The six-month-old Benalla Central Community Garden aims to create a stronger connection between the church and community by encouraging locals to try their hand at growing fruit and vegetables.
Produce from the garden is used for the church’s community lunches, which are available to anyone in need of some nourishment.
The garden is not just about providing food, however. Presbytery Secretary of North East Victoria and green thumb Tanya Walker describes the area as a welcoming “third space”.
“People often have a home and a work space, but don’t have that third space of belonging where they can connect with people. A community garden can create that,” she said.
Other initiatives supported in the 2019 Lenten Offering are:
- The peace-promoting quest of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine. This finances 10 Australian Ecumenical Accompaniers to live in Palestine for three months to support communities, and monitor and report on human rights abuses.
- The homework hub in Pakenham/Officer. This assists children in years 3-6 with their reading and other homework tasks due to language barriers their parents may be facing.
- The Migrant Women’s Music and Language Project at Scots Memorial Uniting Church in Hobart. This facilitates a women’s musical group, representing language and cultural diversity while strengthening literacy and communication skills in English.
Moderator Sharon Hollis said each of the Lenten Grant enterprises “offers hope for renewal for those who will be supported by the projects”.
“Through these projects, we will help others to stand alongside an oppressed people, to create hope, build community and belonging, and restore creation,” she said.
To donate, visit https://www.vt.uniting.org/get-involved/lenten-offering-2019/
Look out for this article and much more in the April edition of Crosslight.