Melbourne Presbyterians bid farewell to ‘the church on the $2 bill’

By Nick Fonda
Melbourne Presbyterians bid farewell to ‘the church on the $2 bill’
Carol and Robin Converse in front of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Melbourne. (Photo : Nick Fonda)

The sale is not yet finalized, but the emotionally difficult and time-consuming task of emptying St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in what was once Upper Melbourne is well underway.
“It’s very sad,” says Robin Converse who, like her older sister, Carol, has been a member of the congregation her entire life.
“If the Presbyterians in the area had supported the Church,” she continues, “we could have kept it. But times are different. People tell you they believe in God, but not in institutions. People say they’re spiritual but not religious. If we had 20 regular members, we could have kept going.”
“We’re down to six congregants,” explains Carol Converse. “The last minister to live in the Manse was Mark Godin who was with us from 2002 till 2005. Since then, we have had ministers, sometimes student ministers, or sometimes lay preachers come in for Sunday services. For the last several years these have been monthly rather than weekly. We’re very grateful to the ministers who do come, in particular to Rev. Reg Jennings, Rev. Nigel Parker, and Rev. Virginia Wallace.”
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