Friday Morning Discussion Group

“Enjoying Time Out With Friends to Explore New Ideas”

History: The group began in the late 80’s as a group of mothers who had dropped their children at the Beaumaris Primary School and stood around chatting to each other. With the assistance of a St Martin’s elder and the minister of the day, they decided to meet at St Martin’s where they could relax and talk over morning tea whilst another member of the congregation was paid to look after the pre-school children. The group evolved from a weekly Friday meeting chat group to a forum where meatier issues are discussed. The group has aged as the years marched on and the discussions too have changed accordingly.

Currently we meet monthly on the first Friday of the month in the sunny back foyer of St Martin’s Beaumaris Uniting Church or one of the meeting rooms, gathering at 9.30am. We don’t generally meet during school holidays. On a rotating basis we provide a simple morning tea and the discussion topic for the day. We generally have between 6 and 12 participants at each meeting.

Demographically we are women and by definition not working in full time paid employment. Historically attrition has generally been due to a change or increase in paid employment hours. Our age range is mostly 45 plus plus. The group is not exclusive to St Martin’s or to mums. We welcome anyone who would like 2 hours of lively discussion and debate on current issues and ideas that relate to the members of the group or society in general.

Friday Morning Discussion Group

What do we discuss? A huge array of topics! Some of the issues and ideas covered in recent times include:

  • 99 Reasons Why 2017 Was a Good Year 
  • We read the book: “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and discussed his writings on “Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End.”
  • In 2017 we organised two excursions – one in June to see the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute  at its new site in Parkville next to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
  • In October we visited the Australian Tapestry Workshop in South Melbourne and all enjoyed seeing the work in progress on the major tapestry Morning Star for the new Sir John Monash Centre, to be opened in Villeurs Brettenaux, France in 2018. Each excursion was followed by a lunch where we could all share our thoughts on the places we visited.
  • We were privileged to be visited in August 2017 by a Cambodian Missionary Alli Mellon, the founding director of the Hard Places Community, a team of passionate missionaries who came together in February 2008 to be “a glimpse of hope to the hopeless in the darkest corners of this world.” Alli Mellon talked of the organisations work with the child sex trade in Cambodia. She told us that in Cambodia, the children they work with are often sold by their own families for sex with adults. To date, the youngest child who has been sexually exploited is three years old, and the Boys and Girls Centers called “Punlok Thmey” Prevention and Restoration Centers provide services to 347 children who have either been sexually exploited or abused or who are at high-risk as they live in the sex tourist area of Phnom Penh. They also have a wonderful program for young men working in male brothels where they offer them a new start at life through their discipleship and jobs programs.
  • Why Every Woman Needs a Feminist Dad! – Plus a discussion of Laura Bates TEDx Talk at Covent Garden “Everyday Sexism”
  • The Amazing History of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, one of the first hospitals.
  • Travel Expands Our Capacity For Empathy
  • DNA & What It Tells Us About Human Evolution
  • Forced adoption in the UK and Australia prior to the 1970s
  • Living and Nursing in Papua New Guinea & the US
  • Life changing developments that have influenced our lives and how our lives have been different to those of our mothers and grandmothers
  • The Changing Face of our Suburbs – Black Rock in the depression years and beyond
  • Who would you like to have a conversation with and why?
  • Half the Sky – book by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn – Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – Economic Empowerment of Women
  • Why conscientiousness counts!
  • Hope – what is it and is it a fundamental human emotion?
  • Is your brain Male or Female?
  • Issues of Continence
  • “TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading” Technology, Entertainment, Design
  • Michelle Payne, being the first female jockey to win a Melbourne Cup begs the question why is there such a huge disparity between payments for Australian sports men and women?
  • Kon Mari – the Japanese art of tidying – a unique method of organising your home.
  • Changes in our Life Styles – Greeted by a selection of Sound of Music costumes – we had to change our own image and hear of the many changes in the early life of the real Maria on whom the film The Sound of Music is based.
  • Excursions in past years have included the Australian Botanical Gardens at Cranbourne , the Australian Islamic Museum and also the Golden Mile Historical Walk in the CB

What do we get out of the group?

  • A sense of connection and community with others who share part of our journey in life
  • Relaxed time out with friends
  • Exposure and education – a chance to explore new ideas and perspectives
  • A diversity of cultural backgrounds
  • A support group during crisis

We always welcome new faces so please join us on the first Friday of each month at 9.30am.
Contact: Alison Davies on 0409 893 027 or
Margaret Thorburn on 0404 683 116

>> Download brochure outlining our group