These past two weeks I enjoyed two opportunities in engaging our local community. I was part of the review panel for Blackforest Primary School Chaplain Ann Nadge. Ann has been at Blackforest for 11 years and is doing an extraordinary job. This school is on the edge of 2 council regions and has several vulnerable children and families. I am very impressed with Ann’s pastoral practice and strong rapport with children and their families. For her review Ann received strong positive feedback from staff and families including comments like:
‘Ann made a significant difference to my children as she supported them through a family breakdown/change of situation. She was wonderful & had a significant impact.’
The new principal Iain Elliot is committed to the wellbeing of students and Ann’s role. I was encouraged by the review and it is vital Unley churches retain a strong commitment to grow chaplaincy in our local schools. At Blackforest Primary there are practical opportunities to support children, their families and the school which our own church can partner in.
This week a few of our local pastors met with Unley Mayor Michael Hewitson. I found Mayor Hewitson to be an energetic, engaging leader who has a vision for Unley as a thriving city for all people. The Mayor sees the role of Unley council as a catalyst to work with organisations and people in building community. He strongly encouraged our churches to engage and serve in our area, to move beyond our congregations into our local community. There is a wonderful alignment with our own vision to strengthen communities.
We know church is good for us. Belonging means we are surrounded by community, care, hope, meaning and faith. These two connections invite our church to not be just good for us, but also for those whom God gives us opportunity.