For more than 100 years, Adventists have gone door-to-door collecting funds for the Appeal for Missions—an event that later became known as the ADRA Appeal. Fondly known as “Knocktober”, this event became an annual part of the church calendar and continues to raise vital funds for ADRA’s projects both in Australia and overseas.
But this year, with various levels of lockdowns, border closures and social distancing requirements across the country, ADRA has had to shift away from the door-knock approach for the first time since the birth of the Appeal.
“During this time it is vital that churches continue to be a source of connection within our communities and we want to encourage and support them in this connection,” says ADRA Australia CEO Denison Grellmann.
“ADRA is investing in new and exciting COVID-safe activities to ensure churches can continue to build community while also raising vital funds for ADRA’s work in Australia and overseas.”
While the ADRA Appeal is well known for its door-knocking component, in recent years churches have opted to fundraise by running community events. And this year, ADRA Australia is helping to get these community events online.
“We will be providing churches with the resources to help them run their own virtual events, ranging from a concert to a trivia night and even a masterclass,” says Mr Grellmann. “With so much of our lives shifting online during the pandemic, a virtual event will be a great opportunity for people to form connections while staying safe.”
While physical door-knocking this year is not an option, 2020 has provided many with the opportunity to reflect on their years of going door-to-door.
In previous years, pathfinder clubs, churches and individuals across Australia ventured out into communities and personally engaged with their local community, spreading the word about the work of ADRA and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For many, this annual event allowed them to form a personal connection with their neighbours and communities.
For Arthur Pettifor from Clarkson Adventist Church in Western Australia, 2020 would have been his 29th year going door-to-door for the ADRA Appeal.
“There is a gentleman I have known for 28 years,” says Arthur. “His name is Charlie; he donates $50 every year. One year Charlie and his wife even sent me a donation by mail when they learned that I had called and they were out. I make their house my last stop each year as they invite me in and I share a chat and a prayer with them before departing.
“In 2019, I made a visit to their home before the Appeal and to my great sadness Charlie had passed away only a month before. He was 94. His wife Pauline apologised for not informing me. She invited me in and offered a cup of tea and a muffin. We had a good chat and shared fond memories. Later on I sent her a Thinking of You Card. It is uplifting to meet nice people and share a conversation with them during this time.”
Mr Grellmann is confident that the spirit and purpose of the ADRA Appeal will continue even during these uncertain times raising funds for people in a time when they need it the most.
“We’re so grateful to the churches and individuals who faithfully collect funds for the ADRA Appeal each year. I know that even during this difficult time we will adapt to these changes and rally together to make a difference to those who have been affected by this pandemic.”
To run a virtual ADRA Appeal event, visit adra.org.au/hangon to register. Your support of the ADRA Appeal this year will help people experiencing hardship hang on to hope—and survive this crisis.