First Council Meeting 2019

Was held at the Holy Family Anglican Church Belmont North on Friday 8th March.

Reverend Nicole open the meeting with prayer.

Certificates of Appreciation for retired hospital visitors were presented by Denise Brown on behalf of Father Roger Zohrab to Barbara Wattus, Margot Pleash and Jacqui Sorby,  in recognition for their Pastoral Ministry over many years at John Hunter Hospital. Certificates will be presented to Laurel Brook and Carole Harvey at a later date.

We then had the privilege of hearing our New Chaplain’s Christian journey. A summary below:

Journey of faith, walk with God

It is a privilege to be the Chaplain for Mothers Union in the Diocese of Newcastle, and to share this part of our faith journey and walk with God with you. This is a new role for me, but many of us already know something of each other through other ministries … Cursillo, GFS, parish and Diocesan life. It is good to be here with you.

I thought I would share with you some of the experiences and relationships which have both formed and informed me, creating me to be who I am today. My Poppy was a great storyteller. He told us “stories” as young children about the value of friendship, working hard, helping others, trust and love. He taught us Christian values without putting them into religious terms. I was one of the older grandchildren, and I remember being allowed to read his The Bible Story books when I was in primary school. I don’t think I ever read them all because I love the pictures and the story, so each time I would begin at the beginning again. After my grandfather died, my aunt found and bought a set of the books and I still have them.

Fast forward a few years and I am 16 years old. I am going on the adventure of a lifetime … I am off to Basile, Louisiana as an exchange student for a year. One of my first memories of my host mom was her telling me that I would be going to Catechism lessons with the three boys each week and to church with the family. I didn’t even know what Catechism lessons were! I was there to experience life in a new way, so was happy to do whatever it was that was normal for the family that were mine for the year. I made lots of friendships and it was in that year that I felt at home in church for the first time. This was a memory that I would recognise many years later. We went to St Augustine’s Catholic Church, and because I knew nothing about church, I copied everything that Miss Carol (my host mom) did. When she knelt, so did I … when she made the sign of the cross, so did I … when she went to Communion, so did I. Many of the things that I still do today are things that Miss Carol did when we went to church together. The church was very involved in the local high school. There were two churches in town, and together they sponsored Sing Out which was a high school theatre company that had us travelling and performing all over south west Louisiana. We were part of a telethon and did two hour shows for all sorts of events. Basile was and still is a small town, so we all knew each other, we all took extra-curricular activities together and we made friendships that have lasted, despite the distance between us. I graduated high school with my class and still keep in contact with those I was closest to.

After returning to Australia, life went back to what was familiar here. None of my friends went to church, so I joined a youth group, but it wasn’t the same. I completed my HSC and an Associate Diploma, then married and had children. The importance of being part of a faith community was lost for a long time. I did get married in Church and both of my girls were baptised as infants … I knew it was important, but I couldn’t put the words around why … I just knew it was something that I wanted for my girls.

In a time of crisis, I walked back into a church and then there was that memory … I was “home.” I recognised that memory, that feeling … and have been a part of the church since then. I was asked if I was interested in going to a Cursillo. I was seeking, even if I didn’t know it then, and I went. My sponsors, Kim and Peter, drove two hours to Morpeth, which is where I had moved to, so that they could drive me two minutes down the road … and look after my girls while I was at my Cursillo. It was at my Cursillo that I finally began to really listen to God promptings and decided that I would follow where I felt I was being led by God … and here I am!!

I completed my Bachelor of Theology while I worked full time … and during that time I was lay director of Women’s Cursillo 44 … and in the same year I was able to go to the Holy Land as part of my university studies. We spent 19 days in Jordan and Israel, helping to excavate at Bethsaida where we had the great privilege of unearthing ruins, especially finding a doorway and entry into someone’s home. It was an amazing experience to be in the Holy Land; to float in rafts down the very shallow Jordan; to worship God at St Luke’s Anglican Church Haifa with an Anglican Arab community, singing both in Arabic and English; to swim in the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Tiberias; to wander the grounds and gardens of Mt Beatitudes; to look over the Promised Land from Mt Nebo; to explore Petra and look over toward The Monastery after climbing 899 steps.

I cannot imagine doing anything different than what I am doing at this time in my life. I look forward to all that we will share together, the way God will use us to bring His light and love into the places where we are, and to walking this part of our faith journeys with you.

Every blessing