The Parish of S.Stephen’s – Adamstown.
Vision and Mission
The foundation stone of S.Stephen’s, Adamstown was laid in 1894 by Bishop Stanton. .
At that time S.Stephen’s Parish encompassed a large area extending to Belmont. The original building was a small wooden structure which stood until 1954, when the sanctuary was demolished and the current sanctuary was constructed. Over the years, under the guidance of successive priests, the rest of the building was completed, with the church being consecrated in 1972 by Bishop Shevill. A great amount of sacrifice was made by parishioners over the years in order for this to be achieved.
We have had 12 rectors, all of whom have provided the parish with loving, christian care. Perhaps it is as a result of this that S.Stephen’s has seen a number of young men enter the priesthood. S.Stephen’s is the birthplace of the Brotherhood of S.Lawrence (Fr. G. K. Tucker), and the location of the first Australian cell of the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham and the first Church Army Training College. S.Stephen’s is open each day for a daily eucharist, quiet contemplation and prayer.
Because of its rich liturgical traditions, the fabric of the church decorations, the parish attracts considerable attention from visitors throughout the year and especially at Christmass and Easter.
S.Stephen’s is a ‘family church’. Many families worshipping here now are descended from generations of previous parishioners.
The current S. Stephen’s
These comments are a distillation of overwhelming sentiments prevailing in the Parish. They are the product of over a century of catholic worship in the Parish during which Adamstown, through prayer and service, has maintained its support for the endeavours of the Church in general, and the Diocese of Newcastle in particular.
Methods of Outreach
- Mothers’ Union
- Women’s Guild
- Intimate Theatre Group
- Shared Meals
- Community BBQs
- Joint ventures with Samaritans
- Involvement in local School, Sporting, & Community Groups
As a result of an extended period of consultation and discussion with various experts and stakeholders, it has been clearly identified that there is a great need for a quality Child Care facility in the Adamstown area, with a particular focus on 0-2’s.
As well as the methods of outreach listed above, we plan to enhance these through the addition of a Child Care Centre within the parish grounds on the site of the old rectory.
In this way the Parish sees itself capable of responding favourably to not only enhancing its financial security, but also creating a means by which it will become a religious hub catering for the future swings in the age distribution in favour of predominantly young families in demographic changes predicted for the Adamstown area.
S.Stephen’s has maintained its financial stability through a number of strategies.
It has utilized the Parish Hall for both Church and secular purposes. Of particular note regarding the latter is its use by The Intimate Theatre (a joint venture in which the parish is a partner) presenting dinner-shows throughout the year. The meals are catered for by a dedicated group of women in the parish who, at their own cost, provide all the labour (bookings, kitchen, front-of-house services, and the waiting on tables) and most of the ingredients. The shops have been maintained and attract rental income. But the financial stability of the parish is due greatly to the generosity of the congregation and the efforts of a series of extremely capable Parish Treasurers
S. Stephen’s Vision for the future
To continue to strive to be one of Newcastle’s most welcoming churches by:
- offering contemporary catholic worship,
- supporting and strengthening our people in faith, attendance and commitment
- together with welcoming new attendees,
- sound teaching,
- facilitating ongoing outreach to those who come to S.Stephen’s for baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
The Mission of the Parish is, notwithstanding the present economic difficulties, to maintain, and indeed strengthen, our resolve to fulfil that Vision through prayer and commitment to the religious ideals nurtured in the parish over a long period, through the sustained ministries of a succession of parish priests.
Neither the current economic turmoil nor the present demographic features of Adamstown dissuade us from that resolve. The parish currently comprises a mostly aged congregation. Adamstown is an area with an aged population. It has few young families. But the informed expectation is that the area will become extremely popular as an affordable location for first-home purchasers within the decade. We plan to make approaches to people moving into new housing subdivisions. We draw attention to the fact that, despite the substantially aged congregation, the parish has maintained, and in some years exceeded, its giving to missions, and its Diocesan levies. Bearing in mind that many are self-funded retirees, we take that to be indicative of the commitment of the congregation to preserve S.Stephen’s for the assured later generations.