In another boost to future ministry in Marsden Park, a large donation from the parish of St Anne’s, Strathfield will be used to build the church in which the growing congregation can meet. 

“Parish council was unanimous that we would offer to give $2.5 million away,” says the rector of Strathfield, the Rev Roger Kay. “They were also very positive about the idea that there could be a link with the new church that had partly come into being because of this money.”  

St Anne’s had funds in trust from the 2017 sale of a branch church – St Columba’s, West Homebush – and has retained $1 million to undertake significant renovations that will create meeting rooms and a kitchen under the 130-year-old church, as well as better disabled access and toilets. A portion of the money has already been used to help complete the church’s new slate roof. 

The parish chose to give the $2.5 million to New Churches for New Communities (NCNC) so it could go where the organisation felt it was most needed. Mr Kay was delighted to discover the funds were going to Marsden Park – partly because his grandparents owned a poultry farm in the suburb for decades, on the other side of Richmond Road from where the new church will be built, but also because a large proportion of congregants in both parishes are from South Asia. 

“I think it’s very exciting,” he says. “To know there are so many South Asian connections... it could become a very special link, so that’s just wonderful.”  

The nations that comprise the bulk of the congregation at St Anne’s are people from India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as well as Islanders and other parts of Asia. In Marsden Park, the 2021 Census shows people of Indian background make up 26 per cent of the suburb’s population, while Punjabis add another 4 per cent. 

The rector of Life Anglican Marsden Park, the Rev Mark Collins, says the area already has three temples – with two more at the DA stage – as well as two mosques but, to date, no significant church building. 

“Christians are crying out for a church building, especially the many first-generation migrant Christians in this area,” he says. The parish of Marsden Park only exists because of the fellowship of Sydney Anglican churches and organisations. We will only see a church building in Marsden Park because our fellowship partners together to see this happen.” 

The CEO of Growth Corporation, Ross Jones, says Marsden Park is now the priority greenfields church for the corporation, as its congregation has been meeting for more than five years and is still running services at Richard Johnson Anglican School. “It’s great for their church meetings but they can’t do much midweek ministry because they’ve got nowhere to meet!” he says.

  Mr Collins says the congregation is thankful to God for the partnership in the gospel Life Anglican has had with the school over the years – as well as numerous parishes throughout the Diocese – “to see us grow from a church plant to a provisional parish without property. And now St Philip’s, Church Hill [which gave $1.5 million] and St Anne’s, Strathfield have been so generous with large donations to NCNC so we can soon be a parish with property. 

“Praise God for a generous Sydney Anglican fellowship!”