Engaged in God’s Mission. These were the words with which `Rev Daniel Viljoen, mission development officer at UnitingCare West, challenged us with at Willetton Uniting Church on Sunday 28 August.
He focussed our attention with the reference to Matthew 25 and its message of our commitment to Jesus being expressed by the caring for others who need our support. He encouraged us all to form relationships of connection. Volunteers who directly assist in the various arms of UnitingCare are needed, but our care can also be expressed by means of donations of food, clothing and care packs.
Megan Richards and Karen Misic shared stories from the UnitingCare West Fremantle Service Centre. They assist in emergency relief areas such as accommodation support, referral to other services, food, and more. However, the importance of just being there for a chat and to make time for people to feel safe to express their feelings is a big part of this relationship connection.
Ann Marconi, Community Options manager at UnitingCare West, also spoke to the congregation. Community Options South operates out of our church building at Willetton, and provides person centred activities for people with mental disabilities or acquired brain injuries. The clients are encouraged to share their personal goals and then the service provided is geared to these aims. More than 400 people are supported in this way. There have been recent changes with funding due to the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and the service is adapting well.
Lastly, we heard from Margaret Muntinga who represented Wyn Carr Women’s Services, a refuge for women experiencing family violence. She touched our hearts with personal stories and inspired us to think more carefully about how we can connect. Our link can be through such things as providing care packages and donations of new underwear, pyjamas and clothing – many of the women accessing this service arrive with nothing.
The worship service was linked, by our minister, Rev Lorraine Stokes, around the theme of sharing what we have with others.
The Uniting Church has an amazing outreach program in UnitingCare West – let us all support it.