At the close of business on Tuesday 30 June 2020, the GMP card ministry will conclude after 54 years of raising funds for mission and evangelism for Churches of Christ Overseas Mission. You can’t talk about the card ministry without the stamp ministry. The first cards and stamps were sold at the 1966 Federal Conference to raise much needed funds for the Gospel Outreach Fund and, in particular, missions in India. The stamp ministry was run for 50 years, 44 years by David Lewis and followed when Ros Beale. It by concluded in 2018 due to a lack of buyers (fewer stamp clubs) and a decline in the use and collection of stamps.
Eileen Lewis (Nailsworth Church of Christ) commenced the card ministry while she was a member of the State Women’s Overseas Mission Committee. Her husband, David, managed the stamps, sorting, soaking and preparing them for sale for a total of 44 years.
After 30 years of faithful service and due to ill health Eileen handed on the card ministry to Eleanor Matthews. Eleanor (Maylands Church of Christ) in 1994 had recently retired from full-time work, and was at home cleaning out cupboards when the Lord challenged her with “What if Eileen were to give up the card ministry?” With this Eleanor accepted the challenge of the card ministry and with great enthusiasm and energy started ordering, purchasing, pricing and sorting cards.
Eleanor was well supported by her husband, Brian, transporting the “card boxes” and goods to the various Church functions around the State. Rae Thompson and Elva Hall have also assisted Eleanor over the years with the card ministry. There have been numerous faithful people who have undertaken selling cards through their churches.
In November 1995 I (Jenny Baker from the Balaklava Church of Christ) started selling GMP cards at Balaklava Church of Christ on a fortnightly (then monthly) basis after church. It will be just short of 25 years since this started come June 2020.
It was a new year with new beginnings, and I had accepted the position and challenge of the card ministry for GMP, taking over from Eleanor Matthews in 2007 (including ordering and purchasing of goods). Having worked with Eleanor since 1996, and travelling to many of the city churches with her, I had been taught and learnt a lot.
So, a new journey began attending functions such as State Convention, State Ladies Conventions, State Women’s Camps, GMP functions when visiting speakers from overseas would come to Adelaide, and churches when they were having special mission focus days.
Thousands and thousands of kilometres have been travelled, taking GMP cards and gift lines to the various churches throughout South Australia over the years. As I live 130 kms from Adelaide, it meant that I needed to be very organised.
Prior to a visit to each church or event, a date was agreed on, advertising was sent out, cards and gifts stocked up, and the float organised. Come the day of the event, the car was loaded with goods in order to arrive at the venue two hours prior to the event starting, sell goods, pack up (usually last to leave) and travel home, unload car, count money, bank money, write a letter of thanks to the church, and letting them know how much money was raised.
Twice a year I travelled to Adelaide to purchase new stocks/goods; when the new goods arrived in Adelaide, I would pick them up and bring them home; price them, pack them into my card boxes, and on my next trip to Adelaide, fill up the card boxes at the GMP office as many of the church folk come to the office to purchase cards, gifts etc. I have always enjoyed selecting and ordering all products but particularly the Christmas cards and calendars each year.
Each of the greeting cards has a verse of scripture and no card is over $5. Greeting cards include Birthday, Wedding, Engagement, Sympathy, Anniversary, Baptism, Baby, Blank, Thinking of You, Encouragement, and Get Well.
I have been very passionate about the GMP card ministry and could not have undertaken what I have done without the support of my husband, Alan, and three children when they were younger and still as adults today.
Special “thanks” to GMP for the privilege I have had of serving in this way, and to all the churches and events I have attended over the years – I will miss seeing you all.
If you live in South Australia and have time when you are in Adelaide to call into the GMP Office why not check out the card boxes and make your selections. Alternatively, if you would like me to visit your church prior to June 30 2020 with cards and gift lines, please contact Val Zerna at the GMP Office so we can secure a time.