By bob Kimmerling
29th April 2022
Yesterday the Vineyard Community was delighted to celebrate its 10-year anniversary at an evening reception kindly hosted by Petersham Nurseries. Staff, volunteers, local MPs, councillors, partner agencies, donors, supporters, and friends all came together in the beautiful botanical scenery of Petersham Nurseries to mark 10 years of the Vineyard giving help in crisis and hope for life.
In a celebration of the last decade, Deputy Mayor Cllr. Suzette Nicholson, Chair of Trustees Bob Kimmerling, Petersham Co-owner Gael Boglione, and Chief Executive David Logan all spoke about the role the Vineyard plays in reaching those in crisis and meeting their needs with love, kindness, and compassion.
Highlights included Bob speaking about the role of community, demonstrated in a parable told by Jesus, where a man must feed a guest in his home. Finding he was without food himself, he asks a neighbour for three loaves of bread. The first loaf was to fulfil the need of the guest, the second loaf was to ensure the host could join with the guest in community, and the third loaf was to be given as an unexpected sign of love and generosity. These loaves, Bob explained, represent much of what the Vineyard is about. While the first loaf fulfils the direct need of the guest, the second loaf is about the important role of community and coming together, and the third is the ‘hope for life’ offered to all who walk through our doors.
David spoke about the impact of the Vineyard both in terms of the numbers of people supported, but also the underlying message to guests as they enter the Centre. The Vineyard Community has, over the last 18 months, given food parcels to 6,085 people, served 1,400 café customers, supported 318 people at the morning drop-in, served 4,419 breakfasts, given out 1,213 provisions of clothing, offered 929 showers, held 128 nurse clinics, held 1,152 casework appointments, and supported 8 people into employment.
But, as David explained, each number is a whole person. As the Vineyard now seeks to respond to the estimated 500 refugees in our local area from Ukraine, he reflected on the message given to those who walk into the Centre – that they have real worth and how it is up to us as a community to affirm, protect and uphold one another’s worth. People are precious and in their struggles are worth listening to, being kind to, being patient with, helping to be free from addiction and loneliness. They are worth bringing into friendship and community, supporting to escape abuse, and worth being a companion to. As he concluded, “The inspiration behind the Vineyard is something that God set in the hearts of a couple of people ten years ago: “lift your eyes, see the worth around you in the need around you””
Gael’s kind words about the nurture, care, and hands on support that the Vineyard provides to those in crisis were much appreciated. Petersham Nurseries and their owners Francesco and Gael have been incredible friends of the Vineyard over the last decade, and we are grateful for their ongoing support as we enter our next chapter.