Bev Hampson, one of the earlier members of a small team which has undertaken the ministry of hospital visiting for many years, writes about what that particular ministry has meant to her:
“I have always felt privileged to be a Hospital Visitor for our church. What other activity can leave you on a “high” after a short time with people who often have problems far beyond your knowledge and understanding. It’s true that it helps to be a chatterbox but it’s also true that you need to be tuned in and sensitive to when people might not want your chatter or presence. Often their first reaction it to think you’ve come to “Bible bash” them but when you explain that you’ve only come to say hello on behalf of the church and hope their recovery will be swift, they relax and some wonderful sharing can then take place. I’m still coming across people who have lived in Mount Gambier and district their whole lives and I have never met them before.”
Raylene Milligan and Beryl Herd are currently our hospital visitors.
Julienne Feast regularly takes Communion to patients in hospital, residents at Boandik Lodge at both the Crouch St and Lake Terrace complexes and to the homes of several parishioners who are not able to attend services in church. “They greatly appreciate this opportunity to feel part of the body of Christ,” says Julienne, “and I am always made welcome.”
Rick Fisher administers the Reserved Sacrament at a service at St Mary’s on the second Wednesday of every month at 10am.
Mothers’ Union Australia
The MU group in Mount Gambier meet monthly for worship, prayer and fellowship.
Members speak highly of the friendship and companionship they enjoy through this group. Birthdays are recognised with a special posy and phone contact or visits are often made when someone is ill or troubled in any way.
The group regularly have guest speakers at their meetings. A recent highlight has been having Marion McCall, president of MU in the Adelaide Diocese, resident in the Parish. She has spoken to the group and attended meetings when in Mt Gambier. Other speakers include Elizabeth Hodges, Anne Ashworth and Just recently Fr. John Thompson, priest in charge of the Penola/Millicent parish, who spoke about his life in the UK and his journey to his current calling.
Seasonal events include Lady Day in March, at which the Christ Church group sometimes combines with the MU group from Naracoorte, Mary Sumner Day in August, in honour of the founder of MU and the Christmas Lunch concluding the year.
Christ Church MU have a ministry to families who have had their children baptised. In addition, one of their biggest ongoing projects is to supply hygiene bags to ac.care for those entering their accommodation. Viv Hutchesson has spearheaded this initiative with donations from members and friends of MU and, recently, with the assistance of the Mt Gambier Lionesses who provide an annual cash donation.
MU in this parish maintains links with groups around Australia through common prayer, worship and study and through the magazine Mia Mia.
Finance and Fundraising
The Fundraising Committee was formed in 2010 under the leadership of Don Currie and Wendy Monger following a Parish Council Planning Day. While there had been many successful events held each year prior to this time, there had been no formal group responsible for fundraising for several years.
Some of the most successful events have included the Men Cook Sunday Lunches, Open Garden Days, Wine Tastings, Easter and Christmas Craft Stalls, catering for various parish and community events as well as BBQ’s at Bunnings. The Fundraising Committee is charged with the responsibility of raising in excess of $20,000 per year. This reflects the commitment and hard work of not just members of the committee but of many parishioners.
This group meets to plan and deliver low cost, not for profit opportunities for parishioners and church friends to enjoy a meal with entertainment. They have organised and run such nights as – The Italian Dinner, The Earth Hour Dinner, The Time and Talents Dinner, The Quiz and Big Supper and parish BBQ’s.
Events punctuate the busy church calendar and parishioners support the group extremely well and join in the informal nature of the events with great excitement.
Parish Fair Group
The Parish Fair has been held annually at Christ Church since the early 1960’s and has been the parish’s most successful fundraiser. The fair has always been held on the second Saturday in August and despite sometimes adverse weather, especially for the growing number of outdoor activities, it is considered to be the most suitable time and indeed it is now seared into the community mind as a date to remember.
Some stalls such as the Craft, Cakes, Produce, Morning Tea, Trash ‘n ‘ Treasure as well as the Petrol Raffle have appeared every year while others have come and gone according to the skills and interests of parishioners.
As well as being a very successful fundraiser for the parish, the Fair has also been an opportunity to involve friends, family members and other groups from the local community. For many years the Greek community sold Greek ‘sweet treats’ and many people were disappointed when the stall ceased to operate. In recent years the Mount Gambier City Band has performed, sometimes under very testing conditions and added a festive feel to the Fair.
Jeff Bowman, the Fair Convenor, says, “The Fair continues to be a great social and financial success for the parish, bringing the three congregations in the parish together, working side by side. We would hope that members of the general public who attend the Fair each year would get a sense that the Anglican Church in Mount Gambier is very much alive and well.”