On 29th April 1770, when Captain James Cook, commanding the HM Bark Endeavour, sailed into Botany Bay he would have seen rising up from the western shore a great area of forest bounded by a long ridge. That area today is known as the St. George District, and Bexley is one of the suburbs, lying astride the summit of the ridge. In the year 1946 there was a time of social change. As World War II had drawn to an end, a small group of believers met for their inaugural meeting in the Bexley District Band Hall – a small fibrocement tin-roofed structure, to ‘break bread’ on Lord’s Day 15th December 1946. The eighteen believers who came together were residing in this area and came from four assemblies – Arncliffe, Leichhardt, Rockdale and South Hurstville. The elders requested prayer for this new venture to the end that the testimony raised there to the glory of God would be productive in blessing to both saint and sinner, and that the Lord’s name thereby be glorified in the district.
The Bexley assembly grew with others joining, some from surrounding assemblies and perhaps of greater joy and importance, some local residents being saved and added to the assembly. From the beginning God blessed the testimony. It was not long before a search was made for a more suitable venue. A site, 18 Abercorn Street just down the street from the Band Hall, was purchased for the construction of the Gospel Hall. This was carried out entirely by brethren of the assembly. The assembly met for the first time six months later in the new hall on 14th February 1954. At the thanksgiving meeting on 9th April 1954 the theme of the ministry was a series of golden rules for the maintenance of Christian Unity, Phil. 4. 4-8.
In 1961 the original building was extended, doubling the hall space, and providing a lower hall suitable for Sunday School work. In June 1984 the assembly gained title to the vacant land adjoining the hall property. This was the Lord’s provision to meet car parking regulations. In 1987 a double garage was added for storage, etc.
From the first Sunday School with 9, numbers built up to 125 in 1961. The attendance declined over the following years but has remained steady up to the present. In the 1970’s children’s work in the Rally movement was commenced during the week-nights and this was productive of much spiritual fruit. In 1996 a change was made to combine boys and girls outreach, juniors meeting at 6pm and seniors at 7.30pm on Friday evenings. A gospel meeting is held each Sunday evening.
Since 1981 overseas and Australian brethren have been invited for a series of gospel or ministry meetings at Bexley. These have included brethren Sidney Schlosz and Alfred Dudley from South Africa; Albert Leckie, George Waugh and Jim Baker from Scotland: James Hutchinson, John Flynn, Sam Jennings, Albert Aiken and Robert McLuckie from Northern Ireland; Peter Brandon and Roy Hill from England; Rowan Jennings from Canada; Ian Irvine and Willie McVey from Australia.
Easter Conference Ministry meetings were inaugurated at Bexley in 1988 and are held on Good Friday and Easter Sunday afternoon with overseas and Australian speakers participating, usually continuing in the gospel or ministry. This year, 2007, Roy Hill (UK) and Ian Irvine (Brisbane) were the conference speakers with Roy Hill continuing with ministry meetings.
The assembly has always been mindful of the ‘Great Harvest Field’, being active in prayerful and practical support of fulltime workers with commendation of some to overseas and local areas. Other fruitful outreaches have included: Monthly, a gospel Tuesday Out-Reach meeting (11.30-12.30 p.m.) with average attendance of 60 followed by lunch. Fortnightly, a craft meeting, and an English Language class for overseas students. Yearly, a Treasure Seeker’s Week for children. In recent years the assembly has been enriched and strengthened by the addition of families from Asia. The assembly has continued to thrive over the years because of the emphasis on basic doctrinal teaching, continued gospel preaching, prayer, and strong leadership, 2 Cor. 3. 5.
Visitors to the Sydney area are always sure of a warm welcome.