As most of you are aware Linda and Paul, Mary-Ellen and John took on the role as National Coordinator Team from Lynn and Rob Hill on the 1st of July 2016 and we had pretty big shoes to fill!!

We split the Dioceses with the Darbyshire’s looking after Palmerston North, Hamilton and Auckland, while the Leen’s looked after Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Back in July 2016 each of us had 1 grandchild, now in June 2021 we have 10 between us! (The Leen’s are ahead by 2)

The Brown Sugar Café in Otaki become our rendevous point, an hour for Darbyshire’s from Palmerston North and an hour for the Leen’s from Wellington. This was a time of brainstorming, planning and a catch-up on our personal lives. These sessions were invaluable –  time spent together – nothing like face to face! Zoom has now taken place of our Otaki gatherings as Paul and Linda moved to New Plymouth 18 months ago to be closer to the grandies.

As the National Coordinators we worked as a Team, and it just made sense for our Directors to also form Regional Teams!  The support, the sharing and the load shared is what has got us thru!  And we think we’ve saved the Mental Health Industry a lot of money by working in Teams!

We asked Paul Traynor to join the National Coordinator Team in 2019.  This was a no-brainer as Paul was facilitating formation days, sharing the load with Brian and offering support to us, so it made sense to bring him on to the Team.  The National Team has made time annually to gather over the past couple of years at the home of Paul and Clare Traynor in Greytown to  do our yearly planning, logistics for Formation, newsletters and of course a meal and a wine or two.  Thank you Clare for your hospitality, friendship and support which enables Paul to be a part of the PFGM ministry.

It was probably 18mths ago, that we started thinking about succession planning. We dreamed of what it would be like if we could have someone full time, who knew about Family Groups and how they operated and who could share and promote the Aims and Goals of the movement, someone with the right gifts who understood the “Passionist” in Passionist Family Groups and the theology behind it!

I remember saying to Brian and Paul one night – “If we win Lotto, that’s what we would want to do” have someone full time in the role.

Well God, and thank God, he heard the prayers from us girls. No, we didn’t win lotto but we were guided to someone right under our very noses and you could say the rest is …….

But, before we can say the word History, we need to acknowledge Brian and our Trustee’s who did an amazing amount of work to make this happen. Being a Charitable Trust we appreciate there were many “I’s” and “T’s” to be crossed and dotted!

In the five years we have found our Trustee’s Jocelyn, John, Lynn and Rob to be open, supportive and encouraging – they are a solid foundation to the Movement. They have always made themselves available when we needed advice, which we greatly appreciate. Detailed reporting to the Trustee’s is now required under the Charities Act along with Safeguarding, Professional Standards and Vetting. The Compliance required now is huge!  Thanks to each of you plus Billy and Rosie for your hospitality, friendship and inviting us each year to stay, share, and celebrate the movement over good food and wine.

Gathering once a year with our Directors of each Region as they were known then, for a weekend was and IS still valuable!  We always come away reset, engergised, supported and encouraged by your contributions and friendship. We have been priviledged over the years to hear your personal story and have built deeper relationships, and that will continue.

Thanks to each of you, you are doing – the grassroots stuff – the people, the people, the people!  We appreciate everything you do and how you are doing it.  Well done and keep it up. Our Regional Teams are vital, you are the people who have brought the spirit of Jesus to so many!

In the Church there has always been Chaos – Jesus says Love one another, and in anything you say or do, let it done with love, dignity and respect. We keep each of you in our prayer as the mission continues.

We have shared our real selves and have often made the comment that some of you know us more intimately than members of our own family!

Passionist Family Groups going forward  – Paul will need ALL of our support – in some respects the National Coordinator Team has just got bigger!! The ongoing challenges of – Parishes focusing on new buildings, merging communities, cultural diversity, conservative influences, ageing  – we now have fresh eyes and fresh ears!

As we transition into the future, we know Paul will have your support, he has the Passionist Heart, he understands this is a Movement and is open to where it leads.

We do need to thank Tom McDonough CP, the Passionist Provinical in Australia for his support and positiveness, it’s always good to know we have the big boss in the back ground appreciative of the work we do.

Our thanks also to Preston Epplett, the Movement’s Accountant, who has advised and guided us in all things financial.

And to Brian Traynor CP – you are, and always will be, our constant!  Your support, wisdom, listening ear, encouragement, care and love has been vital for us especially in the last 5 years.