By Jane Harris
The small bush church, St Mark’s Bereen in the Horton Valley, saw 59 people attend a service on Sunday 30 October billed as ‘Back to Bereen’. Attendees were current parishioners, former parishioners, representatives of the Parish Council and congregation of Barraba Anglican Church as well as several donors to the recent renovation of the simple timber building. All age groups were represented from children to elders, with ages ranging from 10 to 91 years.
People travelled from as far away as Tamworth, Manilla, Gunnedah and Armidale to join in the Anglican service. On arrival, the bagpipes were played by Rob Lawrence, husband of Penny Milson, fundraising coordinator for the restoration of the church.
Church wardens Ian and Ali McDouall worked with Penny to manage the project. They made the finishing touches to the restoration by painting the church roof in the weeks leading up to the event.
Those in attendance marvelled at the magnificent job of restoring the church by local tradesman Ron Bridges, dual qualified in carpentry and painting.
A Thanksgiving Service was delivered by Reverend Hugh Cox. A number of lovely old hymns were sung including the much loved “Praise my soul the King of Heaven”, the words of which “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven” became a central theme of the sermon.
Following the service a picnic lunch was shared under a shady tree beneath clear blue skies. It was a beautiful spread of food with contributions from all who came. Everyone is invited to come together again for the Christmas at Bereen service on Sunday 11 December at 5pm. Afterwards people will gather for a meal beside the historic church.