A sculling race on the Clarence; a fishing boat for East Timor; shoe boxes full of gifts for children in Third World countries; a Chapel for Maclean Hospital; picnics at Rathgar children’s Home in South Grafton.
What do these things have in common?
To get the answer we need to go back to 1960 when a group of young women from several of the churches in Maclean got together for mutual fellowship, never imagining that their casual get-together would lead to the formation of an association that would stand the test of time for 61 years.
Glenys Irones, one of the remaining foundation members says, “I remember that day well because out of that gathering a great ministry developed. The beginning was very quiet and simply achieved, with little or no fanfare, and no grand plan, except for “getting together” in a simple desire to share fellowship with ladies from the different denominations.”
Within a year of that first get-together however, this fledgling group had established themselves more officially with leadership roles and regular meetings.
Several years later they took on the name officially as The Combined Churches Ladies Fellowship (CCLF).
The aim of this group right from the start was to build relationships between the women of the various churches in Maclean and create common bonds which quite naturally then led to working together on many different projects and activities in the Clarence area, as well as further afield.
One of the first local projects the group took on was the support of the Rathgar Children’s Home in Grafton (now closed). There were picnic days and entertainment shared with the children, as well as donations of goods and money for the support of the Home.
Over the years fundraising dinners and street stalls were held annually to support many causes that included the Leprosy Mission, Ethiopian famine, locally built fishing boats for East Timor, the Australian Bible Society, Red Cross Telecross service, as well as local needs such as Mareeba Nursing Home,