On the first Saturday in November, several generations came together at Kingston to celebrate the centenary of Clarendon Children’s Home. One of us had been a resident at Clarendon in Kingston in the 1960s and 70s when Cannon Crouch was the administrator. Some children, whose care is partially funded by Clarendon now, also celebrated with us.
Clarendon Children’s Home was built in Newtown in 1922 to house foster children. It was an extension of the Home of Mercy – a home built for the care of single mothers. Since that time, Clarendon has gone through many transformations, evolving to suit the needs of each era in a century of immense change.
We spent time remembering the past and enjoying old photographs. Rev. John Langlois, administrator of Clarendon in the late 70s and early 80s, reminded us about the community atmosphere of the Kingston Beach site and the support and wisdom that foster parents gave each other.
It was also very encouraging to hear stories of what God is doing through Clarendon now. Mary Dickens from Fostering Hope gave a moving speech about how the love of God helps Christian foster parents love the children in their care. Annette Sims spoke of the way Clarendon funds help provide safety for all children in our churches. She also told us of times when she had been able to provide previous residents with links to their own history through childhood photographs and to show them how valued they are. Luke Campton spoke of the work of Katrina, the children’s chaplain at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and how she helps bring meaning and purpose to the children there.
Bishop Richard completed the speeches by reminding us that this journey has not always been easy, that sometimes wrong had been done. However, we all joined him in giving thanks to God for all the good that has been and still is being provided for children in our diocese in the name of Jesus through Clarendon.