Minister`s Report for Armadale AGM – Sunday 27st February 2022
2021 was another challenging year for us at Armadale.
Despite this – because of this?! –
it has continued to be a joy to work with and minister alongside you.
We continue to think seriously about who we are, as a community of faith,
how to deepen and grow our faith, and how we might, in these COVID times,
remain open to others in the wider community.
On the whole, we have remained united, supportive of each other,
and open to strangers among us.
We have continued to explore and ask questions about our faith.
We are looking to find ways to partner with our tenant – Arrow Health.
And we have worked to find out more about the First Peoples of Australia
and our relationship with them.
Special thanks to Bill Rush as Chair of Council for his unfailing support and deep wisdom – and to all the members of Council who have given their time and energy to dealing with a range of complex issues as they cropped up.
Council has been responsive rather than reactive to instructions from Presbytery and Synod, and are to be commended for their thoughtfulness and considerateness in the process. I am most grateful for their wisdom and support.
Some things from these past twelve months…
Worship – we were pretty locked down for large portions of 2021 though it was a joy to be in church for Advent and Christmas. While lockdown persisted, we continued to meet for worship via Zoom. Attendance on a Sunday morning was encouraging.
Given COVID restrictions, it wasn`t possible to meet for quiet prayer in the church on Wednesday mornings. We did continue to meet on Zoom however.
We were not able to meet with other UCA congregations as normally we would have on the fifth Sundays.
This year it was a great encouragement to welcome three people into membership: welcome Karen, Charlotte and Trish.
Pastoral Care – During lockdown, Council decided to `divvy up` the directory; each person taking responsibility for caring for another during lockdown. It was sad to lose Pat Tolson – a faithful member at Armadale and we miss Yvonne Smith who has moved away from the area.
Christian Education – during the year, we had a study series looking at the Statement from the Heart, taking seriously one of Synod`s mission and vision principles – Walking Together as First and Second peoples.
We are looking to develop our awareness and understanding of some of the issues for First Peoples in Australia – especially during National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
And we are committed to promoting mental health – partnering in some measure with Arrow Health and Uniting Prahran – especially during Mental Health Week in October..
Children and Families – During lockdown, there was something offered every week for the children. We miss the children from morning worship – and we understand…
Keeping Children Safe – Council takes this issue very seriously. New training has just been released for us to engage with this year. Thanks to Susie Condron who works as our Child Safety person.
Hospitality and Welcome – not possible on site this past year.
Finance and Stewardship – See treasurer`s report…We thank everyone who has continued to give generously. And we especially thank our treasurer Susie who has kept the books in order, notwithstanding her own considerable professional and person responsibilities.
Property – Thanks to Bill, Ryan and David for overseeing the significant repair work of the past year.
Community involvement and agencies – All our community activities were necessarily suspended in 2021 but hopefully this will change this year.
One notable event was a panel made up of members of Arrow Health and a Q and A with them during Mental Health Week on Zoom. We look forward to exploring how we might build this relationship together.
The ESMA group – East Stonnington Ministers` Assoc. – an ecumenical gathering every quarter – continued to meet for lunch via Zoom. Two of the stalwarts of the group – Howard (Anglican) and Alan (Roman Catholic) have left now for other responsibilities.
In conclusion, I would reiterate my thanks to Bill and to the Church Council for their help to me personally. They have been unfailing in their generous and invaluable support to me in my ministry role.
And I continue to be grateful to each and every one of you who continues to encourage and teach me about what it means to follow Jesus in this place, at this time.
May we continue into the next twelve months with gratitude, hope and confidence.
`Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.` The Message
Fiona Winn February 2022