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Building the Kingdom in partnership – Anglicare and parishes together


St Matthew’s, Holland Park parishioner Randal Dennings tells us about his parish’s partnership with Anglicare and how other ministry-minded parishioners can get involved as Anglicare Parish Ambassadors

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When many of us reflect upon the work of the Anglican Church in our communities, we often concentrate upon what happens at an exclusively parish level. However, this approach can neglect broader parish initiatives and partnerships, including ministry with Anglicare, which is doing amazing work. Last year, over 53,000 people were assisted by Anglicare’s services and 1.3 million hours of support were provided.

As The Rev’d Canon Linda McWilliam, Anglicare’s Director of Mission, says: “Our church works best when it works together in partnership. Anglicare is wishing to build stronger partnerships with parishes and help them in their mission to serve their parishioners and communities.”

A ‘case study’ of this type of partnership is the relationship built over time between Anglicare and St Matthew’s Parish, Holland Park.

Priest-in-Charge of St Matthew’s, Fr Allan Paulsen explains how this partnership came about.

“We were approached by Anglicare to see if they could use our hall facilities to host a Men’s Support Group, as it was in an ideal location for them. We were happy to assist (and appreciated the income it incidentally provided).

“Once we started engaging with Anglicare, we welcomed the wider possibilities for a partnership with them to reach out to our broader community – particularly those who otherwise would not have any contact with us.

“Also, many of our parishioners are older and were confused about how they could access ‘in-home assistance’ and how to go about organising their transition to aged-care accommodation. Anglicare provided a morning session on these topics, which was opened to the whole community. Our first session in May 2018 attracted well over 60 people from our wider community, plus more from our own parishioners, and was very well received.

“Such was the response that further sessions have now been delivered, with similar positive feedback. After the presentation and open Q&A session, many took the opportunity to stay and chat with each other.

“We value our partnership with Anglicare and are planning further community events around the topics of ‘Living with dementia’ and ‘residential care’.”

So, how do parishes go about building stronger partnerships with Anglicare?

Canon Linda points to the Anglicare Parish Ambassadors Program as a great way to start. Many parishes already have some parishioners who are Anglicare supporters – either as volunteers or donors.

“These folk can be a valuable bridge between Anglicare and their parish,” Canon Linda said.

My wife, Susan, and I are parishioners of St Matthew’s, Holland Park and we have been Anglicare supporters for years and felt called to take up the role as Anglicare Parish Ambassadors after a discussion with Fr Allan and being appointed by the Parish Council. In this role, we are a local interface for Anglicare, as well as facilitate opportunities for community outreach in partnership with Anglicare.

Susan said that “We were grateful for Anglicare’s assistance some time back for our own family and we were looking for a concrete way to show our appreciation. I find the Ambassador Program a fun and rewarding activity for us as a couple. The great thing is that you can make of it what you want – it’s not a big time-consuming obligation…it just fits into the time you can give to it.”

Canon Linda encourages parishioners interested in building or strengthening its partnership with Anglicare to speak to their priest and then approach Canon Linda for a chat.

Perhaps, together, as priests, parishioners and Anglicare, we can plan for some opportunities in your community to help build the Kingdom.

For further information, please contact The Rev’d Canon Linda McWilliam on 07 38387551 or via email.


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