Whose life will you be changing this year?
The world’s history is filled with inspiring quotes on giving:
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston Churchill
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa
Giving is one of those unique gifts that rewards both those who give and those who receive. So it should come as no surprise that this financial year we will raise almost $1.8 million through ‘Living is Giving’. This generosity shows we have a heart for the wider mission of our Church and that when united we can move mountains.
As we head towards our anniversary year in 2017, marking 40 years since Union, we are only limited by our imaginations as to just how much we can truly raise when united.
Your contribution makes a difference. The money you contribute goes towards areas of mission and faith that will help shape our future. And it is here we can see Jesus’ love at work.
Here are just a few of the ‘Living is Giving’ programs your generous efforts support.
Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC)
Our social justice advocacy work and community welfare services express our belief that God is committed to life now. It is our response to the Bible’s call to care for and protect the marginalised and vulnerable
A key component of our justice work is the Church’s efforts to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians together and to support the Indigenous community generally. Reconciliation, land rights and Indigenous leadership training are just some of the activities we engage in.
We do this primarily through the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). Established in 1985 as the Indigenous arm of the Church, the UAICC, in collaboration with others, aims to bring an end to the injustices, which hold Aboriginal and Islander people at the fringes of Australian society. They also seek to help Aboriginal and Islander people achieve spiritual, economic, social and cultural independence, as well as enhance education and employment opportunities.
A mission at work
Here are just a few of the many programs and initiatives of UAICC.
Community development: UAICC designs and runs a number of long-term development programs that are aimed squarely at improving community life. Programs cover areas such as education, health and aged care, construction, business enterprise development, literacy programs, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, women and youth leadership, and more.
Holistic ministry and evangelism: Holistic ministry is at the heart of what UAICC does. They focus on caring for the whole person – spiritually, physically, mentally and socially.
Building deeper relationships: In the same way that God is bound in a covenant relationship with people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of the Church seek to be bound in covenant with each other. They agree to share not just some of their worldly possessions, but everything, including themselves, with each other. In this way, they hope to contribute to a more just Church and nation.
Restore the role of elders: The aim of the UAICC ministry is to restore respect and honour in the lives of Indigenous people and the Church; to serve as keepers of culture and Indigenous history; bring balance, wisdom and spirituality to Congregations, and offer support.
Develop youth: UAICC youth ministry tackles the issues of unemployment, poverty, poor health a lack of housing, racism, domestic and street violence, imprisonment and low self-esteem, as well as the threats to health from alcohol, tobacco, drugs and gambling.
Affirm women: UAICC works to ensure Indigenous women are affirmed and respected as holding a special place in Indigenous family life. Its work is varied and ranges from supporting women group meetings to cultivating and distributing traditional bush medicine using traditional knowledge.
Chaplaincy in prisons, hospital, schools and universities
The Uniting Church’s prison chaplains bring God’s love, mercy and hope and offer direction to those excluded from our community. Hospital chaplains provide much needed comfort and guidance for patients, staff and families. Chaplains provide encouragement and guidance for people facing some of life’s most distressing situations. The ministry is unrelenting, challenging and greatly needed and appreciated.
UnitingCare mental health chaplains have an important role in bringing support and the presence of Christ to mental health patients. A good relationship with God, with others and with oneself promotes self-worth and is vital to the healing of the spirit. Your support helps our chaplains to be there at crucial times in people’s lives.
Become a fundraising champion and create or join a fundraising event
Fundraising can be fun. When everyone gets together it’s easy. It’s all about our community and raising money for the common good.
In the coming months, ‘Living is Giving” will be transformed into a ‘one stop shop’ for Churches and Congregations fundraising activities, including an online fundraising hub with helpful fundraising tools and tips.
It will be an improved and easy way of making your fundraising joyful. It will also become a place to join community events and to participate and spread the word through social media and your Congregation.
Building connections in rural and remote areas
Living in rural and remote communities in Australia can throw up a number of challenges even at the best of times. Isolation, difficulty accessing services, and an uncertain future on the land are part of everyday life for many. And when drought or severe floods hit, these challenges are magnified. Recovery can take years, placing greater strain on families and communities.
The role of the rural Church and rural chaplains is invaluable in rural and remote communities.
Julie Greig is one of only three rural chaplains in NSW. Together with Phill Matthews and Sue Chapman, who works one day per week, the trio is responsible for delivering rural chaplaincy services across the entire state.
“As a rural chaplain, my role has a number of parts. One of them is around community development. I also help prepare government submissions and grant applications, support disaster recovery, proactively get involved with social justice and advocacy, support lay leaders in congregations, do financial assistance work for families that need help, and any other chaplaincy work that’s needed,” said Julie.
Like many rural and remote services, funding is hard to come by.
“Probably the biggest reality is that there is no money to pay for my role. I fund myself, and the Rural Ministry Unit funds my expenses. The local Church in Hillston provides me with a house to live in, all of which is extraordinarily generous, and Sydney North Presbytery pays Phill’s position. They have been unbelievably supportive of rural ministries. But the bottom line is we’re always chasing dollars and we never have enough to do what we need,” said Julie.
What can you or your Congregation do to help those in drought?
Drought has been impacting the north of NSW for over two years and is really beginning to bite hard for those trying to farm or run businesses in the area. Unlike fire or flood, drought is an insidious creeping disaster that doesn’t have a starting point. But like other disasters, recovery takes a long time, even after the rains come.
Very often when we see pictures on the television and read stories about those struggling to survive, we want to immediately help. This is what God has called us to do: care for those who are hurting. Rather than wait and listen to the wisdom of those on the ground or agencies that are experienced in disaster recovery, people will throw all they have at the problem.
While the intent is genuine, not all of the responses are helpful: a semi-trailer load of potatoes, a boot load of children’s boots and a trailer load of children’s clothes. All of these things are extremely difficult to give away when the community has fewer than 300 people and many live a long way from town.
Another challenge is a donation that comes with a condition: “This $180 must be spend on a family”, “this $300 on children activities”, etc. The irony is that the time it takes for rural chaplains to manage and plan these requests is time they can’t spend with individuals, families and communities who need them. Those in the middle of the drought and those working with them are the best ones to decide on how the money can be best used.
The nature of drought means money may not get spent immediately. At the moment the situation is critical, but regardless whether it rains or not, it will be even more critical in six months’ time. It is important that some funds are still available then.
So what is helpful? The Moderator has been very proactive in making money available from his Disaster Appeal to help individuals and communities, and the Rural Chaplains are one of the on-ground agencies helping to distribute this.
The other great need is for money to keep the Rural Chaplains going.
They need money to put fuel in the cars, pay the telephone bills and pay for accommodation when they travel to distant areas.
The response from our churches is beginning to build. Each time the Moderator receives a donation, the family of God is looking after those in need. The worse thing is for people to feel like no-one cares.
Extracted from ruralchaplains.blogspot.com.au
We can all make a difference. All it takes is a little effort
In May, General Secretary, Rev. Dr Andrew Williams pedalled to raise funds for UnitingCare programs supporting people with disability. He set a goal to cycle 500kms and raise $800 to assist people with disability.
If you’d like to follow in Rev. William’s footsteps (or tyre tracks) and raise funds, here’s what you can do with your donations:
1. Hold your fundraiser then securely bank the funds collected at www.livingisgiving.nsw.uca.org.au/donate
2. Contact Lisa Sampson, Media and Fundraising, Uniting Resources, by calling (02) 8267 4303 or email email@example.com
3. New fundraising hub coming soon at https://nswact.uca.org.au/change-the-world/giving-donation
Let’s unite together to see the mission work of the Church continue!
Download the form for Living is Giving Planning Guide 2014- 2015. Treasurers, please complete the form and return by June 30.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
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