UnitingWorld's Cath Taylor shares stories from the Pacific, including the visit Alexandra Bingham (pictured right) took to Lelehudi in Papua New Guinea in 2017 to document a UnitingWorld partnership.
Introducing Mrs Unity Hill
Posted in Culture
Held annually in January, the Port Lincoln Tunarama Festival is a time of fun, laughter and competition. It also provides a valuable opportunity for locals to connect with community – and this year, one Unity Hill Uniting Church member chose a special way to make this connection.
The Tunarama Ambassador Quest is one of the longest-running charity quests in Australia. Entrants in the quest are sponsored by a local organisation and raise funds for a charity or not-for-profit organisation of their choice based within the Eyre Peninsula.
In mid-2017, Benita Doughty (pictured, front right) was approached about being an entrant in the 2018 Tunarama Ambassador Quest. Benita is an active member of Unity Hill Uniting Church in Port Lincoln, where she serves as a youth leader and on Sunday worship teams. She approached the Unity Hill Church Council for advice, wisdom and prayer as she considered entering the quest. She was seeking God’s voice in the matter.
After her meeting with the Church Council, Benita decided to enter the quest and she was sponsored by the church to be “Mrs Unity Hill”.
In the lead up to the 2018 event, Benita raised funds for her chosen charity, Novita, who opened an office in Port Lincoln in November 2017. Novita provides child development, rehabilitation and disability services to young people, and support for their families and carers. This is a cause close to Benita’s heart.
“Novita helps people with disabilities, including autistic people. My husband’s autistic so my heart was there straight away,” Benita explains.
Besides offering an opportunity to support Novita, Benita’s involvement in the Tunarama Ambassador Quest also gave her a chance to share her faith with the wider community.
“There was excitement within our community that someone had the courage and conviction to represent the church at such a public event,” says Kay McDonald, a member of the Unity Hill Uniting Church Council.
“She wasn’t just representing the church she was witnessing!”
Benita was capably and prayerfully supported by the Unity Hill church community through all the activities involved in the quest, including fundraising, public appearances and the creation of a float for the Tunarama Parade.
In 2018, the Tunarama Festival was held in Port Lincoln from 25-28 January. At a Gala Ball held on Saturday 27 January, Benita received the People’s Choice Award for her participation as Mrs Unity Hill in the Ambassador Quest and was recognised for her work in the community.
“Working in the tourism industry at the local animal park, Benita is a very familiar face that always shines with joy,” says Rev Benji Callen, the lead pastor at Unity Hill Uniting Church.
“To have Benita so publicly link this to her church and her faith is great for the Gospel. She is truly living out part of our churches new vision to have ‘bold and joyful faith’.”
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