No end to the caring
Wesley James Home opens at Burwood to provide family-style living for young people who have graduated from other children’s homes on leaving school. R E Tebbutt Lodge in Dundas, named after former Honorary Solicitor and Honorary Treasurer of Wesley Mission, Roy Elliott Tebbutt, also opens in July as an aged care facility and continues to this day as Wesley Tebbutt Dundas. Profits from Cottee Orchard in South Australia—a bequest—begin contributing towards the work of Wesley Dalmar.
A crucial change
The Central Methodist Mission becomes part of the Uniting Church in Australia and changes its name to Wesley Central Mission.
In another major change, the Rev Gordon Moyes takes over as Superintendent in 1978 and will remain in the position for the next 27 years.
Wesley Central Mission develops a weekly television program for the Nine Network
Soon after his arrival as Superintendent, the Rev Moyes announces the development of a Sunday morning television program called Turn ‘Round Australia.
Initially airing on the TEN Network, Wesley Central Mission accepts an offer from Channel Nine to air the program as a lead up to Nine's new Sunday current affairs program.
By the mid ‘80s, the program is airing nationally on the Nine Network and affiliates.
The arrangement with Nine continues to this day with the network airing Wesley Impact! TV each Sunday morning.
New hope for the homeless
Edward Eagar Lodge for homeless people opens in Bourke Street, Darlinghurst. The historic Bourke Street Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1847, was incorporated into the Lodge. The National Trust had classified the Chapel for preservation and it still exists today within Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge.
Counselling takes a new direction
Concerned that the ease with which people are able to get credit cards will lead many to accumulate massive debts, Wesley Central Mission commissions a report to highlight the dangers. The alarming results lead to the setting up of Wesley CreditLine to provide financial counselling, now part of Wesley Financial Counselling.
Serenity Farm at Ashcroft and Horsley Park Farm are established as alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities. The self-help farms are an offshoot of Wesley Central Mission’s Edward Eagar Lodge in Darlinghurst. Serenity Farm later becomes Serenity House.
Responding to the needs of Vietnamese refugees
Many young people arrive by boat from Vietnam, their parents having died on the way. Wesley Central Mission renovates the Francis Street Men’s Hostel in the Sydney CBD to house 40 orphaned boys.
1981 Landmark Aboriginal meeting at Wesley Vision Valley
The first ever gathering of New South Wales’ Aboriginal elders is held at Wesley Vision Valley, chosen for its bush setting. They are welcomed by the NSW Premier who receives their recommendations which first and foremost cover land rights.
Innovative documentary series on the New Testament
Using the newly announced tax concessions for film production, Wesley Central Mission establishes Wesley Film Productions (WFP), a first for a religious organisation.
Over the next three years, WFP spends six months on location in the middle-east shooting three 12 part documentaries.
Discovering Jesus, Discovering Paul and Discovering the Young Church become landmark series and are sold around the world. Video sales in Australia and overseas provide an innovative resource for churches and Christians.
Wesley Modification & Maintenance is launched to help sick and aged residents to remain in their homes as long as possible. The service builds access ramps, modifies bathrooms and does general maintenance.
During the year, Barnett Cottage opens at Mt Druitt to provide emergency services for children and Freeman Cottage at Abbotsford opens as a family group home.
The gift of their time
Wesley Central Mission appoints its first full-time Volunteer Coordinator in response to increasing numbers of people wanting to volunteer. This tradition of volunteering dates back to earliest Methodists in Australia and continues today with almost 4,000 volunteers, registering more than 170,000 hours of service.
The Rev Gordon Moyes is invited to take over the 8pm to midnight Sunday night slot on 2GB.
Sunday Night Live with Gordon Moyes runs for nearly 18 years and regularly tops the Sunday night radio ratings.
Caring for homeless families
To meet the needs of homeless families requiring short term accommodation, four three bed units are built on the Wesley Dalmar site. Wesley Central Mission continues to make looking after homeless families an integral part of its services.
Alan Walker Village at Carlingford opens, to care for the aged in our community.
On the move—again
Wesley Central Mission moves from Pitt Street to temporary premises in George Street while 220 Pitt Street is demolished through to Castlereagh Street, including Wesley Arcade, The Lyceum Theatre, Wesley Centre and also Wesley Chapel. For the next two years Wesley Central Mission worships in the new Wesley Theatre built into the old Plaza Theatre at 600 George Street.
Wesley Family Centre, The Hills opens to provide a range of counselling and support services and Wesley Disability Services opens eight houses.
In 1988 the Rev Joan Horgan becomes the first woman to be appointed as a pastor at Wesley Chapel.
Smart on the streets
Wesley Central Mission starts the first gambling counselling service in Australia. In addition, Wesley StreetSmart (previously called Drug Arm) opens in Liverpool Street in Sydney with support from the Rotary Club.
Wesley Independent Living program begins at Ashfield. In 1991 Wesley Independent Living expands to include the Central Coast. The program continues today, providing support to young people to transition into their own sustainable accommodation.
Wesley SkillShare begins training long-term unemployed people in job skills which later develops to become Wesley Employment & Training Services.
The next chapter
Wesley Central Mission moves back into its new facilities, boasting one of Sydney’s most modern theatres and conference centres. The building includes Wesley Church, The Lyceum, Wesley Centre, Wesley Restaurant, car parking and offices.
The same year Wesley Central Mission supporters in South Australia make available a rural property called Desert Downs for development as a Youth Rehabilitation Centre and church camping site. Cottee Lodge at Ashfield also begins operating as a facility for homeless teenagers who are helped to find employment and reconcile with their families.
In 1991 Wesley LifeForce begins providing suicide prevention education programs.
Wesley Institute takes off
The Christian Training College and the International Institute for Creative Ministries (founded by Dr David Johnston) joined to become Wesley Institute for Ministry and the Arts, located at Drummoyne.
New name, same vision
In 1993 Wesley Dalmar Child & Family Care celebrates 100 years of service.
In 1994 Wesley Central Mission changes its name to Wesley Mission.
First Christmas at Darling Harbour
In association with the Darling Harbour Authority and Mary Lopez Productions, Wesley Mission produces A Darling Harbour Christmas.
Airing on the Seven and then the TEN Networks, the program presents the Biblical story of Christmas with a cast of more than 1,000 and featuring some of Australia's leading celebrities.
With a name change to An Australian Christmas, the event runs for 10 years and is used to raise funds for Wesley Mission's activities.
New suicide memorial initiative
The Wesley LifeForce Memorial Day starts as an annual event at the Sydney Opera House to provide those who had lost someone through suicide an opportunity to come together in a spirit of compassion and hope. It also aims to end the stigma associated with suicide. A Wesley LifeForce Memorial Day is now held in Newcastle and Adelaide in addition to Sydney each year.
Wesley Uniting Employment, now called Wesley Employment & Training, grows out of a new Federal Government approach to service provision for the unemployed. Wesley Mission wins several contracts and quickly expands its services beyond Sydney to several regional areas.
Breakaway Children’s Respite at Northmead begins providing respite to hundreds of children in the Cumberland Prospect region.
Prime Minister’s Task Force on Youth Homelessness
The Rev Gordon Moyes is appointed to the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Youth Homelessness, just one example of his and Wesley Mission’s commitment to advocacy during the ‘90s. Wesley Mission is frequently featured on radio and television, lobbying government on behalf of people with disabilities, the unemployed, the homeless and the aged.
A new hospital
Wesley Mission’s history of providing quality mental health services continues with the purchase of Wandene Private Hospital. Since 2010, the hospital is known as Wesley Hospital Kogarah and is a specialist private psychiatric facility.