Blog post by John Gilmour – PresCare commemorates ANZAC Day

22 April 2015

As people around Australia recognise one of our country’s most important national commemorative occasions on 25 April, staff, volunteers, residents and their families will gather together at a number of PresCare sites across Queensland in the lead up to ANZAC Day service to show their respect and reflect.

PresCare’s Chaplain to the Redlands, Reverend Graeme McKay, will lead a service at Lake Sherrin at 9.00am in the facility’s hall on ANZAC Day, which will include the traditional hymns and prayers as well as readings of poetry by
Aged Care PresCareresidents and the laying of wreaths.

Reverend McKay says this service is a profound occasion for many of the residents and staff, as for some it evokes painful memories of sadness and loss but for others it reminds them of the bonds of mateship and standing shoulder to shoulder, bound together in a common purpose.

All other PresCare facilities will hold ANZAC Day services on the days before, hosted by our chaplains. Some sites participate with other community groups, such as the local RSL on Mt Tamborine who is engaging with our Roslyn Lodge facility Chaplain Rev Frank White.

This is a particularly significant day for seniors like those residing in our facilities, many of whom had family impacted by World War I. Whilst we may no longer have representatives of those who served in that war, many of our residents were born in the generation immediately after and may have known some of the men and women who fought, or cared for those who fought, in Gallipoli.

Within our residential and independent living communities, PresCare has men and women who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and in other conflicts. One 95 year old resident residing at Lake Sherrin was a pilot during World War II, and we anticipate he will again read The Ode at the service on ANZAC Day.

Alexandra Gardens residential facility will begin their commemorations on Thursday 23rd with morning tea for the local air cadets to attend in full uniform and spend time talking and sharing stories with the residents. This will be followed by an ANZAC Day service coordinated by local Chaplain, Chris Pengelly which will be held on Friday morning attended by the local RSL president where he will make a speech prior to the laying of wreaths. A local gentleman will also be in attendance to play The Last Post on the cornet.

Riverside Christian College has invited Yaralla Place & Groundwater residents to participate in the Commemorative Service in the school hall. The program includes reflection, drama, music and the laying of floral tributes. The college is paying tribute to Duncan Chapman who was born in Maryborough and the first ANZAC on the shores of Gallipoli.

While at our Brisbane South, Redlands and Kawana community teams they are taking groups of clients to lunch at local RSL clubs during the week.

In addition, Lake Sherrin will also run other ANZAC Day related activities, including a guest speaker to the Golden Social Circle who will talk on “Reflections on Gallipoli”, a special screening of a documentary on the Gallipoli landing, and a war time sing-a-long and other events to pay tribute to those who willingly gave themselves to defend our freedom.

Lastly we would like to share a reflection from our Chaplain at Roslyn Lodge, Rev. Frank D White.

‘NO PRISONER OF WAR BY PROXY’

Dad, those really nice ladies who always sit together at Church each Sunday; how come none of them ever married?

Frank, every one of those ladies had a young man who went off to fight in World War I who was killed or died.

The memory of that brief conversation about 50 years ago is vivid. There was also a group of elderly widows whose husbands had been killed or died in World War I. The events that had shaped their lives so terribly had occurred about 50 years before my conversation with Dad.

The preciousness of the memories has to do with these two groups of elderly ladies. They were dignified and gracious; compassionate to a fault and lived lives of equilibrium and grace. Their capacity for kindness that still stirs my heart.
These were people whose lives had been forever seared by circumstances way beyond their control. They had paid a terrible price in a war that they had never participated in. The price could never be redeemed and the debt could never be cleared.

But, these women were in no way prisoners of war by proxy; prisoners of circumstance.

I will never know the soul-searing grief that each one of these godly women knew; but their Older Brother; Jesus, knew it all and more.

It is my conviction that the credibility of our Christian witness is never more critical than in the face of death. The world at large has a right to expect something better from us than it has for itself. Otherwise, what is the credibility of our witness.

Those dear ladies at Church 50 years ago exuded the sweet fragrance of God’s grace at work in lives that had known the most terrible heartache. To be sure; a work of grace.