Creating communities of care
Introduction – Fr Dan Berris, Priest-in-Charge
I was blessed in my training through youth ministry and formation, with those who trained me sharing the value of team ministry. Over the years, I have gradually learnt the difference between filling a church roster of volunteers doing a job and building a team of passionate people whom I invest in, and who also invest in me, so together we can build God’s Church and serve the wider community. The following people are a beautiful example of a team who collectively express our vision, mission and values in order to impact our local community for Jesus.
Music Box – Amy Chalk, Music Box Coordinator
Music box is a ministry where young children learn music and movement which build motor skills and coordination. Children learn to play and share alongside other children. It is also a support network for parents – a safe place to chat and not feel judged.
Music Box is held at the YMCA North Lakes on Friday mornings during term time, and starts with about 20 minutes of music and movement with a musical instrument. We have morning tea consisting of fruit and crackers and coffee/tea and cake or biscuits for the adults. We do either craft or sensory play and always have mats out with toys on them. We have about 15 children who come with either their parents or home daycare carers.
The things we have found most important are keeping the singing to about 20 minutes, as any longer and the children start to get bored; making sure the songs are at the child’s level; having age appropriate toys; and, making sure the craft and sensory play are not too hard for the children.
Music Box has helped us build a connection with the YMCA, as their students can help learn child care skills and parents can use the YMCA café. We hope to get back to the local aged care facilities with the children soon so the residents can enjoy singing the songs they sang when they had kids. I love watching the children interact with the residents and the smiles they put on the residents’ faces.
Ignite Children’s Church – Rebecca King, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
The vision of our Ignite Children’s Church ministry is to provide a cornerstone for the growth of our church community by supporting our current and future families with a safe, consistent environment in which our children can dig into God’s Word to grow and learn together.
The Ignite Children’s Church ministry includes a lesson during Sunday morning services, commencing at 9.30 am. We have a rostered team of dedicated adult and youth volunteers and welcome a group of 10 to 20 children, from babies to preteens, each week. We are highly adaptable due to the varied age range and developmental capabilities of our children; therefore, some weeks we can separate into age groups and other weeks we learn together with older children paired to support little ones.
Lessons are consistently structured with a welcome song, our Ignite prayer (see below), a Bible study and related crafts and/or games. The Ignite ministry also plans quarterly community events, like our recent Family Water Play event held on the vacant block next to our church in January 2021.
One of the significant lessons I have learnt is the value in engaging with other experienced children’s ministry coordinators for their prayer and expert guidance. An ongoing learning has been effective financial stewardship through sourcing community support and grants to sustainably provide high-quality resources for our children.
A key highlight for me in the Ignite Children’s Church ministry has been developing our Ignite prayer, including elements of worship, gratitude, and positive psychology. We encourage our children in the power of prayer and incorporating prayer into their everyday lives.
Thank you for this blessed day. Thank you for the opportunity to share this safe place as we dig into your Word, to grow and learn together.
[Insert children’s own prayer requests]
Open our hearts and minds so that we may see your loving light in ourselves, each other and your beautiful creation all around us. Amen.
Youth Ministry – Isaiah Berris, Youth Coordinator
I have been a part-time Youth Coordinator for The Lakes Anglican Church since October 2020. As Youth Coordinator, my vision is for our youth ministry to create a community of believers and safe place for disadvantaged youth who are empowered to serve the local community. We want disadvantaged youth to understand that they have agency and can be a positive force in their community, as active participants.
My faith is important to me. The Holy Spirit has called me to step out and follow in Jesus’ ministry. Looking at the scriptures, I must attach actions to my beliefs. By loving and helping my neighbour, I am given energy and direction.
Our youth group meets at the local YMCA between 6.30 pm and 8 pm on Fridays. A regular youth night will start off with half an hour of basketball and chatting with parents. Following this, we move into the indoor YMCA space and have something to eat. Then we have a testimonial talk tied to the night’s given theme, based on scripture and driven by narrative (as youth respond well to stories), followed by small groups. Then we have games, initially with the same small groups, and then all-in games. The games are also linked to the night’s theme and include both physical and mental activities.
Previously, we kept the ministry participants’ age to Years 7-9, but in response to prayer, we expanded to Years 6-10. By doing this, we immediately had one Year 6 student and one Year 10 student, who really needed youth ministry, come along.
Our model for youth also reflects our connection to the AYCF Ichthus Camps, in that we take the elements of an Ichthus Camp and split them between our Sunday Night Service and our Youth Group. In doing this we provide connection for youth locally and back to the surrounding Diocese.
The highlights of the ministry for me are seeing how much the kids get out of the ministry and seeing the leaders grow. Other highlights of my Youth Coordinator role include running the monthly games at the Mango Hill Progress Association’s community skate nights. Being present in community and connecting with community members are important to me.
Community Markets – Trevor Ruthenberg, People’s Warden
As we are about community development, rather than service delivery, we are always looking for opportunities to connect with and build community.
I came into the role of volunteer Markets Coordinator in August last year. Fr Dan and I did a whole lot of research first before launching the markets. Initially, we were planning on an starting an eat street initiative in the vacant space next to the church, but our research showed that we wouldn’t be able to justify the money spent.
We are in the early stages of a partnership with an alliance of church groups called Many Rivers, which provides micro funding to folk who are long-term unemployed, as well as mentoring and business coaching so they can start up small businesses. One of the things we are doing with the markets is providing a space for these people to sell their arts, crafts and wares. The markets also give the sellers the opportunity to engage with the community.
The markets operate on the first, third and fifth Saturdays of the month. At present we are averaging 15-30 stalls at a time, with a number of different items sold, including hemp oil, home décor items, produce, gifts and greeting cards. Our aim is to grow to a consistent 37 stalls per week, which is our maximum capacity. We started in December and found that it took eight or so markets to get some traction and stability. We rent toilets and waste management for the markets, which are covered by a small stall holder fee.
The response of community members has been fantastic – very enthusiastic. We create a welcoming atmosphere, for example by celebrating key birthdays of stall holders and holding fun contests. We don’t proselytise, as our focus is on building friendships. Over the forthcoming months and years, the stall holders and people who visit the markets will know that our church is a safe place to come if they need help or if they wish to enquire about faith.
Parish Pantry – Lyn Brown, Pantry Coordinator and Office Assistant
Our parish pantry offers emergency food relief to people on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 am and 12.30 pm. We offer petrol, grocery and coffee vouchers, frozen meals and groceries.
These items are donated by parishioners, members of the wider community, neighborhood centres and community groups. For example, there is a local group of ex-service people who meet weekly in Kallangur called The Garrison. If we need anything, we let The Garrison know and they bless us with their generosity and donate what we need.
Local churches also donate to our pantry, as the churches around North Lakes and Mango Hill are very friendly with each other.
People find out about the pantry via our church’s social media and website and via agency referrals and the Ask Izzy website, which connects people in crisis with local services. At the moment we are seeing a lot of people who have lost work due to COVID-19, as well as single mums and quite a few rough sleepers.
The pantry is not just about feeding people. By taking time with people, some have returned with donations. Some have also helped work in our pantry and office. A woman who came two Christmases ago, returned last year to donate food. Many have come to our church and become parishioners. This shows how much people appreciate the pantry and the conversation.
We usually provide four to five days of food. The best non-perishable items to donate are cereals, long-life milk, pasta, rice and tinned soup, vegetables and fruit. Large shelving, a good ear and getting out to build community connections are very important for an effective pantry.
I have been a Lakes parishioner for three years and an Anglican all my life. I like being a member of The Lakes Anglican Church because we are outward focused and care about serving and building community. It’s always a delight to read through the AGM reports, which show how many people the pantry is helping and that our church is growing, especially with increasing numbers of young folk.
Welcoming and hospitality – Lyn Baxter, Treasurer and Ops Team Leader
Warmly welcoming people to services and other church events is an important part of being church.
We roster a team of three volunteers to welcome people as they arrive at services. We stand near the entrance of the church and give welcome packs for new people to fill in their name and contact information and so they can read a little about us and our ministries.
In the COVID-19 environment, we, like all ACSQ churches, implemented new procedures to ensure we are compliant and that all people when arriving are personally ‘checked in’.
When children arrive, an Ignite Children’s Church team member shows the parents where the Children’s Church meets. Newcomers are accompanied into the church and introduced to, and seated next to, friendly parishioners. After the service during the fellowship time, the welcoming team members approach newcomers and offer them morning tea or supper.
Within a few days of the service, newcomers are followed up with a phone call, which is important for continuity. Isaiah, our Youth Coordinator, and Bec, our Ignite Children’s Church Coordinator, also make contact with new parents following the service.Jump to next article