St James Church in Whanganui East is holding a gala day this Saturday in aid of the people of South Sudan.

Mo Morgan is St James' minister and she and Kath Barrett started at St James at the same time five years ago. They work as a team.
"The church is much more than just two people," says Mo. "We've got amazing volunteers in this place." She mentioned Felicity Spencer, children's worker, and the work she does.
Mo says the church was in quiet decline until five years ago when they decided to try something to re-engage with the people. That was when the church employed Mo and Kath.
"Kath is really artistic, so we started a thing called Sticky Fingers, which is like Mainly Music, but arts and crafts."
Like Mainly Music, which is where mums - and dads - bring their children along to enjoy music and dancing, Sticky Fingers provides a creative outlet for the children while allowing parents to engage with others in the community.

The church also started a children's choir under the tuition of music teacher Liz Newton.
She says the work has not always been easy. "Some of it has been challenging because you're talking about change and change is always hard. But they've been really gracious about allowing us to come in and change the culture."
Half the church is now young families.

This term, for St James's church, is about South Sudan.
Mo says Shirley Spooner of the City Mission has been working at St Paul's Presbyterian Church in Guyton St. She approached Mo and some other churches and said there is a massive humanitarian crisis in South Sudan which is not making the news.
"I brought it back here to our parish council and people in the church and it just ignited something in everybody," says Mo. "People have rallied. It's us asking people, what gifts have you to give that we can use to make a difference here?
"We've worked on a few projects together and we're doing this gala. Kath is co-ordinating all of this."
"It's on June 17 and we're holding it in the hall," says Kath. "People have been donating things and Hiremaster has donated the use of a bouncy castle and we want to raise as much money as we can. All the money is going through Tear Fund to the work they're doing in South Sudan."


As part of educating people about the complex crisis, the church has done a study series and set up prayer stations with information. On Monday, June 12, Jamie Allen from Tear Fund spoke at the church about what's happening in South Sudan and how people can help.
"It deserves our attention," says Mo.
Saturday, June 17, 9.30-1pm, at St James on the corner of Boydfield and Helmore streets.
All money raised will go to Tearfund to support the work they are doing in South Sudan and East Africa.
Bouncy Castle, baking, craft, white elephant, clothing, toys, lucky dip, face painting and lots more.