Church pews packed to say goodbye to Uniting Church minister
HIS family may be saying goodbye to Hervey Bay but it seems the impact Uniting Church minister and community champion Brian Hoole had on the city will be felt for many years to come.
Since Rev Hoole announced he felt called to the Brisbane region, the outpouring of goodwill from across the region and a steady stream of various farewell celebrations has left he and his wife Claire feeling "richly blessed".
A chaplain to the Hervey Bay Police, director of homeless reach out Youth Care (now under Regional Housing Limited) and secretary Rev Hoole has been a well-loved minister to many, both within the walls of his church and in the wider community.
Church pews were packed as his congregation expressed gratitude for Rev Hoole's guidance in good and bad times, his mentoring of school chaplains and key role in various events including Christmas in the Pines, Mayoral prayer breakfasts and Carols by Candlelight.
Described as "love on legs", Claire was honoured for her efforts with Blue Care and warm words of encouragement for many mothers.
Among those expressing his thanks was Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen, who said the Hooles had touched every corner of the city.
Fond memories were also shared of their children Rebecca, Matthew and David who grew up in Hervey Bay.
Rev Hoole said the Fraser Coast was full of "amazing young people" and he and Claire were "lucky ours are three of them".
He's of the firm belief Christianity is not about "Bible bashing" but living life in a way that has people thinking "I don't know what he's got, but he's got something different" and encouraging them to care for the spiritual side of themselves as well as the physical and emotional.
Rev Hoole insists there is still a place in modern society for the church, both as a haven for those seeking to connect with the community and as a support network.
His next post will be in the Brisbane region where he will counsel other ministers.