Clayton Church of Christ has been a fixture in Clayton for over 60 years. Many ministries have served the Clayton community over the past 60 years; this included the Girls’ Brigade and Boys’ Brigade, play group, counseling, craft, youth groups and camps, Zac’s coffee shop bus, the International students ministry, a “Prime Timers” group for seniors, Sunday School, women’s and men’s ministry, English conversation classes and more.
But how did we get to where we are today?
On 4 February 1951, a small group of believers met in the home of Bill and Vera Munyard at 459 Clayton Road, Clayton. Within six months, numbers had increased and they had outgrown the house so the public hall in the main street of Clayton was hired for meetings. Church meetings were held here each Sunday for the next three years.
Establishing A Presence In Clayton
During this time much of the land around Clayton and Clarinda was given over to market gardening. In 1951 the current block of land was purchased to prepare for the church’s expected growth. Volunteers led by Bill Munyard and Don May, built the first Church of Christ in Clayton. The building was first officially dedicated on Saturday 24th April 1954 and Conference President Mr Stan Neighbour and Mr Jim Reid addressed the crowded chapel for the first time. The first Sunday meeting was held running two services with 100 people. 117 students attended the children’s Bible School on that first Sunday. A Bible College student, Doug Holloway was the first pastor and in 1955 he was succeeded by James Reid.
Beyond These Four Walls
Clayton Church has always been about taking the gospel to the nations. The first missionaries sent from the church were Fred and June Reynolds, who on 8 February 1958, left for the New Hebrides, now known as Vanuatu. The Missions Offering that year was £1061 and the following year it amounted to £1191. In 1959, Ron and Judy Robertson went to Papua New Guinea with Missionary Aviation Fellowship. In March 1963, David Soffe left for Papua New Guinea with the Unevangelised Fields Mission, now known as Pioneers. Shortly after he was joined by Dorothy Tucker and they were married at Balimo on 11 April 1964 where they worked until 1986. Since then more missionaries have gone to Papua New Guinea and also to countries such as Congo, Pakistan, Yemen, Kalimantan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan. Over the years, many church members have also given short-term medical, dental, optical and language help in India, Burma, Philippines, China and Cambodia.
Clayton Church Today And Beyond
In 1957, a hall extension was added to the south of the original building. With the continuing need for more space, a chapel was built in 1975, again with the help of volunteers. In 1991, the original rear hall was removed and rebuilt with all facilities now under one extended roof-line. In 2008 we saw the launch of Vision 2015 (see Our Vision and Values). The existing building, along with the old YACC and 25 Dunstan Street, was demolished in 2009 to prepare for a new building that would be large enough to house God’s ministry in the coming years. In 2012, Clayton Church of Christ opened its new building to an emotional homecoming service. We look forward to becoming the people God has intended us to become, seizing every opportunity to glorify Him, to serve the people of the Clayton community and to fulfil God’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.