Reflections - Blog

Our Blog - a personal review of recent events, comments on the state of the world, and a look forwards to what's next at the Old Friary.  Contributed by members of the Friary Community on an occasional basis.

Saving the Friary

posted Oct 9, 2018, 4:41 PM by Ian Ross   [ updated Oct 9, 2018, 4:45 PM ]

Why should we care?  The proposed sale of the Friary would free up funds for the Anglican church which will no doubt be put to good use in paying salaries, bills and other inevitable costs.  Why then, should we care if the sale goes ahead?  The same question arises in every case where the members of a community have to choose between preserving part of their environment as opposed to generating funds to do other things.  In general, the preservation of our heritage is not sufficiently pressing and it is lost, and this is natural when the generation of the new requires the loss of the old.  Brisbane, in particular, has a largely modern character because of the destruction of heritage sites over the last 50-60 years.  In the case of Kenmore in particular, little remains of the rural community of the 1950s.

But it is nonetheless to put forward the case for saving specific parts of the community for heritage purposes.  The loss of a field to become a housing estate rarely draws concern from the community - it is business as usual.  But the loss of significant sites which have been in community use for a century or more is a different question.  Australia is a young country, and unlike Europe - where buildings from many hundreds of years ago are commonplace - we need to try to preserve our oldest sites for future generations. Every age brings a further loss of heritage, so that in a hundred years more, very little remains.  Add to that the depredations of fire, decay, politics and conflict, and even in Europe many treasures have been lost forever.  The preservation of heritage sites throughout the centuries requires advocates and custodians in every age.

In the case of the Friary, its loss has implications for ages into the future, and not just for the short term gains of a developer.  If we do not try to preserve it, we will end up with the kind of soulless wasteland that characterises many of our modern Australian cities and demeans our urban experience.

For the Anglican church in particular, the existence of an island of green space and meditation within the Brisbane area is a resource which can be re-purposed for the needs of the church over generations to come.  The current phase of legal bills, the growth mentality and the current psychology of "business speak" which sees churches as "providers" and congregations as "clients" will pass.  When it does, when the church redefines and broadens itself and its mission, what will remain of places like the Old Friary when they are needed?


Welcome Joanna!

posted Jun 6, 2016, 6:06 AM by Ian Ross   [ updated Jun 12, 2016, 10:09 PM by Vivienne Binns ]

A significant problem in recent times arose when the last Administrator of the Old Friary, Rev. Jane Mitchell, relocated.  Jane was a powerhouse of organisation, with a keen knowledge of the history and people surrounding the Old Friary over the last decades, and with a great sensitivity towards the potential of the Old Friary.  Since Jane relocated there has been only limited administration (carried out willingly by Mrs Karen Allen) and with support from volunteers in the Friary community. Despite this, the life of the Old Friary has been as rich as ever.  We just wish it could be used by even more people, which will only be possible with a devoted advocate.  Things really looked up when Heather and David Eckersley we're employed by the MEC as caretakers, though really they have given so much above and beyond the call of duty and we can only stand in awe of them.  

Needless to say, the appointment of Jo Vandersee by the MEC as the new Administrator offers us a new hope of bringing the beauty, peace and holiness of the Old Friary to a greater number of people, not just for Anglicans and other Christians, but for the local community, some of whom already know of it and appreciate it.

We at the Friary Community look forward to meeting and supporting Jo as she goes about this important work, and we start with a heartfelt welcome.

Renovating the walkway

posted Oct 19, 2009, 1:40 PM by Ian Ross

One of the tasks set by the original Friends of Brookfield was to carve a beautiful bush walk through the forest behind the Chapel.  For a long time now, this has been in the "too hard basket" with respect to keeping it neat, tidy and walkable.  We offer great thanks and appreciation to Heather and David for getting this beautiful meditative walkway back to a fit state to use.

Folk at the Friary

posted Oct 19, 2009, 1:17 PM by Ian Ross

Once again, Caroline, Ian and their team have put on a brilliant and fun filled night of music at the recent Folk at the Friary held last Saturday night.  

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