Week 10 of 52 (2022) Ancestors – Worship

Week 10 (8-14 Mar) prompt is Worship

This week was quite an easy choice.  When your 3xgreat grandparents donate the bricks for the building of a new Methodist Church in their home town then it’s a non brainer! Although after many hours of combing through articles on the Trove website, I have been unable to re-find the article I remember reading which reported that James donated the bricks.  I have no idea why I would not have saved the article like I have all the rest.  Hopefully I will find it again one day!

Although James and Mary Ann Shingles were married in St James Anglican church in Melbourne in 1853 once they moved to Maffra in country Victoria they were forever more Methodists!

James was also a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society.  Meetings were held in the various churches around Maffra.  One of the earliest recordings of James’ membership was in 1883 when they reported the meeting in The Maffra Spectator.  That meeting was held in the Presbyterian Church on 13 Jul 1883 with another set for the early part of September at St John’s Church.

Over the years, James and Mary Ann’s names appear in many articles regarding their tireless work for the Methodist Church. Below are just a few around the time of the building of the new church.

In The Maffra Spectator newspaper report on the laying of the foundation stone for the new church on Thursday 6 June 1912 the writer closed the article with the following:

In closing this report we feel constrained to say that it came as a deep disappointment to many who were present and to townspeople who were absent to know that in the above speechmaking there was no one to mention the names of Mr and Mrs James Shingles in the undertaking.  It is well known that for the past 39 years or more Mr Shingles and his good wife have been faithful and continuous workings in the Methodist Church, and in fact it’s main stay, and the promoters of the scheme of the new Church. 

 The Maffra Spectator reported on Thu 29 Aug 1912 the opening services of the new Methodist Church.

The accommodation of the new Methodist Church building at Maffra was taxed to its uttermost at both afternoon and evening services on Sunday last, the occasion being the opening services.  In the afternoon Rev W E Seccomb took for his text the 5th verse of the seventh chapter of St Luke:

“For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue” 

The preacher remarked that it was a happy omen that the new church was opened on the 59th anniversary of Mr and Mrs Jas Shingles wedding day, and after eulogising the good work done by them, offered them congratulations and good wishes.

Mr W J McLean on the occasion of James & Mary Ann’s 60th wedding anniversary which was reported in The Maffra Spectator mentioned in his congratulation speech;

During their long residence they had identified themselves with all that had the progress and welfare of the the town in view, and one of their latest and most commendable achievements was when they substituted a new brick up-to-date church for the small unpretentious wooden building in which Mr and Mrs Shingles had earnestly worked for 40 years.

Reported in The Maffra Spectator on Mon 3 Aug 1914 on the death of James – 

The death of Mr James Shingles, on Saturday evening last, removes a Maffra patriarch. He was the G.O.M of the Methodist Church and he and his descendants made up a major portion of the congregation that worshiped in the small wooden tabernacle, which has recently given place to a fine brick edifice.

In the Traralgon Record newspaper on Fri 20 Oct 1922 in the obituary for Mary Ann titled ‘Old Colonist Passes’ they mention

During her life the late Mrs Shingles was an active worker for the Methodist Church , and it was largely due to Mr and Mrs Shingles’ efforts that the present building was erected.

In 2013 I held my first Shingles family reunion in Maffra and due to a double-booking of the Mechanics’ Hall we had to move to the Maffra Senior Citizens Centre on the second day.  This building just happened to be the former Methodist Church. So on the occasion of James & Mary Ann’s 160th wedding anniversary we got to celebrate in the church they had helped build over 100 years before!

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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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