Australia church lives compassion to connect to community
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 19:21
The Bundaberg Church of the Nazarene (BCON) is a growing mission-minded church that describes itself as “a community living the love of Christ.” In a city of 70,000 people in Queensland, Australia, this local church is responding to the needs of its community.
Kevin Rowland and his wife Petrina, together lead BCON.
“Being effective is reaching out to your community and making a difference,” Kevin said. “Everything we do in this building is ministry – every room, every office, the auditorium, and the dining area are all about our ministry to this community, and this has been recognized by our church members and others who frequent the building but do not worship with us.”
The local church is conducting three local social services that show love and support to the broader community, starting with those closest to their mission center.
School Essentials has been a long-term partnership between the church and the Bundaberg West State School since April 2018. The program provides the school with essential school supplies and clothing so that children from families with financial difficulty can have the same learning and achievement opportunities as their peers. It also aims to alleviate some financial pressure from the teachers, who often buy school supplies to help less fortunate students. The church’s impact in the community is significant, and recently the church has been asked to lead the “Breakfast Club” every Tuesday of each week.
Street Outreach Service (SOS) is a program in partnership with DrugARM Australia. The program, which has been running since June 2021, assists the homeless and people at risk of homelessness. SOS provides toiletries, blankets, soup, and instant noodles to adults, while snacks, drinks, and biscuits are given to children. It also serves as a referral service to the Department of Housing, Centrelink, and counseling service. They have also initiated a monthly potluck-style evening meal and service for homeless people to find a meal on a Sunday night.
The clothes basket, “Giving In, Giving Out,” is a new ministry that aims to serve Bundaberg community members who are going through a housing and homelessness crisis. Many of these homeless are now living in the city. The ministry aims to provide free clothing to those who need it most.
“We began this ministry by gathering clothing donations for all ages from a wider community,” Kevin said.
People are able to get a free bag of clothes of their choosing. Also, free tea, coffee, or water is available to those who come on the day. In the first month, 20 bags of clothing, 10 blankets, and a few personal hygiene packs were donated. As the ministry continues, people will be asked to bring in a bag of their own clothes to exchange and encourage the recycling of used clothing.
“The generosity of the church here, with time, energy and finances, has led us to be well-connected to many areas in our community,” Kevin said. “We enjoy a good reputation and fantastic interaction among the general population, many businesses, and services in Bundaberg, as well as with local, state, and federal levels of government.”
–Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific