By Barry Morris
A SIGN on the front of the Anglican Centre in Mornington declares: “Our buildings may be closed, but our church is alive and well.”
The sign reflects the spirit that has driven Mornington community groups and churches to join forces and provide hope in the time of COVID-19.
The pandemic and particularly stage four restrictions have meant that church buildings have been closed, with most moving to become online/virtual churches.
“Alive and well” is the experience of most churches with some even recording an increase in people taking part in their new online format.
With a long history of working closely together, community groups and churches have formed a network to address community needs.
The network sprung out of the desire of Mornington/Mt Martha Inter Church Network (a group of parishioners from different churches), Peninsula Voice, which promotes a healthy and more connected community, and Mornington Community Information and Support Centre to work more closely with church leaders.
Mornington community and information support centre manager Stuart Davis-Meehan said: “We recognise that we are better when we all work together, in the interests of our local community.
“Churches are an important part of people’s lives in Mornington, Mount Martha and Mount Eliza, with some 56.1 per cent of the local population identifying as Christian in the last Census.”
The new group has met twice by ZOOM with members welcoming three new ministers to Mornington,
They are St Macartans Catholic Church parish priest, Father Geoff McIlroy, St Mark’s Uniting Church minister, the Rev Joy Blamires, and Mornington Salvation Army Corps officer Debbie Taylor.
The team will meet monthly to focus on recovery and rebuilding as the community moves through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.