‘Happy New Year!’ That’s what someone awkwardly said to me as I hopped into the lift at our Pitt St HQ a couple of days ago. We hadn’t seen each other for more than a month, and even though 2023 is now well and truly underway, it still felt like an appropriate greeting. So, right out of the gate in my newsletter for 2023, ‘Happy New Year’ to you all. More, I am praying now, even as I type, that more than happy that, over the coming year, you will be blessed richly by God in ways that surprise and delight you.
If you did take a break in the last couple of months, what did you do? I would love to hear or even see a picture or two! Just hit reply.
My wife, Sue, and I hopped into the car and headed south for Melbourne, then later Adelaide, to enjoy extended time with family – our first opportunity to ‘escape’ NSW at Christmas since we moved to Sydney. (Thanks, Covid!) We returned early in the new year, and it was wonderful.
The good we do at Wesley Mission doesn’t stop for public holidays or summer seasons. It’s 24/7, 365 days a year work – I’m so grateful for all of the team members who continued serving through the Christmas-New Year period, ensuring we continued to support people in need.
A lot has been happening through the ‘quiet’ month of January:
- Wesley Mission is now operating the GambleAware Helpline, a 24/7 service that people can call for free, confidential support from trained gambling counsellors. If you have any questions about how to support a loved one trapped in gambling, or know of someone who might need help themselves, the number is 1800 858 858.
- Our gambling reform advocacy work has also been a major focus, with poker machine reform now a major election issue in NSW for the first time since their introduction in 1956. It is no exaggeration to say that Wesley Mission has quickly become a leading voice in this debate. We’re providing a lot of background information about gambling harm and what can be done to address it to media outlets and working closely to resource decision-makers as they form their responses to the community’s growing demand for real reform.
Here’s a quick, two-minute introduction to the problem of pokies:
I am so grateful for and proud of the groundbreaking work our public affairs and advocacy teams are doing, ably supported by our gambling and financial counsellors and others. If you pray, please join me in praying that the momentum we have now will carry forward to the election and beyond and that, ultimately, we will ‘put pokies in their place’.
Rev Stu Cameron
CEO and Superintendent, Wesley Mission