Operation Living Water

Operation Living Water

A quick challenge in a kids talk at a Sunday service led to Turramurra Uniting Church members giving out free water and spreading the good news on a hot Friday afternoon on January 19.

For an hour, around 15 volunteers handed out 350 bottles of water to the local community Turramurra train station during peak hour. All the bottles included custom labels with the activities the church had on offer, making it a refreshing evangelistic initiative.

The bottles were paid for by the congregation, who raised $950 in ten minutes.

New Turramurra Uniting Church minister, Rev. Phil Swain, said that it was the congregation’s kids’ idea and the rest of the congregation supported it.

“We’re just empowering the idea that the kids had,” said Rev. Swain.

The church service that spurred on initiative looked at what it means to be a church in modern society. Rev. Swain challenged the children to come up with campaign that would, “…help the local communities know who we are as the Turramurra Uniting Church and what we can offer.”

The children’s groups came back with the marketing plan for ‘Living Water’ and after a budget was discussed, Rev. Swain then pitched their marketing concept to the congregation, to see whether others would support it financially and/or volunteer their time.

The children’s marketing plan for Living Water.

“I don’t want to take too much credit for that because isn’t that my role as a minister to be empowering the ideas of the people, whether it is Ruby [who was part of the group that came up with the idea] in Year 6 at school, or an 80 year old,” said Rev. Swain

“Whoever has good ideas for the Kingdom it is our job to helping enable that.”

The congregation estimated that they needed around $300 to make ‘Living Water’ possible.

“People started to hold up money left right and centre,” said Rev. Swain, when he told the congregation about the budget needed.

To his amazement, in the space of ten minutes they raised $950 for the project.

“It just so happens that somebody said after the service, ‘I hear it’s going to be hot on Friday’ and sure enough last Friday was going to be around 35 or 40 degrees,” said Rev. Swain.


With a date set, in a matter of days, their youth worker organised water bottles, a group made labels and then a call out was sent for anyone who wanted to help on the day.

Rev. Swain estimated that about half the people who came through the train station received water bottles and 30 people physically stopped to have a conversation about what the congregation members were doing.

“We were then able to sort of say that, we’re from the local church and we’re just doing this as a way to be good neighbour on a hot day,” said Rev. Swain about when people stopped at their two water stations.

“There was a real sense of gratitude [from the people] for us doing that.”

Rev. Swain said the congregation are still deciding whether to conduct another water hand out.


Melissa Stewart


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