GRANVILLE FACES CHANGE
Rev. A E. Baker from Nowra was inducted to the Granville pastorate from 1967-73. His ministry at Granville coincided with the bulk of the children of long-standing church members reaching marriageable age. In his seven years at Granville, he baptised nine people, but more significantly he performed twenty-six marriages involving at least one child of a church member. These young couples invariably left the Granville area to start homes in the growing areas of the Sydney metropolitan area: Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill and the west. It was a blow as the church was ill-prepared to receive. The situation paralleled the war years: most young people no longer at the church and a large portion of the membership in retirement in the pews. Membership figures continued to indicate these trends decline to eighty-one. During these years attempts were made to consolidate the youth work with the appointments of students from the Theological College to assist Rev. Baker.
Following Rev. Baker’s resignation in 1973 Rev. N. Melzer a missionary on furlough from West Irian, was engaged in an interim ministry for the months of August and September, 1973.
On 21st November, 1973, a call was extended to Rev. J. K. Nolan. By 1976, the membership had declined to forty-five, only one person having been baptised in the preceding three years. Mr. C. Cowling, a student of the Theological College was assisting the Pastor with youth work from the early March, 1974. The financial position of the church was seriously inadequate, and at a Church Meeting on 20th November, 1974, it was decided to approach the Baptist Union of New South Wales “to enable the recommended stipend and traveling allowance to be paid.”
Rev. Nolan attempted to get the church moving towards the community: in August, 1975, a Playgroup was commenced at the church, and in the Church Meeting on 19th November, 1975, it was reported that twenty-eight children were enrolled; at the Church Meeting on 18th February, 1976, it was decided to move into a two day Playgroup due to the large numbers of children attending.
THE CHURCH IN CRISIS
On 17th December, 1975, the church met to discuss its future. It was reported that the Home Work Council was prepared to extend its subsidy until May, 1976 and concern was expressed at the continuing decrease in membership. Rev. R. F. Pope, Director of Church Extension, was present by invitation and indicated that “if the membership fell below ten persons, the Baptist Union would take over the affairs of the church.” The position was now critical; on 5th August, 1976, the Home Work Council discontinued the subsidy to the church.
Rev. Nolan resigned from the pastorate in November, 1976.
On 2nd January, 1977, Rev. N. Melzer commenced as Moderator of the church whilst the church explored its future. Rev. Melzer continued as Moderator, traveling to and from his home in Glenbrook in the lower Blue Mountains, until 19th March,1978. The church had continued to decrease in membership; down to thirty-eight by 1978.
THE CHURCH LEARNS TO SURVIVE INTO THE ’80’S
The church was now on the position that it was unable to support a full-time pastor and so it turned to the Home Work Council with a request for the allocation of a second year married student from the Theological College to the pastorate. Pastor T. Logan, a candidate with the Australian Baptist Missionary Society and a married fourth year college student was allocated. However, Pastor Logan graduated from the Theological College in November, 1978 and resigned from the pastorate following his ordination in the church on 10th December, 1978, to travel to Baiyer River in Papua New Guinea on missionary service with the Australian Baptist Missionary Society. During Pastor Logan’s twelve months at Granville the Manse, situated at 66 The Avenue, Granville, was sold in May, 1978, the amount of $37,500.00 was received from the sale. A new Manse, situated at 12 Carhullen Street, Merrylands was purchased in December, 1978, for the sum of $30,000.00.
Pastor P. Hazleton commenced as the second Student Pastor at Granville Baptist Church in February, 1979. He and his family were the first occupants of the new Manse at 12 Carhullen Street, Merrylands. Pastor Hazleton assisted two female members of the church re-open the Playgroup in April, 1981.
In January, 1981, Pastor Hazleton accepted a call to the Cooma Baptist Church. During his ministry the church continued to struggle. Of special note is the fact that two persons were baptised during his ministry; the first persons baptised at Granville for five years.
Pastor R. Hooper, a third year student at the Theological College, was allocated to the church for the period 1st February, 1981 to 31st January, 1983. In his first year at Granville, Pastor Hooper baptised four young people and was assisted in the youth work by Mr. R. Carrall a first year Theological student. In January, 1984, Pastor Hooper accepted a call to the Cowra Baptist Church.
Membership of the church totaled twenty-five. Pastor C. D. Boland, a candidate with the Australian Baptist Missionary Society and a fourth student at the Theo logical College, commenced in the pastorate on 5th February, 1984. In April, 1984, the Australian Baptist Missionary Society advised the church that Pastor Boland would be required to proceed to the mission field in Papua New Guinea in 1985 and would therefore terminate his pastorate at the end of 1984.