Two stories from Brookfield – a small congregation in the western suburbs of Brisbane with an average congregation of 30:
The first: an idea that arose from a family who joined us from South Africa – in September 04 – a bring and braai (translated in Australian BBQ) was arranged. This was a Saturday afternoon programme including billy tea, damper and Australian quizzes as an outreach to and welcoming of families who had come to our area with a particular focus – from South Africa.
This idea grew and this year at the end of July, in a partnership with the Brookfield Anglicans became “How do I call Australia home” – a broadening of nationalities as we share with people from China, Ireland, Holland, Samoa as well as South Africa.
The hall was decked out with wattle and bottlebrush flowers, tea towels of Australian flora & fauna, towns and places of interest. We were entertained by the Apollo Male Voice Choir who sang Australian songs eg, ‘Click go the Shears’ and the song written for the Queensland centenary in 1959. The guest speaker shared his family’s story of moving to Australia – their ‘how do I call Australia home’. He spoke of the loss and grief of leaving family, home, church, community, culture and nation and moving to the unknown. He used an analogy of a bridge: the end piers being firmly anchored in what was and what was to be, and yet standing in the middle with a sense of not belonging to either – and how they were cared for, supported and settled in to their new home through the church and its people.
The second: also in a partnership with the Anglicans – the 2004 Carols by Candlelight in the grounds of the Uniting Church with about 200 attending with the theme “Christmas – the world’s biggest festival” and included items from a number of community groups including the choir of the QCWA Brookfield branch who use both our halls for their meetings and craft days. Planning is well advanced for this year’s carols to be held in the grounds of the Anglicans – the Church of the Good Shepherd.
Both our buildings are positioned on high ground, looking toward each other across the community hub, the Brookfield Reserve that includes the showground. These joint activities/outreach build on earlier connections, when prior to union, a joint Sunday school operated alternatively at each site. These joint functions, while primarily focused to outreach, have renewed and made new friendships, strengthened relationships and offered and promoted a renewed sense of mission.