During his recent visit to Australia, The Compassionate Friends Founder, Reverend Simon Stephens paid a special visit to our Murwillumbah Chapter. It was a fantastic opportunity for our regional chapters to spend some quality time with Reverend Stephens. Judy Fraser, one of the Murwillumbah Chapter Leaders had a lot to do with organising and managing the event and has provided the following summary of the visit:
Reverend Simon Stephens spent the last three days of his Australian tour in Brisbane, and I will be forever grateful to Vera Caltabiano, President of TCF Queensland, for allocating the very last day, the 28th May, to Murwillumbah Chapter. Our venue, Greenhills-on-Tweed Reception nestles on the banks of the Tweed river and Mother Nature turned on a charming May day. Mt Warning was crystal clear and reflected in the calm water. A perfect setting for a perfect day!
I had extended invitations out to our members and their families and also members of the community who work with the bereaved. This was the ideal opportunity to reach out to the professionals and create more awareness of the work of TCF. A 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity to meet Reverend Simon Stephens. Professionals included a psychologist, hospital chaplains, church ministers, funeral directors, pastoral carers, palliative carers and an assistant school principal. Seventy very lucky people were able to attend - fifty members, some from Grafton, Lismore and Caloundra and twenty professionals. An amazing attendance for a country town. The professionals who met our Founder, listened to his amazing life experiences and learned about The Compassionate Friends world-wide, and for most of them, this was their first introduction to the work of TCF. At the end of that day, I had barely arrived home and my phone was ringing. I was greeted by Cathy, one very happy hospital chaplain who said she just couldn't wait to phone me. She said, "Thank you - I feel so uplifted and I just had to tell you what a wonderful day I have had meeting Simon Stephens. I feel so informed - I had no idea TCF was such a widespread organisation. Thank you so much for a beautiful day".
I often remind myself, that we are bereaved parents, caring for bereaved parents. We come in all forms with different skills. Public speaking is not one of my skills, but I found myself in that position on 28th May - pinching myself, that I was actually introducing someone of such calibre - our Founder, world-renowned speaker - Reverend Simon Stephens. I felt extremely comfortable in Simon's presence, and once again I thank you Simon for your insight, and the formation of The Compassionate Friends. I look forward to seeing you again. With so many volunteers giving their time to TCF, I feel sure the organisation will continue to grow and nurture bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings for years to come.
A number of comments have been received since this visit to show their gratiitude. Some of these are provided below. Comments such as these warm my heart, and demonstrate the importance of the work of TCF. Observing the interaction of members, their families, and professionals in the community on the day reinforces the obvious necessity that TCF continues and grows.
Thanks again to Simon for his insight all those years ago.
I acknowledge & thank MyGriefAssist www.mygriefassist.com & the Tweed City branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for their generosity towards funding our event, along with members of Murwillumbah Chapter and the local community.
Special Comments from Attendees
Greg & Val
Greg & Val
Murwillumbah Hospital Chaplain
"A very big thank you to you and your team, for yesterday's meeting that was so beautifully orchestrated. The venue could not have been more beautiful and the view from that balcony was breathtaking! Lunchtime was so enjoyable and the food wonderful, thank you. We all had such a wonderful day listening to Reverend Simon's story, which was heartbreaking, but inspirational as well. We did so enjoy ourselves and meeting some of your Murwillumbah members was a pleasure. Thank you again for all the time and effort you put into the day to make it such a success. We were privileged to be included. Blessings to you all."
Please select the thumbnail pictures below to see a full size view of the photographs!