Sammy makes something from nothing

Redemption and renewal are at the heart of the Christian story. Creating something good from what seems worthless or unsalvageable. Building from the ashes, redeeming the scraps and the ‘waste’ of the world. Renewing one’s mind to turn hatred into love and find the inherent value in what we have been given.

These themes are central to the story and teaching of Jesus, who called on his followers to assess value and worth far beyond monetary limitations, and recognise the loveliness of the poor and marginalised instead of being blinded by the grandiosity of the elite.

The Church’s history is rich with traditions and practices which seek to revere, renew and build on the humble or modest. Sammy Stamp continues this tradition, proving the long-term efficacy of this approach.

For more than 30 years, volunteers have gathered to collect, trim, sort and package stamps received from Uniting Church members and synod employees. The stamps are sold and the money directed to various programs connected to the church.

Originally begun by the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union, the Sammy Stamp fund became a project of the Uniting Church Adult Fellowship following Church Union in 1977. The program regularly raises in excess of $20,000 each year.

Past projects supported by Sammy Stamp funds include overseas microfinance programs, clean water projects in South India and Papua New Guinea, appeals for natural disasters (such as the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan floods) and projects funded through SHARE. Sammy Stamp has also assisted Frontier Services and several local UnitingCare agencies.

Through the act of first seeing the potential value in something that would otherwise be tossed in the bin – a stamped envelope delivered in our mail – value is created from virtually nothing to benefit those in need. Creating ‘something from nothing’ fulfils a very human desire to create; along with the will to care for those who most need it, the act gives joy to everyone involved.

In this image, two regular stamp-sorters hold between them a special nativity scene stamp. Illustrative, perhaps, of the reason they gather every Thursday – the story of a baby conceived from nothing to parents who possessed next to nothing. A story which arguably demonstrates that having nothing – but a transformed mind – is, in a way, having everything you need.

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