No. 499 - Burnie - Acton Chapel

Acton is a suburb of the city of Burnie in north-west of the State. Acton is most likely named after a former English village which has been absorbed into Greater London.

Acton Chapel was opened in 1982 by the Christian Brethren. The Christian Brethren, also known as the Plymouth Brethren, originated in Great Britain in the 1820s. By the mid 19th century the movement had spread to Australia, with the first revival meetings held in Tasmania from 1869. As a result, fellowships were formed in Hobart, Launceston, the Huon Valley, Smithton, Sheffield, Wynyard, Burnie and Scottsdale by the end of the 1870s.

The Brethren placed an emphasis on weekly communion, the baptism of believers by immersion, and evangelism. The Christian Brethren should not be confused with the 'Exclusive Brethren, a restrictive group which broke away in 1848. In Tasmania, most Brethren are 'open', that is, they do not belong to the 'exclusive' Brethren who avoid contact with outsiders to the religion. The 'open' Brethren are evangelists and carry-out community work, including overseas missions.

In January 2018 the church was sold to the Chinese Methodist Church in Australia. The church was dedicated by Bishop Kwang on 16 June 2018. There are now three Chinese Methodist Churches in Tasmania including the Faith Methodist Church at Sandy Bay and the Praise Methodist Church at Invermay. The denomination is represented by 21 churches in Australia.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

The interior of the church under the Christian Brethren - source: Elders Real Estate Burnie 2018

Sources:

CMCA Methodist News June 2018

http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/C/Christian%20Brethren.htm

https://cmca.org.au


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