News

September 11, 2020

All Saints’ Anglican Church is a significant landmark in Hunters Hill and as a volunteer rector’s warden, Meridith McDowell-Jones is a driving force behind maintaining it for the community.

Looking after the All Saints’ building is just one of the many responsibilities that Meridith has taken on while working alongside her fellow parishioners for the past 20-plus years.

It is community service that has earned her recognition as a Hunters Hill Hero.

The parish also has St Mark’s, halls for the two churches, and rectories in Hunters Hill and Gladesville to attend to.

From maintaining the buildings to assisting in organising events, helping out in the kitchen, or checking in on members of the congregation, Meridith gets involved.

The Anglican Parish of Hunters Hill’s Reverend Michael Armstrong nominated Meridith for her outstanding efforts.

“She is extremely dedicated, and usually the first in and last out at any and every event,” he said.

“She has a heart of gold, and works tirelessly in our parish.

“She is an amazing saint!”

As warden, Meridith’s role is to be responsible for the church buildings, in terms of maintenance, legally and financially, as well as the people within them.

She also assists the minister wherever needed.

All Saints’ in particular is a special place to Meredith and many other people in Hunters Hill.

“I’ve been associated with it since I was 14,” she said.

“I started going to fellowship with a girlfriend there, because that was where the biggest youth group was.

“From there we started doing Sunday night church, probably because there was boys there,” Meredith remembers fondly, with a laugh.

She left for a time while working as a nurse and midwife, but later returned.

Meridith was married there and her three children were baptised at the church.

“So for me I guess it’s personal, it just feels like home for me,” she said.

“It’s beautiful, when you look at the windows and just the stone and even the grounds that surround it, it’s just a really beautiful place.

“There’s a lot of people in Hunters Hill, they may not go to the church … but if kids get married that’s where they want to go, or funerals, that’s where the want to go.

“Hunters Hill is a small community.

“People go past it (the church building), they feel part of it.

“They’ve been to social events there. They know people who go there.

“We do a lot of things that invite the community in.”

The blessing of the animals is among the traditional events that build a community connection.

COVID-19 has presented some challenges, but physical distancing, hand washing before entry and other COVID safety protocols has allowed the church to continue services, with innovations also enabling it to extend its reach, with live streaming taking services to aged care centres and overseas.

Another important part of Meridith’s role has been reaching out to socially isolated community members, with the parish team ringing parishioners – either unable to attend church or choosing to remain home – to check in with them.

The expense of maintain the 1888 All Saints’ building is an ongoing challenge, be it the plumbing or attending to the sandstone material and slate roof.

Keeping up with it is all part of Meridith’s passion for volunteering.

“I’m just a people person and I’m a doer,” she said.

“I like to have my finger on the pulse.”

But for Meridith it is about the place’s longevity.

“I see it as continuing on for a very long time, generation after generation, because I think there’s enough people who care about heritage in Hunters Hill and there’s certainly enough people in the parish who will fundraise as best they can,” she said.

“I see it as a functioning church for a long time to come.”

As for what is inside, it is more personal

“When you go there you feel very cared for by everybody else,” Meridith said.

“I think it’s one of the things most people would say about the church.

“They feel a connection with other people.”

 

Help us to shine a light on other unsung Hunters Hill Heroes by nominating your hero today.

Please note that nominations for Hunters Hill Heroes will be considered for Citizen of the Year awards.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hunter’s Hill Council

22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400

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