From Rev Andrew Smith
Presbytery Minister - Congregation Futures
Eden Canoes is a NSW Government Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) Project which aims to train 18 canoe builders and enable 120 school students to build, decorate and paddle canoes. Indigenous builders, artists, mentors and elders assist building and explain cultural heritage during construction, art and paddling tours.
The program looks to build community cohesion through shared activity and cultural awareness. Opening the canoe workshops for diverse groups of indigenous and non-indigenous people generates respect across cultures. The workshops encourage the appreciation and celebration of Indigenous culture and sights of cultural significance in and around the Eden and Pambula Waterways.
The major sponsors of Eden Canoes are the NSW Government BCRRF and Anglicare NSW South and NSW West & ACT. In addition, sponsorship and support-in-kind is received from many sources, in particular: Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, Eden Marine High, Katungul, Campbell Page, Eden Aboriginal Evangelical Church, Sapphire Coast Anglican Parish, Eden Uniting Church, the Eden Community Access Centre & Friends of St.Michael’s Anglican Church, Vaucluse.
The involvement of the Eden Uniting Church is in support and volunteering. Two members from the Eden Uniting Church have been trained as Canoe Builders and volunteer at the Student Workshops. In addition, Eden Uniting has provided material support and prayer. Rev Michael Palmer is in part-time placement with the congregation and is also in part-time ministry with Anglicare. Across these two ministry roles, Michael is Project Manager for Eden Canoes.
Michael’s shared ministry is viewed by both the Anglican Diocese and our Presbytery as a co-beneficial role where both Anglicare and the Uniting Church can see benefit to their efforts of being a blessing to community. Eden Canoes is one area of making some progress in this collaborative endeavour.
A documentary about Eden Canoes has been produced and can be watched from this link: https://vimeo.com/525542571/ea7d5cdfb2