12th Assembly 2009

Friendships forged up the coast

David McAndrew was one of a group of Assembly guests who toured Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He writes:

A small suburban church, a regional church, hospitality and beaches were snapshots from the road trip to the Northern Beaches for 40 people connected with the Assembly.

The bus set out from the University of NSW bright and early Friday and picked up more at Sydney University. Most of the sightseers were international guests of the Assembly out to get a small taste of Sydney.

The tour reached the coast of Narrabeen, proceeded up the coast to Palm Beach, then down the coast to Manly. A morning tea break at Avalon Uniting Church and lunch at Pittwater broke up the scenic drive and gave those churches the opportunity to describe their life to the group.

The Avalon church is a small congregation without a minister in placement. Lay preacher Ross Mills gave a history of the local housing development and described how the church had progressed. A Methodist Church from North Avalon to the present site. A new worship area was added in 1975. The relocated church is now the fellowship area. The architect for the worship areas was church member David Harrison (1926 – 1977). His ceramic sculpture hangs in the worship area.

In contrast, the Pittwater church is a regional church on a large block of land in Warriewood. The present buildings, on a former market garden, were opened in 2002. The worship centre can seat up to 500 people. The main buildings includes a hall used as a respite day care centre for elderly people, a pre-school , a youth activities centre and a sport and recreation centre.

A full sized gymnasium takes pride of place. It is used by about a thousand people every week. As most sports centre visitors do not have church connections it is a valuable point of contact in the community. The sports centre receives donations from users which go towards buying rickshaws for Indian families.

While appreciating one of Sydney’s most scenic regions, the guests from all over the world were able to forge new friendships and connections.