In the early 1980s the school was to experience the process of integration, which involved the parents and parish in several years of discussions and the diocese in a long process of negotiation to reach the very satisfactory conclusion that it did.
The year after he left us in 1986, Father Kelly was sent to the USA to learn about the Renew programme. On his return he was responsible for its introduction in the Auckland Diocese. This was a programme that was very popular in our parish and, although numbers dropped over the years, many continued through the whole journey.
In 1986, during the Papal visit, the motorcade went through Epsom on the way to the Domain.
A diocesan Synod was held in 1989 and Epsom parish was represented by Jack Metcalfe and Bernadette Jew. The purpose of the Synod was to give Bishop the opportunity to consult with representatives from the whole diocese and through the process of consultation and participation to establish a Pastoral Plan for the diocese for the foreseeable future (10 years). The result of this Synod was to focus on the following areas: biculturalism, youth ministry, caring careers, lay ministry and lay/clergy relations.
The hall, after many years of minimal maintenance, was renovated in 1988-89 and made into a very useful venue for larger parish activities. It was also able to be used by outside organizations for a range of clubs and activities like Communicare and Tai-Kwon-Do. The most “notorious” use prior to the renovation seems to have been for the Housie evenings that ran for many years. These were begun by Father Hogan in 1970 and organised over the years by the Gianotti family. A useful supplement to parish funds, these functions were famous for becoming so smoke-filled that extractor fans had to be specially installed.
The Lurline (blue) house came up for review and provoked a lot of discussion before it was decided to move it onto its present site and renovate it.
During the early part of Father Chris’ time we saw the beginning of the Over-50s group. He had been running a similar group in Pakuranga and he invited them over to tell us about it. At that point Joan and Barney Moore and Des and Pat Sarsfield agreed to organise a group organise a group intended to offer social get-togethers for the over-50s. The group has developed over the years, with Joan Moore as the main organiser. They meet twice a month, with a speaker or focus of some sort, and go out for lunch about once a month. They also have begun to spend time visiting the sick and needy older people in the parish, which provides a welcome contact for many of our house-bound parishioners. Some fund-raising is done by the group and recently they had a raffle that raised $50, which they sent to the Salesians in India.
About the same time we began our regular contributions of food to the Mangere Parish. This started as a one-off gift at Christmas but it was realised that some regular assistance would be welcome. As a result, we began a routine Sunday collection of various food-stuffs that was delivered to their developing social services facility, which then distributed the food on a well-organised system to those in need. This food has been most gratefully received now for over five years.