St John’s has had connections with the Royal Australian Navy since the 1980’s through our association with the ex-Navalmen’s Club of Bendigo and District.
Many veterans of the Royal Australian Navy served under the old Royal Navy White Ensign, which was laid up in St John’s in 2000. The Royal Australian Navy White Ensign was laid up next to it in 2003. Together with the memorial stained glass window in the Narthex, these flags mark St John’s as Bendigo’s Naval Chapel. They serve as a reminder of God’s mercy to us in times of conflict and of our need to entrust ourselves to His care for our future security. Furthermore, they pay tribute to all those who served and gave their lives beneath their colours. They remain there to inspire all who see them to thankfulness for God’s goodness and to courage and devotion in His service in the defence of Christian liberty.
Each October* on the Sunday nearest to Trafalgar Day, a special service is held to celebrate those Naval links and to pray for those serving within our armed forces, especially within the Royal Australian Navy. At this service we are usually pleased to welcome a guest preacher who has (or has had) some connection to the Navy, the members and friends of the ex-Navalmen’s Club who hold their annual celebrations over that weekend, as well as their invited guest from within the Royal Australian Navy. Cadets from the TS Bendigo also attend in uniform.
You can read about some of the guests and preachers we have had in recent years in some of our older posts.
* As of October 2019, due to declining attendance and interest from the members of the ex-Navalmen’s Club, the annual service has been discontinued.