How did we begin?
A vision to see people encounter God while they are at uni prompted the birthing of CitySoul.
A core team of 20 became the foundation, choosing to invest in and build a new missional church.
What has happened?
We gather on Wednesday nights for Feast, a lively gathering of celebration, conversation, and communion
During the week we gather in CPR groups – Confession, Prayer and Reading the Scripture – and each group is also active in practical mission somewhere across the city.
Our theme has been: As It Is In Heaven – exploring the nature of God’s kingdom, and having that central in all we do.
We are a growing community, who love the city and who delight in the missional call of God.
Vision for the future?
Seeing people encounter Christ is our core calling.
Seeing the CitySoul community grow in healthy, integrated discipleship is the primary game.
Church follows mission – and so we anticipate CitySoul growing and changing as our mission field expands and diversifies.
Our theme next year will be Your Next Step – asking ourselves and the people of our city what is their next step in their journey of life and faith.
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Connections at Greenock
How did we begin?
In early 2007 we saw the genesis of this venture. It began with a courageous exploration of how a small congregation might respond to tightening constraints in our church's life. It took a lot of courage to say: "We will hold our final service in July". After so many years and so many memories, it looked as if it would be the end of the road. And it was in a traditional sense.
Nobody could have foreseen what would consequently unfold. The germ of an idea was there. But it would be quite some time before it was able to take off. First of all new energy and imagination and confidence had to be uncovered and enabled.
And so a vision developed for a different type of ministry – a community outreach venture incorporating café-style facilities, local art and craft, secondhand books, children’s corner with storytime, tourism information, ‘All Sing’ group, and youth bike club, as well as the usual ‘Care & Share’ prayer group and women’s fellowship group.
Following widespread consultation with church and community groups, an appeal was launched in support of this new community outreach venture in February 2008. Through business sponsorship, community donations, grant funds and volunteer support, the Church building and grounds were transformed within weeks! And following a Name and Logo Competition, this new and exciting venture was named ‘Connections’.
What is happening now?
The ‘Connections’ Ministry continues to successfully provide a quality low-cost service to the community whilst witnessing ‘faith in action’. This also includes funding a ‘Community Donations’ program acknowledging the valuable work of local community groups and/or initiatives, as well as UCA mission projects.
The ‘Connections’ Coffee Shop is open every Wednesday 10.00am-3.30pm and is proudly staffed by 20-25 volunteers from Greenock Uniting Church and the wider community. From 2009, Year 11 Hospitality Students from Faith Lutheran School have also assisted with the weekly operation of the Coffee Shop during school terms – including the provision of seasonal ‘lunch specials’.
‘Connections’ Coffee Shop also opens in support of community events such as the Tour Down Under, biannual Barossa Vintage Festival, and ‘Artisans at Greenock’ Twilight Market.
‘Children’s Storytime’ is held on the first Wednesday of each month at 10.30am, with free cupcakes for all children, and ‘Big Bikes, Little Bikes’ offers bike fun for primary school children and their parents/carers at the Greenock Centenary Park on the first Sunday of the month 4.00-5.00pm. A ‘Care & Share’ prayer group also meet on Tuesdays from 9.30am.
There are plans to provide more faith-sharing opportunities for congregation members and the wider community (e.g. faith forums, bible studies, parenting courses, Friday evening coffee lounge with guest speaker).
‘Connections’ is about sharing the Christian message with people of all ages and backgrounds in real and relevant ways – it is about connecting with people in their everyday lives, building relationships and fostering a sense of belonging. Through God’s grace, and the dedication and tireless efforts of a special group of volunteers, ‘Connections’ is making a difference in people’s lives!
What is the vision for the future?
The vision of Greenock Uniting Church is for “A growing family of all ages, discovering the Lord Jesus Christ and witnessing to His love and promises in real and relevant ways”. It is about being ‘missional’ rather than ‘institutional’ – taking church to the people rather than people coming to the church.
Development of ‘Connections’ by Greenock Uniting Church has been an extraordinary undertaking by the small and ageing congregation, and would not have been possible without the generosity and support of the wider community. Continuing strong partnerships and a significant volunteer base will be critical to the ongoing success of the venture. But ultimately, any vision for the future must come from God, and a mission rooted in Jesus Christ’s Great Commission.
Let this venture here in Greenock be understood as an 'acted out parable' of what we mean when we talk about death and resurrection. Unless the congregation took its bold decision to close for worship - and making that decision without knowing where it would lead - then this new life, this new vision, would never have sprung up in our midst. Who was it that said: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies…?”
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Hungry No More @ Mount Barker
How did we begin?
HNM was birthed from the ministry of Eric Paschke among prisoners at Mobilong. We began visiting some of the prisoner’s families and built a relationship with them. From this group of ex-prisoners, some of their family members and a couple of their friends grew a coffee/bible study/ personal growth morning, which included a crèche for the children. We called it Prime Time.
After a year or two, that group recognised the need for a free community meal with some Christian input, for those who were homeless, lonely, poor, and/or suffered depression and addiction problems.
So HNM started as a meal with a ten minute devotion in February 2001.
What is happening now?
A broad volunteer base that includes five UCA groups, a local Anglican church, a Rotary club and individuals provides and serves a weekly meal, with a smaller group of volunteers committed to the week by week organisation of HNM and to the children’s groups.
Our Mount Barker linked congregations have employed a youth worker and a junior youth worker for HNM - each for 3 hrs/week.
Our main aim is to build a Christian community that includes and empowers people who have often been excluded, rejected and forgotten.
This year we have started a new ‘church’ time called ‘Alive@5’, followed by ‘T@6’, the usual community meal. T@6 also stands alone as a ministry of hospitality. As well, we have started a small music jam session on Friday mornings, in particular for guitarists who attend HNM.
Vision for the future?
Empower HNM people to take more ownership, and to shape what happens at HNM.
Foster creativity according to the gifts and desires of HNM people. Music and drama are the preferences in the immediate future.
Build relationships of belonging and celebration through social gatherings and special purpose gatherings.
Learn the best way to support those wanting to move out of addictions. This may include developing housing options, and/or running a 12 step programme.
Make disciples through seeking more effective ways of learning of God through Scripture, and experiencing the presence of God through worship by developing Alive@5
The expression “one size doesn’t fit all” recognizes that there are many different ways of being church and reminds us that in our day a variety of new expressions of church is needed to embrace the diversity of people’s spiritual lives.
Could one of the new expressions of Church for the 21st century be a form inspired by the monastic communities and the religious orders that have brought their own particular gifts to the wider Church throughout history, and at times brought much needed reinvigoration to its life?
That is the question some people are exploring through the Stillpoint Community. Commencing in September 2005 with a once an month contemplative worship experience, the Stillpoint Community is seeking to respond to what it believes is God’s call to establish a Community which draws its life, wisdom and inspiration from the monastic tradition of the Church.
The Stillpoint Community believes God is calling us to nurture people in their spiritual formation as maturing disciples of Jesus and to deepen their lives in:
Centring on God
Community with Others
Compassionate Action in the World
Stillpoint Community seeks to live by a common rule which whilst general in nature finds specific expression through each member’s life, personality and vocation. It seeks to guide people into the joy of discipleship and the fullness of life by embracing practices of:
connecting with others