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Pilgrim Uniting Church facts for kids

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Pilgrim Uniting Church

34°55′37″S 138°36′03″E / 34.926891°S 138.600926°E / -34.926891; 138.600926Coordinates: 34°55′37″S 138°36′03″E / 34.926891°S 138.600926°E / -34.926891; 138.600926
Location Flinders Street, Adelaide
South Australia
Country Australia
Denomination Uniting Church in Australia
Quick facts for kids
Former name(s) Gawler Place Wesleyan Chapel
Pirie Street Wesleyan Church
Pirie Street Methodist Church
Stow Memorial Church
Union Church in the City
Style Revival Gothic
Materials Glen Osmond stone, finished with cut freestone from Glen Ewin
Minister(s) Rev Dr Greg Elsdon
Deacon(s) Rev Sandy Boyce

Pilgrim Uniting Church is a church in the heart of the City on Flinders Street, Adelaide, South Australia. It is a church of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Social justice, as articulated by the Uniting Church in Australia in the inaugural Statement to the Nation (1977), and the Statement to the Nation (1988) for Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations, is at the basis of the church's work. Pilgrim offers music programs to the public, and has the largest organ in Adelaide. The church is also an active supporter of local and young and upcoming artists.


Pirie Street Wesleyan Church The congregation was originally at the Gawler Place Wesleyan Chapel. The first minister at the Pirie Street site was Daniel Draper. The first service was held on 19 October 1852. William Bowen Chinner was organist and choirmaster at Pirie Street from 1869 to around 1899. His nephew Norman Chinner filled the same positions from 1939.

Stow Memorial Church The first Congregational chapel in South Australia was a temporary structure on North Terrace. George Strickland Kingston was the architect for a building in Freeman Street (now Gawler Place), with the congregation then moving to the Flinders Street site.

Stow Memorial Church, designed by Robert G. Thomas, was named in memory of the Reverend Thomas Stow, who had officiated at the first service in a tent on Adelaide's Park Lands in October 1837. The foundation stone was laid on 7 February 1865 and the inaugural worship service was held on 12 April 1867. The first minister was Cadwallader William Evan. The organist, who served for 45 years, was James Shakespeare.

Union Church in the City Pirie Street Methodist and Stow Memorial congregations united on 1 June 1969 to form the Union Church in the City. In November 1975 the church changed its name to become Pilgrim Church. The congregation joined the Uniting Church at its inauguration in 1977.


Pirie Street

The foundation stone for the Pirie Street Wesleyan Chapel was laid on 15 July 1850. The church was designed by Henry Stuckey. Completion of the building, after Henry Stuckey's death in 1851, was under the supervision of Edmund Wright,

After the merger of the two congregations the building was bought by the Adelaide City Council and demolished in 1976. Wright was also the architect of the Methodist Meeting Hall, located between the Pirie Street and Flinders Street churches. The hall was built in 1862 and is the only remaining part of the Pirie Street property and is now part of the Adelaide Town Hall complex.

Flinders Street

The building had it foundation stone laid on 7 February 1865. It is designed in the Revival Gothic style.

The architect for the building was Robert George Thomas who was among the first colonists, arriving in South Australia in 1836 aged 16 years.


Church buildings relating to the Pilgrim Uniting Church congregation
Gouache sketch on coloured board of the Reverend T. Q. Stow's temporary Congregational Chapel (seen at night) on North Terrace, Adelaide, built in 1837.
The first Congregational chapel in South Australia (building on right) SLSA B-467 
Lithographic print of Gawler Place Wesleyan Chapel, engraved, printed and published by H. C. Jervis from a depiction by C. W. Calvert
Gawler Place Wesleyan Chapel Engraving from a work by C. W. Calvert 1842 SLSA B-4500 
1892 photograph of the Wesleyan church in Pirie Street, Adelaide, demolished in 1976
View of the Wesleyan church in Pirie Street, Adelaide, demolished in 1976 SLSA B 62412-8 
Stow Memorial Church (now Pilgrim Church), Flinders Street, Adelaide, about 1870, SLSA B 1941
Stow Memorial Church (now Pilgrim Church), Flinders Street, Adelaide, about 1870 SLSA B 1941 


The organ in the Flinders Street building was initially installed in 1855 in the Pirie Street building with that from Flinders Street being sold to St John's Lutheran Church in Malvern. Improvements over the years have made it the largest organ in the state of South Australia.

Notable people

Stow Memorial Church

  • Mostyn Evan
  • Matthew Goode
  • William Muirden
  • William Parkin
  • Arthur William Piper
  • James Zimri Sellar
  • Thomas Hyland Smeaton
  • Charles Todd
  • George Wright (1917–1975), a judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, was the son of the Reverend George H. Wright, a minister at the Stow Memorial Church
  • Alfred Depledge Sykes, minister from 1904–1906 and 1907–1913

Pirie Street Methodist Church

  • Henry Adams
  • John Colton
  • John Langdon Bonython
  • Daniel Draper
  • Benjamin Gould
  • Frank Hambly
  • John Hill
  • Henry Howard (Minister 1902–1921)
  • James Wedlock

Pilgrim Uniting Church

34°55′37″S 138°36′03″E / 34.926891°S 138.600926°E / -34.926891; 138.600926

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