Mulgrave Uniting Church has its origins in the 1960’s.
In the early 1960’s there was a Methodist Church in Edinburgh Road Springvale North and, by the mid 1960’s, house churches had been set up in the new housing area of Mulgrave as a home mission initiative supported by the Springvale Presbyterian Church.
In 1966, the Presbyterians purchased the house at 1 Caper Court and 3 adjoining blocks of land in Wanda Street. The house was used as a meeting place and for several years church services and Sunday school were held in classrooms at Springvale North Primary School before the first part of the Wanda Street church building was completed in 1972.
The following year Rev Ian Higgins became the first settled minister at Wanda Street and the Caper Court house became the Manse for the minister and his family. In 1974, three years before the inception of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Presbyterian congregation at Wanda Street merged with the Springvale North Methodist Church to become a Joint Parish. The Springvale North church property was subsequently sold to a Macedonian Orthodox congregation.
In 1975, the Joint Parish expanded to include the Presbyterian congregation at Wheelers Hill. Rev David Henderson became the minister and conducted services at the Wanda Street and Wheelers Hill churches. There was a combined Parish Council and many shared activities including a youth group, a prayer group and family camps.
The new Wheelers Hill church and family centre were built in 1980 and the Wanda Street church building was extended in 1984 during the ministry of Rev Helen Cox. Around that time, the Mulgrave congregation adopted the name Wanda Street Uniting Church.
In 1985, a new Indonesian congregation of the Uniting Church was welcomed to share in the use of the Wanda Street property. That arrangement continued until May 2016 when, because of its sustained growth over the years, the Indonesian Congregation moved to the larger Uniting Church site on the corner of Burke Rd and Malvern Rd, Glen Iris (formerly St Andrew’s, Gardiner congregation).
In the late-1980’s, when Rev Dr Robert Guthrie was our minister, the Manse was no longer used as the minister’s residence but was made available to the Wheelers Hill Family Centre for use as an office for their housing and youth workers. Subsequently, the Manse has been used by UnitingCare Connections for counselling services and playgroups, and by the Indonesian congregation for Sunday school and other meetings.
Since the early 1990’s, the Wanda Street and Wheelers Hill congregations operated with a greater degree of autonomy. However, the arrangement whereby the congregations shared a minister continued until 2010 during the ministries of Rev Ron Croxford, Rev Ken Lindsay, Rev John Vander Reest, Rev Sunny Chen and Rev Charles Sundaresan.
In January 2012, Rev Dr Howard Wallace became our minister following his distinguished service as Professor of Old Testament Studies at the Uniting Church’s Melbourne-based Centre for Theology and Ministry. In that year, the congregation reverted to using the name Mulgrave Uniting Church. Howard’s ministry with us continued until his retirement in February 2017.
From that time, Rev Ian Cayzer served our congregation as interim minister until July 2019 when Rev Kharis Abadani commenced as minister to Mulgrave and Monash Uniting Churches.