From a mobile ministry in Outback Victoria to a community hub on the Mornington Peninsula, Uniting Church congregations are involved in a variety of projects that live out the Church’s mission.
Many of these projects rely on assistance from the synod’s Mission Support Fund. The fund allocates grants to ‘seed’ a long-term project, such as ministry education, ecumenical activities, cross-cultural ministry, advocacy and congregational support.
Every Sunday, congregations in Victoria and Tasmania contribute to the Mission Support Fund through their weekly offering. The synod’s Giving is Living program enables Uniting Church members to witness their offering in action. It offers a glimpse of the many mission and ministry activities taking place in the synod and hopes to encourage a spirit of generosity throughout the Church.
Cheryl Lawrie, is the executive director of the Commission for Mission which oversees the Giving is Living program. She said it was important to recognise the importance of selfless giving in the life of the church.
“Giving is one of the most powerful acts of discipleship,” Ms Lawrie said.
“It’s a reminder that the world doesn’t simply exist for our own survival or fulfillment; that faith calls us into a space of grace, where we receive and offer undeserved kindness. When we give, expecting nothing in return, we become instruments through which the world can experience grace.”
As part of the Giving is Living program, a number of resources are available to enrich congregations’ understanding of the relationship between their weekly offering and God’s mission.
The Giving is Living calendar, distributed every year with the November Crosslight, features images and stories that highlight the many missional and outreach activities Uniting Church members participate in.
This year’s calendar, which focuses on the theme ‘Changing Lives’, showcases stories of hope and love both locally and abroad, from a café in Hoppers Crossing to an orphanage in Zimbabwe.
The spiritual aspects of giving are reaffirmed through a range of online resources available for download from the synod website.
Monthly pew sheets highlight acts of generosity that take place in local communities and random acts of kindness from everyday encounters. Each pew sheet is accompanied by a short reflection that explores the connection between faith, scripture and social justice. Church members are encouraged to share their own reflections with the wider church community by contacting the Giving is Living team.
The pew sheets can be printed out and distributed as part of the weekly newsletter. Some churches use the pew sheets stories to introduce newcomers to the message of the Gospel in an accessible manner.
Monthly prayers are also available on the website. They can be used during worship or as part of PowerPoint presentations. How congregations choose to incorporate these resources into their church life is in their creative hands.
To access the Giving is Living resources, visit: bit.ly/GivingIsLivingUCA
To contribute to the pew sheets contact: firstname.lastname@example.org