The Henley Fulham Uniting church (HFUC) is one congregation meeting on two sites. The heritage listed Temple Centre at 214 Military Road Henley Beach and at 16 Madeline Cres Fulham Gardens.The Henley Fulham congregation was formed on 31st of October 1999 from the amalgamation of 3 congregations: Fulham, Temple and Wesley. The Rev Christa Megaw is minister of the congregation and the website can be found at…http://henfuluc.org/
HFUC is located in the local government council area of Charles Sturt with a population of 116,000 at the 2016 census. The census recorded that UCA nominals was 4.9% of the population with 5,466 residents. UCA percentage in SA was 7.1%. (Nominals are those who tick the denominational box at the census). Henley Beach population was estimated at 6,000 with 322 nominals at 5.4%. Fulham population is about 2,200 with 187 UCA nominals. Nearby Fulham Gardens population was 6,200 and the UCA percentage is not noted. In this suburb Eastern Orthodox nominals were 13.3% compared with the state at 2.5%, Catholic at 34.8% compared with 18% in South Australia.
There are eight Uniting Church congregations in the LGA. Woodville, Henley-Fulham, Grange, Seaton, Royal Park United, West Lakes United, West Croydon, and Western Link, Findon.
Further information about this community can be ordered through the National Church Life Survey research agency at… http://communitysocialprofiles.com/community-connections-resources
Additional detailed information from the 2016 census can be found at…https://quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au › census › quickstat › SSC41407
UnitingSA is a major UCA service agency and provides an extensive range of community based programmes in the region. https://unitingsa.com.au/about-us/
“We, the people of Henley Fulham Uniting Church, Are called by God to be a Christ Centred community, demonstrating Christ’s qualities, knowing Christ’s peace, and challenged to be active in the wider community… So that others can know Christ as their Saviour and friend.”
“Our Mission is to draw people to Christ through our worship and community life by offering relevant activities that connect with people in the wider community.” Our catch phrase is: “Sharing Christ’s love with everyone”
Active in the Wider Community
In the past at our church has had the capacity to host a monthly Friday night Kids’ Club where children shared activities and a meal. Other activities included ‘Out and About’ for 70-80 ‘shut ins’ who were picked up and brought to our hall for great food and entertainment. Playgroups were held twice weekly and about 60 families were involved.
Now many members are elderly and unable to run programs such as these, but our people are still strong in the faith and keen to be involved in our local community. Our current aims are tailored to our current capacity. Some are short term; some are in the form of sponsorship.
Henley Friends for Life
Formed about ten years ago this group encourages people with a disability and their families, to meet monthly in a safe place to enjoy themselves over a Saturday night meal and activities. One of our congregation members instigated the group and members of the families involved have taken on the management of this group. The church makes our facilities available free of charge. Different groups within the church prepare and serve meals from time to time, and several regular church volunteers assist both in the program planning, and on the night.
Seeing Friends for Life relaxing and enjoying themselves immensely as they dance the night away (a very popular activity) and their families joining in an atmosphere that is safe, tolerant and encouraging testifies to the worth of this community connection. The evening commences with ‘God Time’ – a short opportunity for any of the group who wish to be involved in a short time with God.
Some of our short term projects are geared to Positive Ageing and include…
Positive Ageing – Circle of Friends
Three years ago Henley Fulham decided to host a coffee morning once a month, based on the Alzheimer’s Café theme world-wide. The participants preferred the name Circle of Friends.
There are many opportunities for people with dementia and their carers to attend support groups where often the two are separated: one to join activities, and one to attend support lectures.
The Alzheimers’ Café is a normal morning tea get together. Sometimes we meet at the church and sometimes at a coffee shop – where all present are treated the same as we chat, discuss a subject for the day, receive our ‘wallet text’ for the month, and generally spend an enjoyable time together. It is interesting that, over time, there have been joining requests from lonely people without dementia, and companions of people who have died have wanted to continue meeting – so the choosing of the name has worked well and all are welcome.
Positive Ageing – Blokes in the Kitchen
An identified need for men over 55 to learn to cook healthy meals and gain some knowledge about nutrition was addressed by these popular cooking classes. With three experienced, but not professional cooks, 8-10 men attend one night a week for 5 weeks, hear information about food handling and nutrition, they cook recipes especially selected to teach new skills each week. They work in pairs (different each week) to prepare a soup, 2 main courses and a sweet. Once cooked, the preparers serve their dish and all the men and the helpers share the meal together. The participants have been both church members and community members, creating the opportunity for new relationships and great camaraderie between the men.
Current Challenges with COVID-19 !!! What can we do?
Pay it Forward. After conversation with a café owner ‘ministering’ to overwhelmed, anxious, stressed people, our church responded with donations to a Pay it Forward program to supply coffees to these people via this café.
Teenage Checkout Staff under stress from abusive people. How can we show compassion? Our church responded with boxes of chocolate for two local supermarket check-out staff – greatly appreciated by the staff (and acknowledged with thanks by the Manager).
Stressed School Staff. At the start of the crisis the whole school community, educators, pastoral/support staff, children, siblings, parents and carers all experiencing levels of stress. Can the church provide strategies and ensure our school communities feel they are seen and heard? Copies of Stress Less books were purchased and placed in staff rooms. To show gratitude and empathy for these front-line workers, the whole team at GP practices were given a Tea Tonic – wellbeing tea selection, with a touch of ‘take what you need’.
Messy Church Changes! Messy Church is normally held on the 3rd Sunday of the month. During COVID-19 we have delivered activity bags to families who then had an artistic opportunity to contribute hearts, butterflies and Anzac Day poppies for the glass windows and doors of our churches. No church but the church moved into the community. Other church members also constructed ‘Palm Leaves on Poles’ on Palm Sunday, and ‘Branch Crosses in the Ground’ over the Easter and Anzac period.
R U O K? We Care. Our A-frame sign standing inside the glass window and clearly visible from the street has this message along with the Lifeline phone number on display during this difficult period.
When we return to our normal routine other church groups welcome community members to…
- Our Fellowship that meets monthly to hear a speaker, share morning tea and support various community organisations. This is a well-attended and hard working group who raises money by holding two fundraisers each year, and caters for various events, with the funds being distributed to community organisations at the end of each year.
- A Craft Group that meets twice monthly to share skills and enjoy each other’s company over a cuppa. Some members prefer to finish something started previously while others join in to learn something new. Having friends who are able to help solve a crafty problem is especially valued.
- Each December our church is fortunate to be welcome at a local Primary School for a day to present in costume the Nativity story to each class of Junior Primary children (with parental permission). The focus is changed every year, but at the end of their session, each class is delighted to ice (and usually eat) a star biscuit which they decorate with tubes of icing and decorations provided by the church. (150 children in 2019).