Christ Church St Laurence
|Christ Church St Laurence|
|Location||Railway Square, George Street
|Diocese||Anglican Diocese of Sydney|
|Rector||The Reverend Dr Daniel Dries|
History and description
The interior of Christ Church has developed and changed over the years. The church was only completed sufficiently for occupation in 1845. The interior remains a work in progress. Numerous architects have contributed to this process, most notably colonial architect Edmund Blacket in the period 1844-1880 and John Burcham Clamp (1900–1922).
The ceiling was added and the columns clad in 1864. The stained glass was added gradually in the period 1845-1912. The marble steps were added to the sanctuary in 1885 and extended in 1929. The church was extensively renovated following the fire in 1905. The chancel was added in 1885 and renewed and expanded in 2004.
The church building was consecrated in 1845. William Horatio Walsh was appointed the first rector in April 1839 after a number of clergy served short terms as the “Minister of the Parish of St Lawrence”. Two notable and long-serving rectors were John Hope (1926–1964) and Austin Day (1964–1996). The current rector is Daniel Dries.
In contrast to the Evangelical character of most of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Christ Church has long been a church within the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, with a focus on social justice issues and liturgical worship, together with an emphasis on the sacraments. The tower contains a peal of ten bells hung for change ringing. They are reputed to be "the oldest ringing peal in Australia" and are regularly rung by members of The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers. The church is especially noted for its choir. Along with the rectory, school and hall, the church is listed on the Register of the National Estate as well as having a New South Wales state heritage listing.
7.30am: Morning Prayer
12.15pm: Eucharist with Healing Ministry (Wednesday)
5.30pm: Evening Prayer
6.00pm: Eucharist (Friday)
The Choir of Christ Church St Laurence is one of the oldest continuing choral groups and was founded shortly after the consecration of the church in 1845. It is also regarded[who?] as one of the finest liturgical choirs in Australia. The choir performs an extensive repertoire from the 8th to the 21st century, with special emphasis on the polyphonic school of the 16th century. The choir can be heard every Sunday at the 10.30am High Mass and again at the 6.30pm Evensong, in which the liturgy of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is used. Special music is also provided for all major festivals and feasts throughout the church calendar. Apart from the commitment to liturgical worship the choir regularly gives concerts, is frequently heard on national radio and has recorded a number of CDs.
The CCSL choir tours frequently and tours have included being the resident choir at London's Westminster Abbey for several periods, as well as singing in churches and cathedrals in Germany, France and Italy. The choir has recorded for a number of CDs, one of them having been nominated in the Australian Record Industries (ARIA) awards for the year as the best classical recording in Australia. The choir's director is Neil McEwan and the organist is Peter Jewkes.
- "The Six Ringing Towers of Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW). 4 February 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/102
- State Heritage website
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