Reflection – A Tribute to Adam

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Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of visiting Good Sammy Enterprises (GSE), an agency of the Uniting Church which provides training services and meaningful work for people with a disability, through retail and social enterprises across Western Australia. The occasion was a sad one – Adam Blair, an invaluable member of the team who participated in retail collections and deliveries, had died. His death was sudden, unexpected and a devastating blow to all those who knew him.

It was an honour to meet and speak with staff and volunteers there, both individually and in groups.  GSE has in total some 600 working in the agency. Many were reflective and still coming to terms with the reality that they would never see Adam, as he was to them, again.

Adam was a 42-year old man who had worked at GSE for the last 20 years. He worked on the Good Sammy trucks, collecting pre-loved goods and clothing from collection points and delivering them to the Good Sammy shops.

From my conversations with his colleagues, I gathered that Adam was “the encourager” and “the supporter” in his team. He would exuberantly tell his colleagues how good they looked and how well they worked. He had a contagious, confident smile – he inspired, he exuded life and vitality.

It was good to learn more about GSE where Adam had spent his working life. It is an impressive enterprise of academy training programs, confidence-building initiatives, inclusion, employment and some 25 pre-loved clothing shops all focussed around improving the lives of people with a disability and using their gifts for the betterment of the community. GSE nurtures their talents and capacity to reach their goals and aspirations. It includes people with a disability in the social and working infrastructure of our world.

I visited the GSE warehouse and watched clothing deliveries arrive from the yellow Good Sammy community collection bins scattered around Perth. Men and women with a disability received them, sorted them and packed the useable clothing and other goods for onward delivery to the Good Sammy stores which we all know and recognise in areas like Fremantle, Mandurah, Booragoon, Subiaco, Ellenbrook, Wanneroo and Butler. It is a very well-run enterprise and it would be after some 60 years of operation.

As I chatted with Adam’s colleagues, I got the distinct impression of the wonderful creation of God he was and how much joy and purpose he brought to those around him. He was love, he was loved, he was included and he was a vital part of a living and working community. To see him gone was a loss to all those who knew him. Perhaps as you are reading this, you are feeling his loss too.

While talking with Adam’s colleagues, many of them were philosophical about life and death. Some were Christians of different faiths and had an outlook of eternal life. One of them burst into tears – he told me that he knew that, one day in heaven, he would meet Adam again.

I ask you to pray for Adam, his mother Carol, his family, his team of colleagues and for the CEO, staff and volunteers at GSE who are so deeply affected by his loss. Not only was Adam a part of GSE, he was a part of the Uniting Church through GSE, and thus a part of us all.

Although it was short, we give thanks for the wonderful life of Adam.

In closing, the words of Jeremiah 31:13 give comfort and hope:

I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

Susy Thomas

Moderator, Uniting Church WA

UnitingStories – Rev John Steed

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I grew up on our family’s farm near Ballymena, as the oldest of 3 boys. Ballymena is a provincial town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Back then, it had some 6,000 inhabitants. You could be forgiven for not knowing where it is because during World War 2, many road signs and street names were removed for safety against intrusion by spies. In recent times however, Ballymena has become synonymous with many famous names, like the actor Liam Neeson who attended Ballymena Technical College where I once studied.

After the “Belfast Blitz” of 1941, I remember, as a younger child, carrying my gas mask around with me and participating in gas mask drills at school. There was a fear that Ballymena, located only some 50 kms away from Belfast, could also be the target of air raids. So, like the rest of Britain, we kept our masks at hand, carried identity cards, used food ration books and covered our windows at night as part of blackout restrictions.

In my mid-teens, I came to faith in Christ. A persistent memory of mine is when one of my peers observing me as I spoke at a fellowship meeting, declared, “you could be a minister!”.

Instead, after completing an apprentice as a coppersmith/pipe fitter, I moved to Portsmouth in England, to work for the British Admiralty (Navy) in its dockyards. In that era, shipbuilding was a dominant industry – commercially in Belfast where grand ships like the Titanic were built, and militarily for Britain as a strong naval power during the first and second world wars and later during the Cold War. When I was in Portsmouth, there were some 22,000 working at the dockyards; latterly I read that it was down to 2,000. The naval base where the dockyards are located now has an on-site museum and even a dockyard tour.

During my four years in Portsmouth, I became closely involved in the local Methodist Church on Twyford Avenue, North End (since demolished), attending services and assisting with Sunday School, youth group and as a layer preacher. It prompted me to save up to attend a year-long course for lay people to train in local church ministry. I did this at Cliff College in Calver, a small, picturesque rural village in Derbyshire, bordered by the River Derwent.

After my course, I was appointed as a Lay Pastor in Cheshire serving a group of rural and small churches. Unbeknown to me, this experience would be significant for my future ministry in Australia. A timely visit in mid-1962 by Rev S. J. (Sydney John) Jenkins from Western Australia convinced me (and two others) to make the decision to go to Australia and participate in the local ministry. I arrived in Perth in December 1962. As far as I knew then, I was the only member of my family ever to go to Australia.

I began as a Lay Minister with the Methodist Home Missions in Carnamah. This was a ground-breaking ministry as it was the first time Methodists and Presbyterians had shared a minister. I went on to serve at South Perth. Then In 1966, I commenced full-time study for 3 years at Barclay Theological College, Nedlands, to become a Minister of the Word. After that, I was stationed at Lake Grace Methodist Church for 3 years.

During this time, I met Anne, a laboratory technologist, at a church youth rally in Perth. She was working in Papua New Guinea at a government leprosy hospital staffed by the London Missionary Society.

1970 was a big year, Anne and I married in September and 3 weeks later I was ordained as a Minister at Wesley Church in the city.

I then went on to serve as a Methodist Minister at Cunderdin-Quairading church, and then as a Uniting Church Minister at Moora, Kalgoorlie, Busselton and Narrogin. Busselton was my longest appointment at 9 years, followed by Kalgoorlie for 7.5 years. I retired on 31 October 2005 at age 69 after a total of 39 years in ministry. Since my retirement, I still take worship services, when asked, mainly in the metro area, but I have also travelled out to York, Gingin and Toodyay. I also do volunteer work at the Uniting Church WA archives centre.

As an aside – in 1980, Anne, myself and our then two children went to live in Cavan, Ireland, for 3 years. Whilst my father had died by that time, it was a homecoming to see my two half-brothers and other extended family and also to introduce my children to them. I was also able to meet my mother’s family who I had not met after she had died when I was two years old. I learnt then that I had a paternal uncle who had been living in Australia long before me. Working the Methodist circuit church of Cavan, gave me the opportunity to give back to the country where my Christian faith was borne.

Being a minister is a privilege. You meet a lot of people, develop many close pastoral relationships, become a key figure of the local community and participate in community life and significant events. Some standout memories for me include: conducting the Lake Grace Golden Jubilee celebrations, opening the new church building at Quairading; and the dedication of new church halls at Moora and Kalgoorlie. I’ve conducted many, many weddings and funerals; and pastoral visits which I love to do. It’s also been a privilege to visit Fiji with Anne for her work with the leprosy hospital and patients.

The Church has taken me from Ireland, to locations in and across metro, rural and remote WA, with Anne and our children. In fact, if I had to go through the alphabet of all the places where I have ministered, there would be few letters left! Even our four children were all born in different places – Paul in Cunderdin, David in Moora, Carolyn in Ireland and Andrew in Kalgoorlie.

Being a minister has allowed me to use the gifts of preaching and pastoral care that God gave me – although, I don’t always come off unscathed! After a Sunday service one morning, I remember a congregation member saying of my preaching: “That’s the biggest load of rubbish I ever heard!”. I quipped back in good humour: “Well, that’s the best compliment I’ve had from you in a long time!”.

I feel close to God when I am doing the work of God – I feel it in my heart. When you give, it always comes back and it’s a really good feeling.

In Moora, 1978, with Anglican and Roman Catholic ministers
In Kalgoorlie, 1984, with my confirmation group

Ministry Expo 2022 – Is God Calling you to Ministry?

Ministry Expo is back again in 2022 with a bang and promises to be both an inspirational and informative event to explore God’s calling on your life and the interesting options and opportunities to express it through the Uniting Church.

Are you looking for a fulfilling vocation that spreads the Christian gospel of justice, love and hope? Are you feeling called to ministry but don’t know how to make the jump? Have others discerned skills and gifts for ministry in you? Are you curious? Do you want to be inspired? These are all motivating reasons to attend the Expo.

At Ministry Expo you will hear about the pioneering ministries of the Uniting Church in Australia, a church known for its work in social justice and community care. As well, you will meet others who have walked and are walking the path to ministry. You will hear about the different expressions of ministry in the Uniting Church such as: Minister of the Word, Deacon, lay leader, Pastor and Lay Preacher. You will also learn more about the journey to Ministry, including preparation, theology study, training options and a lot, lot more.

Ministry Expo 2022 is on from 7.00-9.00pm on Thursday 28 April at St Andrew’s Uniting Church, 182 Bennett Street Perth. Attendance is free but registration is needed for COVID and catering purposes. If participants are not able to attend the Expo in person, the event will also be available via Zoom. To register, email candidates.ministry@wa.uca.org.au and request the Zoom link also if you need it.

The exciting programme is below.

Welcome to St Andrews – Rev Sione Lea’aetoa

MC and Opening Prayer and Acknowledgement of Country – Rev Bev Fabb

Presenters

What is the role of a Minister of the Word? – Rev Ruth Vertigan

What is the role of a Deacon? – Rev Andy Broadbent

What is the role of a lay leader? – Sophie Li

What is the role of a Pastor? – Pastor Marilyn Price

What is the role of a Lay Preacher? – Doug Burtenshaw

What is involved in doing a Period of Discernment? – Mike Roberts

What is involved in preparing for ordained ministry? – Samuel Annan

What are the options for studying theology? – Rev Dr Anne Wright

What is it like moving from another church into the UCA? – Rev Rob Douglas

Questions are welcome after each presentation

Closing Prayer                                                                                                                                                  

Supper will be served!

 

For more information, visit the Candidating for Ministries webpage at Candidating for Ministry – Uniting Church WA

On this webpage you will find:

  • A series of videos about a range of ministries in the Uniting Church.
  • The Period of Discernment Handbook- which explains what is involved in a POD and includes the registration form for a POD
  • The Lay Preacher Handbook- which explains how to apply to become a candidate for the ministry of Lay Preacher and what education and formation is involved.
  • The Application to Candidate Handbook- which explains how to apply to become a candidate for one of the ordained ministries.

Revive Magazine Survey – March 2022

With the Revive magazine survey closing soon, we invite you to participate and tell us what you think about the publication. We are seeking your views on new and existing content, your reading preferences and more. The survey is anonymous and takes only 10 minutes to complete. You can access it here.

Revive is the Uniting Church WA’s flagship publication. It has a long history, being borne out of the Uniting Church’s inaugural magazine, Western Impact, which was first released in 1977. Revive has the widest reader distribution of any of the Uniting Church WA’s publications.

Revive is a uniting publication in that it features stories, not only of the Uniting Church Centre, but of Uniting Church agencies, schools, churches, faith communities and individuals – as well as topical news and feature stories of the moment. It is the Uniting Church WA’s only regularly published interface with the wider community.

The last review of Revive was in 2019. This resulted in a brand-new design and changes to the structure and layout of the magazine, as well as to the distribution. We made these changes at your request and we were delighted that they were all very well received. However, the trends and preferences of our readers continue to evolve and we have decided to seek your views yet again to continue to stay relevant and competitive.

Even if you are satisfied with the current Revive format, we still encourage you to complete the survey. Doing this is a vote for the magazine!

A Chat with Pepe Halatau, Worship Leader of the Tapu Niue Faith Community

After the Welcoming Service for the Tapu Niue Faith Community last Sunday at Gosnells Uniting Church, Pepe Halatau, Worship Leader, shared with us her journey of faith and Church.

I still remember the year I arrived in Australia from Niue. It was 1998. It’s hard to believe that it is now almost 24 years ago.

Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is one of the world’s largest coral islands and I can confirm it is as stunningly beautiful as it looks in pictures.

I settled in well in Australia but soon found myself longing for connection with family, the community and the culture I enjoyed back in Niue. Fortunately, I met other Niue people in my area who felt the same and we decided to form a community group for socials and other events. Amidst all of this, the one thing we seemed to lack was a spiritual gathering. It was then, in 2014, that we decided to meet up for Church meetings.

We had no idea how to conduct our Church meetings. Lucky for us, Niue elder, Tina Siakimotu Versteeg, stepped in. We couldn’t have done it without her. She introduced a worship format, the lectionary and prayer calendar to our meetings. Sadly, Tina is now late but we cherish her memory and hold her deep in our hearts.

We started meeting at the Gosnells RSL Hall and continued there for a few years. It was not easy. We did not have powerpoint facilities and we had to set-up and pack away after each service. It was a lot of work but we felt we had a purpose and connection, so we continued. I became Tina’s assistant. In retrospect, this was quite extraordinary because whilst I was a young Christian, later on I was a bit of a rebel and going to Church was not a priority. Now here I was reconnecting again with my faith.

In July 2018, a meeting was held at Dome Café in Gosnells between elder Tina, leaders of our Niue community and the Uniting Church’s multi-cultural representatives, Rev Dr Matagi Vilitama and Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, to discuss the possibility of a deeper, more formal relationship with the Uniting Church. We followed this up with a written request. Rev Bev Fabb, Convenor of the Uniting Church’s Multi-cultural and Cross-cultural Network, put us in touch with the Uniting Church’s Presbytery of Western Australia. We then started preparations to become a Faith Community of the Presbytery. Our Welcoming Service was on Sunday 6 February 2022 at Gosnells Uniting Church.

 

Being a Faith Community of the Uniting Church’s WA Presbytery is truly special. We have better access to resources, training and support. We are not alone and belong to a broader Christian community and network. We have a space at the Gosnells Uniting Church building to grow our church. “Tapu”, by the way, is the Niue name for Church.

I would like to acknowledge the Tapu Niue Working Committee, the elders Poi & Povi Kauhiva, Niue Perth Community who have contributed a lot – without their support we would not have come this far to becoming a faith group. We value the support from the Uniting Church in Australia’s Niue National Conference. I would also like to thank my mentors during this process – my siblings, Rev Falkland Liuvaie and Birtha Togahai, and also the Rev Dr Matagi & Jo Matagi and Elaine Ledgerwood from the Uniting Church WA. Thanks also to the Presbytery of WA. To anyone not mentioned, my heartfelt thanks to you too.

When I look back now, I pinch myself. I remember back in 2014 being tasked with saying the Sunday prayers. I was distressed and sent an urgent email to my cousin in New Zealand to ask her what should I say! We still laugh about it because now I am the Worship Leader of the Tapu Niue Faith Community! You never quite know what God has got planned for you!

 

Note: The Tapu Niue was formed in 2014. In 2018, they approached the Uniting Church to become a recognised Faith Community. After a long period of preparation, the day finally arrived on 6 February to welcome this very special community to the Uniting Church’s Presbytery of Western Australia.

Article by Tracey Paul

A Hopeful Journey Through Homelessness – Josh’s Story

We thank Uniting WA for sharing this article with us.

A personal story – Josh’s journey through homelessness

Josh* spent time as a Uniting WA Beds for Change participant last year.  Beds for Change was a supported transitional accommodation service for people experiencing homelessness which was established during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was so successful that the program now forms part of Uniting WA’s ongoing strategy to address homelessness.

Josh shares his story here.

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I was born in a big city and spent the first 2 years of my life there before my family moved states. I then spent my childhood living in regional towns.

I was an only child and my Mum was a single Mum. She was an alcoholic and I had to look after her a lot. Since the age of 10, I used to have to nurse her outside the pub at two in the morning. A lot of the time I was on the street, drinking at a very young age. I wasn’t really socialising with good people and I was taken advantage of a lot. As a result, I don’t put up with anything these days.

When I got a bit older, I got into drugs and had issues there with methamphetamine for a while.  That wasn’t good so I left where I was living and moved states again. I still had drug issues, but it wasn’t as bad. 

Then I moved to be near my grandparents and that kind of sorted me out.  I reconnected with them in early 2020 and I started sharing things with them.  They were really supportive and good about everything, and they helped me out through a lot of the alcohol and drug issues.  They helped me gain more self-confidence – that was my main issue and the main reason I used drugs and alcohol. I don’t drink nowhere near as much now, and I don’t touch drugs anymore.

My grandparents taught me that I can really do anything.  They were hard on me, but I needed it. With them, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was 27 years old when I came over to WA thinking that I had a legitimate job in the South West, but it turned out it wasn’t. The boss wanted to pay me in cash. I had a letter of offer saying that I had a job, but he kept avoiding putting me on the books, so I ended up leaving after three months. That’s how I ended up being homeless in Perth.

I didn’t know anyone in Perth, but I thought my probability of getting ahead with housing and work would be a lot better in Perth than it would be in the South West.

That was the first time I went to Tranby (Uniting WA’s Crisis Support and Engagement Hub).  I came in and let them know what was happening. I was in survival mode and just spent the bare minimum I needed to get by.  I was looking for jobs as well, but I didn’t want anyone to know I was homeless. Every time I applied for a job, I used Tranby as my address and I never got any call backs from anyone because they would figure out I was homeless.

I spoke to the team at Tranby and they told me I could apply for Beds for Change. They helped me get through all of that and I got a place at Beds for Change, re-did my CV and asked them if I could use that as my residential address.  They agreed and two days later, I had a job.

Beds for Change housed me while I started working.  It allowed me the time to save up money so I could then get a share house.  I would also go to Tranby so I could use the computers and the internet for work stuff.

I started doing factory work and then decided I wanted to go to the mines.  I started off doing shutdowns but am working towards full-time work now. I did three of four shutdowns with my employer and then they offered me a probationary period for a permanent job, which I’m doing now.  I work two weeks on, two weeks off and I really like it.

I’m living in a share house at the moment but am looking to move closer to the airport and the city soon. I’m looking for a one-bedroom unit so I can have space and come home to my own things.  I like jiu jitsu and kick boxing, so I’m also looking forward to being able to do a class.

Beds for Change was awesome, it’s a program that should be done more often because it really helps people.  The service was more personal, instead of having a format where ‘this is how it runs’ – it adjusts person to person and understands that everyone’s circumstances are completely different. Instead of just having one program and one model where you’re only going to get a percentage of people who will be able to make it through that model, Beds for Change is more flexible, which it should be – because that’s how life is.

My advice to anyone in a similar situation is to think back to all the things you’ve done well in your life and remember that you can do it again.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

Fostering a Child through Uniting WA – A Rewarding Experience for All

Our thanks to Uniting WA for this article.

It’s always heart-warming to hear happy news about the children we support at Uniting WA but even more so in the lead up to Christmas. At the end of last year, a 9-year-old child who had been living in a Uniting WA family group home moved into the home of his new foster carer just before Christmas.

The new carer came onboard with Uniting WA after a foster care recruitment campaign, which ran in November and December 2020. The person completed the application and assessment process and was approved to become a foster carer a month or so before Christmas.

At the same time as the carer’s recruitment, it was determined that a foster care placement would be more suitable for the child who needed one-on-one support. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The child and carer were introduced and spent time getting to know one another before moving into the carer’s home.

Their first meeting was held at a park where they played football, and they eventually progressed to visits to the carer’s home. The child fell in love with the carer’s dog and was given their own wooden bed to decorate. The carer and child formed a strong bond, and both asked if the child could move in earlier.

The carer has an interesting background, having worked as a paramedic and teacher, and now as a drug and alcohol counsellor. A calm and nurturing person, the carer is skilled in managing stressful situations and helping people through challenging times – ideal qualities and skills to support the child with a trauma background.

There was much positive collaboration behind the scenes with our Family Group Homes and Foster Care teams, working together to organise meetings and to ensure both parties felt supported through the journey.

Christmas was a special time for the child and carer who enjoyed a family celebration.

Have you ever considered fostering a child with a disability or high support needs? If you’re interested in learning more about foster care placement, please contact Fiona Cafferty on 9355 9149 or at fiona.cafferty@unitingwa.org.au.

5 minutes with… Rev Dr Andrew Williams

Rev Dr Andrew Williams will be the new General Secretary of the Uniting Church WA, beginning his role on 1 January 2022. From his current role as General Secretary of the Northern Synod, he spends 5 minutes with Revive to introduce himself.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about ministry – I have been in ministry all my adult life and it has been the driving force and constant reference point that I can hold on to. Also, I like riding my bike. It has been a good day when I ride my bike and at the moment that is far too infrequent.

Who do you look up to?   

I would name St Francis of Assisi as top of the list; he is a constant source of inspiration. It was a high point in life to visit Assisi a few years ago.

Second would be Desmond Tutu. I first encountered him in 1987 at a NCYC (National Christian Youth Convention) in Ballarat. I was left with the impression that being a minister was a good life choice. Every subsequent meeting with him has left me equally inspired.

How would you describe your journey in ministry?

Convoluted is the first word that comes to mind! WA will be the fourth Synod I’ve worked in, as well as two stints in overseas roles. I often say I could not have written the script of my life that worked out this way. Local church ministry, Synod roles, General Secretary roles and overseas mission engagement work – it has been varied to say the least. I have seen the world, and I have always had the feeling that one role has led on to the next and I could build on experiences learned.

What are your hopes for your time as General Secretary for the Uniting Church WA?

This is the hardest question. I will need to get to know the Synod and earn people’s trust. Our moment in the church is difficult on many fronts – a reality which has been brought home to me as I have undertaken the interim General Secretary role here in the Northern Synod. I hope that the church can reclaim some boldness rather than stagnating or merely marking time.

That will need courage. I hope to find a courageous, risk-taking church in WA.

Perth faith groups join global demonstration for climate justice

Increasingly impatient that governments, corporations, and financial institutions have not addressed the climate crisis despite decades of warnings from scientists and mounting climate impacts, the Uniting Church WA joined with the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and diverse faith communities around the globe in a co-ordinated action under the banner of Faiths 4 Climate, in October.

Ann Zubrick, Presiding Clerk of Quakers Australia joined the Western Australian branch of ARRCC as they gathered outside the office of Federal Member

for Swan, Hon Steve Irons MP. Supporters in Bunbury also gathered outside the office of the Federal Member for Forrest, Hon Nola Marino MP.

“We have already seen with fires and floods what happens when the science of climate change is not heeded,” Ann said.

“By contrast, we’ve seen during this pandemic that good outcomes are achieved when scientific advice is followed but, when governments do the wrong thing, it’s the poor who are hurt the most.

“Climate scientists are urging the strongest action possible to mitigate climate change, hence our call for much stronger action by 2030. Governments like Australia’s need to wake-up out of their complacency.”

Geoff Bice, Executive Officer: Social Justice for the Uniting Church WA and President of ARRCC WA said, “Western Australia needs to play its part in reducing emissions too. There have been some encouraging developments in renewable energy, but the State Government seems to avoid talking about emissions from the gas industry which is by far our biggest polluter.”

The action in Perth was part of a global series of events organised by the GreenFaith International Network, a global, multi-faith alliance. Actions took place all over the world, including in New York City, London, Jakarta and Sydney.

The worldwide action gave voice to a set of demands developed by grassroots people of faith which surpassed those included in a statement issued by the Vatican and high-level religious leaders on 4 October.

These demands include: an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects and tropical deforestation; universal access to renewable energy; policies creating green jobs and a just transition for impacted workers and communities; support for those forced to migrate due to climate impacts; and reparations from countries and industries responsible for the lion’s share of historic greenhouse gas emissions.

Over 200 high-level faith leaders and 100 religious groups representing more than 100 million members have signed onto these demands.

Find out more about ARRCC WA on their Facebook page.

Hospitality fundraiser for the IDPC – Leeming Uniting Church

The Uniting Church WA International Partnerships and Development Commission (IDPC) is engaged with four key partners: in West Papua, Timor Leste, West Timor, and Sri Lanka.

During COVID-19, all the partners have had to adapt to the crisis to promote health advice, support access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and basic sanitation and hygiene, as well as support access to emergency food supplies due to broken supply lines. With the impact of COVID-19 on our international partner churches, there was a call for more support.

Leeming Uniting Church responded by donating the money from our annual fundraising dinner to be held in February to this worthy cause. The congregation also agreed to match all money raised dollar for dollar.  Sadly, due to a COVID-19 shutdown this was postponed to later in the year. Due to the need for urgent funds, Leeming donated $2 500 in anticipation of raising that amount. 

The event was eventually held on Saturday 9 October with Rev Brian Thorpe and Lyn Callaghan, members  of the IDPC, speaking at our service prior to that, inspiring us with stories of IDPC projects.

At our annual fundraising dinner, held at Leeming Uniting Church member’s Shirl and Roy Francis’ home, we normally aim for 60 guests where we serve a three-course meal with alternate plate drops. We ask for a minimum donation which is collected on an honour basis. With raffles and the generosity of those attending who enjoy their meal and are willing to pay more, we are usually able to raise a generous amount of money. 

Although this is a fundraiser it is also an opportunity for us to build relationships with those in the community as we invite our friends, family and neighbours to share a meal with us. A team of volunteers under the co-ordination of Shirl Francis work hard to make this happen. We have chop-slice-dicers, those who help set-up, those who plate up, serve, clean-up and of course those who spend the time to invite their friends – as without that we would not raise much money. 

Our attendance numbers were down to 41 in October due to many various circumstances. All we could do was place it in God’s hands and hope that we could raise the $2 500 already gifted.

God never disappoints. Despite our low numbers we exceeded all expectations and made a profit of just over $3 200. This means that the IDPC can expect the balance of about $3 900 shortly.

Thank you to all those that attended and helped, and to Brian, Jan and Lyn who volunteered to help serve. Never underestimate the gift of hospitality. God can use that in a powerful way.