmer, raised the necessary funds for the construction of the church building. A Memorandum of Agreement dated January 1, 1890, sets out the terms and conditions between the church committee and the firm of Southport builders, G. R. Hepworth and Thomas Moorman. The cost of the church building was £69/14/-. On August 2, 1890, the following article appeared in the South Queensland Bulletin.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, MUDGEERABA.
A tea meeting to celebrate the completion of the new church at Mudgeeraba was held on Friday evening, the 25th July 1890, and was a great success. The day was beautifully fine and many visitors from Tallebudgera, Southport and Nerang, favoured the meeting with their presence and expressed themselves as much pleased with the neat appearance of the building which has been finished by the contractor, Mr. Hepworth, Southport, In a workmanlike manner. The inside of the church was tastefully decorated with texts of scripture and evergreens, by Mr. Goodwin, local schoolmaster, The tables were loaded with refreshments of the best quality, and tastefully laid out and ornamented with flowers and ferns. The tables were three times filled, and ample justice was done to the excellent repast the ladies had kindly provided.
After tea, a public meeting was held, The Rev W. A. Smith, MA, who has been officiating in the district for the past ten months, was called to the chair, and apologized for the absence of the Rev James Stewart, Mr. Collins and Mr. A. M. Francis, PM, Southport, who were unable to attend. He was pleased to see, however, several ladies from Southport and Tallebudgera, who had kindly agreed to favour them with music, and hoped the meeting would be spent in an agreeable manner. Mr. Smith complimented the people in having erected so beautiful and commodious a church in Mudgeeraba, and hoped that they would regularly attend God’s house every Sabbath day, and thereby give evidence of their desire of availing themselves of their religious opportunities, and of setting a good example to their children, The secretary, Mr. Davenport, in his report stated that Mr. William Laver, senr. had kindly presented the Presbyterians with the site on which their church was erected, and that the late Mr. Daisey had given the timber at 20 per cent below cost, and that all classes of the community had liberally contributed donations. He had pleasure in informing the meeting that the church was free of debt, with the exception of a small sum for a vestry, which he hoped that the tea meeting and collection on the day the church was opened would wipe away. Several pieces of music were tastefully rendered by the combined choirs of Southport and Tallebudgera, and the Misses Birketts sang three duets in a very attractive manner, which were much appreciated, Votes of thanks were given to Mr. Goodwin for decorating the church, to the ladies who had provided the tea, to the ladies who had provided the music, and to the visitors who had attended, The meeting was closed by singing the one hundredth Psalm, and the benediction was pronounced by Mr. Smith, Thanks are due to Mr. and Mrs. 1 Andrews for their kindness in entertaining the many visitors from the various districts.
The date of the first church service held in the new Mudgeeraba Church is uncertain; however it is reasonable to assume that a service would have been held some time during the month following the above tea-meeting. Rev Smith probably rode from Southport to conduct the regular monthly services, and the first couple reportedly married in the church was Mr. and Mrs. S. Andrews (date unknown).
By 1892, there were enough children living in the vicinity of the church for the Department of Public Instruction to permit the establishment of a provisional school. To comply with government regulations, it was the responsibility of intending parents to provide suitable premises for a schoolroom. Lacking any other suitable dwelling, ‘Mudgeeraba Lower Provisional School’ commenced in the church on March 31,1892. Clifford Curtis was the first teacher and a total of thirty two children enrolled in the school during the first year.
It was difficult to find ministers to work in the spread-out areas of the south coast region, and for a time the future of the local Presbyterian Church was uncertain. After Rev Smith’s death in 1894, Rev D. Watkins serviced the area for a few months.
The Home Mission Committee provided Southport with irregular services until 1898, courtesy of visiting ministers from the Brisbane Presbytery and the Lay Preachers Association. However a service was held every six weeks, graduating to monthly, at Tallebudgera. Rev A. Chapman was appointed in 1898 and he serviced the area until 1900.