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This story began when Fran Rankin, a parishioner at Good Shepherd Curtin (married to Roger Rankin, who has assisted with the Synod elections for many years), caught Michael Simon after an 8am service one Sunday last year to say that they had been visiting their old church in Braidwood and a number of the people could not hear the /service, and enquired whether he might be able to help. Michael gave Fran his phone number.

A number of months later, Michael received a call from Braidwood parishioner Graeme Chard, an experienced electrician, asking if he could assist with their audio set-up.

That was in January around the time of the bushfires, so it seemed like a great opportunity to Michael to help a country church community, whose surrounding areas had suffered from the fires. He also learned St Andrew’s Braidwood was without a Rector at the time.

Many conversations followed, and Michael then visited Braidwood in late February, where they agreed on a plan and the equipment which would need to be purchased. The equipment was ordered (half paid for by generous parishioners) and it arrived ready to install on 4 April. But then COVID-19 got in the way and they had to keep delaying the installation.

Michael and Josiah Simon testing the equipment

On Saturday 23 May, Michael and his son Josiah were finally able to visit Braidwood and install all the equipment and left after they were happy that it is working really well.

“Unbelievable! I’m just so excited. People are actually going to be able to hear the sermon.”
~ Graeme Chard

A few things he noted happening at Braidwood parish really encouraged Michael Simon during his interactions with them.

First, since the COVID-19 lockdown some of the congregation at St Andrew’s Braidwood have been listening to Good Shepherd, Curtin, live-streamed services and the interviews they have been putting together.

Second, Bishop Carol Wagner has been encouraging one of their lay leaders, Jane Carmody, to help run church. Graeme Chard related how supportive this had been for the whole church.

And finally, St Andrew’s had been meeting together via Zoom each week for church. So the church is still running despite having no Rector and not being able to meet physically.

Thanks to Michael Simon and Graeme Chard for this story.

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