A classic girl meets boy story with a twist was recounted at the start of Kate Venables’ address at this morning’s 27th Toowoomba Mayoral Prayer Breakfast at Rumours International.
Mrs Venables, who is the South West Queensland Director of CatholicCare Social Services, told more than 550 guests about amusing aspects of her long-distance correspondence with her now husband Cameron, who is the Anglican Bishop for Queensland’s western region.
Despite a girlhood vow not to marry a missionary, clergyman or an Englishman, Mrs Venables and her young daughter found their right partnership with Cameron, an English missionary and anthropologist, in Papua New Guinea.
“We had no electricity, running water or familiar food, but we were surrounded by a massive ‘family’,” Mrs Venables said.
“When the going gets tough, families step up.
“Our own family was raised by a village and it taught us how to be parents.”
Their early personal experiences quickly became communal lessons which inform their current work roles.
“In Toowoomba we do partnerships well. It’s not about competition, but working together,” Mrs Venables added.
“I was reminded of this when I heard Major General Stephen Day DSC AM speak at this year’s Toowoomba Anzac Day service when he challenged the, ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality.
“I have found our community asking, ‘what can I do for others? What can I do for the lost and lonely, the least, the last and the left out?
“Thank you to everyone for pitching in, for the seeds you plant will bear amazing fruit, even if you don’t get to see it.”
Bishop Venables echoed his wife’s sentiments about caring for others.
“Faith in God helps us to bring hope to people who are despairing and brings good news to a world facing challenges,” he said.
“Faith also encourages us to take our opportunities.”
Bishop Venables performed a song in memory of Eurydice Dixon, who was murdered in Melbourne in 2018, and said everyone had a part to play to alter the culture of violence.
The morning started with musical performances by Bonnie Blue and later with Dale White along with prayers from USQ Chaplain coordinator Dr Stephen Wanyonyi and Annie Cathcart.
Geoff Pankhurst’s tale of dealing with cancer treatment and finding the strength to lift fellow patients’ spirits was relayed by Mayoral Prayer Breakfast organising committee chair Pastor Andrew Hoey.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio thanked all sponsors and supporters at the 27th Mayoral Prayer Breakfast for their ongoing generosity.
He said funds would be presented in coming weeks to Eva’s Place and Hear and Say.
Pastor Hoey, Senior Minister at Rangeville Community Church, also thanked the guest performers and speakers along with all supporters for contributing to the fundraiser.
Caption: Guest speakers Kate Venables and Bishop Cameron Venables (right) with Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio and Pastor Andrew Hoey (left) at this morning’s Mayoral Prayer Breakfast at Rumours.