Header imagePastor Colvin  

History of the congregation

The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sydney was founded on 20th of May 1949 by post WW II refugees fleeing the Soviet occupation of Latvia. The congregation is the second oldest latvian lutheran congregation in Australia. The first pastor was Pastor Janis Krauklis, who served from September 1949 until his retirement in July 1987.

Colvin MacPherson, the current pastor, was called by the Congregation in 1987 to succeed Pastor Krauklis.

Pastor Krauklis had a vision to build a Church for the latvian community, and his dream was realised , with the dedication of the new Church building on 10th November 1968, by Dean Arnold Grosbachs. Six years later saw the dedication of the Church hall and offices. The St John's Latvian Church was the first Latvian Church built in Australia. The Church was built from funds generously donated by by members and well wishers within the latvian community.

PastorsCongregational life has always been active, and at it's peak in the late 60's membership was around 1500 people. The community has aged and today membership is around 400 people scattered all over Sydney.


Left to right: pr. Janis Krauklis;Dean A.Grosbachs; pr. Colvin MacPherson (1986)

Congregation presidents in order of service have been:

F.Lakšēvics, J.Miezis, P.Ozols, E.Liepiņš, Dr.V.Cīrulis, K.Rudens, O.Beimanis, E.Arnoldijs, J.Treimanis, V.Kalniņš, K.Rudens, A.Tauriņš, A.Saulītis, H.Okšis, A.Zīriņš, H.Okšis, R.Krēsliņš, M.Strīķis and currently E.Timermanis.

Ladies Auxiliary presidents in order of service have been:

V.Zirnītis, A.Birzulis, A.Brūveris, A.Vācietis, A.Krauklis, V.Treimanis, I. Arnoldijs, J.Sirmulis, M.Saulītis, I.Bērtrand, V.Mežkaza, and currently T.Koškins.

In establishing life in Sydney, the latvian community determined a need for a burial ground to lay to rest those latvians, who had died far from their fatherland. Our congregation worked with the neighbouring Latvian Unity Congregation to establish a latvian burial ground. The Latvian Cemetery section at Rookwood Necropolis was dedicated on the 16th September 1956. Each year a memorial service is held on the 3rd Sunday of October to remember those who are laid to rest there. The Latvian section, has been noted by the Joint Cemetery Trust, as being one of the prettiest and best kept sections in the cemetery. Rookwood Necropolis is the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Church Choir was founded in 1969 by conducter Mr Haralds Rutups . The choir participated in Church Services and events regularly until 1975, when it amalgamated with the Sydney Latvian Society Mixed Choir. A Church Youth Choir was also active during the 1970s. Today our Church services are enriched by the Church Singing Ensemble, a group of dedicated members singing praises to the Lord.

A successful fund raising event has been the annual Garden Festival Concert. The Concert showcased the talents of our latvian artists. Mrs Velta Skujins, a dedicated member of the congregation was responsible for organising the concerts over twenty five years.

The congregation has always been blessed with dedicated organists. In order of service they have been: F.Stockholms, J.Freimanis, J.Muižnieks, R.Heimanis, A.Skujiņš, A.Pīlupe, A.Kliešmete, J.Balodis. Our current organists ar Ināra Gedgovds and Tamāra Koškins.