About 90 people crowded into the Commercial Hotel on October 28 for the final Spirituality in the Pub gathering for 2019.
The topic was "journeying through grief and tragedy" with speakers Bernadette Orange and Father Barry Dwyer.
Bernadette leads a team of palliative care nurses and volunteers in Parkes and the district, and it became obvious very quickly just how fortunate we are in Parkes to have such a dedicated team.
Bernadette's nursing experience includes several years in emergency and coronary care. Her current position is Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant.
Bernadette talked about the emotion and anxieties involved in a journey with a family when a loved one reaches the stage where palliative care is required. She emphasised that her team is there for the whole family during that journey. She encouraged audience participation and feedback was plentiful.
According to organisers, Bernadette's professionally-delivered presentation inspired all present.
READ MORE: Spirituality in the Pub a first for Parkes
Fr Barry Dwyer, is currently the Holy Family Parish Priest in Parkes, after 36 years serving as chaplain with NSW Police. In that capacity he has responded to a large number of critical incidents both in Australia and overseas, including the Lindt Café siege and the Quaker's Hill nursing home fire, counselling both police and victims.
He spent a week working in Phuket following the Boxing Day tsunami, supporting officers from the Australian Federal Police as they performed the distressing and gruesome DNA tests on victims.
He led a minute's silence and prayers in the Belanglo Forest for the 400 police and volunteers at the conclusion of their search. These excerpts from his life's work provided the audience with an appreciation of the wonderful work being done in our communities, where there is grief and tragedy.
Fr Barry talked about providing immediate welfare and then looking after the emotional and spiritual needs of police, volunteers, victims, etc. He also said that retaining a sense of humour can help diffuse difficult situations.
What is in store for Spirituality in the Pub for 2020?
There will be three events with dates, topics and speakers still to be determined.
The response in Parkes has grown significantly and we are keen to continue to provide these spiritually enriching events.
"The Commercial Hotel has been amazingly accommodating to our SIP events over our two years of hosting them," organisers said.
"The dining staff have delivered scrumptious meals so quickly after the close of proceedings, and this has added to an amazing night for all who attend.
"Watch this space for our 2020 SIPs."