Fifteen years ago, trading commenced in what is now a well-known stopover in Crib Point. Through the generosity of the Burley family and commitment and contributions of Western Port UC Parish members, a shop front was secured and fitted out. A committee was formed. And their mission  outreach has grown.

Why do the churches of Balnarring, Crib Point and Hastings share in this ministry?

  • It gives meaning to Christian living.
  • The Op Shop financially supports the UCA, particular agencies and appeals, the Western Port UC Parish, international humanitarian charities, and numerous Western Port community organisations.
  • The place is a hub that provides social connection for volunteers, donors, and customers.
  • The activity also promotes environmental sustainability.

How is this part of their sense of mission?

Colin Watt said, “Our Op Shop is very much about people and is a place of purpose. It offers a welcoming and charitable environment, builds community relationships, and practices social inclusion.  It is useful place for sharing Parish and community information.  Our Shop promotes environmental sustainability and generates enormous, goodwill amongst Western Port communities.  We also offer household goods, clothing, and education resources through the Mission Liaison Group to Pacific Island people.”

This fits the Parish Mission Statement which speaks of promoting Christ’s love and compassion for all people by building a caring, peaceful, and inclusive community which creates an equitable and sustainable world in the spirit of Christian gratitude.

The UC Code of Conduct and Working With Children Check provisions are applied to all volunteers.

What advice would they give to others wanting to run an Op Shop?

  • Prayerful discernment to ensure this is God’s calling.
  • Supports the church’s Mission Statement.
  • Communicate with the congregation and obtain it’s approval.
  • Develop a Business Plan
  • Visit Op Shops and meet with the managements.
  • Liaise with Presbytery and Synod departments
  • Compliance with Government and municipal regulations
  • Write and implement a Management \ Procedures Manual

“Our volunteers are a blend of church and non-church people harmoniously working together,” Colin continued.  “The Shop espouses Christian principles and the UCA ethos. Parish contacts, services and activities are on display in the Shop.  All advertising promotes the UC and Parish.”

Interview by Helen Beeby