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The Support Network was established to complement the welfare work of Christadelphian Ecclesias. Originally called the Care Group, it is not designed to encroach on ecclesial autonomy or to replace or interfere with the pastoral care and support which is the ongoing responsibility of each ecclesia. The Support Network wants to be seen as offering a complementary service to Ecclesias by providing them with additional skills and expertise as and when required . The Support Network will assist Ecclesias and individuals in coping with the more complex and difficult issues that face our community today.
The Support Networkhas taken out Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover the activities of the counsellors.
An important part of the work of the Support Network is to raise awareness within the Brotherhood. To do this the Support Network will run seminars on subjects relevant to the welfare of brethren and sisters. We will attempt to provide speakers, workshops and seminars requested by bre and sis or considered to be important in assisting people to deal with issues that arise.
The Support Network counselling service is the 24 hour phone contact line. This service is manned by trained contact workers who provide an anonymous support service to brethren and sisters and their families. The cost of the call is carried by the Support Network which makes the service accessible to everyone.
The Support Network will also produce a Newsletter at regular intervals to keep the brotherhood advised of its activities, to raise awareness on a variety of subjects, to provide book reviews and general information.
Every year the Support Network submits an Annual Report to Ecclesias that will detail the activities undertaken for that year and the Financial situation. We encourage brethren and sisteers to read our Mission Statement.
We have a very active and enthusiastic Committee but would always welcome new members to join us. The only requirement for joining the Committee is a desire to serve our brethren and sisters and to touch the hearts of those who are struggling through difficult situations.
We pray for God's blessing to be with us in this work.
A group of interested brethren and sisters met informally at the Melbourne Conference in January 1998 to see if there was an interest in forming a Care Group along the lines of those already in operation in the UK. Canada, and other states in Australia. Subsequently a Steering Committee was appointed to assess the level of interest and possible support for setting up a Care Group in Victoria. That steering committee was made up of: Br Rex Dupé, Sis Millie Button, Br John Ikin, Sis Helen Smallwood, Br Peter Osborn and Sis Cheryl Taylor.
The role of the steering committee was to canvass the Victorian Ecclesias via a questionnaire to see if they would support a care group. They were to also canvass all brethren and sisters individually to see what sort of support services may be needed and to ask for volunteers and assistance in running the group.
They were to gather information, take advice and learn from the hard-earned experience of other Care Groups around the world to assist in the setting up of the group. They were to gather material and information that could be used as a resource for the Care Group and brethren and sisters.
The Ecclesial survey in September 1998 met with a very positive response with a total of 9 responses. Six in favour, one no, one undecided, and one suggesting a meeting with Victorian Christadelphian Welfare Association to discuss the issue.
The results of the individual survey indicated support and a real need for a Care Group, the responses received enabled the steering committee to prioritise the kind of support the proposed Care Group would offer.
These were as follows: -
The steering Committee approached the VCWA via the Olivet Committee of Management to seek either the incorporation of the Care Group into the association or to be under their auspice. It was pointed out by the Olivet committee of Management that the focus of the Victorian Welfare Associations was on aged and disabled care through the Olivet facility, a focus which is reflected though the excellent work they perform in relation to the Olivet complex. It was also pointed out that to incorporate the Care Group into the Welfare Association would require some major changes to the Olivet Constitution. As this could take some time, and in order to be able to offer some of the services that were highlighted as being needed immediately by the Ecclesial survey, it was decided to press ahead as an autonomous group.
The current members are:
|Br. Rex Dupé. (Secretary)||Ringwood||03 9736 4663|
|Sr. Helen Smallwood||Clayton||03 9578 8267|
|Sr. Lesley Stevenson||Canterbury||03 9722 1963|
|Sr. Donna Walker||Ringwood||03 9872 3116|
|Sr. Vicki Ladson||Ringwood||03 9727 2026|
|Sr. Suzanne Russell||Ringwood||03 9873 7911|