Sunday, March 02, 2014

Rev Bill Gillard a friend of Fiji

It was with sadness that we heard of the passing of Rev Bill Gillard, always a friend of Fiji and of all kinds of people. Richmond Church friends wrote:
In Richmond, Bill was a passionate activist for social justice over many years: a man of wise and generous vision. Bill led us in worship and offered leadership. He gave himself unstintingly to many practical and pastor matters, including caring for our Iranian friends. We grieve with June, Penny, Talei and Family but rejoice in a life lived beautifully.
The congregation of
Richmond Uniting Church.

Studying to be a minister, Bill Gillard was a colleague of Danny Mastapha and Edward Caleb then he led a  Methodist work camp to Fiji and later was a minister at Butt Street, Suva. Back in Melbourne he welcomed Fijian migrants in a fellowship group at Richmond Church. Throughout his long life he was a compassionate person, concerned with social justice and care of individuals and families.  The funeral will be held at Wesley Church Melbourne Wednesday morning from 10.30 a.m. Rest in peace Rev Bill.

(Later - Thursday)  Yesterday Peceli and I drove up to Melbourne for the funeral, a very crowded Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street. It was a dignified fine service paying tribute to Bill with some good old Wesleynn type hymns as well as  John Bell song. Afterwards we had a light lunch in the adjoining Nicholas Hall, still very very old so perhaps they can't modernise it because it's heritage listed.  We met a few Fiji people there, especially with links to Butt Street such as Peter and Dorothy Trail. We paid a huge sum for parking next door -  $80 for just over two hours.  Sobosobo, us country bumpkins were very naive by driving into that car park!  The funeral procession meanwhile had proceeded to a small country town in Gippsland for the burial.

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