Anglican Women Service 2018

The Annual Service of Anglican Women in the Diocese of Newcastle took place at the beautiful Saint Peter’s Church, East Maitland yesterday Tuesday 5 June.

About 120 people braved the rain and cool conditions to attend the service, held in the magnificent St Peter’s Church at East Maitland. Following refreshments in the comfortably heated church, the service commenced at 10am.

Rector, Archdeacon David Battrick, welcomed everyone and suggested that we not be concerned if we felt the occasional drop of water escaping through the roof – consider that we were being blessed.

With Bp Peter Stuart celebrating, his sermon was thought provoking, as he mentioned how a spider weaves its own web with very strong, intricate, sticky threads that do, however, break. When this happens, the spider starts all over again and another beautiful creation occurs.

We are not all that dissimilar to the spider as, even though we have strength, we are, as a diocese, quite fragile, but we do have an opportunity to create something new and beautiful for the future.

Parishes are at the moment reflecting and considering the closure of some churches with a view to changes. Our current web cannot stand the responsibility placed upon it. We are asked to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and we are to realise, as in the new theme for AW, that we are the clay and it is God who is the potter.

During the service we were treated to the outstanding playing of Evanne Sherringham on the pipe organ.

Following the Eucharist, Bishop Peter commissioned the new Executive. With Marion Willey retiring as President, and Shirley Melvelle and Pamela Wilson as Deanery Leaders, Lorraine Phillips was welcomed as the new President, and Marea Niland as an addition to the Executive – both are from Raymond Terrace parish. Continuing members are Noeline Darcy, Leonie Benson, Julie Van Homrigh, Dorothy Kirk, Lynette Bignall, Denise Brown, Maureen Guthrie-Horwill and Beatrice Voysey.

Guest speaker, Nicki Stuart, was interviewed by her husband, Bp Peter Stuart. This was a friendly, laid back interview, full of many and varied topics. When asked “what is it like to be married to a bishop”‘ she replied that, “she is married to Peter – who happens now to be a bishop!” Talking about her life, Nicki said that she very much sees her career in helping people to live a fuller life as her ministry. In Nicki’s capacity as a physiotherapist with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, she shared many instances of working with children and adults living with a disability. The ages of those afflicted ranged from tiny new borns to about 60 years of age. Where possible she ascertains what the patient wishes to achieve, physically, and proceeds to try to bring this to fruition.

She told us about re-training the brain which can assist in the management of pain as it is the brain that controls the feeling of pain. One way to regain mobility in a limb is to immobilise the limb that is functioning which forces a damaged limb to be used, thereby exercising and becoming useful again. This can apply to legs as well as arms.

Nicki thanked everyone present for their support of Peter as our new Diocesan Bishop.

Following lunch Bp Sonia Ralston had questions for us regarding changing the structure of some of the annual events AWA present in this time of change.

Musicians from Hunter Valley Grammar School presented an instrumental trio (piano, violin and cello) and a vocal ensemble, which were of extremely high standard and made one proud to see the talent being nurtured in this community.

Words by Helen Joice

View a full gallery of photos below.