Open hearts and open home

open home

Ewen and Gillian Laurenson have fostered over 100 children and exported their expertise worldwide through the Open Home Foundation.

On the 24th of January 2020, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

At the time they wrote:

“God’s call on us as a married couple was to open our hearts and home to vulnerable children, young people and their families.”

“This ministry has been central to our lives over the last 50 years and has been expressed through our home and especially through the founding and leading of Open Home Foundation New Zealand and Open Home Foundation International.”

“We thank God for His love that has bound us together in love with Him over these years.”

Since it began in 1977, the Open Home Foundation has carved out a particular niche in the care and protection of vulnerable children.

Almost 30 years ago an international branch of its work began, which is still headed by Ewen.

These days its aim overseas is to empower communities to care for their impoverished and vulnerable children, especially girls, as they are the most likely to be abused.

This is done by offering training in the care and protection of those children, alongside financial support, to set up sustainable micro-enterprise projects that fund the children’s education and health care.

When they were in their twenties Ewen and Gillian enrolled to study at Victoria University where they eventually met in the Maori language lab.

Romance followed and the couple pondered how their wedding could reflect their different Christian denominations.

Gillian was Presbyterian while Ewen was Catholic. They described it as sharing the same faith but with different expressions of worship.

“We wanted to honour our parents and honour God in our marriage but it would have been easier to elope,” they said.

Catholic Cardinal, Peter McKeefry, gave special permission for the couple to be married in the ecumenical chapel at Wallis House in Lower Hutt with a Catholic priest, Fr (later Bishop) Peter Cullinane, and Presbyterian Minister, Dr Ian Fraser, jointly officiating.

At the time the ceremony, held on January 4, 1970, was considered ground-breaking and was mentioned in a daily newspaper.


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News category: New Zealand.

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