Care for people is a strong motive behind a number of Raylene Milligan’s occupations in Christ Church parish.

A co-founder, with similarly inspired Robyn Sweetnam, of a monthly dinner quaintly titled ‘Solos and Spares’, the usually quiet Raylene agreed to talk about the dinner and her other involvements ‘under duress’.

“Basically the dinner was begun as a meeting place for single people to enable them to meet and get to know other parishoners but it is growing and we now have a few married couples attending from time to time” she says.

Encouraging discussions and a light hearted dinner atmosphere ‘Solos and Spares’ is held at Mac’s Hotel on the third Friday of each month with between 12 and 20 people turning out. Raylene and Robyn are delighted by the support received from Mac’s Hotel management and staff….”it has become a marvellous social gathering”.

In another initiative, Robyn and Raylene with Darren Schunke conduct Christian meditation classes between 5pm and 6pm each Monday and Tuesday and these are quite well attended and the fellowship is great.

The busy Raylene took up hospital visiting about a decade ago, when invited to do so by Bev Hamson; then, at Bev’s retirement, was joined by Beryl Heard; each Thursday their visiting has them calling on all age of adult patient, particularly the elderly, irrespective of whether they are regular church attendees.   Both Raylene and Beryl also help with Sunday church services.

Raylene’s involvement through 15 years has included being a sidesperson, handling the elements, helping with morning tea [the historical Aussie cuppa after the Eucharist], two years on the Parish Council and running weekly tai chi exercise groups which ‘balance wellbeing with lots of giggling’ while raising regular income for the Parish…then there’s the weekly walks.    

The future?   Raylene hopes this will include taking Holy Communion to the aged or house bound ailing.