Friday, April 19, 2024

News from Kaniva & Serviceton Shared Ministry

Recent stories

Diane Eastwood, Secretary Kaniva & Serviceton Shared Ministry, Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times

Just prior to the onset of Covid 19, the Kaniva & Serviceton Shared Ministry conducted a Review (by an independent team) of their ministry throughout the local community. Ministry in this sense includes Sunday worship services, Hospital Day Centre services, Bible Study groups, Fellowship groups, Pastoral Care, Children’s Ministry, Minister’s Association as well as our governance structures and building resources (Church of Christ and Uniting Church).

After some delays due to restrictions we received the outcomes from the Review and in 2022 began looking at ways to address a number of the findings. The Shared Ministry agreement between the Church of Christ and Uniting Church has been running for 25 years and was established to help fund a Minister who would be responsible for the congregations at Kaniva and Serviceton, whilst still retaining their own identity, buildings and control of financial matters. One of the findings from the review focused on the fact that our congregations in both towns are made up of a number of people from denominations other than C of C and UCA, but because of the structure of the Agreement, these people were not able to hold positions on committees or to have input into governance in general.

We all know the impact of a declining population on the sustainability of organisations and the very real effects of burnout on members who are finding it more difficult to encourage new people into roles of leadership.

We are also without a ‘Ministry in Placement’ at this time which also increases the burden on members of our congregations.

Over the past 12 months the leadership and congregations of the Shared Ministry in Kaniva & Serviceton have been meeting independently and looking at how some of these issues can be addressed. There has been much discussion, prayer and seeking of God’s wisdom in how best to move forward, and there is some exciting news!

In December 2023, the Serviceton congregation made the decision to set up a ‘Serviceton Community Church’, which will not be aligned with any one particular denomination. This will take effect from 1st July 2024. The members of the Serviceton Church are committed, faithful Christians whose prayer and discernment have led them to this decision. May God richly bless them and their new Community Church.

As such, from the 1st July, the current “Shared Ministry Agreement’ will cease to exist in its current form.

The Kaniva congregation of the current ‘Shared Ministry’ will continue honouring our obligations to the Uniting Church and Churches of Christ movements whilst at the same time exploring ways to develop a sustainable ministry. To this end, we have entered into a ‘Niche Ministry’ agreement with Simon Risson, the Senior Pastor at the Horsham Churches of Christ. Simon will be in Kaniva once a month to meet with members of the community as well as the Kaniva Leadership Team where we will explore further our capacity for leadership, the resources required and our commitment to encouraging discipleship in God’s Kingdom.

The other development in the local community which played out late last year was the departure of the Salvation Army Minister which has led to the closing of the Salvation Army Church and Opportunity Shop/Food Bank.

The Op-Shop and Food Bank played a hugely important welfare role for individuals and families as well as for the numerous volunteers who worked there.

The Kaniva Leadership Team have been exploring ways to reopen the Op-Shop. Since the Salvation Army intended to sell the building, other locations were investigated. The Kaniva Leadership Team recommended that we trial a “Pop-up Op-Shop” in the Kaniva Fellowship Centre, and at the UCA General Meeting held on 7th Feb this recommendation was agreed to. This is exciting news! The details and logistics of opening times and days, which space to use and management issues are yet to be finalised but our intention is to have it up and running ASAP. Further to this, the Food Bank will also operate out of the Fellowship Centre as well and will, again, be available as soon as possible.

Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times 21 February 2024

This article appeared in the Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, 21 February 2024.


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