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Cunningham Wesleyan Chapel.
Only four years ago the district now known as the Hundred of Cunningham, was ? ? taimed ? and scrub, waterless and ? . Its comparative nearness to the coast lying between Clinton and Ardrossan, as a matter of corse, brought it under the notice of those who were looking out for new agricultural selections, and quite a strong muster of old Gawler settlers pitched merit as suitable for their purpose. In this they will have their third harvest, but their experiences have been of the very roughest and most discouraging. The two past seasons have been full of the hardest trials—no water and such wretched crops that they ought to have lost all heart. But having some of the indomitable pluck of South Australian pioneers, they have so far persevered, and this year they stand a fair chance of reaping results which will go a good way towards paying up store debts, and perhaps have a little towards next year's farming expenses. Let as hope so !
Of course there most needs be a place of worship, as many of the settlers are from eight to twelve miles from Ardrossan ; and accordingly they have erected a very neat and commodious building, upon a piece of ground given by Mr. Higginson, delightfully situated, adjoining the Government Reserve, near what was formely known as Thompson's Hut. The contributions in labor and material have enabled the Trustees to erect the Chapel in a very substantial manner, and so far to leave very little debt upon it. The Trustees are Messrs. Arnold. Inksler, Fidge, A. J. Packer (Secretary), Powell, H. J. Packer, Illman, and Lock (Treasurer). The building will afford sittings for 160 or 170 persons, and will possibly be availed of shortly for day-school purposes.
On Sunday, November 23rd, the opening services were conducted by the Rev. J. B. Stephenson, Chairman of the Yorke's Peninsula Wesleyan District, when very large congregations assembled. On the following day the usual social festivities—which here are invested with a significance and attractiveness unknown in more populous localities—were celebrated with great success, the "guidwives" of the neighborhood having made a wonderful provision of the delicacies only to be met with in farming districts. These lady providores were Mesdames Arnold, Magor, Lock, and Illman, and their labors were supplemented by the young ladies whose native kindness of heart led them to look after the wants of bashful bachelors. Of course there was decoration florally, the "native cotton-bush" (now in splendid condition) forming, with wreaths of "everlastings," a very beautiful ornamentation.
The evening meeting was presided over by Mr. DERRINGTON, J.P., and was addressed first by Mr. A. J. PACKER, Treasurer to the Trust, who gave an excellent speech in which he detailed the steps taken in the effort to erect that place of worship. He gave the financial statement, winch showed that a great deal of labor and material had been voluntarily given, so that the building in its present state had cost only £211. Those engaged in the work had determined to endeavor to open the Church as free from debt as possible. Consequently the debt left was only about £70. Towards this a friend had offered a loan of £60, so that only about £10 remained to be grappled with. He concluded with suggestions for clearing that small balance of debt, which appeared to be heartily endorsed.
The Rev. T. E. THOMAS followed with an able speech on the ''Uses of Creeds," in which he controverted the popular sentiment that so that a man "lived right" it did not matter what he believed. He showed the importance of a definite creed, and a true creed, for he contended that no life could be right that was not founded upon right principles. After a very clear and pithy demonstration of this point, he suggested a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Arnold, who for over two years had opened his house for Sabbath services. This being warmly responded to.
Mr. J. ARNOLD responded appropriately.
The Rev. J. B. STEPHENSON in a very pleasant genial way, commented upon the almost unexampled instance of successful effort in the raising such a place for the worship of God, with so large a proportion of contributions to the cost. He advocated where there were so many members of differing sects, the gathering together on common ground, where they might maintain religious worship, each man cherishing his own convictions : and spoke fully and eloquently of the faithful exposition of truth to which Wesleyanism devoted itself. Their preachers were witnesses for the truth, and one requirement of the Church, the first, was that every man who went to preach, should be able to testify personally and experimentally of the powers of the kingdom of God. He advocated the establishment of a Sabbath school as a necessity, and expressed his pleasure at hearing that the building was to be availed of as a day-school. Religion lost nothing by the growth of a cultivated intelligence, but its best and most reliable adherents were men whose minds were earnest and cultured. This capital address was followed by a collection of offerings towards the funds; and then the usual votes of a complimentary nature were passed, the speakers being Messrs. Waterman, H. Packer, Biggs, and Illman ; and a pleasant celebration was brought to a close in the customary manner.
There was a good Choir under the leadership of Mr. Illman (Miss Arnold presiding at the organ), which gave very effective help during the Sunday services, and in appointed intervals in the meeting.
DowIlingville. August 10th, 1881.
The anniversary services of the Cunningham Sunday School were held on Sunday and Monday, 7th and 8th of August. On Sunday morning Mr. Miller conducted the service and the Revd. T. Rowe took the evening service. Both services where largely attended. On Monday the scholars were regaled with a bountiful supply of tea, cake and lollies: after which tea was provided for the parents and friends. Tea meetings down here seem to attract large numbers ; one would wonder where all the people came from in this thinly populated district. After the ladies (ably assisted by Mr. P. Inkster) had supplied the wants of all present, a public meeting was held; presided ov r by the Revd. T. Rowe,who delivered an able address, Mr. Len, sen., and Mr A. J. Packer also addressed the meeting and Mr. A. G. Packer gave a recitation, which was well received. The Sunday scholars sang some very nice selections on Sunday and Monday, and great thanks are due to Mr. Illman, for the trouble he must have taken to teach them. The Secretary, Mr. F. Roberts gave in his report, which showed that financially they were on the right side, as they have a balance in hand. The average attendance for the last twelve months was 31, and the number on he rolls was 51. The funds will be benefited by the services to the amount of about 7 pounds 10s. Mr. Montgomery proposed and Mr. Greig seconded a vote of thanks to Mr. Montgomery for coming all the way from Maitland to take part in the services and to the Ladies for providing the tea, and to Mr. Hillman,, for the trouble he bad taken with the children ; and for Miss Lock for so ably providing at the organ. This vote was carried by acclamation; and after the children had sung another hymn, the meeting broke up.
We are having beautiful weather down here, and the country is looking splendid.
The various Farmers Associations are setting up a stump-ploughing match. Also a show of mullinizing implements, for which libera ?
CUNNINGHAM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.
Ceremony of opening the new Congregational Church at Cunningham, Yorke's Peninsula.
Photo. J. Hancock.