Connecting Australian Anglican churches to the transformational work of our partners across the world, is central to the mission of Anglican Overseas Aid.
Father Nick Wallace, Vicar at the Anglican Parish of Sorrento and Rye, talks about the reasons the Parish partners with AOA. He smiles broadly as he opens the door and greets me. The vicar of the Anglican Parish of Sorrento and Rye is a sprightly figure who instantly makes you feel at ease as he engages you in conversation.
Nick has been at the Parish for eight years. He is the vicar of St Andrew’s in Rye and St John’s in Sorrento, as well as the surrounding region, which includes Portsea, Blairgowrie, Tootgarook, St Andrew’s Beach, and Rye and Sorrento themselves.
Partnering with churches is core to our work at AOA, and the Sorrento and Rye Parish has been supporting AOA for more than 25 years. It is a Parish that is participating with us on a journey of discipleship to explore issues of global poverty alleviation as part of what it means to follow Jesus.
So, what is it that encourages a Parish to support this work, and that of AOA in particular? When we put this question to Nick, his response made a lot of sense.
“When we have our Parish meetings…we like to support the Anglican Church in its various forms. People living on the Mornington Peninsula are quite aware of global issues. And of course, COVID-19 has brought that even more to people’s attention,” he said.
Nick is a great student of early church history, and this clearly inspires him in his work with the Parish. “People in the church have a concern for the needy, both at home and overseas. They and I see it as part of our Christian walk. We see this in the early church, with Paul and Barnabas being aware of their brothers and sisters in Christ elsewhere. Our walk with Jesus requires us to assist other people in their need.”
When you have your own passion for global issues, it quickly becomes infectious. For someone like Nick, that passion is closely linked to our work.
“I am very interested in the land of Palestine and Israel and what is happening there,” he said. “I have visited the Ahli Arab Hospital [which AOA supports]. And when you have a passion for these issues, you can’t just keep it to yourself. Then you can galvanise those passions into something wider,” he says, referring to his influence on his Parish.
“One of the things we appreciate as a church is that we can have a personal relationship with AOA. We receive a lot of mail that we cannot respond to in its entirety. So, to have that personal relationship where a member of AOA can visit us, is extremely valuable and has a tremendous impact.”
For AOA and our relationship with Anglican churches, we wouldn’t have it any other way.