What a wonderful turn out we had for the Annual General Meeting last Sunday with 64 people in attendance and 10 apologies. To me it is the sign of a vibrant community. I want here to pay tribute to Susan Jones, our Minister, for the role she has in leading us spiritually and in so many other ways. It was clear that people had read the Annual Report too, as a number had picked up inadvertent typos and omissions. We will make those corrections before the report gets filed in its final version at the Charities Service by 31 December.
I reflected during the service on how we operate as a faith community, what motives us and makes us ‘uniquely St Andrew’s on The Terrace’. Our church and our centre are inextricably linked. The centre is part of our mission of ‘church in the city’ as well as earning revenue to help us function. We also rely on weekly offerings to help fund our ministry. We find ourselves currently thinking about how we might increase regular, planned giving to improve this situation. It’s part of our stewardship challenge, which spans from faith in action to care of our resources. Giving is central to how we operate, whether it is a gift of time, energy, talents or money.
Volunteers are part of every church community. Last Sunday, we heard from several of our volunteers who participate regularly in our activities: meeting and greeting people on Sunday mornings; working on Parish Council or to sub-groups; and organising activities such as Spirited Conversations. They told us about what motivates them to participate. Some people know they will get more out of an activity if they put time into it; others simply love the involvement in our community – with the children, with other members of our adult community or reaching out more widely. Everyone who volunteers brings skills and passion to their involvement and this enriches us as a community.
Perhaps what makes us unique is the breadth of activities we engage in and the fact that we rely on the combination of our very able staff and a large team of volunteers to achieve the things we do. We are diverse in our interests and in our mission. We are known not only as a place of worship, but also as a fine music venue, a welcoming meeting place, as a place for theological education and reflection and as champions of the social justice issues which confront us in the 21st century.
Being willing and able to ‘put ourselves out there’ for the changes we want to see in our city and in our nation is a privilege. As a lively and credible church within the wider Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, we are building on its laudable record, dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, as champions of education and social justice issues. We don’t agree with everyone else in the church on everything that happens but we do have the freedom to speak out and stand up for what we believe is right. We do that in the knowledge that we are well run, healthy institution in our own right.
Lynne Dovey, Parish Council Convenor
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