James O’Callaghan meets Greg and Dulcie, lifelong servants of the Uniting Church who recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
According to McCrindle research published in 2019, one in three Australian marriages end in divorce, which means celebrating a 65th wedding anniversary is a landmark and cause for serious celebration.
And this is just what Dulcie and Greg Turner did earlier this month when they celebrated with a service at Aspley Uniting Church.
What makes this milestone even more special was that also in attendance was Rev Ian Taylor, who officiated the couple’s wedding in 1954.
When asked what was the secret behind their seven decades of marriage, Greg said it was having a deep love for each other and a commitment to make it work.
“No marriage, I believe over the years, goes by without any ripples on the surface,” says Greg. “Sometimes they become more big waves than ripples. It’s about how you handle the big waves and compromise.”
The Turner’s connection to the Uniting Church is longstanding. After moving to Maryborough, Dulcie and Greg were actively involved in the formation of the Maryborough Blue Nursing Service (now known as Blue Care) in 1963, Greg being honorary secretary for the first seven years and Dulcie elected inaugural president of the Blue Nursing Auxiliary in 1964.
Their connection with the Blue Nursing Service and the church extends to the family with Dulcie’s sister—Deaconess Mabel Trigger (now Walker) —the first Deaconess in the Methodist Church in Queensland. Olive Smith (nee Crombie), Queensland’s first Blue Nurse, was a close friend.
According to Dulcie, a highlight from her career was “acceptance of my design for a purpose-built Maryborough Blue Nursing centre that gave me much satisfaction”.
Dulcie was a valued member of the Maryborough Methodist and Uniting Church congregations until 1988 when she and Greg returned to Brisbane to be closer to family. Dulcie’s many roles within the congregation included Sunday School teacher, member of parish council, member of parish council of elders, choir member and accredited lay preacher.
In Brisbane, the Turner’s connection with the Uniting Church has continued as they are active members of the Chermside-Kedron Community Church. It is this commitment to the church that saw Dulcie receive a Moderator’s Medal in 2011.
When asked what the church has meant to the pair, they said they couldn’t imagine life without it.
“The church has been a stabilising influence in our life, even before we were married,” Greg says. “I suppose the old hymn, “We love the place, O God”, summarises our connection with the church best.”