Saturday, January 11, 2020

Len and Dilys Williams and the Hunter Baillie Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Leonard Mervyn Williams and his wife Dilys came to the Hunter Baillie in 1956. The church was in decline and the threat of falling masonry had made it impossible to obtain public liability insurance. (p39, Hunter Baillie) Dilys conducted alternate services at Leichhardt and Hunter Baillie Presbyterian churches with her husband and was inducted, in 1969, as the first woman Elder in NSW. (p41, Hunter Baillie). Ferguson Library Archivist mentioned in her talk at the church on 4 September 2010, that Dilys Williams in the 1930s had applied to the Presbyterian Church of Australia General Assembly to be Accepted as a candidate for the Ministry. Her application was "laid on the table" and was never dealt with. The stained glass window on the northern side of the church was restored in memory of the Williams' time at the church.
"Back in the 1950's after first attending Sunday School in the morning the older children were then taken into the church for the last part of the service. One of these Sunday School students recalls the time when entering the church a number of them were whispering and giggling as they entered and took their seats, girls in the first pew, boys in the second, when Mrs Williams picked out one child and instructed her to take a seat further back in the church.
As a result, this child made an effort to check, as to who was doing the service each week to avoid any further humiliation by Mrs Williams. -1956-1969 - Bohemian Annandale, Annecdotal History of Annandale viewed 11 Jan 2020

Further Reading: 

"In 1931, Dilys Elizabeth Jamieson Williams applied for candidature for admission to the ordained ministry of the the Australian Presbyterian Church, the first woman of that denomination to do so.".. Open Door: A Personal Memoir of Dilys Williams (1907-1988) By John Williams

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