Christine MacDowall, a retired minister and member of the Springvale Uniting Church, shares encouraging stories of partnership with Mission Liaison Group in Keysborough
and Craft for a Cause gift shop in Horsham.

A container was packed by the Mission Liaison Group in Keysborough and after nine days’ sailing across the seas, it docked and was unpacked in Tonga. Sorting was a huge task, allocating the goods to the people who needed them the most on the mainland and surrounding islands. One of John Connan’s photos from Mission Liaison Group, shows a tiny boat full to the gunwales setting out for Eueiki. We had prayed a blessing on our gift and those who would receive it. Far-Out Outreach!

In mid July we invited our friends, the Tongan and the South Sudanese congregations to share worship with us. Rev. Paul Dau led worship with nearly fifty people contributing heartfelt pre-service singing, hymns, Bible readings, prayers and reflections. Then we shared a feast with scrumptious food – noodles, pasta, roast pork with yams and sweet potatoes, spring rolls, sandwiches – what a delight. A retiring offering was collected to be sent to Tonga – as ‘close-in’ neighbours we reach ‘far-out’ in love and compassion.

During Covid lockdowns many blankets were knitted from donated yarns of every shape and colour imaginable. Some of these went to our dear friend Faye Cheyne, who volunteers at Horsham’s interchurch Craft for a Cause gift shop.

Faye shared a story with us, about one of the knitted blankets. In her article she wrote in the Horsham UC Newsletter, she says it was “Three Times Blessed … “

Springvale UCA Op Shop has been reaching out and serving their community for almost 30 years. At times they receive donations of wool, and ladies knit blankets and small rugs. As these rugs can’t get the monetary return they deserve in their shop, they come to the Craft for a Cause shop in Horsham where they are sold. The Craft shop gets 25%, and Springvale Op Shop gets 75%.

Faye continued to share…“that a lady came into the Craft Shop and admired the beautiful rug and when she heard where it came from, purchased it and handed it straight back to pass on to Pastor Susan to give to someone in need. The Spirit blows where it will.”