TRIBUTE - Julie Tobias

24 Sep 2021

Tributes from Pastors Neil Milne and Hans Voortman.

Our open Tribute to Julie Tobias from Neil and Joy Milne

Dear Mark,

Joy and I want to convey to you and your family our deepest condolences at the loss of your dear wife and companion, mother to your children and grandmother to your grandchildren, Julie – ‘Jules’ as we called her!

In our humanity we are saddened and weep with you. At the same time, we possess an abiding confidence that Julie is now free and enjoying her
eternal reward with her Lord and Saviour.

It was during the early 2000’s, as we worked together in serving the Lord at Adelaide Christian Centre, that we developed a strong friendship with you both and your children Alana and James. It was a wonderful time! Mark, you and Julie demonstrated your deep commitment to Christ and both possessed a strong connection to the foundations and values of the church as people who were truly ‘children of the Sturt Street Family’.

This was also evident in the years when you served the Lord in other CRC
Churches. You also imparted this into your children.

As we know, Julie’s father, Pastor Alan Bonython, was the first person appointed as an Associate Pastor by Leo Harris in 1954. The Bonython family became a household name both within the local church and the broader CRC movement. Julie’s deep knowledge of Adelaide Christian
Centre and the CRC became invaluable over the years and in particular when she served with distinction as the SA/NT/WA State Secretary for several years.

When you moved to Wellington in early 2005 it had huge implications for you all as you left both family and friends to sow yourselves into the opportunities and challenges of the Wellington CRC - the church where the CRC found its origins in 1944. You have seen much fruit during your
time as you have led the local church and for many years led the CRC in New Zealand.

This was a transition that stretched you both - particularly for Julie. Julie often referred to herself as a ‘home bod’ – one who loved family and friends. However, Julie applied herself with faith and determination as she made a new home for herself and your family in Wellington. When Julie was faced with a massive health challenge in the summer of 2019-2020 you all threw yourselves upon the Lord in faith, courage and commitment. In all of the communication and conversations that Joy and I have had with you and Julie over this time it has been very clear that your unwavering trust in the Lord was at the centre of your beings.

Even though the journey of the last 20 months has been tough for you all, you have maintained an attitude of great hope and faith.

Joy and I salute you both and honour Julie as a dedicated servant of Jesus, a loyal and loving wife to you, a loving mother and fabulous grandmother.
As you adjust to this deep and personal loss, we pray that the Holy Spirit will impart to you a measure of strength and grace that will empower you in the days months and years ahead.

We look forward with great anticipation to that time when, at the return of Christ, we shall be united with loved ones and forever enjoy the treasures of heaven.

Your friends,
Neil and Joy Milne

....

It is with great sadness that I write to inform our movement of the passing of Julie Tobias. Julie went to be with her Lord after a long struggle with cancer on Saturday evening September 18, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand where she and her husband, Mark, have been ministering the last two decades.

Julie was our SA, WA and NT State Secretary for many years. In that role, she assisted me as Chairperson along with the State Executive members and Council until the family moved to New Zealand in 2005. She was always so efficient with everything, anticipating what was needed. Mark became the lead pastor of the Wellington CRC church, a role they’ve served faithfully together since their relocation from SA. During this time Mark was also the National CRC Chairman in New Zealand for some ten years. I know she greatly supported Mark in the many facets of leadership and ministry.

It's hard to believe Julie is no longer with us, but we know she's now free of pain and suffering and is with the Lord she's loved and served all her life.

We pray God's comfort for Mark, their children, Alana and James, and grandchildren. Life will be so different now for them all. Julie was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. A huge hole is left for them and for all the extended Bonython and Tobias families.

I’d also at this time want to honour Julie’s father, Pr Alan Bonython, who was the first associate Pastor of Leo Harris at Sturt St. The Bonython family ministered in Adelaide and then helped build the church at Stirling. Julie’s brother, Paul, also ministered at St Agnes and Sturt St as Senior Pastor as well as in CRC churches in other states. Paul has continued to minister as an ACC pastor. Before the move to New Zealand, Julie’s husband, Mark, also pastored at Hallet Cove and Sturt St. So their pastoral influence as an extended family covers many churches and across two nations. Julie was an enormous part of this history and legacy. She was a true servant of the CRC and such a blessing. I know I extend the love and support of so many to the extended Tobias and Bonython families from the CRC movement.

Even though across these last years we haven't had opportunity to sustain the immediacy of connection, Julie will be missed by many across Australia and New Zealand.

Heaven is now celebrating Julie's arrival. Free at last of all she's suffered these last years, we look forward to reuniting in the 'by and by' with her and the many others who have gone before.

Hans Voortman
State Pastor
On behalf of Pr Joe Habermehl State Chair
and the State Executive

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