For many people living in the Henty region in south-west Victoria, age and distance can make it difficult to attend church on a Sunday.
To address this problem, Hamilton Uniting Church hopes to live stream their weekly worship services to hospitals, aged care facilities and homes in the region.
Lay preacher and chairperson of the Uniting Church Henty region, Elaine Edwards, said she was inspired by a similar initiative in Mt Gambier.
“I thought – what a great idea! How useful will that be with our aged care facilities, hospitals and in particular our small churches that have real difficulty covering for a preacher,” Ms Edwards said.
“This application for a grant came along and I thought it’s certainly a missional project.”
The Henty region has oversight of 18 congregations and many faith communities in the area struggle to replace leaders after they retire.
“We have a small church that’s about to close this month, and not everyone there is going to want to travel long distances to go to another church,” Ms Edwards said.
“That’s where the technology can be useful if the Church wants to continue to help them out.”
Donations to Share’s Lenten Offering will help Hamilton Uniting Church purchase equipment to live-stream services. This includes three digital cameras, a digital recording device, high capacity modem and associated cables and switches.
The live-stream will also enable the gospel message to reach out to people who have never stepped foot in a church before.
“Hopefully, we can help people who are in care,” Ms Edwards said.
“There are seven aged care facilities within the region that will certainly benefit from it, from Portland to Hamilton. It’s a big area we cover.”
Share director Angela Goodwin hopes the project will inspire other congregations that currently face similar challenges.
“We chose to support this project as we recognise that the ageing demographic of members and the challenge of distance for some congregations is a real issue within the Uniting Church community,” Ms Goodwin said.
“We were delighted to see Henty region put forward a project that addresses these challenges in a creative way and is a model that other congregations can also emulate.”
Other projects supported by the Lenten Offering this year include sanitary supplies for girls in developing countries, ministry training for Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) members and a community garden in Tasmania.
To donate to the Lenten Offering, visit http://shareappeal.org.au/appeal/
Image: Jeffrey Sofroniou/Flickr