THE legacy of one man's life and faith has become a gift that keeps on giving for Redcliffe Uniting Church and the peninsula community.
When lifelong church member Neil Grant died in 2010, he left his estate to Redcliffe Uniting Church, which is using the interest on investments to support a range of mission and community projects.
But it's not just a matter of giving away money, and the Redcliffe Uniting Church congregation has been careful to set up a process and criteria to ensure that the legacy is used wisely and well, and within the spirit of the bequest, says minister, Rev Paul Clark.
"A percentage of the interest is returned to the capital to maintain the real value of the bequest, a percentage is used to stimulate mission in the local church, and the rest is given away to church and community groups to use in ways which adhere to the vision and values of us as a Christian community," says Mr Clark.
"We certainly wanted to ensure this blessing didn't become a curse that caused us to grab and grasp at it, but created a culture of generosity as we intentionally gave a significant amount of it away every year."
A committee which includes presbytery and synod representatives administers the bequest in consultation with the church council.
Funds utilised by the church are not used for core expenses, but to support the congregation as it engages in mission.
The bequest has stimulated a new level of community engagement in a church whose aim is to be at the heart of the peninsula, says Mr Clark.
"We have been able to form an ecumenical puppet outreach ministry that recently did puppet shows in local state schools to 3500 children."
Current projects include a Christmas lights outreach, a festivals team to provide a church presence at events during the year, and a Giving from the Heart group to supply home essentials such as sheets and blankets to families struggling just to pay rent.
"We are also considering the expansion and development of our children and families ministries, a whole-term outreach focus and numerous other initiatives," says Mr Clark.
Local community grants this year will support Chameleon Housing, which provides crisis accommodation for homeless or at-risk teenagers and safe and affordable accommodation in the Redcliffe area for young parents; and the construction of a Deception Bay Men's Shed.
"Redcliffe is a community undergoing transition," says Mr Clark.
"We have some mighty nice mansions in the city, but also families sleeping in cars.
"There are lots of retirees doing it tough on pensions, but an increasing number of children and families moving into the newer areas like Rothwell.
"Once you scratch the surface, it's amazing the problems and hardships that are underneath."
Photo : Redcliffe Uniting Church members (from left) Joy Godfrey, Vera Fiddyment, Joy Harris and Rev Paul Clark with items collected for the Giving from the Heart Project. Photo by Becky Clark