On a day of mixed sunshine and rain, in beautiful South Gippsland, Leongatha Church celebrated its 50th Anniversary on the 2nd November 2019.  Past members and pioneers of the church came from far and wide in support of a church family that has enjoyed a long-standing reputation for warmth and connectedness.

The morning program was taken by Pastor Paul Kotanko who reminisced about the past 50 years of significant world events, then spoke in depth on the topic of God’s Gracious Leading in our individual lives, and in our church life.  This was followed by our regular Connect and Care time, an informal  interlude,  which afforded everyone the opportunity to network and experience the warmth of reunion and reconnection, in some cases, after decades of separation.

Next, whilst the Children’s and Youth Sabbath Schools separated into their regular classes and welcomed their visitors, the Adult Sabbath School classes were combined and were led by our beloved retired pastor, Phil Gager, who provided a well-considered and insightful lesson.

Lorraine Bentley, a founding member of the church, cut the celebratory cake for the occasion and a magnificent Fellowship Lunch followed, which had everyone so engrossed in conversation that it was difficult to start the Afternoon Program without feeling you were curtailing the joyous moments of many.

Hosted by Nadine Gibson and Valma Kane, the afternoon presentation shared many interesting historical facts and fun stories and also gave opportunity for absent well-wisher’s messages to be heard.  Four past ministers Gavan Grosser, Paul Kotanko, Andrew Jasper & Phil Gager joined our current minister, Denis Hankinson, in highlighting their memories of happy fellowship and service to the Leongatha SDA Church and how it shaped their ministry.

Our youth band provided all the music, and chose a selection of wonderful songs that enhanced the spirit of the day, as did the delightful special items prepared by r talented Rhianne Cameron & Nic Sande.

Our ‘Fiftieth’ proved to be a beautiful way to commemorate years of Adventist church life in one of the southern-most locations of mainland Australia.  Our prayer is that God will continue to grow and guide our wonderful church family.

Chris Talty