Sydney Kirkby (1879 – 1935) missioner Bush Church Aid Society
Sydney Kirkby was a staunch evangelical clergyman, popular preacher, capable yet humble administrator and showed himself to be a pianist, photographer, pen sketcher as well as having a good sense of humour, all working together in his witness to God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sydney Kirkby was the first Organizing Missioner of the Bush Church Aid Society.
Sydney James Kirkby was the first Organizing Missioner of the Bush Church Aid Society.
He was born in Bendigo, Victoria, in 1879 and trained at Moore Theological College, Abbott scholar and 1st Class Honours scholar, being priested in 1906.
After spending 6 years in Victorian country parishes he had opportunity to study at Durham University 1911-12 before becoming Acting Principal and Tutor at Moore Theological College for an interregnum period. After serving in two Sydney parishes he was appointed in 1920 as the first Organizing Missioner of the newly formed Bush Church Aid Society, the objectives of which were to take Christian ministry to people in remote and isolated areas of Australia.
He thrust himself into this new work with much energy, spiritual faith, organizing ability and fearlessness. Through the Society’s Journal, “The Real Australian” and by constant deputations and lantern lectures, he called on and encouraged city people to serve and support the Society in its aim, “Australia for Christ”.
His leadership of the Society assessing and prioritizing mission needs, involved travelling extensively by all means of transport from foot and horseback to rail and motor vehicle. He was innovative, encouraging new projects in BCA, such as Mail Bag Sunday School, Mission Van and Women’s Ministry, Hostels, Medical Work and Aeroplane Ministry.
He was a staunch evangelical clergyman, popular preacher, capable yet humble administrator and showed himself to be a pianist, photographer, pen sketcher as well as having a good sense of humour, all working together in his witness to God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1932 when he was appointed bishop Co-adjutor of the Diocese of Sydney, he relinquished his position with BCA but continued his association as President of the Society. As part of the Bishopric he also became Rector of the city church of St. Philip’s Church Hill where he exercised a popular outreach to city workers. Six months after these appointments, Archbishop J.C. Wright died and for 12 months Kirkby was Administrator of the Sydney Diocese until the arrival of the new Archbishop, H.W.K. Mowll from the Bishopric of West China.
In introducing Mowll to his new Diocese and Country, he won the everlasting trust, admiration and friendship of Mowll, a friendship which continued to the Bishop’s family long after Kirkby’s death.
Kirkby continued to energetically apply himself to his Diocesan duties until a breakdown in his health resulted in his death on 12th July 1935 at the age of 56 years.
The extent of his Funeral Arrangements and Cortege was indicative of the respect and endearment in which he was held by many civil and church leaders and the general public.
Source : http://www.bushchurchaid.com.au/
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