Congregational History

Free Presbyterian ministers have held services in Sydney periodically since the visit of Church Deputy Rev D.J. Matheson in 1950. 

During the 1960’s, Rev William MacLean (Gisborne, NZ) held services in Bible House, Sydney and again, from 1973, when he was settled as the Free Presbyterian minister in Grafton, NSW. 

The Rev EA Rayner was settled in Grafton, NSW in 1976 and commenced holding monthly mid-week services in the Mission Room of St John’s Cathedral Parramatta until a regular 3pm service commenced each Lord’s day in December 1979, these services being taken by Alistair Shaw and Jacob van Praag. Services continued to be taken by Alistair Shaw (until he passed away in December 1982), Jacob van Praag, and from 1983, Calvin MacKenzie and Hank Optland at the Tron Kirk in Granville and then from 1986 at the Blacktown Central Primary School. A church building was purchased in Riverstone from the Baptist Church in 1987.  

In 1987, Jacob van Praag, Calvin MacKenzie and Hank Optland were ordained and inducted as the first Deacons with Jacob van Praag being appointed Clerk of Deacons’ Court and Hank Optland Treasurer. In 1988, assessor elders were appointed from the Grafton Kirk Session, namely Richmond Kidd, Ronald Kidd, Murray McAlpine and Geoff Kidd (Session Clerk).  In 1990, Jacob van Praag, Calvin MacKenzie and Hank Optland were further inducted as elders with Calvin MacKenzie being appointed Clerk of Session, and they continued to take the services and lead the Sabbath school classes. 

It was to be another 20 years before the congregation’s prayerful desire for a minister of its own would be granted by the great Lord of the harvest, in the provision of Rev George B Macdonald. He was ordained and inducted to Sydney on 2nd March 2010. During those intervening 20 years, the congregation enjoyed periodic supply from several Church Deputies and Rev’s J van Dorp and E.A. Rayner, although the burden of supply and oversight as the Interim Moderator for Sydney fell to Rev EA Rayner.

Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12