Our Church

The Legacy. Written by Corrie Formston (Mrs Mac)

    Excerpts reproduced with permission.
For many years while I was small and there was no church near us, the Parson used to come out from Terrigal once a month and hold services in one or other of the farmers’ houses. His visit was always a red letter day. The best china was laid out on fine linen cloth for tea, after the service. We kids were sent to wash our feet as well as our hands and faces, and at midday even! In the midst of all the work the farmers made time to observe the Sabbath. 

When the community grew in numbers sufficient to warrant such an undertaking, a church was planned. My father gave a piece of land, on which St George’s church still stands at Matcham. Many years later his first great grandson was christened there. Some of those present at the christening had been among the workers who had built the church. Since then, many of our clan have come back to that church which we call “Our Church”. 
The building of the church had been a community affair. The little wooden church still stands at the corner of three roads, sheltered by tall gum trees. I can remember the excitement of going with my Dad and Mum each time there was a working bee. The families gathered on a certain day with axes, picks and shovels, and the tools of their particular trade.  Those who were tradesmen did the part of the work best suited to their capabilities. They pitched in and did a good day’s work. while their wives and older children built the fire and cooked meals and served scalding tea in big black billies and enormous teapots; so big that they had two handles - one big one to hold and one small one above the spout to tip and pour with. The younger children played their games, climbed on the big stumps, or helped with small jobs - or just got in the way.

As would be expected, there were some arguments while “Our Church” was being built. A committee had been set up and certain responsibilities allotted, but clashes of personality led to a few harsh words at times. Notwithstanding, our church came into being and still stands, accommodating the souls who worship each Sunday at Matcham. 
 My mother crocheted the altar cloth for St George’s church and for other churches in the district. She was one of those ladies from an era when crafts associated with being “a lady” were practised. Many years later, when time had taken its toll and the fine work had succumbed to years of washing and hanging on God’s altar, Mum made another cloth for the altar of Our Church. The words “In His Service” were worked into the fabric. My mother was a very devout and God-fearing woman, and those words were very appropriate to her life. She was never completely defeated by the trials and tribulations of a pioneer woman’s life.

She always remembered her obligations to the Church and attributed all good things to the Lord. It was through Him that we survived the Depression and she thanked Him in her prayers and made us do the same. She never laid any of the blame for our misfortunes on Him. As I grew older and understood the poverty and hardship my parents were experiencing, I found it hard l o subscribe to this one-sided alliance between my mother and the Power above. Suffice it so say that her faith sustained her and gave her a strength which could only have come from an unseen force.
And so, with the building of the church, I was eventually hound and gagged and dragged.  kicking and screaming to church: to Sunday School and church service, and ultimately to Confirmation and Communion. Much, much later I discovered how very interesting the Bible was to read. I still read it. I have even come to believe, would you believe!