After a fire ripped through Glebe Road Uniting Church in Ipswich, QLD, the congregation did not expect to receive help from people in one of the poorest nations in our region.
In May this year, a fire caused extensive damage to Glebe Road Uniting Church’s auditorium, initially forcing the congregation to meet at other Uniting Churches in the Ipswich area.
Glebe Road Uniting has maintained a partnership with Ekaristi Church in Dili, Timor-Leste since 2011. Even before that, they were building a relationship with our partner, the Protestant Church in Timor-Leste (IPTL). Through the partnership, Glebe Road Uniting has built strong relationships through exchange opportunities, allowing members of each church to experience the life, faith and community of the other. They also generously fundraise to support UnitingWorld projects with partners in Timor-Leste and beyond.
After the fire, Glebe Road member and UnitingWorld Ambassador Noel Rothery shared pictures of the damage to his friend Soffian at Ekaristi Church via WhatsApp. Soffian offered prayerful support in return. “That was really appreciated, as we were all coming to terms with the impact that the fire would have on our community life,” said Noel.
A few days later, to his amazement, Noel received a call from Soffian who told him that Ekaristi Church, along with its small school and kindergarten, had pooled funds and decided to send USD $2,300 (about AUD $3,600) to Glebe Road Uniting to assist in the rebuilding process.
Noel was quite emotional about such a sacrificial gift from friends who have so little. He acknowledged the gift was made in response to the need of the Glebe Road congregation, but also as an act of appreciation for the support Ekaristi Church has received through the partnership over the last ten years.
“They have always given back to us from their hearts in love,” said Noel. “Their faith in God and his provision for them is evident in their willingness to share what little they have.” “Our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Timor-Leste has never been one way. What a privilege it is to walk side by side with them.”
Read more about the partnership between Glebe Road Uniting and Ekaristi Church: www.gleberd.com.au/team-timor