York Street, Miller’s Point parishes to merge

Nick Gilbert
Read York Street, Miller’s Point parishes to merge

The parishes of Holy Trinity Garrison Church Millers Point and St Philip’s York Street are set to join forces in order to more effectively conduct outreach to people living in inner Sydney.

The amalgamation, which officially takes place on November 1, will see the rector of St Philip’s, the Rev Justin Moffatt, become senior minister of the new parish, with the rector of the Garrison Church, the Rev Howard Barnett, serving as senior assistant minister.

“The driving force is to see the gospel go out, to fulfil the Great Commission... that’s been the overriding theme,” Mr Barnett says.

“We have this growing part of Sydney, which has grown dramatically in the last eight to 10 years, certainly while I’ve been in the parish. It’s out of that growth – and the need for the gospel to go out – that we’ve taken up this opportunity to join together. 

“There’s certainly no suggestion that our own church couldn’t go forward financially – we just don’t have the manpower to reach out with the gospel, and that’s got to be done.”

Mr Moffatt says that the complementary resources of St Philip’s and Holy Trinity, as well as the increasing influx of people and the blurring of demographic lines between the parishes, meant that an amalgamation made sense.

“We have discovered at St Philip’s that we have people but less space, whereas the Garrison Church has space but a fewer people, and we thought about how those different resources could be combined for the sake of gospel,” he says. 

“There were a number of other factors. The parishes are not only contiguous, but they’re compact... We noticed that the parishes used to be more distinct: Millers Point was the residential area, whereas York Street was the business area. Now there’s more business in Millers Point, and more residential at St Philip’s, with Boomers with no need for a backyard wanting to live near the Opera House and the airport, and so on.” 

Mr Barnett says that his church, like many in the city, has had to deal with the issue of many of its parishioners living outside parish boundaries. However, he says with the increase in resources and parish space, as well as the development of new real estate in the area – particularly the Barangaroo development, which borders both current parishes – he hopes to see the gospel go out more clearly than ever to people who live in the heart of the city.

“The oldest member of our church made the comment that it should have been done 30 years ago, which put me at rest,” Mr Barnett says. “It was a telling statement, I think, that one who’s certainly the senior member of our congregation, and longest-serving member of our congregation, should have that insight.”

According to Mr Moffatt and Mr Barnett, both church buildings will be used equally in the work of the parish, and a combined mission event will be the first big occasion where both church communities will be able to work together.

A celebration Sunday to mark the new merger is scheduled for November 1.