by JUDITH CRIMMINS
The ministry I undertake at Great Barrier Island is always full of interest.
There is a joint use agreement of St John Community Church between the Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. Each denomination supplies a minister for the week they are “on”.

First prize winner, the ‘Know You Are Loved’ fl oat in the annual Great Barrier Christmas Parade.
.I share the Catholic ministry with a priest (usually Fr Neil Darragh). We take month
about, usually on the first Sunday of the month.
My visits are always full of interest, excitement and learning. My last visit, from
December 4 to 9 was not an exception.
On the Thursday night a house (built on the side of a steep slope) burned to the ground within 30 minutes.
The couple, late 70s–80s, and not in good health, had no way of escaping as there was only
a ground entrance, and that was where the fire was. Their grandson, who lives next door,
backed his truck by their deck and they were able to climb over the railing and on to
the tray of the truck. Nothing from the house was able to be saved.
As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before the whole story flew around the island.
On the Saturday, the annual Christmas Market and Parade was held and St John’s, as it always does, entered a float.
There were a number of floats entered in a variety of categories. Two were of a Christmas theme — others of other themes relevant to the island.
Our’s was of angels — titled “Know You are Loved”. We won first prize because, one of the judges told me, we had a full age range on our float!
The parade consisted of walking some distance along the road and then circling the football field three times! We were the only ones walking, the oldest by far and were really tired by the end!
Prizes ranged from return plane trips to Auckland ($240), return trip on Sealink with car to Auckland ($320) and some cash prizes.
I always consider that the people on the island live on limited means, and so these
prizes are not to be sneezed at!
What was so incredible was that every group that won a prize unsolicitedly returned their prize to the organisers to be given to the burnt out couple.
The Christmas Spirit was indeed alive and very, very well.
Judith Crimmins is a Cenacle companion

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