It is just a year since our minister retired. We had plenty of warning of her retirement and started looking for her replacement immediately. So far we have had no success. During her time here we benefited greatly from her calm and orderly manner. She left us in a good place to manage on our own if we had to.
At the beginning of this year funding was cut to UnitingCare Pivot Point Outreach Centre by the Federal Government. Pivot Point had been operating in Batemans Bay for almost three decades and was a lifeline for those in the shire in desperate need. Pleas to our local member and the Minister were heard, but no action resulted.
One could imagine that these blows would leave us feeling disheartened and helpless, but that has not been the case.
The retired ministers and lay preaching team have maintained regular worship services in both centres and we are enjoying the different styles of each preacher. As often happens without a full time minister, our numbers have happily not dropped off, and because of the many outreach activities we are even attracting some new faces.
The sacraments and funerals are managed by our retired ministers as the need arises. This is in fact a popular place for retirees from all walks of life, and with such a lovely community spirit, magnificent beaches and forests, why not? Our frail aged [those who retired here longer ago] and ill are given the pastoral care required. The elders see to that.
Outreach happens in many different guises, the main one being Caring Club which meets fortnightly to entertain Nursing Home residents and other elderly community members. Often the volunteers are older than those they entertain. Dove In meets the needs of the lonely with a friendly cuppa four mornings a week. Books on Wheels take library materials to the shut-ins around town.
Moruya has a regular, post-communion lunch, and is kept busy maintaining their historic granite building. It got a big restoration in time for their 150th Anniversary last year.
They have recently had assistance in the church garden from Community Services.
We have twice yearly fund raising concerts which are proving very popular with both the local community who make up the audience, and with the performers who get an opportunity to showcase their incredible talent.
The church’s catering corps got quite a workout in September with the hungry hordes wanting a taste of their famous cuisine at afternoon tea.
We created our own Three Tenors, three wonderful chaps with superb voices who have gone on to become greatly sought after not only in our shire but also neighbouring ones.
They will be performing at the upcoming Granitetown Festival in Moruya.
We also had the thrill of the Deep River Choir (see first photo) at our last concert. Their hypnotic harmonies and the African drumming and dancing were enthralling. They will also be performing at the festival. Several other bands, poets, dancers and choirs have generously provided their services to us free of charge.
The concerts have raised quite a bit of money for local charities and our church. The last concert gave all the proceeds to Pivot Point. Pivot Point continues to provide assistance to the needy, albeit in a dramatically reduced way.
Funding has been cut to all local emergency relief programs which leaves those needing help in a nasty hole. At present Pivot Point is only opening two mornings a week and we can only give dry groceries and toiletries.This is, sadly, a far cry from the grocery vouchers, pharmaceutical and travel assistance we used to offer. We pray that the government will respond to our request to finance our work.
We also pray that a minister or pastor somewhere out there will hear our cry for help and answer our call. He/she would be welcomed most warmly.