A Umina couple who lived on opposite sides of the world when they met have celebrated 60 years of marriage.
The Reverend Peter Swain and his wife Joan met in London in 1952.
Mr Swain said he had been working in insurance when he felt called by God to join the Ministry.
Leaving Australia by ship for England with his motorbike, he had five pounds to his name.
“I found myself selling ice cream at Wimbledon,” said Mr Swain.
“In a London church opposite Westminster Abbey, I also found Joan, a pretty Dorset girl who moved to London to work.
“She later stole my heart,” he said.
Mr Swain returned to Australia in 1954 for religious studies, undertaking an arts degree at Queens College, Melbourne, studying Hebrew.
He and Joan remained in contact by mail, exchanging weekly letters.
Peter proposed by letter in 1956.
He followed the letter with an engagement ring.
“There I was on the top of a London double decker bus putting the ring on my finger, without the man I was to marry even in the country,” Ms Swain said.
“In fact, because of the type of package Peter sent, I had to spend my precious pennies releasing the package from London’s Customs department,” she said.
Because Mr Swain was yet to complete his ministry studies, he was unable to marry.
Nonetheless, Ms Swain caught the ship to Adelaide to start a life on the same soil.
They married in 1958 and welcomed their first child Sue after 10 months of marriage, with daughter Katie and son Brin to soon follow.
For the next eight years, Mr Swain was chaplain for Wesley College in Melbourne, before he moved to Sydney’s Newington College where he spent 27 years.
He wrote three books for the school on its history and completed a Masters of Arts and Education, followed by a doctorate that included time spent in California.
Mr Swain went on to receive an OAM in 2005 for his service to the Uniting Church and his work in Australia, particularly as national president of the Australian Association for Religious Education, coupled with his work for 20 years as an Army Reserve chaplain during the Vietnam War.
Having holidayed in Umina over the years, when Peter retired in 1996, they moved to the Peninsula.
They now live at Peninsula Village in Umina.
“They socialise with all their Village friends,” said Peninsula Village chief Mr Shane Neaves.
“Peter remains active in the church community, running the services at Peninsula Village for Anzac Day and Christmas.
“He runs a study group every week at the local church, as well as prayer meetings,” Mr Neaves said.
Media release, 4 Dec 2018
Katey Small, Brilliant Logic