By Wendy Williamson
After years in the planning, last Friday 9 June saw the official opening and dedication of Monbulk Care Network’s beautiful new building.
The current minister of the Open Door Community Church, Brian Tunks, welcomed the big crowd which packed into the spacious shopfront at 61-63 Main Road.
“It has been a long journey,” he said.
“All sorts of people have journeyed with us, and it has been a journey of blood, sweat and tears.”
It was a journey begun under the leadership of Mike Folland, and the community was delighted to welcome back the one-time local minister, who had travelled down from Queensland for the occasion.
Mr Folland recounted how he had come to The Patch Church of Christ in the early 1990s wanting to grow the church in the community.
This led to the formation in 1995 of the Monbulk Care Network which now works with other local agencies to serve the community.
A tutoring service for struggling young people, subsidised with the help of Rotary, was an early initiative. This has since developed into parenting education classes and much more.
“Twenty-two years on, Monbulk Care Network can look back, celebrate and look forward with faith and hope as it expresses the vision of The Patch Church, continued by Open Door Community Church since 2006, for doing God’s work in Monbulk and beyond,” Mr Folland said.
Mr Tunks pointed out that the shop supported a wealth of community causes, including nine primary schools, the CFA, the Fred Hollows Foundation, the Men’s Shed and much more, including overseas – from Zimbabwe to South Sudan.
He paid tribute to all those people, from network management to community volunteers, who had contributed to the development of the new building, in particular church and Network treasurer Raoul Picot, and shop managers Judy Thornburn and Alison Brain.
As he cut the ribbon to officially open the building, Federal Member for Casey Tony Smith said that however hard it had been, he had never had any doubt that the community would eventually achieve its goal of getting the building it required to carry on its good work.
“This is a very special day. You should all be very proud of yourselves. You have a shared passion to overcome obstacles.”
He said he was particularly pleased to see Monbulk Care Network investing back into schools and by its good works mentoring the next generation.
Monbulk Care Network, 61-63 Main Road, Monbulk, is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm and Saturdays 10.30am to 1pm.