Our parish includes the communities of Sawtell, Toormina, Boambee, Bonville and Crossmaglen.
The church of Mary Help of Christians is located on the corner of Fourth Avenue and East Street, Sawtell. Our parish office is located across the car park from the church at 1/44 Boronia Street Sawtell.
As a Parish, we strive to: be faithful to Christ’s mission of proclaiming God’s word to others; to be sanctified by His gifts; and through serving others be the face of Christ in our place and time.
Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and bringing good news of the kingdom of God (Luke8:1)
Our Parish Office staff, from left to right, are Carolyn Tumminello (Parish Office Manager), Fr Michael Alcock (Parish Administrator), Cheryl Hughes (Parish Office Manager) and Jennifer Oliver (Parish Administration Officer).
Our Church was built originally as a Church hall in about 1951. By late 1974 it was in a sad state of disrepair, and during the next 12 months it was restored and extended by voluntary labour, and with the assistance of a Federal Government grant, was transformed into a Youth Camp. With the establishment of the Sawtell Parish, the building became the parish church.
The first Toormina presbytery was originally the school caretaker’s residence, a small two-bedroom dwelling. It was later extended to accommodate Fr Kelly and the subsequent parish priests. In 2015, construction was completed on a new presbytery which was located adjacent to the primary school and near the site of the previous presbytery. The current presbytery is now located adjacent to the Parish office in Boronia St Sawtell and is close to the church. The previous presbytery dwellings remain the property of the parish and are now rented out.
The original Parish Office in Boronia St Sawtell has had a number of uses since its construction in the 1940s. Originally built as a family residence, then used as a convent by the Sisters of Mercy, a temporary presbytery by Fr Kelly, and finally the Parish Office. It was demolished in 2018 to enable the construction of new townhouses. One of these became the new parish office and another became the new presbytery.
The first stage of the school opened in Toormina in 1980 while we were still part of the Coffs Harbour Parish. The school commenced with 130 pupils in 6 classes. Over the years it has undergone much work to extend and upgrade the facilities. During 2019, the school underwent major renovations and extensions on the administration block and all classrooms, as well as building an extra six classrooms. There are now over 400 students attending the school. An Outside School Hours Care facility also operates out of the school.
Marian Grove began as a vision of some parishioners in the early days of the parish to provide care and support for the aging in their community. The first residents moved into Stage One in 1992 and the care and passion that has been shown by so many have seen the facilities and the community grow to what it is today.
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