In 1972, Father Peter McGrath, C.P. was appointed to the tiny parish of St Anthony in the Fields, Terrey Hills, an outer suburb of Sydney. Then only 30 people gathered for Sunday Eucharist. The congregation grew and by 1973 over 1000 people were attending. Faced with expansion, Father Peter formed Family Groups to preserve the original community spirit where people knew each other by name and shared each other’s joys and sorrows. The Family Group Movement is now ecumenical across Anglican, Uniting and Baptist churches. It is also an international movement across Australia, New Zealand, USA and the UK. It is seen to be a relevant way for lay people to work with religious to build Christian community and plan for the future.
Groups usually gather once a month for a picnic, barbecue, casserole night or other planned activity. Activities differ between groups and are planned according to group interests (e.g. tennis, ten-pin bowling, visits to local attractions, movie night or trip to the theatre). Many groups hold an annual camp or weekend away together.
This group would interest people of any age from babies to grandparents, including single people and non-church attending family members who:
- Want to meet and get to know other people in the parish
- Want to build parish community
- Want to share their faith with children and non-Catholics
- Want to be more involved in the parish
The Family Group aims to build community and share the Catholic faith. There are currently 14 family groups within the Grovely, Mitchelton & Samford Parish.