Subiaco Church (or Subi Church as it is more affectionately known) was founded in 1898 to meet the needs of a growing local population and has stood on the same site in Subiaco for over 100 years. During that time it has had a notable line of pastors from H.J. Banks, who arrived in 1903, to the previous pastor, Dr Graham Johnston, who began his ministry here in 1989.
The church has been well known for its music – under Charles Nelson, it had an orchestra, and choir for many years; today there is a worship team of musicians, singers and composers who released the church’s first CD, “As We Wait” in 2004.
For more than 70 years, Subi Church has played a major role in religious education in government primary and secondary schools. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jeff and Dora Gordon pioneered a new model for the care of children before and after school. Members from Subiaco helped establish other churches, as well as Bethesda Hospital, well known as a hospital of quality. Subiaco was also the first church in Australia to experiment in units for the aged built on normal suburban blocks.
In the early 1960s, Asian students at local tertiary institutions started attending Subi. Now people of multicultural background comprise a sizeable proportion of the fellowship and the church has close ties with the Overseas Christian Fellowship (OCF).
The church has consistently supported cross-cultural ministry and has sent out people to work in Indigenous Ministries (Australia), Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, India, Nepal, South America and Operation Mobilisation). The church also regularly sent out short-term evangelistic and teaching teams to various areas such as Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius and Madagascar. Also throughout this time the church has ministered to the local community in evangelism, outreach to children, programs for men, women, young people and the elderly and counselling services.
It can well be said that for over 100 years, “ministers and members provided the opportunity to thousands of children and adults to know and serve their Lord and Master. The secret of the fruits of their faith and labour was in the fact that they did not claim it as their church, but rather as Christ’s” (Smith, G.).
The material for this article has been drawn largely from “Subiaco Church – Celebrating 100 years of ‘Grace-full Living” by George Smith.