Gavan Grosser

Faithful friend

Saturday, August 28, 2021
Brenton Stacey
About the Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Alumnus of the Year brings healing and hope amid grieve and loss

Gavan Grosser feels he hasn’t really worked in 32 years. With an “absorbing and fulfilling” role as a civil celebrant, the Alumnus of the Year has officiated at more than 11,000 funerals, weddings and community services.

Some are still memorable, like the service at the Uniting Church in his local town of Korumburra, Victoria. “As the celebrant Gavan, I was assisted by the local minister, Gavin, and the local funeral director, also Gavin.” Then there was the time Gavan flew by helicopter to a gas exploration platform in Bass Strait for the memorial service of two men killed in an accident. With limited time, he interviewed managers and workmates, built up personal profiles and life stories, and “with dignity, delivered a caring service.” He’s officiated at services for firefighters and police, politicians, and sporting and television personalities, and those who’ve chosen to end their own lives. While most are “without the common religious trappings, they acknowledge the basic spirituality that resides in all of us.” With training and experience in field and clinical pastoral ministry, and having dealt with the death of his son, Gavan understands the importance of validating feelings of hurt or pain. “We’re not alone on life’s journey.”

A careful listener and keen storyteller, Gavan’s honed his public speaking skills as a member of Toastmasters International. He also enjoys reading and writing poetry and collecting the odd classic car or three.

His connection with Avondale extends back to his parents, Bert and Edna, who studied here in the late 1930s. “The majority of their friends were college pals, so I figured that would work for me, too, and it has.” Following a divorce, Gavan developed a new network—blending families. “My wife, Gloria, the wind beneath my wings, cares for one of my two daughters. I also have a stepson and daughter, three granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.”

Avondale Alumni honours Gavan Grosser for bringing healing and hope amid grief and loss.

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