I do hope this email finds you safe and well in these challenging times!
I am writing to you to let you know that a copy of the Uniting Vic.Tas Spring Congregation Connect has now been made available on our website for congregations to access. In this edition, you and members of your congregation can read about Rachael, who was supported through the Victorian Government’s From Homelessness to a Home initiative, hear the difference our Winter Blanket Appeals have made and learn about the opening of a new facility for older women at risk of homelessness.
Our Spring Supporter Newsletter, which features stories of hope in the face of crisis has also been made available online. On page 5, there are examples of just some of the ways our dedicated teams have kept our support going during these challenging times. You can also read about the difference your giving has made this past winter and discover new ways to get involved.
This year’s Coffee Cup Challenge officially launches today (1st October) however It is still not too late to get involved. All funds raised from the Coffee Cup Challenge will support people experiencing crisis, vulnerability and disadvantage. For more information or to register your congregation to join the Coffee Cup Challenge, please visit our Coffee Cup Challenge page.
It might seem early to be talking about Christmas however I wanted to let you know that our Uniting Christmas cards are now available to order with 4 new additions to the range. Each design has been thoughtfully selected to reflect the joy and hope of Christmas and all proceeds will support people in crisis. As current restrictions have once again made it too difficult for many of you to complete orders for your members by consignment this year, I have attached a copy of the Christmas Card poster and a PDF order form you can pass on to your members. Please note we have made the order form fillable for anyone wanting to complete and email it back to us without printing. Alternatively, they can pre-fill the details prior to printing and mailing it back to us if they prefer this to manually writing their details.
Cards can be also be ordered by calling our Supporter Services on 1800 668 426 or visiting our Christmas Card site.
We are always seeking feedback on how we as your community services organisation is performing and are keen for your thoughts on how Uniting can work better as part of the Church to respond to Christ’s invitation to serve humanity by creating an inclusive, connected and just world. To help do this, we invite you to offer your reflections here and encourage you to share this link with your congregation members so they also have the opportunity to share their thoughts on how we are performing.
If you need to update your contact details or wish to amend the number of hard copies you are mailed in the future, please contact Ida or me on 1800 668 426.
Dale Barker-Harrington (he/him) l Church and Community Relations Coordinator
With slavery on the increase, more children in child labour and Covid-19 devastating communities in poorer nations it is good that the Fair Trade Association has produced a shopping Guide where the proceeds of sales go directly to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
I hope you will enjoy perusing this Shopping Guide. It would be wonderful if you could share this link with others.
As you may be aware, demand for emergency food supplies are increasing in the Barwon region. Uniting runs emergency food pantries in Norlane and Grovedale, and St Luke’s is a designated drop off location for food items.
Currently the emergency pantries are in need of:
Tomato sauce or BBQ sauce
Vegetable Cooking Oil
Cup of Soup – chicken
Oats – traditional or quick oats
Self Raising Flour
Smaller packets /jars are more useful than large packets/jars.
You can drop items into St Luke’s on Tuesdays and Friday mornings between 10 and 12 noon.
There are many other ways to be involved in the food for families program – see here: https://foodforfamilies.org.au/get-involved-individuals-families/
Reconciliation week 2021 starts on Wednesday this week the 27th May 2021. The largest local reconciliation event in reconciliation week in Geelong is Reconciliation in the Park held in Johnstone Park on the Sunday of Reconciliation week. This year this will be Sunday 30th May 2021.
As part of Uniting Barwon’s Reconciliation Action Plan we have established contact with the local community reconciliation group Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group. Geelong One Fire helped establish Reconciliation in the Park and has supported it each year since its establishment. This year Uniting Barwon is going to assist Geelong One Fire with their support for the event.
Uniting Barwon people will be assisting with;
Set up which starts at 7.30am at Johnstone Park and runs until about 9.45am,
Various activities during the day, and
Pack up which will start between 3 and 3.30pm and run until about 5pm.
Those assisting will be given some time to participate in and enjoy the activities taking place.
If you are interested in assisting in any of the roles please contact Des Younghusband by Thursday 27th May 2021, please also enquire of your families, friends, acquaintances and network members if they might be available to help.
If you are unable to assist please consider coming along to enjoy the activities and again encourage your families, friends, acquaintances and network members also to do this .
So many wonderful events in Melbourne are now available to us through the option to attend via Zoom! Pilgrim Theological College is where our ordained and lay people undertake their training for ministry and ongoing professional development and formation in the Uniting Church in Victoria.
“The first Northey Lecture for 2021 will offer the theological viewpoint of an Australian First Nations theologian who has spent the past two decades decolonising biblical narratives and constructing a theology that draws on Australia First Nations creation stories (Ancestral Narratives) and our understanding of the Creator’s actions and interactions through our Spirit Ancestors in the creation of our world, humanity, customs, laws, ceremonies, songs, rituals, connection to land, water and sea; language, cosmology, worldview and philosophy – this being the basis to the formation of First Nations identity, faith and Spirituality.”
Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray is an Aboriginal woman who is a descendant of the Bidjara/ Kari Kari people in Queensland and she is a recognised Aboriginal leader within Australia – nationally and internationally. She has dedicated her life to the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and she is a strong campaigner and lobbyist and deeply committed to seeking justice, equity and equal representation for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. She is very proud of her Aboriginal culture and heritage and is a strong advocate for Aboriginal women, children, families and community regarding our Cultural and basic Human Rights. She has developed a leadership quality that promotes and builds a deeper sense of community and participation that brings a greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and cultural identity and cohesion with the broader community that leads to beneficial partnerships, engagement and reconciliation.
Uniting VicTas is the welfare arm of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania. They recently held their Annual Meeting online – check out the stories of the work being done over the past year by dedicated staff and volunteers – you might even see some familiar faces amongst the presenters.
You can support the ongoing work of Uniting by donating to the Winter Appeal – follow the link to do this online here: