UNLEASHED is a collection of stories recalling the years between 1955 to 1965 in the working-class parish of All Saints’, Booval, and the remarkable group of people called into full-time Christian service from the church during that era, including seven ordained priests and 11 missionaries.
The book opens with the recollections of Judith Ware and Margaret Douglass, the widows of The Rev’ds Colin Ware and Don Douglass, parish priests at All Saints’ during that decade. These are followed by 15 stories from former parishioners recapturing those days and their life journeys since.
Archbishop Aspinall well summed up the book in his Foreword: “Colin Ware and Don Douglass’s ministries set the course for many people in dedicating their lives to Christ and serving Christ’s mission. The seeds of faith were sown on fertile ground and a rich harvest of willing workers in Christ’s name was the result. They heard the call to dedicate their lives to Christ and have continued to do so over the decades since.”
From the time I moved to Brisbane in the mid-1970s, I kept coming across people who traced their Christian beginnings and subsequent Christian ministry back to All Saints’, Booval. There seemed to be a whole series of disconnected dots that were begging to be joined. When my wife Diana and I were visiting Heather Wood, who was recuperating in a rehabilitation facility after an accident, we learned more about the individuals and couples who, like Heather and her husband Tom, had been launched into Christian service from All Saints’. The dots began to be joined and so an idea began to develop: “Perhaps we could contact these people and compile their stories.” When we discovered that All Saints’ was to celebrate their 125th Anniversary in May 2021, we took this as a signal to turn the idea into a reality.
During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, potential contributors were contacted and invited to write and submit their stories by December. This they did with very little coaxing, and when some others heard about the project, they too submitted their stories. The stories provide a penetrating glimpse into a vibrant community of faith, served by hard-working priests, encouraged by committed laypeople, grounded in Biblical teaching, inspired by visiting missionaries, sustained by earnest prayer, and bonded by loads of faith, hope and love.
The young people knew how to enjoy life, but their greatest joy and desire was to know and serve their Lord. A number offered for missionary service in northern Australia, Peru, Tanzania and Papua New Guinea and the stories reveal their struggles and achievements along the way. The seven priests who came from All Saints’ all served for some years in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, but also between them served in the Rockhampton, North Queensland, Grafton, Armidale, Sydney, Melbourne and Willochra Dioceses.
Editing the book was a joint undertaking. I had already edited a collection of stories by Pakistani Church leaders launched into Christian ministry from St Andrew’s Church, Lahore where I was vicar in the 1980s. I learned valuable lessons from editing that book which was published in Pakistan in 2015. Heather Wood’s participation as co-editor was essential for the project to succeed. Heather has an incredible memory and a sharp eye for detail, and her knowledge of all the contributors and All Saints’, Booval 60 years ago was invaluable.
Belinda Pollard, a publication consultant from the Parish of North Pine, put the finishing touches on the book, assisting with the layout, cover design and preparation for publication.
We decided on the title UNLEASHED because it conveys the overall message of the book: ordinary people from an ordinary church being released into God’s world in the service of Christ and his gospel. We considered several possibilities for a cover design but settled on the stark image of an empty leash. It is a very common household item and we felt that, like the parables that Jesus told using everyday images, it might jolt readers to think about what it means to be really free. That’s what the stories are all about.
UNLEASHED: Stories from All Saints’, Booval was compiled by John Arnold and Heather Wood. The hard copy book version (ISBN 9780645147308) and the e-book version (ISBN 9780645147315) are available through online booksellers and a limited number of paperbacks is available from John Arnold (please email email@example.com) for $20 per copy, plus $6 postage.Jump to next article