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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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,
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.
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.