Spotlight on our community partners – Days for Girls Waurn Ponds

The Waurn Ponds Days for Girls chapter meets on a Wednesday fortnightly in the hall to sew reusable Femine Hygiene Products for women and girls for whom menstruation can be a barrier to participation in education and community life.  St Luke’s hosts them at no cost as part of our mission to the community.  Here’s an update from Deb, their co-ordinator:
“The kits our Team made this year and were picked up by World Vision Canada went to Burundi, Africa. This is a land locked country in the great Rift Valley bordering Rwanda.  I have a soft spot for for African countries as we spent 3 1/2 months travelling through parts of Africa in a Landrover Defender some 7 years ago now and although we did not travel to Burundi we did part of the Rift Valley so we were very close. (Only a centimeter or two on the map)!!  I am thrilled to think that our kits will be distributed there.
2021 has been another year that has had many challenges for so many of us, but we have still achieved some amazing things.  A quick summary of the year for DfGAL

  • Two new teams – Boort Vic, and Riverbend Qld
  • One new team in training, Bendigo Vic
  • Kits sent into the world for financial year 2020/2021 – 33,089 to 23 countries
  • Kits sent into world since 1 July 2021 until now – 23,332 to 14 countries this includes 17,075 to World Vision Canada for Burundi
  • Thanks to Ann Gobby we now have access to beautiful underwear and colourful PUL
  • Thanks to Lee Baker and the Camberwell Team, we can now have access to cut PUL for shields and carry pouches.
  • Regional Briefings in Queensland (Townsville, Allora, Brisbane) and Victoria (Gippsland and Mildura)

We are also helping to establish teams in the island nations around us, Baucau in Timor-Leste (nearly Gold Certified), West Timor (Gold Certified just this month), Solomon Islands, Kiribati these teams will join our FijiWest Team.  A big thank you to all the teams in these countries and a thank to all our Teams who are helping to mentor these Teams.

Our success is all thanks to all our amazing volunteers across the country and the world. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for what you do and also I want to thank all our amazing State Coordinators, State Sewing Specialists, our Board Members and other key volunteers who have stepped up to help us with our finances, child protection, training, resources, social media, communications, and our Liaison Officer who help us manage our distributions in PNG & Timor-Leste.

Our workshops for 2022 will resume on Wednesday January 19th, followed by February 2nd and 16th. I will let you know of further dates once they are finalized.  I will be at the January workshop and will then be away for the next three, back mid March. During that time Deb Chapman will be organizing the Workshops.”
If you would like to join the team in 2022, contact Deb via email: geelongwaurnpondsvic@daysforgirls.org

Worship Online Sunday 26th December 2021

Dear Friends

This is a special online reflection for Sunday December 26th, 2021

Even though Christmas Day can be a rough day for some, I trust that yesterday was a good day for you. And given the current easing of restrictions related to COVID, I hope that has meant you have had time with family and friends.

The tone of the Christmas celebration for Christians is clearly one of Joy. Joy that comes from the startling, good news that God becomes human … one with us … through the birth of a vulnerable babe, Jesus.

And this is a genuine being at “one with us:” … in Jesus God shares in human life in all its complexity … including right from the beginning experiencing the consequences of the propensity of humans to treat each in despicable ways.

Many churches mark December 28th as the feast of the Holy Innocents.  The Gospel reading is from Matthew Gospel chapter 2 and concerns the necessity for Mary, Joseph and Jesus to escape from King Herod and his thugs.  

“Now after [the Magi/Wisemen] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (V.13 … NRSV)

Mary, Joseph and Jesus thus became refugees.

Herod was a murderous despot who stooped at nothing to hold onto power including cosying up to whoever was the Roman Emperor and having his soldiers seek out any boy who might possibly be the newborn king. There is no sugar-coated Christmas story here!

Rev. Dr. Melinda Quivik writes in commenting on the passage:

This Jesus, born in the midst of Herod’s brutality, knows our suffering, comes to the frightened and the sick and the hungry, feeds and heals, and teaches the presence of God’s power wherever there are tears. 

Today so many people experience the same plight as Mary, Joseph and Jesus … having to flee from despots and other dangers.  And many of these refugees actually have no place to go … no place where they can experience genuine sanctuary. According to the United Nations Agency for Refugees, there are 20.7 million people under its care, of which a half are children.  An even more frightening statistic is that currently 48 million people have been forced out of their homes while remaining in their own countries. 

Christian churches have long offered sanctuary to those fleeing oppression, seeking safety, and St Luke’s (along with other churches and organisations) has supported refugees in the Geelong region for many years.

Clearly the need for a practical and prayerful response to this need is not abating.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this ministry. If you want to find out how you can help, feel free to contact us. The details are on our website. 

Let’s pause in prayer:

Compassionate God, Almighty in Love,

We give thanks for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate in a special way at this time of the year,
We also remember that with Mary and Joseph, he became a refugee and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 

Worship next Sunday (January 2nd) will be in person at 9.30 am, we hope.

Best wishes and blessings for the New Year to you and yours.

The peace and joy of Christmas

Fill your hearts and lives

And the blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit –  be with you all, evermore,

Amen.

 

Christmas Services 2021

Christmas Eve Friday 24th December

There is no service at St Luke’s, however Belmont Uniting Church is holding a service at 7:30pm led by the Rev. Ikani Vaitohi

Address: 42 Thompson St Belmont.

Christmas Day Saturday 25th December

9:30am Christmas Day Service at St Luke’s Highton led by Rev. Paul Stephens

Sunday 26th December

Online reflection broadcast from the St Luke’s YouTube channel from 7:30am

Dreaming Big – and St Luke’s Salt & Light Plans (as at 16 Dec 2021)

In 2017 St Luke’s Highton UCA began a process toward regeneration ministry. In 2018 with the arrival of Rev Paul Stephens the community undertook Dreaming Big studies, built on the Synod’s Property for Mission Workbook.

In 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we applied to City of Greater Geelong for an Infrastucture Planning Grant of $20000 to work with the community to understand how we could use our site and resources for the benefit of the broader community and to continue to be Christ’s “Salt & Light” in our community. We were successful and in 2021, we implemented this planning – throughout the challenges of another covid year.

The Design Brief (pdf format) that was developed is available here: StLuke_DESIGN BRIEF_9oct2021_CoGGlogo_Stage2

Deakin School of Architecture & Built Environment team gave an initial presentation of architectural ideas in response to the Brief in October to the “Community Voice” and Church Council groups. They took feedback away to refine the ideas.

On 17 December, Stewart Seaton & Dr Igor Martek presented their refined concepts to a broader group from church and community. A recording of the session is available on Youtube. Send us a message if you’d like to view it.

The plans show how the site could be transformed to create the environment to enable the Design Brief to become reality.

There were seven drawings and images presented:

StLukes_Concept_Plans – Overview

StLukes_Concept_Plans 2021 – Elevations

StLukes_Concept_Plans 2021 – Sectional elevations

StLukes_Concept_Plans 2021 – Views from the NE corner

StLukes_Concept_Plans 2021_ Views inside the Sanctuary precinct including possible extension of Sanctuary into the ‘gardens’

StLukes_Concept_Plans 2021 – View in the NW corner – repurposed Lane Memorial Hall in the market garden and looking to the original church

StLukes_Concept_Plans2021 – 3D model image of site

In the months to come, this will be refined and agreed on as a ‘Master Plan’ that over coming years will be ‘staged’ to implement as people, finance and most importantly, God’s Spirit, guide us.

If you have any questions or are interested in being involved in (or partnering with) this vision and work, contact admin@stlukesuca.org.au   (or call the Church Office or our Minister)

Thanks to City of Greater Geelong for the Infrastructure Planning Grant 2021 ($20,000) which was matched by the Congregation & partners (My Pilgrim’s Way, and Deakin University School of Architecture & Built Environment).

City of Great Geelong Logo