The Lutheran Services Graceville Centre recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, with 90+ people attending the celebrations in Nambour on 18 November.
The event began with a welcome to country by Gubbi Gubbi Elder Auntie Christine. St Luke’s Nambour Pastor Matt Thiele led a rousing sing-along before the plaque unveiling and dedication by First Assistant Bishop Rev Ben Hentschke and Council for Lutheran Services Chair Dr Leena Vuorinen.
They were joined by Graceville staff and clients, as well as members of the St Luke’s Nambour congregation, in which the Graceville Centre began. Seeds for the centre were sown when Lutheran Pastor Martin Prenzler was in Alberton Parish and visiting Wolston Park Hospital in Brisbane. It was there that he noticed the lack of social, emotional, physical and social support available for residents. Pastor Prenzler’s move to Nambour Parish, state and federal Government initiatives and a property opportunity in Nambour provided the momentum needed for the Nambour congregation to step bravely forward on an untried path.
The Graceville Centre began as ‘Elizabeth Court’ (a hostel) and ‘Nambour Welfare Industries’ (a sheltered workshop) in 1971. The first services of their kind in Queensland, they sought to meet the need for a more comprehensive and compassionate approach to mental health care.
In a heartfelt presentation, Lutheran Services Acting CEO Kerrie Storey said the many staff and supporters present could take great pride in the Graceville milestone.
“The fundamental ‘step up – step down’ approach pioneered here 50 years ago remains at the heart of contemporary care. Today, Graceville helps many people in many ways – drawing on a range of evidence-based practices and continuing our traditional commitment to personal outcomes and wellbeing. Graceville also provides a rewarding workplace for more than 120 highly qualified and passionate staff.
“Lutheran Services is one of the longest established and most diverse providers of community services in Queensland. Today, we serve more than 20 communities throughout Queensland. Mental health care is a vital part of the work we do today. And it all began here in Nambour 50 years ago.”
Dig deeper into the Graceville story in the beautiful Anniversary Booklet.