Title: Church and Community Ecumenical Pantry Project – A Caring and Unifying Project.
Project Location: Dayboro Uniting Church – on the rural fringe just outside of Brisbane located in the hills and valleys of Dayboro, Mt Mee, Ocean View, Mt Pleasant, Samsonvale, Kobble, Armstrong and Lacey’s Creeks.
Timeline for Project: The Project began in 2006 when the local Combined Churches Committee (Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Uniting and AOG) identified a common goal of serving the community through welfare and pastoral care.
2006 Commencement of an ecumenical Pantry storage and distribution centre in the Uniting Church with a satellite collection point in the Catholic Church. The Lutheran and AOG Churches brought supplies of food and household needs to the Uniting Church. The Combined Churches Committee received referrals from church members and sent two members to visit a needy situation and assess the need. A recommendation was then made to supply goods on a regular basis. Congregations were encouraged to keep up the supplies for the pantry. On average two families a week were being supported.
2007 The local IGA store began making regular contributions of food to the Pantry. The Committee received donations from church members and the community and converted these to shopping vouchers. Because significant sums of money were being donated to the project, a bank account was opened (Community Chest) and the whole community has been invited to contribute to the project. On average three families a week were being supported.
2008 A local developer made his helicopter available for joy rides at the annual Dayboro Day Festival to raise funds for the project and handed over $3000. All five churches became collection points. Two managers were appointed to organise, collect and distribute food and goods. A casserole bank was commenced and located in a new freezer in the Uniting Church. Three cooks from one of the congregations were appointed for six months to make casseroles and receive payment for the cost of materials. The project was now distributing casseroles on a short and long term basis when crises hit families and individuals. A storage shed was built at the Uniting Church where clothes and other items were stored. A larger shed was provided on a farm property for furniture storage. The local Lions Club established a partnership with the Churches taking responsibility for some new initiatives including the hiring of safety alarm necklaces for elderly people.
2009 A Pastoral Care team was identified with representatives from the five churches who formed the pantry in 2006. This team is to be trained as responders to local family crises. The pantry has now expanded its role to include clothes, which are now being recycled/restored by local people for distribution where needed. The Pantry now includes a casserole Bank and has grown to a point where on average five families are being supported at any one time. The local progress Association now supports the project and recently gave the project $3000 which was part of the takings from an Antiques Fair at the Dayboro Day Festival. The Uniting Church minister was invited to join the Medical Centres local consultative team and the project began to receive referrals from local doctors.
Name Dr Paul Inglis Landline07 3425 3220 Mobile 0414 672 222
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website under construction
Your Project Story :
Aim: To enact a series of projects starting with the Ecumenical Community Pantry that actively encourages and demonstrates a family friendly church that journeys and grows together and feels deeply to be a part of all decisions and achievements.
Your Project Story (description):
Aims: (i) To present the Christian Church to the Community as an organisation that cares while aiding the bigger goal of the Dayboro Churches to work as closely as they can on as many of their activities as possible. Combined energy, ideas and resources has become an essential part of survival for the church in many communities. This also addresses the principal of Christian unity espoused by all of the churches.
(ii) Changing the landscape of community attitudes about the Church
The Churches in Dayboro had become taken for granted organisations that existed outside the reality of most residents. Historically they had been strong influencers of the culture and had once attracted a large proportion of the population to their worship and activities. For at least two generations they had become outposts of an earlier era having little impact but tolerated as harmless and benign. This project was one of several initiatives taken on by the Combined Churches Committee to revitalise the link between church and community and to establish relevance for the churches in the modern era. It was also consistent with the changes that were taking place within the local Uniting Church since the commencement of Community Ministry in 2001.
(i) Drawing congregational members into active ministry
Most people can relate to family crisis at some point in their lives and there is a great tolerance and understanding of the notion of Christian love that gives without expecting return benefits. The project has gradually drawn every one from all of the churches into collaboration and helped to break down barriers of denominational difference. There has been great dialogue and interaction as we work on this common goal.
(ii) Incidental achievements
(a) Although it was never an expressed intention of the project to gain new members for the churches, this has happened as people feel the need to relate to caring churches. Some of the new members have been actual recipients of welfare and others have come because of the publicity and a feeling of wanting to part of a fellowship that does things to make this a better place. They can see an outlet for their own desire to be helpers in their community.
(ii) This and several other projects have bonded the ministry teams across the churches and brought them into more regular dialogue and shared decision-making. It has give the two residential ministers (UCA and AOG) a much closer working relationship and there is an evolving unity of fellowship between their congregations. Many activities and ministries are now done together.
Your group story: The local Uniting Church congregation was a small rural congregation that had for a long time been dependent on bigger congregations to look after us and provide leadership and resources. We had for a long time wanted to be an independent self managed and growing church. The idea to invite a local lay leader with appropriate qualifications and experience to become the first Community Minister in Queensland brought great changes. We gradually learnt to grow ourselves and to find all the resources locally expanding tenfold from 12 to 120 over an 8 year period to 2009. Having our own local leadership and an effective process for networking, goal setting, strategic planning and doing our own thing continues to amaze ourselves. We are being greatly blessed.
Reason for starting this project:
(i) The Uniting Church congregation wanted to find a ways to prove that they could survive and grow on their own. They wanted to move from dependency to independence and ultimately to demonstrate how this can be done. This was one of many initiatives that generated lots of participation by many members of the congregation and promoted active thinking and ownership of the churchâ€™s mission. The sharing of this project with the other local churches has made its impact greater and more credible in the community.
Outcomes of Project to date: Mentioned previously.
Assessment of effectiveness of project outcomes: How does the outcome compare to the aims of the project? How would you rate the success of the project and the journey you have travelled in implementing the project?
The project has brought developments far above and beyond the ambitions of the team that initiated it. It continues to grow and gain more responsibility and monthly meetings of the Churches Committee reviews the project for cases being supported, and resources being supplied. The project can be described as very successful on many grounds: community knowledge, professional opinion of medicos, government representatives and welfare agencies.
Project Management: What have you learned about the management of the project? What structures were needed (e.g. leadership, reporting, budgeting, risk management, insurance)
It was soon recognised that the ongoing success of the project and its incremental growth required managers that gave lots of time to its organisation and facilitation. The project now requires more trained facilitators as it moves closer to serious and critical family issues and economic challenges facing families.
What resources did you need to start and sustain the project? How did you find those resources?
The project initially required a good idea with people committed to making it work. This was not hard to find in this rural fringe community that had closely knit families. The supplies of food and donations of money have not been hard to acquire as most people want to help others, especially in the local community where they can see what is happening to the gifts.
How have you found the emotional intensity of the project? That is was it uplifting or hard yakka? The project promotes feelings of good will, ecumenism and enthusiasm for life and there is a self-sustaining energy that comes from witness to Jesus in this way.
The basis four step AL model of: action â€“> observation â€“> reflect â€“> planning â€“> (action â€“ next cycle) is being applied in monthly cycles by the Churches Committee and by the managers who feed information into that committee.
Learning Insights: Can be filled in as you go along with the project â€“ keep a record of the ah ha! moments): Some of these have been mentioned and more are being noted progressively.
Relationship benefits: What were the relationship benefits for your group?: Already explained.
Action Learning Circle: Many heads and hands make light work. How have you met together to plan and evaluate? Who outside your circle have you found helpful in your learning?
The internal reviewing process has been explained. Additionally we have engaged with local organisations and government representatives who have shown tremendous interest in the project. The latter have been willing to offer suggestions and moral support and encouragement.