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Broadford Presbyterian Church celebrates 160 years

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Broadford Presbyterian Church last week celebrated its 160th anniversary, recounting a rich history of worship in the town since its beginning in 1861.

Celebrations were delayed due to COVID-19, however the lifting of restrictions late last week enabled the congregation to invite the community and friends to mark the significant anniversary.

Session clerk Ralph Kop said life around the church and in Broadford had changed a lot during its history.

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“During [the 160 years] we have seen many changes occur, so much so that our lives today bear little resemblance to that experienced by the people that started up the first Presbyterian Church 160 years ago,” he said.

“Some things do not change, life is never easy and each generation has its own challenges as we all know only too well with the current pandemic.”

The first recorded Presbyterian service in Broadford occurred on March 17, 1861. It was held in a barn at the David McKenzie’s residence ‘Glenview’, and records name 12 or more people who attended including farmers, storekeepers, carpenters and labourers.

On October 27, 1861, a wooden shingle roofed church was constructed on the site of the current Broadford railway station and could seat 72 people. In about 1873, the building was moved to the current site on the corner of High Street and Hamilton Street.

The wooden church was extended to accommodate a growing number of people and served as the Presbyterian Church until 1912, when it was demolished and sold for 45 pounds.

The brick church was built in the same year and was dedicated on December 1, remaining in service to the current day.

Reverend Barry Porter said the church was still as dedicated as it was 160 years ago.

“The church has been around for 160 years and … we are still as viable today as we were 160 years ago,” he said.

“Just as they did 160 years ago, we preach the good news of Jesus and we believe the whole bible.”

Members of the Broadford community were welcome to celebrate the anniversary, and church leaders said those interested in being involved with the church were always welcome.

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