1880 was a big year for Australia. Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol. We first played test cricket against England at The Oval. And the first shipment of frozen Australian mutton reached British shores (who knew!).[i]
But amidst these big events, on 1 July 1880 a humble publication was begun. It’s stated aim was: ‘to stimulate the Church to healthy action, to strengthen and uphold all that will tend to advance its best and highest interests, and to maintain truth, charity, and practical godliness within its borders’. This was the first ever edition of what later became known as the Australian Church Record.
As you read the introductory article some aspects may feel somewhat unfamiliar – the references to ‘the colony’, the fierce devotion to the church of England, the plug for the temperance movement. It’s incredible tone of optimism is also a bit rarer today amidst our modern Aussie skepticism. But others aspects are refreshingly familiar – the emphases on mission abroad, on kids ministry, on living a flourishing, scripture-soaked life serving the ‘living Lord’ Jesus Christ.
So here you are, have a read and be encouraged: the opening article of the first ever Australian Church Record – brought to you by the year 1880.
[i] Credit to onthisday.com