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Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Page: 1081


Mr BYRNE (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade) (9:50 AM) —In our lives as politicians we often come across those in the community who inspire us with their passion and their commitment to making a difference to the lives of others. Often these individuals are unassuming, never seeking the limelight for their deeds and actions, but all the while supporting, nurturing, changing and improving the lives of those they come into contact with. These people really are the glue that binds our community together.

On 31 January this year, we celebrated the life of one of those community leaders and inspirational figures, Pastor Barry Cutchie, in a service held at the Berwick Church of Christ. The service celebrated Barry’s 45 years of service in the ministry and the profound contribution he has made to the lives of many individuals. We also honoured Barry’s wife Anne and her significant contribution to the life of the Church of Christ community.

Having been raised in a family in Horsham in Victoria’s west, Barry pursued his calling to the ministry by spending four years of study at Kenmore Christian College in Brisbane, graduating in December 1968. It was during his final year of study, when he was a pastor at Murwillumbah Church of Christ, that he met his wife Anne. They married in 1970 and spent their honeymoon on a four-week mission trip to Indonesia. It was during this trip that Barry and Anne would begin their lifetime commitment to helping those less advantaged in countries such as those in Asia and Africa.

Barry began a successful 15-year ministry at the Clayton Church of Christ in 1982, where he was able to pursue his passion for assisting international students and developing a multicultural membership. During this time, Barry was also able to make a number of pastoral visits to Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia and to the Deaf Ministries International school in the Philippines. Concluding his ministry at Clayton, Barry pioneered in Australia the men’s ministry Promise Keepers, an organisation focused on Christian family values and men taking responsibility for their lives and behaviour. It was during this time, in the year 2000, that Barry and Anne began their long affiliation with the Berwick Church of Christ and it was during this time that I came to know Barry and become his friend.

Barry joined the pastor leadership team in 2000 and became Senior Pastor in 2005. Under Barry’s stewardship, the church entered a new and exciting era. Highlights included the Team Ministry, the Catch the Wave program, strong community connections and the jumping castles at Air Fair. However, the favourite for me was the iconic twilight Christmas carols, at which thousands of people would celebrate Christmas Eve listening to marvellous carols, often sung by the rest of the Sebastian family—other than Guy. It was just an amazing experience and a great fireworks display. It was a great way of bringing the community together on Christmas Eve.

On 28 March this year, Barry and Anne will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Although Barry has retired from the ministry, his work in supporting the local community and working to build strong families is far from finished. I am sure we are going to see him in other parts of the world. Today in this place I celebrate a great individual.