FOR Elizabeth and Mike Halls the installation of a stained glass window at Warrnambool’s Christ Church commemorates two precious gifts.
It is not only a memorial to their daughter Natasha and her family who died in the 2009 Black Saturday fires, but also to the wonderful support they received from the Warrnambool community to help them recover from the tragedy.
The window, which was blessed at a service at the church last month, takes its inspiration from the Bible story of Jesus welcoming the little children.
It depicts Jesus embracing the Halls’ grandchildren — Alexis, eight months old, Jorja, 3, and a third child representing all children — with Natasha and her husband Robert Davey in the background.
All four members of the Davey family were found dead in a bathroom of their home at Kinglake in the wake of the devastating Black Saturday fires of February 7, 2009.
The Halls said the window, installed over an archway between the Christ Church and the adjoining fellowship centre, had been a positive step in their grieving process.
Mrs Halls said the church had become the place where she came to remember her daughter and her family, rather than visiting their graves in the Warrnambool cemetery.
She said the memorial window had helped her and her husband get on with their lives after the tragedy.
She said the blessing of the window last month had been a real celebration of the lives of her daughter and her family.
The Halls said they were pleased with the window that was created by Melbourne man Geoffrey Wallace, who had incorporated many links to their daughter and her family such as the colours of the dress worn by Natasha at her wedding.
Christ Church rector Father Scott Lowrey said it was significant that Natasha and Robert Davey were depicted in the window because it showed parents bringing their children to God and asking Him to bless them.
Christ Church will hold a service at 10am tomorrow for the anniversary of the Black Saturday fires to remember not only all the victims of that tragedy but those who had died in other natural disasters.
Mr Halls said the window was a local memorial that would add to others established elsewhere for the family.
He said there was a memorial at the Kinglake kindergarten which Jorja had attended and also a stainless steel tree memorial at Whittlesea that commemorated all of the victims of the Black Saturday fires.