For our August Meeting just a small number of members gathered for the meeting – Rev Norah Norris was in the chair, and present also were Kath March, Mary Thomas, Margaret Morey, and Betty Christiansen – it was a happy time of sharing news over lunch. Norah welcomed Jeffrey and Jeanene Schapel and Rosalie Smith. Norah used Psalm 107 for her Devotions, saying that many of the psalms were a call to thanksgiving, and she read the first 9 verses to illustrate this. We were reminded of the Army Band Concert in aid of Frontier Services, on October 17th at Burnside City UC - Norah has tickets. We agreed, as we usually do, to give a donation to the Red Dove Cafe at the Show – if any church members would care to contribute it would be most welcome.
At the next meeting on September 7th we look to forward to hearing from Betty Christiansen about her recent trip with her daughter, Jennifer, to Europe.
Margaret Morey agreed to be Facilitator and Mary Thomas will be on Kitchen Duty. Kath March has agreed to look after acknowledging the birthdays of members – we are grateful to Deb Prior who has prepared appropriate cards for the occasion – thank you, Deb. We are always pleased to have members of the congregation present at our meetings, and a warm welcome is extended to everyone to join us.
It was a delight to hear from Jeffrey, Jeanene and Rosalie about their recent trip to Japan. The three family members all contributed to an intimate chat, saying they were fortunate to have a very experienced guide who could speak several languages, and had lived in Japan for 30 years. They were in a group of 20 people from Australia, and we were fascinated to hear their story. They certainly gave us a wonderful picture of their trip – Mt. Fuji, beautiful cherry blossom, the rooms had no beds – they slept on a mattress on the floor. There were little containers of various types of food and it was difficult to know what type of food they were eating! They found the Japanese as hard-working, polite people, proud of their country and welcoming to visitors.
It is difficult to recall all that was said, but certainly we all had a wonderful word picture of Japan and the life-style of the people, and we are extremely grateful to the three of our congregation for coming along to tell us all about it.
State Mission Fellowship
At the July State Mission Fellowship meeting the Uniting Church mission activity we heard about was something not far from home. Geoff and Raelene Benier were the guest speakers who told us about UCare Gawler.
This non-profit charitable organisation was initiated by the Gawler Uniting Church to provide emergency relief services in their area and in 1994 was incorporated as UCare Gawler, associated with the nationwide UnitingCare network.
Most of their work is in Gawler but they now operate also in Kapunda, Nuriootpa and Eudunda. UCare is staffed mainly by about fifty volunteers and is controlled by a Board of Directors that meets monthly and is made up of volunteers, staff members, church representatives and interested community members. Geoff Benier is Chair of the Board and Raelene is the financial administrator.
At our meeting Geoff and Raelene shared the presentation using stories and photos to illustrate the work of their counselling services (personal, financial and grief counselling), emergency assistance, food program, financial loans and other activities.
We were interested to hear about the Schools Breakfast Programs. In an area where there are many low income and disfunctional families, breakfast is provided for over four hundred children currently in five schools, with the expectation of more. Donated food including cereals, bread, jams and spreads, milk and fruit are served and in some cases children are also given lunches. Volunteer mothers prepare the meals and volunteer drivers collect food from donors and distribute the meals.
Bread (300 loaves a day), fruit and vegetables donated by Coles and various bakeries and other stores and producers are given freely to genuinely needy families. The Tod Street Gawler premises of UCare include a restaurant standard kitchen and cafe. Tea and coffee and a snack provide a relaxed atmosphere for conversation for lonely people or for victims of abuse or other distress who need a safe, supportive and caring environment. Counselling is always available, with appropriate advocacy or referrals as needed.
Financial counselling is an important part of UCare's operation and as well as emergency help there is a no interest loan program for people on low incomes who have difficulty accessing credit from banks.
Christmas hampers containing food and toys and other items are provided for about four hundred families. We saw pictures of Gawler Uniting Church Youth Group members making up boxes appropriate for the numbers and age ranges of children in families who would receive them.
We were most impressed by the range of service offered to people in emergency situations or experiencing a wide range of personal or family needs. UCare Gawler's Vision Statement:
A sustainable and compassionate organisation that serves an ever-growing community need, consistent with Christian values, being associated with the Uniting Church, Gawler.
The State Mission Fellowship meets at Scots in McGregor Hall on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Morning tea is available from 10.00am, with the meeting starting at 10.30am A light lunch ($5.00) is available at 12 noon. All are welcome and we would love to see some more of the men and women of Scots Church sharing this interesting morning
Rev Norah Norris
© Scots Church Adelaide Ph. 08 8223 1505