One of the great things about Grace City Church is the wide mix of ages we have. Currently, the spearhead of our evangelistic and community outreach is Grace City Community Foodcare in Dee Why. The fantastic all-age Foodcare volunteer team is led by retirees – while our culture places huge emphasis on the value of youth, that is not necessarily the biblical model! Of course we want to train young people, but at every age and stage of life, we want our number one focus to be the glory of God. The management of Foodcare is a great example of people doing exactly that! The post-launch stage, when there are no longer kids at home, accounts for half the lifespan of a typical family – so making those years count is vitally important.
1) Tell us a bit about yourselves?
We are aged 67 and 62, and we’ve been married for only 11 years. In the past we’ve been a widower and a divorcee, and we’re very grateful for the gift of each other.
In his 48-year working career, Peter was an engineering manager, and for the final few years, he managed a Christian conference centre. Gayle is a teacher by profession, but has also worked in church staff positions, and is a qualified funeral celebrant.
We share 5 wonderful adult children (Christopher, Rachel, Bradley, Lauren and Joshua), and have 9 beautiful little grandchildren.
2) So you are both retired, how are you finding life?
Busy and fulfilling, and with great freedom to make choices about use of our time, now that life’s biggest decisions are behind us.
3) Retirement is often presented as a time to finally stop and relax – you have been very busy! What do you feel God has called you to do with this phase of your life?
The wonderful minister who married us used to say “Not retirement, but refirement!” - he always expected Christians to look forward to these latter years as potentially tremendously productive for God.
As Peter was preparing to retire at the start of last year, we fully expected that God would have a new project ready - something creative and worthwhile that we could use to honour him.
Of course, our growing family always comes first, but for Peter in particular, to continue to work and serve God actively was very important.
4 How and why did you both decide to get involved in Foodcare?
Peter was approached by Pastor Mike in January 2013 just before he was due to retire. The church was keen to start a a brand-new community project, and Peter was asked to be its manager. After much prayer and preparation by the church, the shop opened in November 2013, and the rest is (amazing) history. Gayle became involved in mid-2014, when together we opened Grace City Café in the shop on Monday mornings – a “next step” towards faith and church for our Foodcare customers. Peter gives 2-3 days each week to Foodcare, plus availability at any time, and he enjoys every minute of his involvement.
It is our clear vision that every person who comes into contact with the Foodcare project will be touched by the love of God, and moved closer to faith in Jesus Christ. We believe the witness of our lives and those of the church’s volunteer team, are essential for achieving this. And we believe that simple acts of service, and genuine compassion, are of immense value to God.
Our guiding principle in all that we do at Foodcare comes from the Bible - Matthew 25. 31-46. As Christians, the focus of our life is to love and serve others in Jesus’ name.