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Ordinary time brings plenty of activity

This article was written by our CEO, Reverend Dr Bob Mitchell, for our Winter 2016 issue of Abundance

Over the past couple of years, we have been working to reframe our work through the rhythms of the church calendar and the vision of the kingdom of God. Examples include our revamped gift catalogue emphasising the Advent journey to Christmas, and our reflection booklets for Advent and Lent that have been warmly received across Australia.

But as we send this latest edition of Abundance to print, we have moved into that part of the church calendar known as ‘ordinary time’. This second period of ordinary time for the year begins after Pentecost, and finishes at the beginning of Advent.

The paradox for an agency such as Anglican Overseas Aid is that ordinary time is anything but ‘ordinary’ – in fact, it’s one of the busiest and most important times of the year. This includes seeking donations to our end-of-financial year appeal, which gives us the majority of our publicly donated funds.

This year we face a particularly challenging environment that includes cuts to the Australian aid budget, increases in postage costs, and a general public that seems to be tiring of being continually asked to contribute to charitable causes.

In times such as these, we also want to do all we can to reduce our costs so that we can ensure as much money as possible goes to our partners and their important work. You can help us by doing as much as possible online – by signing up to emails and making donations via our website, you help us to reduce the amount of postage and administrative work we have to do. Another option for reducing administration costs is to donate via workplace giving.

Over the coming months we will also be improving our online presence and systems. A new website will go live in the new financial year that will be fully enabled for mobile devices such as phones and tablets, which will make browsing and donating easier. We’ll also be streamlining our processes so that donation receipts will be automatically emailed to you instead of having to manually print and post them. This will save us time and money. Of course, if you still prefer a printed receipt, you will be able to tell us.

As we build for the future, I am thrilled to announce that long-term staff member Alison Preston has recently been appointed as Programs and Partnerships Manager. Alison started with us in 2003, and in that time has held marketing, church engagement, communications and programming roles. She has a deep knowledge of the organisation, the Anglican Communion both here and internationally, and all of our partners. I am sure she will flourish in her new role. Alison recently attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women session held in New York as part of a delegation of Anglican women from around the world.

Elsewhere in this edition of Abundance, you can read about what’s happening in our project countries. Marketing Manager Brian Holmes reports on our response to the Nepal earthquake, while Communications Advisor David Cook updates us on our solar project in Vanuatu, along with our response to Cyclone Pam that struck the country in March 2015.

There’s also a lift-out poster of the Kolkata cathedral in the centre pages, followed by a profile of our Indian partner, Cathedral Relief Service.

As always, I thank you for your ongoing support that allows us to play our part in working for the kingdom of God here on Earth.

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