Care for a cuppa?
Care for a cuppa?
12 September 2019
A friendly conversation can be hard to come by when you live alone, but the team at Stawell Salvos in Central West Victoria has made a space for young and old to find the community they need.
“We identified that a number of people came to the Thrift Shop just wanting to chat, but the cash register just wasn’t the right place to do that,” said Ministry Assistant Sandra Pickens.
“Adjoining the Thrift Shop was a function room not being used. We simply opened the door for a cuppa and chat. What we didn’t expect was people literally banging down the door to get in!”
The weekly gathering is simply called ‘Care for a cuppa?’ and up to 40 people of all ages and backgrounds attend.
“We see people who are lonely, who are disengaged with the community, those who don’t have access to any support, people who are disadvantaged, and the elderly. Everyone is welcome to just come, often sitting and connecting with people they haven’t met before” said Sandra.
Since Stawell Corps started ‘Care for a cuppa?’ earlier this year, attendees have been thirsty to get involved, helping with set-up, pack-up, baking and even attending worship on Sunday.
“Volunteers from the Thrift Shop who attend other churches also sit down and provide a listening ear over a cuppa. As people engage with each other they have found commonalities like knitting, craft etc.,” said Sandra.
“We also have had the generosity of the corps folk coming and helping. Eileen, our Corps Sergeant Major, said God had placed it on her heart to play the harp. This has been a true blessing to so many people.
“We have a small congregation of mainly retirees at Stawell, and Eileen, Susan and many more can just come and sit and do life with people because they’ve walked with Jesus for a long time and are great ‘caretakers’ of people who feel so unloved.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, God sees you as his valuable workers and will use you for his purpose.”
For Sandra and the team, it’s never been clearer: God is at work in Stawell, and they’re just along for the ride.
“The beauty of ‘Care for a cuppa?’ is that we thought one and half hours was plenty for catching up, we underestimated that too. Three hours later it’s still a struggle to get people to go home!” Sandra said.
“God has provided love and support to a forgotten community. I’m so glad they are finding God’s love every week when they spend time with us.
“We can’t even walk down the main street anymore without people asking us to pray for them, whether it be in front of Safeway or in a coffee shop! We just put ourselves out there and God does the work.
“We’re showing that we’re a praying people. This is a real pivotal point of contact and for advancing the Kingdom of God.”