Community Spotlight: St. Columbs Anglican Church
Vicar Mike Flynn
Raised an Atheist and following this belief into his teens, it wasn’t until Mike was 18 and member of an Atheist group, that he began to look more into Christianity. Orignally trying to prove it wrong he ended up finding his truth and faith in God.
While studying Science at Melbourne University, Mike joined the Anglican Church nearby the University, and this was “the most diverse organisation I’d ever entered.” There he met refugees, qualified academics and people from all different walks of life having a common ground and common belief.
After graduating university and working for a number of years at a building research company, at the age of 28 Mike began his eight-year study to become a Minister. He has been ordained for 23 years now and for 11 of those years he has been Vicar at St. Columbs Anglican Church.
St. Columbs, built in 1883, is a safe haven for many people in and outside the Hawthorn community. The church offers informal worship on Sunday, open doors to come and pray throughout the day, a beautiful outdoor space complete with a community garden and a café, cricket team and practice space as well as a playground and other children and youth activities.
Before becoming Minister, Mike was very familiar with the Glenferrie Hawthorn area, visiting family and friends local to the area, and has seen how much the area has grown and evolved. Years ago you weren’t able to get a coffee after 4pm, now there is a 24 hour McDonalds and other businesses have changed how they stay open and operate. Mike loves the “community of workers and locals” and how you have the chance to “get to know people as you wander up and down”. He often bumps into people he would normally see on a Sunday out at the shops or restaurants. Mike and his wife, Alison, enjoy trying out all the new restaurants in Glenferrie, at the moment they are into Japanese food, enjoying Zen on Burwood Road. Mike regularly uses Triangle for any printing, Woolworths and Coles for church supplies and enjoys being a regular at Café Blac.
With the increase of apartments being developed in the area Mike discusses the importance of Boroondara Council encouraging local residents to be less car orientated. Everyone knows how scarce car spaces are and the need for more, but Mike sees the potential to embrace (electric) bicycles and utilise the transportation hub we have here in Glenferrie Hawthorn.
With Christmas fast approaching signs of it can be seen throughout the shops and decorations along the street. For Mike he knows Christmas can be a stressful and sometimes lonely time for people, especially for the high number of international students in the area who don’t always have a place to go. St. Columbs and its parishioners offer a place for those individuals and any others to feel welcome. Mike, often very busy around this time of year, says it never really feels like Christmas until the Carols begin and when he hears the brass section he remembers that “this is about Jesus” and is reminded of his favourite part of being Vicar of St. Columbs, “seeing God at work in people’s lives.”