I have a rather interesting relationship with St Matthias Anglican Church in that while I have only been here twice I actually have a few connections, namely the current and previous senior pastors. The reason for that is that both of them used to be pastors at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Adelaide, with one of them being both my youth pastor, and also the head of what was then the Evangelical Union (EU) at Adelaide University. Actually the main reason I wanted to get into Adelaide University was because I kept on hearing so many great things about EU and I wanted to be a part of it.
In fact since that time I had also heard a lot of great things about St Matthias, but I had never got around to actually paying them a visit until a couple of years ago – and that was a spur of the moment decision as well (my brother and I were making our way back from Bondi Beach, and as we were walking along Oxford Street I asked him if he wanted to go to church, knowing that St Matthias was up ahead. I knew what the answer was going to be before I even asked him, but I asked him anyway). Mind you, heading to an evening service at church after a full day down at the beach (as well as a church service in the morning) tends to take a lot out of a person, but as I have mentioned, I knew that my old youth pastor was going to be there, and it was the perfect opportunity to stop by and say hi – which we did.
Okay, it’s probably not one of the easiest churches to get to, located at the far end of Oxford Street in Paddington, and it took me a little bit to work out where it was, but I have to say that as soon as my brother and I walked in through the door we were immediately welcomed. In fact after the service a number of people came up to us and introduced themselves to us. Mind you, the evening service is a fairly young congregation, but that is what I have come to expect from many of the evening services (with the exception of Parkville – you’ll find people of all ages at Parkville’s 5pm service), and I guess I’m starting to show my age (not that I let my age get in the way of doing things). In fact I found congregation so welcoming that when I returned to Sydney last year I made plans to return (if only to say hi to the new senior pastor, whom I also knew).
Apparently, back in the days when I was much younger (though not THAT long ago), one of the former pastors set up a publishing house in the church (though it has since become independent). Matthias Media has since become the publishing house for evangelical Anglican church in Australia – and they quite helpfully explain what they mean by the word ‘evangelical’ on their mission page. Anyway, it was because I had read quite a number of books that they had published that made me want to visit the church – though as I have mentioned that never quite happened – being a university student on a university income isn’t conducive for travel.
As I have mentioned, you can find St Matthias in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, which has no doubt changed a lot in the years since the church was founded (Bondi used to be a working class suburb). These days living in Paddington is not cheap, however despite all the wealth St Matthias still attracts quite a large gathering of people on a Sunday night (unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to visit their morning service, namely because I tend to go to a different church, usually the Cathedral, in the city centre).
One thing that I should mention before I sign off was when I was here the second time I suddenly realised that not all evangelical Anglican churches are the same. Okay, that might be a no-brainer to most people, but growing up in an Anglican Church in Adelaide, and having a multitude of pastors move there from Sydney, I had come to expect a particular style of teaching. However, as I sat in the pew listening to the sermon it suddenly struck me that each and every speaker has their own style and their own way of explaining the gospel. While the service itself was contemporary, and what I had come to expect from similar churches, the message itself was unique to this speaker. What it showed me was that Bible colleges don’t exist to churn out clones that are expected tow the party line, the way the party expects them to teach, but rather to infuse the message with their own personality, and to share with the audience what they have learnt from the passage at hand.
Oh, and before I go, you probably want to know where the church is (just in case my directions aren’t any help) so here is Google Maps:
If you are interested in knowing about the church’s name sake, you can always check him out on wikipedia.
St Matthias – Paddington’s Church by David Alfred Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.