In National Volunteer Week, the Uniting Church celebrates the contributions of all our volunteers who give up their time in service of their community. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the church. Every week, congregation members engage in a diverse range of volunteering activities, from working bees to children’s groups to op-shops.
More than six million Australians volunteer their time every year.
According to Volunteering Australia, 96 per cent of volunteers believe that giving up their time for others ‘makes people happier’.
Studies have shown that volunteers are healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer.
Our Sammy Stamp volunteers gather at the synod office every Thursday. Sammy Stamp has been a Uniting Church Adult Fellowship project for more than 30 years. Volunteers collect, trim, sort and package stamps received from Uniting Church members. The stamps are sold and the money directed to various church programs. Approximately $40,000 is raised each year.
The Mission Liaison Group consists of Uniting Church volunteers who sort and pack goods for communities in the Pacific. Last month, 56 volunteers from 14 different congregations spent their Saturday packing supplies for communities in Vanuatu devastated by Cyclone Pam.
Children’s groups are active in many congregations throughout the synod. They require the passion and tireless dedication of volunteers to organise fun and interactive activities.
The Ivanhoe Messy Church started three years ago with a handful of volunteers led by Rev Sandy Brodine. It provides a space for children and their parents to explore their faith through craftwork, cooking and other hands-on activities.
The Messy Church now has between 40 to 50 members every month. The volunteers have recently started a second Messy Church at Heidelberg, where participants gather once a month in a family-friendly environment.