Guided from ‘age to age'
Last year, whilst researching the history of Wynyard Parish, the registers revealed that the first Anglican service at Myalla was conducted on 13 March, 1911 at 7:30pm by the then vicar of the parish, Charles Clement Macmichael.
It is uncertain where the service was held, but the register for Myalla states that from 1913-1917 services were held in the Sisters Creek Hall, and during 1918 services were held in Myalla Railway Station, the railway having been extended west to Myalla in 1913. The line was further extended in 1922 to Wiltshire, joining the Stanley, Wiltshire, Irishtown and Smithton Line.
A letter from the Diocesan Secretary to the Rector of Wynyard, the Revd Gauntlett, dated 12 June 1917 reveals a Mrs Priestly had approached the diocese for funds to build a church and sets out the procedure for obtaining funding. In January 1919 subdivided land was transferred from W. H. King to the Trustees of the Church of England and the same year the Mission Hall was opened. The opening was planned for August 1919, however was delayed (as stated in the register) ‘on account of pneumonic influenza scare' until 5 October.
On 20 December 1925 the sanctuary was dedicated to St Paul, and by 1934 Myalla had paid the last instalment owing to the Sites and Loans Fund. Following a successful fair in 1938 it was decided to install electric lighting. Various bequests and memorials have furnished the unique chapel, whose sanctuary is concealed in a large cupboard, leaving the hall to function for the wider community.
As 13 March 2011 fell on a Sunday, the opportunity to invite our Bishop could not be allowed to pass. As Bp John Harrower was on long service leave, Bp Chris Jones deputised and the people who gathered to celebrate 100 years of witness and worship were delighted to welcome him. Bp Jones prayed at the font for all the baptised and at the lectern, from where we hear the word of God proclaimed. He preached both at Myalla and at the morning service in Wynyard. We were thankful, too, that he presented certificates of appreciation to two women who had contributed many years of service at St Paul's.
Following the service Bp Chris circulated among those gathered enjoying a sumptuous afternoon tea.
Sadly, Myalla now enters a period of recess; however it is hoped to commemorate our Patron St Paul in June and conduct community carols in December.
We leave St Paul's future in God's hand, who (as in our closing hymn) ‘has guided his flock from age to age'.