The Rev David and Jean Brown (centre), son-in-law Dave McMorran (left) and daughter Angela McMorran (right) prepare to serve Christmas dinner for the last time at the St Andrew St Church of Christ community dinner. Photo by Gerard O'Brien
Christmas dinner was the end of an era this year for the Rev
David (65) and Jean (66) Brown.
The Dunedin couple have put on a Christmas Day community
dinner at St Andrew St Church of Christ each year for the
past 25 years, but now that they have reached retirement age,
they are calling it a day.
Mr Brown said yesterday was one of the busiest community
dinners the church had hosted, with more than 250 guests and
So much so, he said, he had little time to think about the
fact it was the last time he and his wife would run the
''Next year at this time, we'll feel a bit strange - a bit
lost, like we should be doing something. But then it might be
good to do a `normal' Christmas.''
When asked what a ''normal Christmas'' was, he said: ''I
don't know. We've been doing this for so long.''
The Browns said they would miss running the event, mostly
because it had become a family affair with their daughter
Angela and her husband Dave McMorran also helping.
The event is one of many community activities established and
run by Mr and Mrs Brown, including a Friday night drop-in
centre, the Space 2B at lunchtimes, working with migrants,
industrial chaplaincy, and helping to establish the Night
Shelter Trust and Habitat for Humanity.
The couple have been at the church for 27 years, and will
retire on Sunday following their final church service.
''Because I'm part of the furniture here, there will be some
sad people when we go,'' Mr Brown said.
''But a new face often brings new vitality to a church.''
While neither the Browns nor the McMorrans would help with
the dinner next year, they hoped it would continue.
''It gets more popular every year,'' Mr Brown said.
''The venue is starting to get too small. We've got a tent
set up out in the car park for dishwashing.
''I think they'll have to find somewhere bigger next year.''
Daryl Williams, of Dunedin, who attended the community dinner
yesterday for the first time, said he was grateful to be able
to celebrate Christmas with other people for a few hours.
His family all lived in Christchurch and he was pleased for
the company, he said.
''I was at a bit of a lost end.
''It's marvellous what they do here.''
Alvin Roberts, of Gisborne, was in a similar situation.
He had been making a delivery in Dunedin when the gearbox in
his truck blew up.
''I'm trapped here for a few days, so I came down to have
some lunch and make some new friends,'' he said.