2 March 2024

Faithful supporters celebrate 125 years of service

The Missionary Care Fellowship has celebrated 125 years. Picture: supplied 

By Mark Brolly

18 March 2022

A small group supporting Church Missionary Society missionaries from Victoria has celebrated its 125th birthday. 

The Missionary Care Fellowship meets every month for devotions, updates by missionaries, a bring-and-buy table to raise funds for missionaries’ Christmas gifts and lunch. 

The group marked its milestone on 9 March at its regular meeting place, Holy Trinity Doncaster. 

CMS Victoria director the Reverend Dr Wei-Han Kuan thanked the Fellowship for its ministry to missionaries and urged members not to lose heart despite their ageing, dwindling numbers. 

The Fellowship was originally the Women’s Missionary Council, established as a support group for women missionaries only. It is believed to have changed its name in the 1990s when men were admitted, and its support widened to include all missionaries sent by CMS Victoria. 

Fellowship president Lynn Pryor said about 25-30 people attend gatherings on the second Wednesday of every month. Besides prayer, the main way the group supports missionaries is through a trading table – of baked goods, jams, pickles, plants and second-hand goods – to raise funds to send a gift of money to each missionary unit. 

A speaker, usually a missionary or missionary couple on home leave, will update the Fellowship on their work, prayers are offered for all CMS missionaries and the group shares lunch. 

The group has a faithful set of members, about three-quarters of whom have been missionaries themselves. 

“We have one couple who come faithfully month after month,” Ms Pryor said.  

“She is 96 and he is probably 93. They come from up-country, they drive down for over an hour, they are with us for the meeting and for lunch and then they go off and do other things in the afternoon, so often they’re not home till nearly midnight.” 

The Fellowship’s Secretary, Mrs Maurelle Thompson, said the group had once provided a laptop computer for a missionary couple who needed it but generally cash was sent for Christmas through CMS. 

Mrs Thompson said some missionaries were in countries that could not be identified and had to be careful about how their work was described in emails to supporters. 

“You don’t talk about the Bible, it’s the ‘Good Book’, instead of referring to praying, you refer to having a conversation with ‘our father’. You can get around it. Everyone knows what you’re talking about,” she said. 

“Although we’re a small group, we’re a keen group, we’re a faithful group and a prayerful group who loves supporting CMS missionaries.” 

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