We were small in numbers present, but great in spirit as we met on 5th February for our first meeting for the year. Rev Norah was Facilitator. There was friendly chatter over lunch and as the meeting commenced we remembered in love two of our members who have died recently - Greta Thompson and Heather Southcott, and Norah led us in a short prayer of remembrance.
Our Treasurer, Lillias Thomson, presented the financial statement, and we found we could afford to donate $500. At the last meeting in 2014 we donated $200 to National & World Mission Support and $200 to Frontier Services. At this meeting the decision was made to donate $200 to the 2014 UCAF President’s Appeal for the Media and Music Teacher Project at Nungalinya College, $100 to Act for Peace, $50 to the Paschke Family, $50 to Shalom Christian College, $50 to Australian Refugee Association and $50 to UnitingCare Wesley Bowden - making a total of $900 for the year – a most commendable effort for such a small number of members.
A reminder was given of World Day of Prayer, always on the first Friday in March – this year the 6th March in the afternoon at 1.00pm at St Stephen's Lutheran Church, 152 Wakefield Street (between Pulteney & Frome Streets). Afternoon tea will follow the meeting. This year’s programme “Do You Know What I have done To You?” was written by The Bahamas World Day of Prayer Committee.
Rev Norah Norris then introduced our programme for the day – in 1993, the Uniting Church Fellowship in South Australia presented stories of mission support which had begun a hundred years before, with the formation of the Methodist Women’s Auxiliary for Overseas Mission and the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union. There was a large gathering at the Morialta UC and stories were shared from the three denominations – Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian. Norah had kept a copy of the Presbyterian dialogue, and Norah, Audrey Scrimgeour and Margaret Morey presented this to us. It was fascinating to hear the story.
The PWMU was inaugurated on the 1st August 1893, but there were missionary societies in local churches well before that. Mrs Paton, wife of the minister of Chalmers Church (now Scots) called a meeting and the formal decision was made for the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union for South Australia to be formed, explaining that the aims of the PWMU were to stimulate and increase interest in the missionary work, and to encourage systematic giving. It took some years before there was a PWMU in every congregation. The groups encouraged the congregations and Sunday Schools to be involved with money raising and to learn about missionaries and their work in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), Korea, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Indigenous Australians. There was also support for Home Missions as well as Overseas Missions, and inland work as well, for instance, supporting the late Very Rev’d Frank Rolland who as a young minister served in the Smith of Dunesk Mission at Beltana that was the forerunner of the Australian Inland Mission.
We heard about Rallies, with missionaries as the guest speakers, money-raising, mission boxes packed with all manner of requirements which were sent to mission stations, and there were money- raising stalls at fetes, badge days, catering, hospital visiting, and sewing.
In 1968 it was decided that the PWMU should combine with other Presbyterian women’s organizations to become the Presbyterian Women’s Association. In South Australia, our own Mrs Margaret Nolan, the first PWA President, travelled extensively throughout the State helping women to understand the new organisation.
In the Seventies, representatives from women’s organizations of the Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian Churches met regularly to discuss future co-operation, and in 1977 came the Uniting Church, and PWA branches in all congregations that came into union became Uniting Church Fellowships.
NEXT MEETING – Thursday 5th March “Amongst Ourselves”
BYO lunch at 12noon – all members of the congregation are invited to join us. We are calling the programme “Who Are You?” Do you ever wonder “why you are who you are?” We will ask those present to share with us how they came to live in South Australia, and where their ancestors came from to settle here. It promises to be a programme not to be missed. Margaret Morey is Facilitator and Audrey Scrimgeour is on kitchen duty.
*A NOTE FOR YOUR DIARY*
Fellowship Members and Members of the Congregation, please note the film “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will be released in February and will be shown at the Capri Theatre on the morning of Wednesday 29th April. Tickets are $12 and will be available soon. Further details will be available later, but wait for this viewing as our Fellowship receives $6 from each ticket sold.
The artwork for the 2015 World Day of Prayer is “Blessed”, by artist Chantal E.Y. Bethel. Bethel writes: “Blessed” celebrates the Bahamas through our National Bird, the Flamingo. It also celebrates our blessings as we share with the world across the ocean. The flamingos bow at the feet of Christ for there is Forgiveness, Peace and Love in this act of Submission. www.chantalbethel.com
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