Looking forward & looking back
Advent is a time of looking forward and looking back. Looking back over the year, I acknowledge the work of our members during lockdowns and the changing environment that Covid-19 brought. Not only were there health and safety issues, but vaccination drives and status became a real focus. This was not easy to navigate through and added yet another layer of stress to already stretched Missions. And through all this the Missions and parishes carried on with their work with the vulnerable and marginalised.
Looking back to Conference 2015 when it agreed to set aside 2% of the sales of Grafton Downs for social housing - this was at a time when there less than 3,500 households on the social housing register. There is now over 24,500 households on the register. That is an increase in over 21,000 households in six years. At Conference 2021, Grafton Downs transferred the first tranche of $2M to the Methodist Church to put into a social housing fund. Looking forward we will be able to see how these funds will enable the Connexion to build more social housing and make a significant difference in the lives of whānau around the motu who have no stable or suitable accommodation.
Looking back, we can see the Holy Family had a lot in common with our most vulnerable whānau today. Many whānau, just like the Holy Family, struggle to find a home that meets their needs.
Looking back, all the Missions started in Methodist Parishes who were driven to work with their local community to make life better. There were residential homes for children and the elderly, food parcel deliveries, goodwill shops, etc. Now the Missions are independent organisations that still report to Conference and still provide services to children, older people, and those in need. Looking forward, the services may change but the Missions will continue to work with those on the margins and those in need.
Looking back the work of the Missions has always been supported by you – ordinary Methodist folk who share the vision for a just and inclusive society. You have all played your part in this work. Looking forward I am confident that your support will continue.
We enjoy basic privileges that the people we work with often do not have. Here is an Advent calendar that brings our privilege into the forefront of our minds. It encourages you to donate $ in recognition of this privilege and at the end of Advent, you can donate this to your local mission, or parish, or a charitable organisation of your choice.
Wishing you a festive season that’s merry and bright with the light of God’s love. May the melody and spirit of Christmas fill your home with hope, love, joy and peace.
Carol Barron, National Coordinator 03 375 0512 | 027 561 9164 | Carol@MethodistAlliance.org.nz