Sunday, 2 February 2014

Burnie Branch celebrates building's 50th birthday

Months of careful planning and preparation finally came to fruition as the doors opened for the Burnie Chapel 50th Anniversary celebration on Saturday 1 February.

The day's activities consisted of an open house, barbecue lunch and a commemoration service in the evening. The chapel was dressed up to the nines ready to greet members and friends of the Church, with displays in every room highlighting the many and varied programmes of the Church.

Members and missionaries were on hand to greet people and guide them around the building. The Family History Centre was also open for the full day, allowing visitors to begin researching their families and discover the wonderful resources the Church makes available to the public for free.

Brother Jason Barnett and Sister Robyn Hatchard were the key organisers of the event, and were grateful for the willing and enthusiastic support of branch and stake members. Many members helped to publicise the open house in the community, while others helped to set up the building, and yet others assisted with the barbecue and other activities on the day. Most branch members came for some or all of the day's activities.

The day of celebration culminated in a special service held in the chapel at 6pm. The service began with a recorded message of encouragement from Elder Robert J. Dudfield of the Seventy, and included talks about the blessings experienced whilst participating in the building of the chapel, the fundamental reasons why members of the Church do what they do, and the joy found in serving each other and the community.

Leading up to the anniversary celebration, members of the stake were invited to contribute non-perishable food items to a collection that would be donated to Anglicare on the night. It is estimated that the collection presented by Burnie Branch represented nearly $2,000 in value.

In accepting the donation, Mr. John West of Anglicare thanked Church members for their generosity, described the good that would be achieved by the Church's contribution, and invited members to volunteer to assist Anglicare in their Christian work of helping the poor and needy.

Concluding remarks were offered by stake president, President Scott Prebble, and were based around an experience he had on his mission. On a sweltering Sydney day, he and his companion came across a man who had passed out on the ground in front of a train station. Pushing aside the temptation to judge him as an irresponsible drunk and walk away, they returned to help the stranger who, they learned, had been shopping for his weekly groceries and simply fainted in the heat. Had the missionaries not stopped to help, this man would have lost his meager groceries and been unable to return home. Instead he was touched by the Master's hand through two of His servants who were willing to love and serve.

As the sun set on the day of celebration, hearts were filled with the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ and motivated with a desire to further this great latter-day work in which we are engaged.

The Launceston Wards will host a similar celebration next weekend with an open house beginning on Friday and culminating in a fireside service on the Saturday evening.