Friends of St Mary’s
A keystone of the St Mary’s Cathedral community is the Friends of St Mary’s.
The fundraising activities of the Friends of St Mary’s have supported a broad range of Cathedral conservation and restoration projects over many years.
A major recent project included assisting with the installation of the tenor bell now known as the Angelus Bell in one of the southern towers. Other projects ranged from donating chairs for the Crypt to the specially-commissioned hand-carved and painted statues of the Apostles, Mary Magdalene, St Paul and the two great Prophets, Elijah and Moses now on display in the Lady Chapel of St Mary’s Cathedral.
In addition, major events for the Friends such as their St Patrick’s Day lunch and Christmas Lights cocktail party are hugely successful in raising funds for Friends’ projects.
Now, under a new president, Richard Flynn, the Friends of St Mary’s is looking forward to new directions to support the Cathedral and its community.
While maintaining its support and fund-raising functions, Richard Flynn says that he hopes that the Friends can evolve more into a parish association.
“My goal is to broaden the type of events that the Friends organise beyond the formal events which we have held in the past.”
“One of our first projects is to create a series of talks which relate to the Cathedral and its functions. These will be presented by people with knowledge but also with a fairly light touch to make them inclusive and not too academic.”
“We want to create events which people can come along to in order to help build a relationship among people who attend the Cathedral and generate interest in what goes on at the Cathedral. We hope the speaker events will raise the profile of the Friends and be an opportunity for people to get together on a regular basis.”
Flynn says that people can now join online at cathedralfriends.org.au and this allows the Friends to access a great many more people through the web.
“The online payment solution is now available and the numbers even in these early days are fairly good. I am encouraged by that. When they join and become members of the Friends, they receive newsletters about Friends’ events and Friends’ campaigns. We hope in the future that members of the Friends will have the opportunity to receive discounts on ticketing for events.”
Flynn says while the money raising is an important side of the Friends, he doesn’t want it to be the only side. “I would like to see the Friends develop as a parish community for the Cathedral parish because there are so many people who come to the Cathedral, week in week out, and there could be a benefit to those many people in having a parish community organisation which they can belong to. It will give them a greater sense of fellowship with the Cathedral.”