Holroyd Community PRayer Dinner

Formerly known as Holroyd Mayoral Prayer dinner

A history

Brian Rensford presenting an award to Allan Ezzy in 2011

Brian Rensford presenting an award to Allan Ezzy in 2011

In 1976 Cir Allan Ezzy travelled to Florida USA as a member of a Group Study Exchange team, on a Rotary International Scholarship.  The purpose was to study law enforcement, local government, community and church life.

During his time there he gained a wide knowledge of issues, many of which he was later able to implement either through local government, church activities or law enforcement.  One event he attended whilst in the USA was an annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast which was held in the Local High School gymnasium.  These breakfasts were held widely throughout America .

Upon his return he spoke to the Mayor of the day (Ald. Bob Devlin); further discussions took place with the Rev. Brian Sears, and other members of the local clergy.  However it was felt that Australians would not get out of bed early enough to attend a breakfast, and then go to work, so it was decided to hold an evening function, which would only be for men!

Following the resounding success of the event, and complaints from the ladies at being excluded, the event has occurred for the past 37 years (to 2015) with ladies present, it is estimated that over 5000 residents, clergy, politicians, and members of Council have attended the Annual Mayoral Prayer Dinner and listened to many prominent speakers delivering the Christian message, and/or relating as Christians their experience in public life.

The following is a brief chronology of the event, locations, cost obtained from the records of Holroyd City Council, and the Ministers' Fellowship members.  We trust you find it interesting.

Details of the next dinner can be found at COMING EVENTS

1978 16 August , Wentworthville Bowling Club, Cost $6
Mayor: Clr Bob Devlin
Speaker: Rev Canon John Chapman, evangelist and Canon St Andrews Cathedral Sydney.  MEN ONLY!

1979, Guildford Leagues Club.
Mayor: Clr Bob Devlin
Speaker: ??

1980 July, Merrylands Bowling Club, cost $6
Mayor: Clr Bob Devlin
Speaker: Most Rev. E. Clancy, Roman Catholic Bishop of Canberra

1981 14 July,  Guildford Leagues Club
Mayor: Clr Bob Devlin
Speaker: Rev. Graham Hardy

1982 13 July,  Greystanes Community Centre.  Cost $8
Mayor: Clr Bob Devlin
Speaker: Rev. S. J. Clements, Moderator NSW Presbyterian Church

1983 12 July,  Greystanes Community Centre
Mayor: Clr Bob Downing
Speaker: Rev. John Edmondstone, Pastor Northside Baptist Church , President Elect – Baptist Union of NSW and ACT, radio personality

1984 12 June,  Greystanes Community Centre, Cost $8.50
Mayor: Clr Bob Downing
Speaker: Rev. Gordon Moyes Director Wesley Central Mission Sydney

1985 30 June,  Holroyd Centre, Cost $10
Mayor: Clr Keith Warnock
Speaker: Rev.  Dr. Gordon Dicker Moderator Uniting Church

1986 July,  Holroyd Centre.  Cost $12
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Rev.  Dr. Peter Jensen, Principal Moore Theological College

1987 July,  Holroyd Centre, Cost $13
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Cardinal Sir James Freeman, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

1988 July,  Holroyd Centre, Cost $15
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Rev.  Noreen Towers , Director, Edward Eager Lodge for the Homeless

1989 20 July,  Holroyd Centre, Cost $18
Mayor: Clr Graham Gard
Speaker: Rev. Lance Shilton, past Dean St Andrews Church of England Sydney .

1990 31 July,  Holroyd Centre, Cost $16
Mayor: Clr Graham Gard
Speaker: Rev. Gordon Moyes, Director, Wesley Central Mission

1991 30 June,  Holroyd Centre.  Cost $18
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Rt. Rev. Bishop Peter Watson, Anglican Bishop Western Sydney

1992 28 July,  Holroyd Centre
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Hon. Johno Johnson MLC, Former President Legislative Council of NSW Parliament

1993 27 July,  Banksia Centre Wentworthville.  Cost $18
Mayor: Clr. Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Rev. Fr John Sweeney OAM, Parish Priest, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Greystanes

1994 26 July,  Banksia Centre Wentworthville.  Cost $19
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Mr. Bruce Baird MLA

1995 25 July,  Banksia Centre Wentworthville, Cost $20
Mayor: Cr Stuart Graham
Mr. Stephen O’Doherty,  Radio Commentator and State Parliament MP

1996 30 July,  Banksia Centre Wentworthville, Cost $21
Mayor: Clr Stuart Graham
Speaker: Mr Graham Wade, Director - Pilgrim International Communications

1997 29th July,  Banksia Centre, Wentworthville.  Cost $22
Mayor: Clr Stuart Graham
Speaker: Mr. Steve Raymond, Radio station 2WS owner and TV personality

1998 28 July,  Banksia Centre Wentworthville.  Cost $25
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker: Dr Clifford Hughes, Retiring President of Baptist Union of NSW, And Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery RPAH

1999 27 July,  Banksia Centre Wentworthville.  Cost $25
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy
Speaker:  Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM, Community Services Commission.

2000 25 July,  Banksia Centre, Wentworthville.  Cost $26
Mayor: Cr Peter Herlinger
Speaker: Rev Graham Long – Minister: Pendle Hill Church of Christ, Director, Church of Christ Community Services

2001 24 July,  The Holroyd Centre.  Cost $27
Mayor: Clr Mark Pigram
Speaker(s): presentation then panel discussion led by Rev. Garry McMahon , Director, Life After Prisons – to heighten awareness if drug and rehabilitation work bring undertaken in the community. 

200223 July,  The Holroyd Centre - $27
Mayor: Clr Mal Tulloch
Speaker: Rev Sam Abalo – Snr Pastor Living Word Centre – Merrylands.  Theme: The Changing Face of Multicultural Holroyd – and the Churches’ Response

2003 9 September,  Local Restaurant.  Cost $30
Mayor: Clr Mal Tulloch
Speaker: Fr Chris Riley – Youth Off The Streets

2004 31 August,  Merrylands RSL.  Cost $30
Mayor: Clr John Brodie
Speaker: Rev Dr Ross Clifford , Principal Morling Theological college, President Australian Baptists, Radio Personality and Author

2005 30 August,  Merrylands RSL.  Cost $30
Mayor: Clr John Brodie
Speaker: Superintendent Garry Raymond OAM.  NSW Police

2006 29 August,  Merrylands RSL.  Cost $30
Mayor: Clr Allan Ezzy APM
Speaker: Rev Dr Barry Chant – Wesley Mission Academic, theologian and author

2007 28 August,   Merrylands RSL.  Cost $35
Mayor: Clr Dr. John Brodie
Speaker: Mr Phil Glendenning, Director Edmund Rice Institute and prominent Human Rights advocate

2008 26 August,  Merrylands RSL.  Cost $35
Mayor: Clr Dr. John Brodie
Speaker: Mrs Lucy Maguire, Holroyd Council multi-cultural officer

2009 25 August,  Merrylands RSL.  Cost $35
Mayor: Clr Greg Cumming
Speaker: Bishop Kevin Manning: retiring Catholic Bishop of Parramatta Diocese

2010 31 August, Merrylands RSL.  Cost $35.
Mayor: Clr John Perry
Speaker: Andrew Scipione: NSW Police Commissioner

2011 30 August, Merrylands RSL.  Cost $35
Mayor: Clr Peter Monaghan
Speaker: MLC Paul Green Mayor of Shoalhaven Council

2012 28 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $37
Mayor: Clr Yvette Whitfield
Speaker: Rev Anthony Fisher, Catholic Bishop of Parramatta

2013 27 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $40
Mayor: Clr Ross Grove
Speaker: Michael Dwyer, CEO First State Super

2014 26 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $40
Mayor: Clr Nasr Kafrouni
Speaker: Melinda Tankard-Reist, Collective Shout Activist

2015 25 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $40
Mayor: Clr Greg Cummings
Speaker: Gary Raymond, retired. OAM NSW Police

2016 30 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $40
Administrator: Viv May
Speaker: Nick Farr-Jones, Captain of the winning Australian team for the Rugby World Cup.

2017 29 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $40
Speaker: Founder and nine-times Holroyd Mayor, Allan Ezzy and Director NSW Prison Fellowship, Richard Feeney.

2018 28 August, Merrylands RSL Cost $45
Speaker: Guy Zangari, State Member for Fairfield and former high-school teacher. 

2019 27 August, Merrylands RSL. Cost $45
Speaker: Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen (Catholic Bishop of Parramatta).

Some Memorabilia

1978 – was the commencement year - Holroyd Community Club (Social Club of St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Merrylands West).  (10/5/1978) Mayoral Prayer Dinner.  “by kind permission of the Mayor, Ald. R. Devlin, and with the cooperation of the Holroyd Ministers’ Fraternal, our Church Social Club is sponsoring a Holroyd Mayoral Prayer Dinner.  May we invite Councillors, Council staff and employees to share this occasion.

The Dinner is based on the pattern of the now - famous annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast hosted by the President of the USA , in Washington and is copied by every municipality in that country.  A meal is shared after which a Churchman of some distinction addresses the political, civic, business leaders, and citizenry.  Our Speaker is the Rev. John Chapman, Director of Evangelism, and a Canon of St Andrew’s Cathedral.  The Dinner commences 7 pm and concludes 8.30pm.  It is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16 at Wentworthville Bowling Club and will cost $6 per head. 

The ‘Prayer Dinner’ is traditionally Councillors only (spouses not invited).  It is intended to fall in with that tradition on this occasion, but that is not to say that that custom could be changed if it is decided to hold another Holroyd Prayer Dinner in the future.  It is anticipated that there will be representation from every Church in the Municipality and from many walks of life.” 

And so a tradition began that has continued unbroken down to this year.  Our collective thanks to Clr Ezzy and all who have persevered with him to ensure the ongoing success of the Mayoral Prayer Dinner.

1981 - Council asked for the involvement of a lady in proceedings.

1982 - (One guest attending was a visiting Orthodox Bishop from East Africa ).  The menu consisted of Mrs. McDonald’s famous vegetable soup, followed by hot roast scotch fillet of beef, baked potatoes, hot minted peas, buttered carrots, brown gravy, Ice cream cake with topping, tea /coffee.

1984 - (Following this dinner, Council wrote to the Ministers Fraternal, asking if they were interested in having a committee of Clergy and Public.  This took place on the 22 January 1985).

1986 - Included among the guests were Police Commissioner, John Avery and his wife.

1987 – Menu listed thick vegetable soup, rack of lamb and vegetables, dessert, Apple strudel and custard, tea/coffee.

1989 - A note on the publicity flyer indicates, places restricted to 200.

1990 – May 3rd.  Committee wrote to a local pastor, acknowledging letter, decided to continue with dinner, and to develop a mission statement, close attention to quality of speakers, and noting a reduction in cost of meal to $16.

1992 - 16 March, Question asked in Council by Clr Pigram, seeking income and expenses statement in relation to past Mayoral Prayer dinners.  Answer recorded - event not organized by Council, therefore no record kept.

1992 - 16 June, Report to Council of event and request from coordinating committee to waiver set-up fee of $300 under section 504 of Local Government Act; this was agreed to by council, A rescission motion was lodged by Clr’s Khaya, Morris and Herlinger.  At the meeting of the 7 July it was withdrawn.

2004 – A decision was made to establish a permanent location at Merrylands RSL with the kind assistance of the Board of Directors.  Since then, cost increases have been kept to a minimum with their help, keeping the Dinner well within the financial reach of the local community.

2009 – included among the guests were long-serving Federal MP, MHR Laurie Ferguson, and his wife, Maureen Walsh; Board Members of the our hosts (Merrylands RSL) attended for the first time.

2010 – NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, addressed a full house of 210 attendees on the application of his personal Christian faith to his work responsibilities.

2011 - newly elected MLC member and Mayor of Shoalhaven Council, Paul Green, spoke on his background of coming to faith in Christ, and moving into local and state politics as a family man with 6 children.  Numbers were closed off at 175.

2011 – Clr Ezzy and Mr Wilf Moreman (Merrylands Anglican Church) have attended every one for the past 34 years.  They were appropriately honoured at the 30th Dinner for this long-serving achievement.

2016 - The name of the dinner was changed to the "Holroyd Community Prayer Dinner" as Holroyd council was amalgamated into the new Cumberland Council.

The Spirit of the Mayoral Prayer Dinner is expressed in the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.