Congregation digs deep

Rev Heather Hon and the Koonung Heights congregation are embracing the concept of Faithful Giving.

By Talitha Fraser

Koonung Heights Uniting Church Minister Rev Heather Hon considers herself extremely fortunate to be part of such a warm and generous congregation.

That warmth and generosity is displayed on a regular basis as congregation members contribute to the wellbeing of their neighbours, outreach mission projects, and the broader Church in caring, generous and faithful ways.

Aligned with that is a deep and abiding commitment to social justice, and to the concept of Faithful Giving.

“Some congregations struggle financially, and with resources, but we are blessed in that we are able to contribute well,” Heather says.

“We have been able to put the funds from a property sale into Money for Mission, which benefits the wider church, and we are also able to use the interest from the sale to serve our local community and undertake mission outreach in different ways.”

Koonung Heights congregation members are connected and committed to a variety of local, regional and international aid initiatives, ensuring sustainability of long-term projects that contribute to raising a positive profile within the broader community and the Uniting Church.

Boroondara Community Outreach, run by Rev Natalie Dixon-Monu, is one of the organisations supported wholeheartedly by the congregation.

“We provide financially for them, but we also have a collection of food products every week when the offering plate goes around the church,” Heather says.

“Our community members also cook in their kitchen and package up meals.”

The congregation also supports Mission Aviation Fellowship through its Fuel for Father’s Day program, which keeps planes flying in remote areas of Australia and across the Pacific Islands, while members support Hope Katolo, a nursery school in Kenya that was originally founded by young Australian women.

“The good thing about the Uniting Church is that we are known as being the people that stand in solidarity with others, who will provide food, march with others, and care about the environment,” Heather says.

“All of this is giving and one of the ways I think we can be most generous is with our time. People are so busy and there are so many people who are isolated and lonely.

“We have a ballet school here that has been using our space weekly, and we’ve been providing afternoon tea for the parents and grandparents who drop their kids off.

“This is sharing something of the message of Jesus in a way that is not always with words, and I think we can all give that way.

“We don’t always have to have a lot to know that we can give, even in times of scarcity.”

The congregation’s strong commitment to social justice was demonstrated in their strong support for an indigenous Voice to Parliament ahead of last October’s referendum.

“We put two huge billboards of the Statement from the Heart on the street for passersby to read,” Heather says.

“We’ve since converted one of them into a community noticeboard, but we have left one as is because it’s still so relevant and so important.

“We also had indigenous leader Thomas Mayo speak at an event we did in conjunction with Manningham Uniting Church to share First Nations perspectives and the Voice.

“We opened our church the night before the referendum so people could come to pray, or to sit and reflect, not because they were necessarily people of faith, but because there was a space for them to come and just think through the magnitude of the day.”

Your FAITHFUL GIVING supports the wider church by funding grants; training for ministry candidates and local leaders, Presbytery Ministers and ministry; Crosslight, websites and e-news; resources to assist in worship, witness and service; Narana; equipping Leadership for Mission (eLM); providing services to help meet obligations to keep our people and properties safe; and supporting church communities in rural and remote regions.

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