Stephen Cheek

Stephen Cheek (185382), rural evangelist. His Congregationalist parents arrived in Tasmania in 1855, eventually settling at Rosevale. Around 1876, Cheek became convinced of the need for adult baptism. He was baptised by the Christian Brethren, but soon joined the Disciples of Christ (later called Churches of Christ). Resigning his teacher's position, he became an itinerant evangelist, active in north-eastern, south-western and south-eastern Tasmania always in rural areas. Extensive surviving correspondence (held by the Victorian Churches of Christ) attest pungent wit, dramatic flair, and relish for public debate. He was most effective in the south-east. The 1965 Atlas of Tasmania shows the Churches of Christ as that region's second largest denomination. Cheek's horizons were large: he conducted a newspaper circulation 2000 by 1880 and undertook successful rural missions in Victoria in 1882.

Further reading: R Ely, 'Communities of generation, communities of choice', Lucas 12, 1991, TL.

Richard Ely