Bus Trip — March 2014 



Bus Day Trips from our church continue to prove very popular . . .  

The Briars & Churches Bus Trip

On Friday 14th March, 40 happy travellers climbed on to the coach to begin our lovely day out.  Shirlee Pollard our very capable and obliging coach captain, took us on the scenic drive to our first stop at Mt Martha Uniting Church. 


There we saw church members busily doing garden clean up around the church that they themselves had been instrumental in building.  They made all the mud bricks, then painting them for protection from weather.  Rev Chris Cohen gave us a talk as it was part of his parish while he was at Frankston (prior to Warragul).  There were mosaics and stained glass and an inspiring cross behind the altar all made of coloured glass.  The roof was supported by recycled power poles.

Meanwhile, outside Shirlee had our morning banquet ready.


Then we drove on to ‘The Briars’.

The original owners of a government grant, granted at the time of the first settlers, the McCraes, then the Balcombes and the fascinating family link with Napoleon Bonaparte and all the treasures held at the home, which was last of the four homes built there.

You could visualise the upper class playing croquet on the lawn, tennis on the tennis court.  It was all so tranquil.  There were some very strange hens with their enormous boss rooster.  They all wore feathered trousers, and tunnelled madly in the leaf litter in their pen.  We went to one of the hides on one of the lakes and saw ample water fowl.  The Briars was a lovely spot for lunch.


Now to the bonus … once again in the (previous) parish of Rev Chris, we went to the Village Uniting Church, Mt Eliza.  The front of the building is a curved wall in glass bricks.  Due to light glare the then minister Rev Ian Johnston (who trained as an engineer before theology called him) whose hobby was glass work, suggested and created four moulded glass panels, and attached them to stands which stood proud of the glass bricks.  

The first panel represented Creation and showed our animals and sea creatures, the next panel showed God breathing life into Adam, and the other two were divided by the tree of life, and the branches became the vine Jesus spoke about.  On the other side of the church the glass screen showed a group holding Christ recently removed from the cross; and you felt the hopeless desolation of hearts and souls.  

Another panel showed the desolation of a solitary chimney, orange glow, barren ground, dead animals; then the last panel was light, bright and joyful with new growth, birds, trees and sky scrapers.

We sat in the pews and listened as Rev Ian Johnston explained his etchings on the font, the lectern and in the glass central tower.  He talked of his passion for nature, as a water colourist painter, and showed us the statue he has been creating in fibre glass using his son for a model.  When finished, the statue will go to Timor Leste.

We were invited to go forward to see close up and touch.  It was tactile, you could run your hand over the animal shapes; you could feel Adam’s ribs.  Nothing was flat as we first thought.  For me this was the icing on the cake.

Memorial Garden — seen through a window, from inside the building

Meanwhile, the ladies of the UC had quietly prepared afternoon tea while we sat spell bound by what we were seeing. 

Great day!  Thank you to Tilly and Chris.  Our later-than-expected arrival home was worth it!!