For me Easter represents new beginnings. Easter is the season of hope, a season of renewal as we head into Autumn. ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5).
My life (like everyone’s) has been a series of new beginnings. Born in Liverpool I came to NZ as a child. We settled in Milton, South Otago.
Widowed for 25 years, I am Mum to a son and daughter-in-law in Invercargill and a daughter in Dunedin. I am also a proud Nana to my son’s three girls. We are blessed to be a part of a large caring whānau.
While I have lived and worked in rural Otago and Southland, I am now a proud Dunedinite.
I have been a community advocate for the past 20 years, engaging across communities.
For several years I have supported Presbyterian Support Otago. In my previous role as Community Facilitator, East Taieri Church, I enjoyed working with PSO.
Community work has given me valuable insights of changing community needs. Connected communities thrive so this is an important focus for me. There is a growing disparity and disconnection in many communities currently, affecting people of every age and background.
The Presbyterian Support Otago AGM last year touched me deeply. It clearly illustrated that we have all been through such challenging times over the past few years. Hearing about the increasing demand for help and the evidence of the impact and positive changes the services made for people, was powerful. PSO continued to deliver those much-needed services despite seriously challenging times for everyone (including PSO).
I asked myself why doesn’t everyone know about the work of Presbyterian Support Otago? Where would people be without it? What could I do to help? To that end I spoke to Family Works Director Carmen Batchelor about volunteering... and a few months later, here we are.
New beginnings bring uncertainty. PSO has been helping people facing new beginnings for over 117 years! Their long history of promoting and supporting strong, connected communities, totally aligns with my beliefs and values. It is a privilege to be part of this exceptional organisation.
The role of Community Relations Advisor is a new beginning for PSO too, since the fabulous Carolyn Sims moved to a new role at Family Works, leading to this position being vacant for a year.
We are keen to reconnect with you all, strengthening existing relationships and forging new ones.
This magazine shares some of the work Presbyterian Support Otago is doing across the province. We are keen to learn more about your communities, needs, new beginnings and hopes.
I want to share with you the impact the almost 800 PSO staff make across Otago, the tremendous support they receive from our nearly 600 volunteers and the fresh starts they offer to everyone. How can we work together? How can we make a difference? It’s not where we start, but where we finish.
I will be reaching out and contacting parishes and community groups in this role. I would love to hear from you, please get in touch and we can chat. Phone me on 03 477 7115. To paraphrase the late Bishop Desmond Tutu: ‘Together we can do our little bit of good where we are - it is these little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world!’
Community Relations Advisor