Why does Manningham Uniting Church (MUC) choose to walk the path of deliberate community connection, relationship and learnings going forward?
MUC chose to become one by merging four previous UCA congregations in 2012. The congregation has committed to more deliberately engaging with and learning from the Manningham and broader communities.
MUC believes that Jesus walked with love in the world as one of the world; and showed us that God can be found in every face and interaction. If we enter relationships with acceptance, love and respect for the people we meet, while still being prepared to challenge behaviours as necessary, then together we can build a connected and inclusive community.
The current MUC Missional Community Development Strategy is based on Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). ABCD focuses on identifying and using the assets, talents and strengths in the community rather than emphasising the problems, needs and deficits. This builds cohesion, giving community hope and a positive vision for themselves. Every community also has natural resources of space and physical resources, and MUC will shortly add the new building to this mix.
The four years of this approach has built some great community connections, primarily locally but also more broadly. There are many identified local connections and all will be enhanced by the planned building, with an overall intergenerational focus. These include:
- Children Youth and Families (now part of CYF Strategy) – Playgroups; Kids Hope; support and mentoring relationships with Doncaster Secondary College; FRESH Youth Theatre
- Seniors (now part of Seniors Strategy) – Seniors Lunches; Dementia support and training; Care Network; Pastoral Care activities in aged care villages; Musical Memories
- Social Justice – Grandstand for the Environment; Connections Refugee and Asylum Seekers; Social Justice Action Group; Quiet Day at Templestowe, with shared resources; to include – family violence, youth self-harm
- Community – English Learning classes; Shared Garden; Neighbourhood events; Patchworkers and Knitting Groups; Anxiety Support; LinC; Carramar; Doncare; Interfaith groups; Pop-up Kitchen Trailer
- Worship – a variety of options for all age groups, including mid-week and aged care.
MUC wants to be really open and responsive to opportunities for community, inter-faith and business relationships as they arise, sometimes quite unexpectedly…….