A Friendship Community
Across our two parishes, there is a range of friendship groups that come together around particular interests, hobbies or talents. These groups include:
- The Craft Group
- The Hospitality Group
- OLGC Tennis Club
- The Press Club
- The Friendship Group
- Kitty Craft
- The Youth Engagement Project (YEP)
Members of these groups attest to the varied benefits they experience, with some recurring themes being the opportunities their involvement offers for new friendships, companionship, community engagement and contributing to the parish in ‘ways that work’ for them as individuals.
A common experience of all the groups is the delight experienced when new people decide to ‘check us out’ or ‘give us a go’. The key message that current members are keen to communicate is that while interested people are welcomed with open arms, a ‘no pressure / no strings attached’ modus operandi is underway in the early days of this welcome. People should not feel locked into attending all scheduled events, or to ‘sign up’ without first having had sufficient time to establish whether their investment of time and energy to the group is worthwhile for them.
Hospitality is a significant service to our parishes and parishioners. It invites inclusion and offers welcome to all. Across our two parishes, close to 50 volunteers in the Hospitality Group provide refreshments after one or more of the Sunday Masses, giving all parishioners the opportunity to meet and greet each other over a cup of coffee or tea. When we have special events happening in our parishes, the Hospitality Group rises to the occasion, providing food and service for parishioners and visitors.
As you might well imagine, new members who can assist at various events are welcomed with open arms!
The Friendship Group has become a social outlet for many parishioners across Deepdene & Balwyn and Camberwell Parishes. The group was established in late 2017 after some parishioners identified the need for greater social connection.
A range of activities are scheduled throughout the year, including morning tea and cards each fortnight, periodic movie screenings, lunches, a monthly patchwork group and garden tours. Members of the group propose ideas and take the lead in their delivery. New friendships have been formed and interests have been nurtured.
The Craft Group
The Craft Group meets on a monthly basis and has sewn a number of quilts over the years to donate to asylum seekers, refugees and organisations who serve people in need. One of these organisations is the Knit One Give One (KOGO) Project, which the group members have warmly embraced. The KOGO project enables many people across Victoria to donate their time and skills with knitting and crocheting to producing warm winter items for children and adults in need throughout Melbourne.
Even if unable to attend the Craft Group, parishioners are invited to support Knit One Give One Project by donating spare wool, or by donating their time and wool to knit or crochet the items for babies, children or adults that KOGO will then distribute. Suggested patterns in different ply wools for blankets, beanies/hats, gloves, scarves, socks and toy patterns are available online at www.kogo.org.au/patterns. NOTE: Completed items may be left at the Parish Office and Kate Baines will ensure the goods are delivered to the KOGO office.
To find out more about this group, contact Kate Baines at the Parish Office on 9816 9291 or at Kate.Baines@cam.org.au
An important line of communication across the parishes is the Weekly Newsletter. It is available in hardcopy at the Church doors (OLGC, All Hallows and OLV) to all who attend weekend liturgies and events. It is also emailed to subscribers who prefer the electronic version.
Each Friday afternoon, a small, dedicated group meet at the Parish Office to fold the Newsletter. They enjoy the weekly get-together and engage in a fair amount of listening, encouragement and support of each other in responding to both the joys and setbacks of day-to-day living.
Why the name ‘Press Club’? Anna Lee, a member of the group, introduced the title. The group is happy to be titled the Press Club as yes, they do ‘press’ by hand each threefold copy.
To find out more about this group, contact Sally Mcintosh at the Parish Office on 9816 9291 or at Sally.McIntosh@cam.org.au