Jul 03, 2024

Beyond Retirement: Reverend Dr Sidney Green’s Inspiring Aged Care Role

Beyond Retirement: Reverend Dr Sidney Green's Inspiring Aged Care Role
Reverend Sidney Green's unwavering dedication to faith shone through after retirement. [Supplied].

Resthaven Marion resident, Reverend Dr Sidney Green, is just as comfortable preaching to the congregation as he is amongst the pews.

A retired Minister of the Anglican Church, Sidney has been assisting one of Resthaven’s Coordinating Chaplains, Reverend Steve Blacket, at Marion for the past few months, and when Steve was on leave, Sidney ran the service. Sidney also runs a small weekly Fellowship and Bible Study group, and provides support at his own church, St Jude’s at Brighton, as needed.

‘I officially retired in 2004,’ Sidney says with a laugh. ‘But, I just love it. I enjoy preaching and it’s a good chance to keep the grey cells working.’

Since running some of the services at Resthaven Marion, Sidney says that he has become known to the other residents and that they sometimes seek him out for a chat.

‘We are all here together,’ Sidney says. ‘And we have all had to face the fact that we are here because we need additional care and support. It’s a life experience we all share and it’s good to talk about.’

The congregation at Resthaven is ecumenical, with people coming together from different Christian churches to practice their faith.

‘It’s a bit different from when I was an Anglican Priest preaching to an Anglican Congregation,’ Sidney says. ‘People come to church for many different reasons. Some for the company and for something to do, while others come to worship and for spiritual healing and comfort. The key is to make the service accessible to all so that it has value for everyone who attends. I love that. It’s how it should be.’

From playing the tunes to preaching to the choir

Born in Wales in 1944, Sidney met his wife-to-be Jackie when they were at Primary School together.

‘There is actually a photo of us together from 1953 when we attended the Queen’s Coronation celebrations at school,’ Sidney says.

Joining The Royal Welsh Fusiliers regiment at the age of 15, Sidney’s first career was in music.

‘I was a military musician for seven years, playing brass instruments,’ Sidney says. ‘I travelled the world with the band and had ambitions to be a Director of Music. I trained at The Royal Military School of Music, London – but then God broke into my life, and everything changed.’

Sidney says it was when he was on leave at home that he attended an Evangelistic Rally.

‘I heard the word of God and knew what my true calling was as a disciple of Jesus Christ,’ Sidney says. ‘I then had to buy my way out of the army because of what they had invested in my training – but we managed. Jackie was always supportive.’

At 21 Sidney trained in the Church of England ministry and was ordained. He and Jackie were married in 1968 and in the following years had three sons.

Moving between parishes as needed, Sidney says the family relocated within the United Kingdom 10-12 times.

‘The positions were sometimes advertised in the Anglican Church Newspaper, and I would apply for them, or in some cases I was tapped on the shoulder by the bishop who suggested I would be a good fit for a particular parish.’

Sidney’s specialty and passion is in the formation of small groups, where 8-9 people come together to be able to connect and share on a spiritual level.

‘I loved teaching and supporting leaders to guide these small groups,’ Sidney says. ‘It’s something I still really enjoy doing, and that’s where the Bible Study group is so good.’

Sidney was also a teacher and lecturer in Practical Theology, completing his Master of Theology in 1986. He also worked as a school chaplain, including at the prestigious Epsom College. Jackie was a school principal in her own right, working with children with special needs. For a while he and Jackie worked at the same school. Sidney also produced and presented a cable television show in the UK called Faith in Focus.

Sidney completed his Doctorate in Theology in 2013, after he had retired. He has also published a book titled Beating the Bounds.

Coming to Australia

Sidney and Jackie’s eldest son was holidaying in Australia with his French wife when they decided to move here. Next, their third son met an Australian girl in London, and they made Australia their home too. Then there was talk of grandchildren. Sidney and Jackie felt the pull.

‘I never expected that we would move to Australia,’ Sidney says. ‘I had just arranged a five year stay as Vicar of a parish in the Diocese of Winchester, and I had to go to the bishop and ask permission to leave early. But, we always knew we wanted to be hands-on grandparents.’

Their middle son stayed in England for a little while, but he has now moved to Melbourne as well where he works as a television producer. Sidney and Jackie have four grandchildren – three girls and a boy.

‘We bought our house online when we were still in England,’ Sidney says. ‘It was a bit of a gamble, but we decided if we didn’t like it, we could always sell.’

The house was in Sturt, and Sidney and Jackie were very happy there. They then moved into Retirement Living in Pasadena, and more recently to Resthaven Marion. Jackie moved in first, and then Sidney followed around 9 months later in May 2023.

‘We’re a team,’ Sidney says. ‘We’ve always been a team.’

After moving to Australia, Sidney helped out as a priest at Holy Trinity Church, North Terrace, as well as at St Matthews, Kensington. The couple still worship regularly at St Jude’s, Brighton.

‘Interestingly enough, I lectured the current minister who is there,’ Sidney says with a smile.

The church has a strong musical program, with the orchestra playing each week at the service, something Sidney immensely enjoys.

‘I used to play the euphonium (a brass wind instrument with valves that is a bit like a mini-tuba),’ Sidney says. ‘I was part of town bands over the years in England. However, they tended to practice on a Sunday, which is not a good day for me!’

‘I don’t play anymore, and my instrument is now with a young man who plays in the church band. It is nice to see it still being played.’

A continued passion

Back at Resthaven, Sidney says his aim is to be ‘as helpful as possible.’

Resthaven Marion’s Lifestyle Coordinator, Tamara Jacquier, says Sidney has developed a wonderful rapport with the other residents.

‘We receive many compliments on his behalf about his caring and kind nature,’ Tamara says. ‘He is a great example of someone who is supported to continue (as Sidney would say) “his life’s calling”

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