Who are We?
We are the Melbourne Welsh Church.
We are a radically inclusive church, a warm and welcoming worship community situated near the heart of Melbourne. Don’t let the name confuse you, you do not have to be Welsh to worship with us. We were founded over 150 years ago to serve the Welsh People of Melbourne but since then our horizons have broadened and now we see ourselves as a very multi-cultural church, one in which you will find a welcome. We offer a traditional Welsh welcome to all people, regardless of age, sex, orientation, denomination or national origin.
Even though most of our services are now in English we still think our Welsh traditions are important. We still hold services in the Welsh Language twice a month, we keep up the Welsh values of hospitality and warmth, preaching and prayer and we have a deep love of music and singing. At least twice a year we hold a Gymanfa Ganu (a singing festival), a service of song in which we sing hymns to the Glory of God in both English and Welsh. To find out when our next Gymanfa Ganu is please see the up coming events page.
The Ministry Team
Along with our board of elders we have three ministerial staff.
Rev. Siôn Gough Hughes Minister
Rev. Sara S. V. Bishop Family Ministry
Mr. Peter Whitefield Presence Ministry
At the moment we have three people on our ministry team, each one has different skills and different areas of expertise – Peter Whitefield and Siôn Gough Hughes and Sara Villarreal Bishop
Our “Presence Worker” Peter (Bubba) Whitefield. Peter joined us early in 2014 and his work includes going out to the streets and lane-ways of a Melbourne to demonstrate the love of God by actually spending time with people and showing them (no matter who they are or what their situation is) that they matter to us and to God.
Siôn Gough Hughes
Rev. Siôn Gough Hughes is our most senior co-ministers. He’s been at the MWC since 2000 and has overseen a period of great change in the history of the church. He is the one responsible for the digital ministry of the church as well as leading services (in English and Welsh), Bible Studies and pastoral care. He has a passion for community and feels that community (virtual or real) is where the Church’s work should be.
Sara S. Villarreal Bishop
Rev. Bishop is not an actual Bishop, just lucky to have married into that last name. The newest member of our team, she is responsible for social media along with Siôn, Godly Play, which is our new project for Family Ministry. An anthropologist and zoologist, her care of creation focus weaves its way into everything she does, including the outreach and interaction with the community around us. Sara is a Lutheran pastor, and so presides at an ecumenical Lutheran service at the church as well.
Board of Elders
Church Secretary Mrs. Christine Boomsma
Treasurer Mr. Wayne Gardiner
Assistant Treasurer Mr. Darren Gardiner
Mr. John Doré
Mrs. Bronwen Holding
Mr. David Rees
Mr. Geraint Griffiths
Mr. Michael Min Fa
The Welsh Church office hours are:
8:45am to 2:45pm
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
Administrative Assistant Mr. Fred Boomsma
Church caretaker / hall hire Ms. Lyn Rowlands
Church Organist Ms. Wendy Couch
The Church Address
320 LaTrobe Street,
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
The office email address is – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook @ melbwelshchurch
A Brief History of the Melbourne Welsh Church
The initial steps to establish a church for Welsh people in Melbourne could be considered to be the placement of a notice in the press of the day, that a service in the Welsh language would be held on December 15th, 1852. Perhaps it is thought that the building of a chapel, on land given by the Crown, in La Trobe Street, where Mr. Llewelyn conducted the first service in February 1857, was the commencement.
The present church was dedicated and opened in December 1871, under the Ministry of the Rev. W. M. Evans, to whom the pioneers of the Welsh cause owe much, for it was his zeal, dedication and organising that made possible the completion of the building.
Initially all services were in Welsh, but prior to the turn of the century, English services were introduced to meet the needs of the first generation Welsh Australians. Twice monthly Welsh services are still an important component of the church today, under the leadership of the present Minister, Rev. Siôn Gough Hughes.
From W.M. Evans’ day there have been twelve ministers associated with the church. It is to one of these, the Rev. David Egryn Jones, M.D., C.M. can be attributed the commencement of the Queen Victoria Hospital for women by women, as an outpatients clinic in the church hall in September 1896. It was Dr. Jones’ encouragement to his wife, Dr. Constance Stone, and the dedicated work by her and her fellow women doctors, that this world recognised hospital, now continuing as the Monash Medical Centre, had its beginning.
This Church is one of a very few Welsh churches, outside of the United Kingdom, which still conducts services in the language of the principality. It is the only Welsh Church in the Pacific Basin that has a minister who conducts services in the Welsh language.
The Church affords a traditional Welsh welcome to all people, regardless of denomination or national origin.