The Channel Uniting Church is a church community serving the Lord and celebrating over 100 years of service in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel Area of Tasmania. Services are held at both Woodbridge and Kettering.
The current “minders” of the simple little church at Kettering see it, as did a line of predecessors dating back to 1863, as a community place of meeting, mutual support and worship. It provides a valuable reminder of times gone by to a community which has lost much old settlement heritage due to devastating bushfires.
In 1863 Dr Crowther and Mr M. Holmes made land available for a place of public worship and a cemetery. The resulting building served as a schoolroom as well as a chapel. This Union Chapel, for protestants of any denomination, serviced the scattered rural environment. The structure survived the 1897 bushfires, but in 1900 was replaced by a more substantial church of traditional country style. Regular Anglican and Methodist services were conducted with a Sunday School for children.
Sadly this building, along with churches at Gordon, Middleton, Flowerpot, Snug, Sandfly and Longley, was lost in the catastrophic 1967 bushfires. The separate Anglican and Methodist churches, which replaced the Woodbridge Union Chapel destroyed in 1898, survived those fires.
The current Kettering Church was built in 1969 thanks to funds from fire insurance and generous donations from individuals and appeals. In an era of growing ecumenism, Catholics were invited to share the new church. Catholic services ceased in 2012.
The 1969 Board of Management evolved into a Combined Churches Committee which continues to raise funds to cover maintenance, repairs and power bills. Kingborough Council took over the responsibility for the Cemetery in the 1980s and continues to provide mowing help.
In recent years, local people of Anglican and Uniting background have repaired the bell tower, provided safer gutter guard, removed mildew, upgraded electrics and maintained a memorial garden and wall. Upgrades have also been provided to comply with occupational, health and safety requirements.
Built as a bushfire quick-recovery, the simple terrapin-style building continues to provide a venue where local people are encouraged to participate in the exploration of faith in the 21st century.