About Roseville Presbyterian

Our Vision encompasses four important principals namely:

To love God -exultation –looking up -(Worship)
Includes Corporate worship, worshipping God in Spirit ant truth.

To love His own -engaging –helping out -(Pastoral Care)
Includes our Pastoral Care of each other and also extending a social witness to the community, demonstrating God’s love and righteousness in word and deed.

To know Christ -edifying –building up -(Christian Education)
Includes all areas of Christian Education. Teaching God’s Word that all may mature in Christ. Sunday School; Bible Study Groups; Personal Devotions.

To make Him known -evangelising –reaching out -(Gospel Outreach)
Includes Gospel Outreach to the community with the prayer that by God’s grace the unconverted will come to saving faith in Christ.

What we believe

“Along with other true Christian churches, the Presbyterian Church believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. As a result of this commitment to the Bible, we uphold the historic Christian faith.”

  • We believe in one God in the Trinity of the three persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  • We affirm the real historical events of Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection and future return. We look to Him for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
  • We submit to the Scriptures as the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
  • We seek to live in obedience to the Great Commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself’; and we endeavour to fulfil the Great Commission: ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.’

The Presbyterian Church is a Reformed and Evangelical denomination whose understanding of Christianity is set out in the Westminster Confession of Faith. So we stress, as the Bible does, God’s initiative in people becoming Christian believers. This stance does not lead to a lessening of human responsibility before God nor does it take away from the importance of mission and evangelism, but rather establishes the conditions under which true human response to Christ can take place.

The Presbyterian Church does not claim to be the only true church. We see ourselves as forming one small part of the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ and we seek to have fellowship wherever we can with fellow Christians who share with us a common loyalty to ‘the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude verse 3).”

Apostle’s Creed

Apostle's Creed

We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places


The history of St Luke’s Presbyterian Church

Inside the Foundation Church

The original Church was built and opened in 1918 at a cost of £1258 on land purchased in 1915 for £80; it provided seating for 180 people. This building, now called the “Foundation Church” remains in use today.

The first Presbyterian service in Roseville was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Bruce, and the Rev. Alex McKinlay, of Chatswood, in the schoolroom of the Misses Davies in Victoria Street, and was attended by some 50 people. The services followed an approach from Mr. H. Brown, of Roseville, and commenced on August 7th, 1910. Student Ministers conducted later services subsequently transferred to the Roseville Hall. In 1918 Roseville Became a Home Mission Station.

On Jan. 6th, 1920, the Rev. G. R. S. Reid, M.A., of Glebe, was inducted as the Minister of Roseville. During his ministry, Mr. (later Dr.) Reid served as State Moderator and Moderator General for Australia. The Reid Hall was built in 1926. Dr. Reid retired in 1937.

The Rev. A. E. Brice, of Fremantle was inducted as Minister in 1938. The first Manse in Roseville Ave near the Post Office was purchased for £1800 in that year. To meet the growing needs of the Sunday School, (Brice Hall) was erected in 1955. Mr Brice retired in 1956 and returned to Fremantle.

On the 13th July 1947 the Roseville Presbyterian Church took on an additional name of St Luke’s for which it has become known in the community.

The Rev. C.M. Dyster, M.A., S.D., S.T.M.,/ /of Strathfield, was inducted in 1957. Upon his appointment as full time Clerk of Assembly, Mr. Dyster demitted the charge in1961.

The Rev. J. R. Thorburn, B.A., of Gosford, was inducted in 1961. Communicant membership had grown to 490. The congregation was large, and so too the Sunday School which filled the Brice and Reid Halls. The PFA of young people became known in the district for its many plays and musical performances put on in the Reid Hall stage (now demolished).

 St Luke's Church
Street view of St Luke’s Church

In the 1930s discussions first took place concerning the inadequacy of the Church accommodation, and soon after the 2nd World War, alternative remedies were examined. Finally in 1959, it was decided to build a new church by purchasing the property next to the existing Church building.

The property was purchased in 1960 for £6500 and three years later, Mr. J. Hindmarsh, B.Arch., of Messrs. Robertson and Hindmarsh, was commissioned to design a new Church for erection on the narrow space between the original St. Luke’s and the cottage adjoining the Church property on the railway side. The proposed building was to provide seating for 300 plus Choir and Organ gallery. Mrs Ferguson of Roseville Avenue donated land, which formed the car park at the back of the church.

A fixed fee contract for £43,000 was entered with Messrs. H. T. Cornish Pty. Ltd., for construction of a building under the supervision of Mr. Hindmarsh. Structural Engineers for the project were Messrs. Docker and Smith. The Stained Glass Windows are by David Saunders. The new St Luke’s was linked to the old church by a large broad covered area.

The Pipe Organ was relocated from the old church to the new St Luke’s. Reconstruction and extension of the previously dedicated “Marion Wilkinson Memorial Pipe Organ” was carried out by Messrs. S. T. Noad and Son at a cost of approximately 10,000 pounds. The Organ was again enhanced in 2004 by Peter Jewkes, Organ Builders, who continue to provide regular maintenance. This was possible due to a bequest by the late Lillian McMahon.

The Foundation Stone was set by the then Moderator, the Rt. Rev. J. F. McKay, O.B.E., M.A., B.D., in February 1966. The Moderator with the then incumbent the Rev J.R Thorburn, minister from1961 to 1977, officially opened the new St Luke’s on The 22nd October 1966. The years Jim Thorburn was minister were also the years of discussion, debate and voting on the matter of Church Union. The great majority of the congregation voted to join the new Uniting Church and there were many plans afoot between the Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Roseville for the years following. However as there were more than enough people in Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon who wished to continue Presbyterian, entitling the Presbyterians to one church property in the district, Judge Handley, of Victoria as arbitrator for the Property Commission following unacceptable offers awarded St Luke’s in the days immediate to the disruption. Mr Thorburn had voted to join the new church and thus joined with large numbers left the Presbyterian Church at that time leaving a remnant of just over twenty people to continue the work of St Luke’s.

The Superintendent of Ministry and Mission at that time Rev Norman Monson led services and within months had secured the assistance of the Rev Margaret Yee. Rev Yee with members of the congregation embarked on visitation across the parish area and St Luke’s grew quickly and with many young families attending.

The Rev Douglas Fraser Murray B.A. was called from Bathurst to be Minister of St Luke’s in 1978, and he remained until retirement in 1992. This was a boom-time for the church with Roseville becoming very much a district church and people coming from all over the upper and lower North Shore. There was a large Sunday School and a Youth Fellowship (PFA) led by a group of committed young evangelicals which drew in many young people, and in particular to ‘The Tent” a youth drop in centre established in the old Foundation Church. The Rev. Murray was State Moderator 1975 and during his ministry at Roseville and since has been active as a Trustee and on many Presbytery and Assembly Committees. During this period property that fronts onto Roseville Ave at the back of Church was obtained as a result of a donation from Heather Drummond. Seven Aged Care Units known as Heather Brea were erected on this site. These units remain a part of the Roseville Presbyterian Church community outreach today. The church furniture from the old (now designated) Foundation Church was removed in this period and donated to assist St Andrews Church Goulburn, who had repurchased the church and was in need of furnishings. In 1985 Roseville commenced and supported (by releasing people and finances) for a church plant in Forestville. The concept was to start a truly local community church and Rev Murray was assisted by Rev Skip Forsythe who came out from the American church for a few years to work in our church. It was a great day to see Forestville maturing and becoming independent of Roseville. In 1989 the Sydney Seoul Presbyterian Church led by Rev Kim commenced worship services at St Luke’s. To foster such a venture was rather unique in Australia at that time and it was hoped that Rev Kim and congregation would join the Presbyterian Church of Australia. This did not eventuate and they continue using St Luke’s as their worship centre however they remain an independent church.

During the vacancy the Rev Peter Boase recently retired from Epping was appointed Interim-Moderator and led the congregation for over eighteen months during the search for a successor to Mr Murray. The Manse had extensive extensions at the rear in this period and were completed at the arrival of the new minister in1994. The Rev. Dr. L.M. Robins BA, DipEd; DipRE; DipTh; PhD; DMin; MACE was inducted Minister and remained to 1999 when he retired due to illness. Lewis Robbins was previously Chaplain for many years at the Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) at Armidale. His daughters were among the marriages held at St Luke’s during this period. He built the Memorial Wall in the gardens at the front near the entrance to the Foundation Church where plaques are placed in memory of a number of valued and love members of the congregation who have now gone to meet the Lord. Lewis encouraged younger families with the establishment of a future group called “Beyond 2000”, which had fruitful discussions and recommendations. Lewis now lives with Julie his wife in his native New Zealand in Auckland near where he also has an expanse of country property.

In 1991 the custom of holding a Kirking of the Tartan Service was reintroduced. Held in association with the Fraser Clan, the Service features the Knox Grammar School Pipe Band and the Australian Gaelic Singers acapela singing Celtic ballads and religious songs.

The late Rev. G. J. Spence ASA ACIS BA GradDipEd., was inducted as Minister of Roseville Presbyterian Church in 2001 and worked with a team of dedicated people to establish a strong Bible based and a Gospel preaching ministry reaching out to the community. From 2009 to 2012 the Heather Brae Units were refurbished, the Reid Halls were renovated. Some of the work that was done includes repairing the white-ant ridden roof over the Small Reid Hall and improving the sloping floor of the Foundation Church. $60,000 was expended on cleaning, sealing and rust proofing the roof of the Church building.

In 2004 four additional Elders were inducted into the Session. At the commencement of 2007 Daniel Perrott joined as Youth Minister and worked principally with Sunday School, Refuel Youth Group and Scripture in Schools. In 2011 the youth group was renamed the “Roseville Revolution”.

In 2005 with the evening Service being low in numbers it was recognised that many people now work on a Sunday and as such a new Church On Wednesday Service (affectionately known as COW) was commenced on the second Wednesday of each month.

On 22nd October 2007 there was celebration of 40 years since the opening of the ‘new’ Church. This was marked with a Saturday Youth Rally, a Morning Service with bagpipes and visitors from far and wide. This was followed by a Grand Morning Tea in the grounds, and a Historical Exhibition appropriately in the Foundation Church. At the Anniversary Dinner those who were present at the Opening 40 years prior, cut the cake. A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon was enjoyed with local artist and teacher Jane Stewart giving a musical presentation on the organ, piano and Celtic Harp. The State Moderator Rev David Robson accompanied by his wife Margaret preached at the evening service.

The Rev. Stephen Jonker served as Colleague from 2010-2013, focusing mainly on the South African outreach ministry.

On the 16th July 2013 the Rev. Cornelius P. J. Nel (Corrie) was inducted as minister of Roseville Presbyterian Church where he is currently serving by the grace of God.

On Sunday the 26th of July the church celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the new building. The Rev. Dr. Ian Smith preached at the service.

The congregation is looking with great excitement towards the future – especially to the 100 year anniversary service in 2018.

To God, always, be the glory.

*This summary of the near one hundred years past is brief and our historical records reveal much more – we are a congregation which whilst we cherish what is good of the past – we are not living in the past and are looking to renewal and growth spiritually and numerically in the coming years under the guidance and blessing of our Sovereign God. Much is planed and is taking place in the ministry area, whist at the same time we are seeking consultants advice on how we can provide financially and in practical facilities for the next generation so the Roseville Presbyterian Church may provide a Christian witness within the community toward the next 100 years.*


Rev. Cornelius Nel

Rev. Corrie Nel

Corrie has been the minister of St Luke’s Presbyterian Church since 2013. He graduated with the degrees of Master of Divinity and Graduate Diploma of Divinity from Christ College, the Presbyterian Theological Centre in Sydney. Previously, he also studied theology at the University of Pretoria.