Naracoorte Church of Christ Friendship Centre is a big part of the ministry of the church and meets each week during school terms. Its doors are open to anyone and is a welcoming place for people to gather on Thursday mornings to share time together, encourage one another, play table games, maybe participate in a craft activity which they bring along— or learn a new one if there is one on offer at the time. There’s always a lot of chatter and laughter—and a whole lot of caring and sharing. Morning tea is available throughout the 2-hour meetings.
Committee members present a “Think Spot” each week. These are printed and made into a booklet at the end of each year and presented to all participants and supporters of the ministry. Extra copies are made available for hospital visitation or for those who are in the nursing home or shut-in with illness or (old) age.
Of course, meetings were suspended in March until July, due to the Coronavirus lockdown. What a joy it was to come together again at the beginning of term 3, albeit following specific guide lines for group gatherings— sanitizing hands, tables, chairs etc. staying 1.5 metres apart, and serving pre-packed biscuits and cake for morning teas.
During the time of meeting suspension, the committee determined to maintain contact with all participants with phone calls, text messages and emails. A “Survival Kit” was prepared and hand delivered, or posted, to everyone—a novel way of assuring them of our thoughts and that we were in this situation together. A fortnightly letter called “Keeping in Touch”, was published during this period. It contained greetings, Bible verses and notes of encouragement, a Think Spot, some jokes and even a recipe or two. Since re-opening, it was decided to continue this fortnightly connection as quite a few of our regular participants have not been able to attend as yet and others just wanted them to keep on coming.
On average, 35 attended the meetings each week between the period July 2019—March 2020, and an average of 29 attended July—September 2020 despite the Covid-19 restrictions. About half attending do not have further affiliation with our church. We pray that more will feel the need to come to Sunday services but, for now, Friendship Centre is their “church”.
Friendship Centre is in its 34th year of continuous ministry, which commenced in May of 1987 during the ministry of Grant and Julie Simpson.
The group supports the Global Mission Partners Christmas Gifts Appeal by the sale of donated garden produce, homemade jams and sauces, or the sale of craft items and original poetry booklets. Each year it is exciting to see how much there is in funds to purchase items needed in various parts of the world. Participants and church members also collect their 5-cent coins throughout the year for this cause.
Over the years, items of clothing and blankets have been knitted or crocheted and forwarded on to CareWorks, or to Ruth Telfer, to be distributed where best needed, either locally or overseas.
For many years the group and church members have made, or purchased, items to include in the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas (Shoe) Box Appeal—the aim is to fill 70 boxes each year. There is a dedicated couple who have this ministry close to their hearts, and enthuse others to participate. Friendship Centre has also supported the local Pastoral Care Workers funding for many years —mainly with donations from the sale of garden produce in the 3rd term.
The Cancer Council is supported through donations at Friendship Centre’s version of the Biggest Morning Tea, corresponding with its birthday in May each year.
Other appeals are considered on their merit as they arise.
We usually have a special mid-year Soup and Sandwich lunch at the end of term 2, though it was not possible this year.
Extra effort is made at the end of each year to make Christmas relevant and show participants, particularly non-Christians, that it is a special time when we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. The meeting hall and chapel are decorated appropriately and our beautiful nativity scene set up in the chapel for all to admire. A special Christmas program is presented with carol singing, quizzes, a group craft activity relating to the chosen Christmas ‘theme’, followed by a Christmas lunch provided mainly by the committee, with participants bringing Christmas ‘finger– food’ goodies as dessert. (This may need to be modified this year, depending on the restrictions—but we will adapt and still make it a special time.)
There is a dedicated and loyal team on the committee who have maintained the ethos of a Friendship Centre, sharing their friendship, care, gifts and talents throughout the years. We trust that the light and love of Jesus will be seen in our contact with those whom Jesus draws along each week. We long to see more come to know Him as Lord and Saviour.
Convention 2020 has been designed to respond to the challenges of meeting together during the pandemic. Convention 2020 will have smaller gatherings across South Australia and an online business meeting for its formal component.
Convention Gatherings are as follows:
Friday 13th of November 7pm
Elizabeth Church of Christ
Sunday 15th of November 1pm
Berri Church of Christ
Wednesday 18th of November 7pm
Happy Valley Church of Christ
Saturday 21st of November 1pm
Naracoorte Church of Christ
Sunday 22nd of November 10:30am
Redcliffes Campsite for worship followed by lunch and Convention meeting
At these smaller events there will be an opportunity to receive details of the review that Churches of Christ SA has undertaken and how that is informing the future direction for the movement. Each gathering will be the same so you need to only attend one.
If you know which Convention Gathering you wish to attend now, please RSVP to the State Office. There will be further correspondence and opportunity to RSVP for these gatherings in the future.
The Churches of Christ SA & NT Inc Annual General Meeting will occur on Thursday December 10th at 7pm via Zoom. Delegate packs for the Annual General Meeting will go out in the last week of October and will include Board nominations, meeting papers, reports and voting information. The packs will also include the details for joining the Annual General Meeting online as a delegate, and how to join as an observer of the meeting.
Safe Water September
Record Fundraising by a National Community
In a year where a lot of people and a lot of organisations have been forced to look inward and scramble to keep the lights on, churches and individuals around Australia have demonstrated that unprecedented change and upheaval will not stop them from having a positive Kingdom impact on the world around them.
More than 300 people across more than 50 churches, schools, and clubs took the Safe Water September challenge this year, and drank just water for the month of September to raise money for life-changing safe water projects in rural Zimbabwe and Vanuatu through Global Mission Partners and Churches of Christ Overseas Aid.
This year the national community raised $177 666, breaking fundraising records for the second year in a row. By giving up all their non-water drinks like coffee, tea, and juice and inviting their peers, family, and friends to donate, challenge takers have raised enough to provide easy access to safe drinking water to approximately 8,000 people in remote and vulnerable communities.
A lack of access to safe drinking water has profound impacts on communities across the world. Clean water for drinking and washing is the easiest way to dramatically reduce illness in communities, particularly in children and infants. With easy access to clean water, people—particularly women and girls—no longer have to walk more than 30 minutes each day to get water for their families. That time can be re-invested into their families, their education, their farms, and their businesses.
The water projects funded by Safe Water September are community-led in partnership with Showers of Blessing, Zimbabwe, and the Conference of Churches of Christ in Vanuatu. You can find out more at [safewaterseptember.org.au](http://safewaterseptember.org.au/).
The embody and Global Mission Partners team would like to extend a massive thank you to all the churches and individuals around South Australia who participated in the challenge. Well done, and enjoy your drinks!
COVID-19 caused State Youth Games to be cancelled for 2020, but with a small release of the restrictions, an opportunity opened up for 120 youth and young adults to gather at Aldgate Church of Christ for an amazing night of worship, testimony, prayer and community time. A night of youth leading youth, peers praying for peers and all the glory given to an awesome God. Plans are well underway for more joint youth ministry nights, the first planned for the 27th November, and then one a term in 2021.