For our November meeting we travelled by tram to Glenelg on a lovely warm day to visit St. Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church. Rev Adam Tretheway welcomed us in the spacious foyer, leading us into the attractive and intimate St Leonards Chapel, with several beautiful stained glass windows. Marlene Moore, a long-time member of the Church, formerly Congregational, told us something of its interesting history. A church was built in 1859 which is now the adjacent Hall, and the present church was opened for divine worship in September 1880. In 1992 major refurbishing and alterations were completed. The main building is beautiful and imposing, open and light with on each side of the building a top layer of leadlight windows and at the lower level stained glass windows. We sat in the Sanctuary with its beautiful furnishings as Marlene and Adam told us about various wall hangings, plaques and memorial windows.
We went to the Hall next door, to find it a hive of activity. Small tables with chairs are set up for The Friendship Café, open each Tuesday and Thursday for lunch, and business was brisk. At the other end of the Hall is the Op Shop, open Tuesday and Thursday from 10.30 am to 1.30pm, and its proceeds benefit the mission of the church to overseas Partner Churches. At the end of their busy trading time the racks of clothing and other items are covered up and wheeled to the back of the hall, and the tables and chairs packed away so the Hall is available for other activities. The church has about 80 volunteers.
Our lunch was laid out on platters in a separate room – delicious sandwiches, fresh fruit, and scones spread some with butter, some with jam and cream, and we could help ourselves to tea or coffee or a cool drink. We were joined by Adam, Marlene and two volunteers Lisa and Lyn, and Joy Dunning was a gracious hostess. Lisa told us she became Coordinator of Community Aid in 2010 and said she has worked her way through to find out exactly what to do, and she feels it has come a long way since then. She offers help, advice, sometimes emergency assistance is needed, gives information, points clients in the right direction to help them with a problem they may have, and above all offers encouragement. In the beginning it was mainly single mums and dads who required help, now she helps mainly new arrivals to settle, many in the area are families from Iran, and she offers whatever assistance they need.
Lyn told us about Mary’s Kitchen – a soup kitchen serving homemade soup every Tuesday evening, at the moment to about 40 or 50 people. The name was given for the late Mary McGrath who was an integral part of the community outreach of the Church. Three regular soup makers make about 15 litres of soup. Local businesses help with bread, and bread rolls, and a local shop donates fruit and vegetables.
It was a wonderful day — how interesting and informative it is to see and learn what another church does, and how their work has such an influence on the whole community.
We have had a good year and conclude with our end of the year lunch and celebration on Thursday 4th December with lunch at 12 noon. Instead of bringing our own we are bringing a plate of food to share, and invite all members of the congregation to join us. Margaret Nolan has kindly agreed to tell us one of her Christmas stories. We will meet as usual in the New Year on the first Thursday of the month, commencing in February. The programme is not yet arranged, but be assured we will do something! So keep the date Thursday 5th February at noon. BYO lunch unless the weather is forecast for 38 degrees or more – then please do not venture out, but stay at home and keep as cool as possible.
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