Connecting Australian Anglican churches to the transformational work of our partners across the world, is central to the mission of Anglican Overseas Aid.
Revd. Chris Lancaster, of the Anglican Parish of Altona/Laverton, recently spoke to us about why they have supported AOA for so long.
Chris has been at the parish for nearly seven years. It’s his first parish as vicar; previously he was assistant curate at Sorrento/Rye and then at Brighton.
The Altona/Laverton parish normally has approximately 100 people across four services on a Sunday. The age range is from pre-schoolers to people in their 90s, generally with rather more people who are older than younger.
The parish has been supporting AOA for 30 years (almost as long as AOA has existed!). Chris said that they have a strong history of supporting mission agencies both locally and overseas. He adds that, “we see it as one way to enact our gratitude to God and our common humanity with those whose needs are greater than ours. We are glad to support AOA in part because of the focus that AOA places on parish relationships, and on providing resources to help our people engage with the issues of global poverty”.
Like a number of Anglican churches, the Altona/Laverton parish has an op shop, which is the main avenue through which the church raises money. The majority of the op shop’s takings are given away each year to needs outside the parish. The parish is open with publicising in the op shop and on its website where money is donated so that customers and others can know that their purchases support worthwhile causes.
At AOA, we believe that what we do is an essential part of the Gospel. This is also how Chris encourages people in the parish to support our work. “I try to include global needs and issues in my sermons on a regular basis,” he says, “and we sometimes have one-off retiring collections for particular needs”.
One of the benefits of being an Anglican agency is that we develop personal relationships with parishes. This has certainly been the case with the Altona/Laverton parish. Part of this involves working with the parish in its efforts to contribute to the alleviation of global poverty through preaching visits. We have also provided the parish with our recently issued Remembering the Poor Bible study series. The parish also makes use of the AOA quarterly prayer points in its parish prayers.