Heroes of the Faith

May 2018: Local Anglican pioneer 'a most excellent pastor'

By Peter Sherlock

February 4 2018 

In the 1840s the Revd Adam Compton Thomson was the incumbent of Melbourne’s first Anglican Church, St James’, which fronted William and Little Collins Streets (it was relocated to West Melbourne as St James’ Old Cathedral between 1913-14). Professor Peter Sherlock, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Divinity and a historian, pays tribute to a faithful witness to the justice, love and mercy of God, whose final Melbourne sermon showed deep concern about the spiritual health of Melbourne’s inhabitants. The article is based on Professor Sherlock’s sermon for the 2017 Pioneers Service at St James’ Old Cathedral in November.

The Revd Adam Compton Thomson (1800-1859) was the incumbent of the parish of St James, Melbourne, from 1842 to 1850. He was not the first, nor the only clergyman in Victoria; there were Anglican clergy at Portland and Geelong, and Presbyterian and Catholic colleagues in Melbourne. Nevertheless his remarkable life and ministry provide crucial insights into the development of Christianity in early Melbourne.

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