About 100 people gathered at the Roxy Theatre on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the contribution of Reverend Kevin and Mrs. Robin Hansen to the Bingara community.
Kevin has retired from the position of Vicar of Bingara Parish after 35 years.
Deputy Mayor, Cr. Peter Pankhurst spoke of the service Kevin and Robin have given the community, through the church and wider community.
Kevin is the president of the Bingara and District Cancer Action Group, and Touriandi Inc., and is a vice president of the Bingara Senior Citizens Association.
Cr. Pankhurst noted that while Kevin and Robin were being farewelled from the church, they were not leaving the community.
Other speakers included John Whitfeld, who spoke about the enormous support Kevin and Robin gave his family in a difficult time of loss. He also spoke of the role Kevin and Robin played at the school.
Reverend John Foran said that while Kevin and Robin have put aside the trappings of 35 years, they will never give up being a Minister for the Word of God.
Major Rosemary Darby and Rev. Jean Bell also spoke of the work done by the Hansens.
In response, Kevin said from the time he and Robin arrived in Bingara with their infant son, Peter, in February 1973 they experienced outstanding warmth from the community.
"You welcomed us into your homes and you took us into your hearts," Kevin said.
"As the minister and his wife we have enjoyed the privilege of sharing your joys and successes, as well as the times of challenge, distress and sadness.
"Thank you for your willingness to allow us to share all of those times with you.
"It has also been a privilege to share with you the message of the unconditional love of God – A love which took Jesus to the cross when He died for our sins. It has been a great delight to see many people respond to that love, and to witness the experience of the life transformation which Jesus brings. Not only does He meet our need of forgiveness but He also provides a sense of direction and purpose for our lives. He also gives us a pattern for living, and although Robin and I are imperfect, we have sought to model that lifestyle in this community.
"Community involvement can be a challenge. I can recall the time when with Dr. Alf Rombout and others we fought to ensure this community had a good hospital. But the effort expended was worth it and this community is about to benefit from the new multipurpose service which will open soon.
"We are also currently seeing the commencement of an important extension to Touriandi Lodge. That too has been a long time coming. But after visits to Canberra and elsewhere we will soon see that addition completed.
"These facilities come at a cost. But they will prove to be a considerable benefit to the people of Bingara.
"There is immense community pride here in Bingara. This commends this community to all who come here whether they are visitors or new residents.
"We should remember that such pride can only be maintained if people will give something of themselves to the life of the community. If you are part of a community you must seek to contribute to that community.
"It is easy to criticise but it is far better to constructively contribute toward the good of the community.
"When I arrived today I found it quite daunting. We are humbled and yet we feel both privileged and honoured by this function.
"Thank you to those who have spoken today. Many kind things have been said about Robin and myself. I feel sure you have been far too generous in what you have said.
"I would like to thank the Gwydir Shire Council for sponsoring this function. I would ask Cr. Pankhurst to convey our thanks to the Mayor and Councillors for this and for the gifts we have received. Thanks to Beckie Mack, Sandy McNaughton and those who have assisted for the splendid organisation.
"Thank you to all those who have attended this afternoon. We thank God for you," Kevin concluded.