With 21 Parishes across a vast area of land, the Riverina Diocese covers approximately 37% of the area of the state of New South Wales. Major towns and Parishes in within the Diocese include Griffith, where the Cathedral of St Alban the Martyr is located, Leeton, Lake Cargelligo and Narrandera, south to Deniliquin and Moama, and as far west as as Broken Hill.The Riverina Diocese remains close with those Diocese’ that helped establish our Diocese in the beginning. We also pray for our international Companion Diocese of Hokkaido, Nasik and St. Asaph. Our Diocese is watered by ‘Four Rivers’ – Murray, Murrumbidgee, Darling and Lachlan. These rivers remind us of the river of life that flows from Christ into our Church and human lives. The Four Rivers is also the inspiration for our Four Rivers Newsletter and Bookshop. On the 21st of July 2018, our Diocese sendoff our 10th Bishop, The Right Reverend Rob Gillion. Archdeacon Donald Kingsley Kirk was Consecrated and Installed as the Eleventh Bishop of Riverina on a glorious winter morning on Saturday 15th of June 2019 at the Cathedral Church of St Alban the Martyr in Griffith.
Anglican Cathedral Church of St. Alban the Martyr Griffith
THE EARLY DAYS
The original parish of Griffith was established in 1920 during the initial years of the town’s growth. The first services were held in the town picture theatre before a Rectory was built in 1923. A church of humble beginnings, Weddings and Baptisms were conducted in the rectory lounge room until the Church Hall was dedicated and opened by the then Lord Bishop of London, the Right Reverend A.F.Winninton-Ingram, on the 22nd of March 1927.
Dedication of the Hall/Church in 1927.
Bishop Halse holding the Crozier (Bishop’s staff), walking beside the Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington Ingram. Legend has it that the railway delayed the departure of the train from Griffith so the Bishop of London could attend this one off event on his tour of Australia.
The procession of clergy is walking past the old Rectory (built in 1923). The Rector of Griffith parish at the time was Fr Walter Bennett who is fifth from the left in the picture walking beside Archdeacon Kitchen.
Photo dated between 1938 and 1941
The Bishop is Reginald Halse, seated 6th from the left front row. To his right, Fr Victor Twigg Fifth in back row, Fr Charles Simms – Rector of Leeton, seventh in back row is believed to be Fr Walter Bennett – the priest in Griffith before Fr Twigg. Eleventh back row number Fr Maurice Waugh – Priest-in-Charge of Whitton, Yenda & Barellan.
CONSTRUCTION OF ST ALBAN THE MARTYR CHURCH
In September 1937, the groundwork for the building of a cathedral church was laid by a Griffith Parish delegation, led by the Rector, Reverend W.G.Bennett and in 1947 Louis R. Williams, F.R.A.I.A., was commissioned to design a church which would be “spacious, lofty, seating around 300 in the Nave with ample room for extra seating, cloistered aisles, Chapel, Choir Gallery, separate Baptistry, good vestry accommodation, no doors opening to the southwest and to be free of any dust-catching ornamentation”.
18 years after the foundations were laid, the Church of St Alban the Martyr was opened and dedicated by the Bishop on Saturday, 16th April, 1955. An affair not to be missed, the Bishop was greeted with a fanfare of trumpets and crowd of approximately 750 people seated inside the church and a further 1200 celebrating the opening outside.
“St Alban’s combines modern and traditional architecture, designed for Australian conditions and was described by Louis Williams as ’20th Century Gothic”.
ST ALBAN’S CHURCH BECOMES THE CATHEDRAL OF THE DIOCESE
On Tuesday, 1st May 1984, as part of the Riverina Diocese Centenary celebrations, St Alban’s Church at Griffith became the Cathedral of the Diocese. The Right Reverend Barry Hunter, seventh Bishop of Riverina, knocked at the West Doors three times to claim St Alban’s as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Riverina and was placed in his Cathedral by the then archdeacon of the Riverina, G.R.Lawrence.
“The mission of the Church is the mission of Christ”
The Five Marks of Mission
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth