The May Koorong catalogue arrived in the mailbox of one of our parishoners with its usual accompaniment of added brochures, most destined for the bin, but one caught her attention.
It was a promo for Australia’s National Day of Thanks scheduled for the 25th of May. With her interest piqued, she researched further and discovered ‘it is a day for Australians to pause as a nation and say thank you to God and to each other for those many things we often take for granted, those things that really make our lives worth living.’ (https://www.austhanks.org.au/)
There were many resources and ideas on the website for how churches could get involved. The following Sunday the idea of our church participating, and if so, how, was discussed. We decided to purchase thank you cards and write messages of thanks and appreciation to the various Flinders Island service and community organisations and businesses.
Initially we came up with some 16 groups but through the following week when we were writing cards the number grew to 22. At church we passed around each card so that all members could sign them, some adding extra messages of appreciation. This led to us realising there were still more groups so over morning tea extra cards were brought out, messages written, and passed around for signing. We all took cards to hand deliver in the week leading up to the 25th May.
A general message of thanks was printed in our local paper, Island News, and posted on the Flinders Island Community Facebook page.
We had great stories to share the following Sunday of people’s reactions to receiving the cards. Stories of people’s faces lighting up in amazement, stories of comments such as ‘We didn’t know the church did things like this’ or ‘I’ve never been thanked for doing my job before’.
One card was delivered along with a beautiful flower. The service’s staff were blown away and the flower put on display for all to see. Whenever clients commented on the flower the story of the thank you card was related. Another person posted appreciation on their Facebook page. We even received a thank you card to thank us for our thank you!
All in all, this was a simple and effective way for our church family to engage positively with the wider community.
By Meredith Loudon