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St Faith’s, Strathpine sew happy with seamless appeal


“When the President of Mothers Union in the Diocese of Malaita, Catherine Lamani, turned up to a mid-week service at St Faith’s, Strathpine in September last year, we got chatting,” says Pam Lynam

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When the President of Mothers Union in the Diocese of Malaita, Catherine Lamani, turned up to a mid-week service at St Faith’s, Strathpine in September last year, we got chatting. Our parish priest, The Rev’d Daniel Sitaram, joined in the post-service conversation, asking Catherine, “What is your greatest need?”

She replied, “Sewing machines, so local women can earn a living. And, fabric because it is so expensive on the islands.”

The Rev’d Daniel then suggested we appeal for sewing machines via the ‘Wednesday Weekly’ e-newsletter and see what came in from there.

Soon after the first ‘Wednesday Weekly’ classified went out, I received emails and text messages from The Parish of Redcliffe to The Parish of Freshwater to The Parish of Mt Gravatt.

It was lovely being contacted from Judith at St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt, who said they had seen the ‘Wednesday Weekly’ appeal and that they had funds for such a project.

I then went to a local sewing machine business, Stumer’s Sewing Centre, in Strathpine, who sold us two machines at a good price. We were able to bless a local business using funds provided by St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt.

To our surprise and delight sewing machines were just dropped off at our church with a note and others we picked up.

In total, we received about 20 sewing machines. All of the machines were checked and serviced by either Stumer’s Sewing Centre or a generous retired sewing machine mechanic at Burpengary – at no cost.

We also packaged up eight boxes of fabric and thread. Over the years our parish has been running a craft stall. As a result, we had amassed many fabric and thread donations. ‘Wednesday Weekly’ readers also generously donated sewing materials.

We did not expect so many machines – we initially thought that we may get five or so and that seasonal workers (from The Rev’d Daniel’s previous church at Stanthorpe) would be able to take them home as luggage and then distribute them from there.

We soon realised that we would need to ship the donations to Honiara (Malaita is in the Solomon Islands). Whilst we were given some funds towards this, we needed more to pay for shipping. Proceeds from last year’s Christmas gift wrapping stall more than covered what we needed.

The Rev'd Daniel Sitaram and Rob Lynam

“The Rev’d Daniel Sitaram and Rob Lynam of St Faith’s, Strathpine loading sewing machines and eight boxes of textiles for shipping to bless the women of Malaita on 27 January 2023” (Pam Lynam)

The logistics involved in picking up the sewing machines and textiles and distributing them to the island of Malaita were significant. Cathy Lamani and her Secretary were delighted that the freighter Sofrana Tourville arrived safely in Honiara on Monday 13 March. They have been doing the paperwork with the customs officer to take possession of the goods for delivery to the island of Malaita.

Our whole church community is really delighted with our Diocese’s response to the appeal. Before the sewing machines and textiles were taken to the shipping agent, we set up some of the sewing machines in the sanctuary area to give thanks to God and pray for a blessing upon them and upon the hands that will use the machines.

Right from the start – from the serendipitous conversation with Catherine to The Rev’d Daniel’s intentional question to the generosity of community members – this entire initiative has been blessed by God.

The hardest work involved loading the items into the boot and trailer – it was all just so seamless.

I felt God’s hand on the initiative at all times. Thank you to all those who assisted.

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