From here to Eternity: Arthur Stace in his own words

In 1964, 79 year-old Arthur Stace was interviewed on Sydney radio about why he wrote “Eternity”.

We’ve transcribed the brief segment. (A few words are unclear.)

Presenter: [One of ] the things that strikes a visitor to Sydney, and indeed many other towns right throughout New South Wales, is the fact that someone has been there before, in writing “Eternity” on the footpaths, on walls, almost anywhere, in very fine handwriting, and in yellow chalk.

For Monitor, Jim Wall found Mr Arthur Stace, who writes “Eternity” and asked him, “Why?”.  Read more

Cathedral to remember “Mr. Eternity” Arthur Stace, 50 years on

This Sunday (30th July) marks the 50th anniversary of the homecalling of Arthur Stace, the man who wrote “Eternity” on the streets of Sydney from 1932 until 1966.

He died at Hammondville Nursing Home on the evening of Sunday 30th July 1967.

On Sunday, Arthur Stace will be remembered at a special service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral at 10:30am.

Why did he write “Eternity” right across our city? What happened to change him from a life of alcohol and crime and hopelessness? Was he a mystic or a loner? This Sunday, hear the wonderful news he discovered, and understand what drove this humble Sydney icon.

(He’s also being remembered, this Sunday and next, in the western suburbs. Is your church doing something? Let the webmaster know.)

Photo of Arthur Stace by Les Nixon, via Ramon Williams, used by permission. Taken at Burton Street Tabernacle, 27 December 1952. Right hand photo: the Eternity memorial in Town Hall Arcade.

Related: The Eternity waterfall after 40 years – 12th July 2017.

From Here to Eternity: Giving thanks for Arthur Stace, 49 years on

arthur-stace-headstone-photo-by-ramon-williamsToday, 30th July 2016, is the 49th anniversary of the home-calling of Arthur Stace.

Remembered today as ‘Mr. Eternity’, Arthur Stace committed his life to asking the men and women of Sydney to consider where they will spend eternity. His ‘one word sermon’ was written in yellow crayon on the streets of Sydney for three decades – until ill health prevented him.

Stace was also a keen evangelist, and was seen on Saturday nights preaching from the Open Air Campaigners van parked on the corner of George and Bathurst Streets in Sydney.

He was no eccentric, and there is no secret about his motives. He wanted men and women to place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The 50th anniversary of Stace’s death, 30th July 2017, falls on a Sunday.

This is an excellent opportunity for churches to remind the people of Sydney of his call to consider where they will spend eternity. (It is most appropriate for older Sydney-siders who remember actually seeing his work!)

The next year gives Sydney churches time to consider how they might use this anniversary for the eternal good of the people of our great city.

Top photo courtesy Ramon Williams. Read more about Mr. Eternity here.

The message lives on

Arthur Stace, early 1930s. Detail from a photo, courtesy of HammondCare.“Mr Eternity could never have imagined he would have crowds of Sydney-siders remembering him 50 years after his death, but that’s what happened at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Sunday.

But then again, he wouldn’t have imagined he would prompt city authorities to emblazon Eternity in fireworks on the Harbour Bridge at the turn of the century, either.

Photo by Colin Mackellar, January 2000.

Arthur Stace was an alcoholic converted during the Great Depression, who then went on to devote his life to reminding people of Eternity by writing the word in perfect copperplate on Sydney Streets.…”

– Russell Powell reports on the tribute to Arthur Stace, “Mr. Eternity”, last Sunday at the Cathedral. (Photo of Arthur Stace courtesy HammondCare.)

See also this report from Eternity News, and these related posts.

Nathan Tasker sings Eternity

From Nathan Tasker’s album “Home” (iTunes), the single “Eternity (What we were made for)”.

Related:

Eternity: How Arthur Stace’s handwritten chalk message became a symbol of SydneySun-Herald.

Colin Buchanan sings about Mr Eternity

“Award-winning musician Colin Buchanan will perform a special tribute tomorrow to the man who emblazoned Sydney and Melbourne with ‘Eternity’.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Arthur Stace, Buchanan wrote Eternity (Arthur Stace).

During a 10:30am commemorative service tomorrow for Stace at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, Buchanan will perform the song – which you can listen to below. …”

– Listen at Eternity newspaper.

‘Mr Eternity’ remembered at Hammondville

“This month will mark 50 years since the death of Arthur Stace at Hammondville. Internationally recognised as ‘Mr Eternity’, Stace spent 30 years anonymously writing the word ‘Eternity’ across the streets of Sydney. …

After spending more than three decades writing Eternity on footpaths (500,000 times) – with initial inspiration coming in a sermon by Baptist evangelist John Ridley – Arthur Stace spent his final years as an aged care resident at Hammondville before dying of a stroke on July 30, 1967.”

– Story from HammondCare.

We understand that HammondCare’s David Martin will be on Open House on Hope 103.2FM this Sunday evening.

Related:

Cathedral to remember ‘Mr Eternity’, Arthur Stace, this Sunday.

The Eternity waterfall after 40 years.

(PhotoArthur as the Emergency depot Manager at the Hammond Hotel Chippendale, 1930s. Courtesy HammondCare, used with permission. © HammondCare.)

The Eternity waterfall after 40 years

Forty years ago, the Eternity plaque at the waterfall in Sydney Square was unveilled.

On Tuesday, 12th July 1977, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Column 8 wrote:

“TRUE to his words of last November, Ridley Smith, the Sydney Square architect, has immortalised the late Arthur Stace, ‘Mr Eternity’. You may recall that Column 8 campaigned unashamedly for a suitable memorial to Mr Stace, Sydney’s footpath evangelist for 20 vears until 1967. Ridley Smith promised it without strings.

TODAY, the memorial above will be officially unveilled (a small explanatory plaque is yet to come). Yesterday Column 8 had an informal peek. Mr Stace would be proud. There, set in aggregate near the Sydney Square waterfall, in letters almost 21cm (8 in) high, is the famous copperplate message. ‘Eternity’. The one-word sermon gleams in wrought aluminium. There’s no undue prominence. No garish presentation. Merely the simple ‘Eternity’ on the pebbles, as Arthur Stace would have wanted it.”

In 1994, journalist Alan Gill wrote, “The waterfall adjoins a modest cafeteria. [The Architect of St. Andrew’s House and Sydney Square, Ridley] Smith once told me that he hoped visitors would say ‘Meet you at Eternity’ as well as ‘Meet you in Eternity’.” (1)

Ridley Smith (pictured) was named for evangelist John G. Ridley, who was a friend of his father. In November 1932, Arthur Stace had been in the congregation at the Burton Street Tabernacle in Darlinghurst when John Ridley preached on the need to be ready for eternity. It was this sermon which inspired Stace to begin his 34 year campaign of writing that word on the streets of Sydney.

Arthur Stace died on 30 July 1967, fifty years ago this month.

Did the ‘small explanatory plaque’ mentioned by Column 8 ever appear? In 1994, Alan Gill wrote that some complained “the present inscription is ‘out of the way’ and doesn’t explain who Arthur Stace was. Other admirers of Arthur disagree. They believe the ‘odd’ location of the present tribute and the absence of an explanation are part of that blend of mystery and surprise that ‘Mr Eternity’ himself would appreciate.”

(Top photo showing the waterfall on the day of the unveilling, and the photo of Architect Ridley Smith in 2009, courtesy Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos. Ramon adds, “Ridley Smith sprinkled water around the ‘Eternity’ replica so as to help photograph it.” While the pavement around the memorial has been replaced, “Eternity” on the pebbles remains, as seen in this 2014 photo.)

(1) Alan Gill, “Sydney’s Phantom Preacher”, The Catholic Weekly, 31 August 1994.

Seventeen years closer to Eternity

Eternity sign on Sydney Harbour Bridge, January 2000Seventeen years ago, Sydney celebrated the beginning of 2000 by displaying on the Harbour Bridge the word Eternity in the iconic copperplate handwriting of Arthur Stace.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge (literally) since then, and in many ways the world has changed. But the basic need of men and women is the same – to hear the gospel and be saved.

In 2017, be encouraged to continue to trust Christ, and to live in the light of eternity. Read the story of Arthur Stace in our Resources section.

(Keep in mind the evangelistic opportunities which could come with the 50th anniversary of the death of Arthur Stace.)

Thanksgiving for Ridley Smith

Ridley Smith, 2009, by Ramon WilliamsThere will be a Thanksgiving service for Ridley Smith at St. Andrew’s Cathedral at 10:30am on Friday 3rd January 2014.

Ridley, who died just before Christmas, is best known to many as the Architect who designed St. Andrew’s House and Sydney Square.

We also have Ridley Smith to thank for perpetuating the “Eternity” symbol chalked around Sydney by Arthur Stace for so many years.

Eternity - in Sydney ArcadeIn 1977, he had Eternity, in cast aluminium letters eight inches high, set in pebbles at the bottom of the Sydney Square waterfall.

 

(Photo of Ridley Smith with thanks to Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos – taken at the opening of additions to Gymea Baptist Church, 29th November, 2009.)

Eternity at the Cathedral

The theme for the Queen’s Birthday Convention III at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney is Eternity.

Monday 14th June 2010, 10:00am – 5:00pm.
Details here
.

(Related: The story of Arthur Stace.)

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