I read an interesting opinion piece from the CEO of Meals on Wheels SA in “The Advertiser” recently. Written during National Volunteers Week, 17 to 23 May, and recognising Meals on Wheels dependence upon volunteers, the article noted the significant challenge the sector faces: “Engaging the next generation”. She described, “an alarming generation gap emerging within the state’s volunteer ranks as the most senior helpers reach retirement.”
Volunteering takes us to the heart of service, a value fundamental to Westminster, and reflected in both our participation in and membership of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Scheme, Round Square International and, indeed, the Uniting Church itself. Service is the practical expression of kindness and community belonging. Service can be faith in action. But people ask, “Where can I serve?’, “How?”. Westminster has several service projects coming up for various year levels of students, including the Red Dove Café at the Royal Adelaide Show and a student visit to ‘Forktree’, an environmental project on the Fleurieu Coast. And we must seek more.
As the head of Meals on Wheel noted in her article, this is not always easy, and I quote, “The key is presenting the next generation with meaningful service opportunities that best fit their aspirations, busy lifestyles and the modern flexible work (and study) environment”. Service has the potential to lift students out of the ‘me’ focus of contemporary society. Just as it gets increasingly harder to make opportunity for, the need to develop service has never been greater.
Rev Phil Hoffmann