Pastor Kerrigan and Michelle La-Brooy win the 2018 Casey Volunteer Pair Award
Pastor Kerrigan and Michelle La-Brooy won the 2018 Casey Volunteer Pair Award for their mind-blowing involvement in the Local Community and the amazing work they do. The Award Ceremony was held at Bungil Place on Friday July 27th. This well-deserved recognition comes in appreciation of the ongoing contributions and sacrifices this couple makes for everyone around them.
Kerrigan is the Senior Pastor of Gethsemane Church which he planted in April 2017 in obedience to the Lord’s Calling. He’s also the founder and creator of Gethsemane Charity, which feeds and clothes over 400 people daily, 7 days a week. In addition to the Church & Charity, together with his wife Michelle and their 6 children (all 10 years and younger), the La-Brooy Family run a free Talent Academy, an Opportunity Shop and they Host an Annual Event, the Clyde Carols by Candlelight.
Kerrigan and his wife work tirelessly, from way before sunrise to way past sunset. In fact, Kerrigan often operates on 2 to 3 hours sleep and 1 meal a day. Michelle supports her husband every step of the way and Kerrigan says he couldn’t do it without her. Despite their hectic schedule, the couple fall more in love with each other every day and it’s a delight to behold. They celebrate their 11th Wedding Anniversary on August 17th where they’ll partake in the Annual Renewal of their Vows, completely dressed up as they were on their Wedding Day.
Kerrigan is quick to acknowledge the help and support of his congregation, Team Gethsemane, who give of their time selflessly and committedly to make all these services possible and accessible. In fact, including Volunteer Pair of the Year, Gethsemane Church was Nominated for 4 Awards at the recent Award Ceremony. The rest were Volunteer Group of the Year as well as 2 Nominations for Individual Volunteer of the Year. The Nominees were Stephanie Panza and Raman Bajwa. Kerrigan was also Nominated for Casey Citizen of the year 2018 and was the Recipient of a Holt Australia Day Award 2018 as well. He doesn’t expect any reward for his work, or even appreciation. His vision and mission and passion, being to spread the love of Jesus throughout the community whether it’s acknowledged or not. Kerrigan would rather shy away from the attention and is eager to include Team Gethsemane in everything. For Gethsemane to accomplish all this in just over one year is truly a staggering achievement.
Gethsemane runs a Food Relief Program feeding the Homeless and the Hungry. The food includes bread, bakery products, pies, croissants, fruit, vegetables, eggs, drinks, meats and other necessities. Over the Festive Period Kerrigan felt blessed to put food on the table for around five thousand people. Had it not been for the Food Distribution, some of those families would not have been able to afford Christmas Lunch. Kerrigan believes the true meaning of Christmas is Giving as opposed to Receiving.
Gethsemane also runs Triple Treat Talent Academy where children are taught to act, sing and dance at no cost. Classes are absolutely FREE. The reason being, Kerrigan understands that affordability is often a problem for parents and he doesn’t want the children to miss out on an opportunity to harness their God-given talents. Due to lack of a proper venue, the Opportunity Shop operates from Kerrigan and Michelle’s home, where the couple and their children have long run out of space for themselves. The idea behind the op shop is not to sell anything; so if someone couldn’t afford even 1 dollar, they could feel free to help themselves to clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac.
As Senior Pastor of Gethsemane Church, Kerrigan and Team Gethsemane will be presenting the Inaugural Clyde Carols by Candlelight again this year. The community will be able to enjoy the festive spirit while engaging in social cohesion. The event will be promoted on Tv, Radio and in the Press. The Fun Filled Family Night will officially Launch the Casey Christmas Carols and is totally free to attend.
Gethsemane Charity is run in conjunction with Gethsemane Church. The services were originally offered to the public from 8 am to 8 pm 7 days a week, however, apart from taking its toll on the La-Brooy Family, the system was being abused. So, in fairness to everyone, there’s been the need to introduce a better structure. The charity is still accessible more than TWICE what other services offer. Kerrigan loves the community and his passion is to serve them. There’s never any judgment. The community are never asked for a health care card or any proof of ID or verification of their need. They’re never asked for a review or a rating. They’re never asked for a donation. All this despite the fact that Gethsemane gets no funding whatsoever. Kerrigan makes deliveries to those who are immobile till as late as 9.30 at night. Sometimes, he doesn’t even know who they are, and he reckons he doesn’t need to. He just leaves the hamper on the doorstep, knocks on the door and drives away. Folk are invited to knock on his door or ring his phone 24/7, morning, noon or night, if they’re in need an emergency food supply.
Rather than any of the formalities associated with charities as per legitimacy of the person accessing it, all Gethsemane does is give folk the ‘opportunity’ to visit their church and share in a dinner & friendship and fellowship; plus, the added bonus of Sunday meats and eggs. The ‘invitation’ is never an ‘expectation’ and there’s never any pressure. Please note, the charity is accessible whether folk go to church or not. It’s just that Kerrigan believes knowing & serving God is more lasting and beneficial than any temporary physical help.
To all those who have supported Kerrigan’s Ministry through Gethsemane Church & Gethsemane Charity, Kerrigan says, the Volunteer Pair Award recognition was as much theirs as it was his. His heartfelt thanks also goes out to those who nominated Michelle and him and Gethsemane. These include the selection panel; the community; fellow nominees; Mayor Geoff Ablett; Deputy Mayors Wayne Smith & Amanda Jane-Stapleton; Casey Councillors Damien Rosario, Rosalie Crestani, Rex Flattery & Susan Serey; MP Anthony Byrne; Community Programs Officers Patrice Smith & Suzanne Squires; Community Volunteer Coordinator Samantha Ellison; Community Strengthening Coordinator Narelle Algie; and all those at Casey Council who were involved in putting on such an amazing event. Above all, Kerrigan thanks the Lord above for His enablement and favour.