Fr Philip, Rosemary, Peter Seymour, Stuart Grigg, Kay Younie, Evelyn and Ruth went to our country sister parish of Blayney last weekend (3-4 March); all of us except for Evelyn stayed at the Goldfields Motel in Blayney. We knew before we arranged this weekend that the Rector Anastasia Webster-Hawes was on Long Service Leave and that Fr Philip was filling the position of Locum for the day.
Fortified with cups of tea and a rest after our arrival at our motel, we drove on to Carcoar to meet up with members of the parish at the historic Carcoar Church. We arrived to the sound of the bell ringing the Angelus (this was from further up the hill at Shalom Retreat House). We entered the little church to the beautiful sounds of the Richardson pipe organ being played by Bp Richard Hurford; then followed a very informative talk on the church and district by the local custodian and church warden, Ron Murray, who faithfully prays the morning and evening office every day in the church and has done for the past 40 years. This church had a very Anglo-Catholic tradition and was lovingly built by the people from bricks made in the local brickworks, with beautiful stained glass windows (even had chandeliers at one time); the cost of the recent restoration work on the church, the organ and the steeple, has been contributed by the parishioners and local community who take great pride in their historic village. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
At 7 p.m. we joined yet more parishioners at the Royal Hotel for conversation, drinks and an excellent dinner. As we left about 9.30 p.m. the air was very cool and the sky very black; the full moon appeared huge and bright as we drove up from the valley along the road back to Blayney.
We joined Fr Philip (Celebrant and Preacher) and Rosemary at the 8.00 a.m. said Holy Communion at Christ Church Blayney where Bp Richard Hurford assisted and welcomed us on behalf of the parish. We presented the Pascal Candle to Church Warden, Gill Haylan, during the notices and we suggested a reciprocal visit to our parish at the end of the year.
Peter and Stuart departed, and the rest of us, including Evelyn who had joined us that morning from Bathurst, left Blayney about 9.00 a.m. for the short drive to the beautiful town of Milthorpe. The LLM (Licensed Lay-Minister) Deidre welcomed us, as did the organist, Francis Dormer, formerly from Christ Church St Lawrence. Francis moved his family to Milthorpe about 6 years ago and has settled in well after their “tree change”. Fr Philip was again Celebrant and Preacher, assisted in the service by the LLM. We sang the Eucharist and 5 hymns to a harmonium (pedal) organ, manfully managed by Francis – not an easy task! We presented the gift of our Paschal Candle to Deidre, wishing them a blessed Lent and a Holy Easter and invited the parishioners to come to St Luke’s. We suggested maybe the weekend of our St Luke’s Patronal Festival on 20/21 October. Accommodation may be arranged for them at Golden Grove and we will correspond further with the parish secretary in due course. Most of the parishioners seemed enthusiastic about coming, however, being a rural community with many of them from farming properties, we realise it is not always easy for them to get away.
Following a lovely morning tea/coffee and lots of chatter, the parishioners departed and the rest of us went for a wander around the old church grave yard. We eventually found John Lister’s grave, the man credited with finding the first gold in the area. The numbers of babies and children buried in these graveyards is always a solemn reminder of how hard times were for these early settlers. The hot sun soon sent us scarpering back to our cars, pulling out the grass seeds embedded in our clothing!! We departed on our separate ways, Evelyn returned to Bathurst and the rest of us to Sydney. It was indeed a most successful Parish Visitation.