When the Geelong East Uniting Church Tennis club (pictured) heard the news their beloved courts were to be sold as part of the Uniting our future process, Neil Lamond was at a loss about what to do next.
As the founder of the club, Mr Lamond has long been the backbone of the tightknit community and was determined to keep the club going.
“We’d been at the Denman Street property for 33 years,” Mr Lamond said.
“So it was a big shock – we didn’t really know what we were going to do.”
Identifying another, now disused, set of local tennis courts was the glimmer of hope the club needed.
Discussions and support from the Geelong City Council, along with a synod relocation grant, has facilitated the tennis club to move to a new location on Tanner Street in neighbouring Breakwater.
“It was a heck of a lot of hard work over a fair bit of time. But we’re here now and this is a good story of what’s happened in a divestment process that has succeeded,” Mr Lamond said.
Mr Lamond is quick to point out the efforts and support from the chairperson of the Presbytery of Port Phillip West, Rev Sani Vaeluaga, and many others in the church community who were key drivers in ensuring the future of the club.
For Mr Lamond and other members, the space is more than just a tennis club – it is an important missional link to the wider community.
“The church is changing; the church needs to get out in the world these days,” Mr Lamond said.
“We feel we have a Christian message – we’re not like most tennis clubs where winning is everything.
“We’ve got no star tennis players here but the fellowship is marvellous.
“Win or lose, our people are just happy to play.”
For more on this story please visit listeningpost.victas.uca.org.au.