One of the hardest places to plant a church is in welfare class areas. That’s why over the years many churches have come and gone in Berkeley. We have found that many do not understand the ministry here, so over the years the great casualties have been Christians who think you have to do ministry at Berkeley like it is done in their home church. – “I know best.” We have only one saviour. Jesus Christ. We must not adopt the mindset that it is us who are ‘saving’ the people of Berkeley. It is true – we can do all things through Him who strengthens us – but without Him our message of salvation is useless. To do mission in Berkeley you need to be of strong character with even stronger boundaries. Many who have come to welfare class areas to do mission have fallen casualty to a mindset of charity – a hand out not a hand up. Therefore, when an obvious transformation is not seen after investing time and money into a person, disillusionment can set in and the mission is questioned. With lives long entrenched in addictive behaviours and abuse, It’s not going to be overnight transformation stories. It takes a lot of time for many to change their lives for Jesus.
The most common issues in Berkeley are; high unemployment, where, in many families, we see second and third generation unemployment. There are many affected by addiction issues, whether it be with drugs, alcohol or gambling. Sadly, we regularly see young children under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both. A worrying number of people living in Berkeley suffer from depression, low self esteem or other mental health issues and they have plenty of free time to get into trouble. But what keeps me in Berkeley is the belief that Jesus Christ can not only transform lives but transform a community.
“We can all play a part in giving hope to others through the message of Jesus Christ”
We are desperately under-staffed and resourced to meet the needs of the people of Berkeley who are trying to change their lives for Jesus Christ. Needs that take time, commitment and investment, different to the needs of other churches.
In some ways it is sad that this ministry depends on others outside of BLC to support us, but we also truly find it a great honour to partner with Christians who support us with their wallets, their prayers and their love for the lost. In a time with emphasis on cross cultural ministry, we must not neglect our own backyard and the welfare class of Australia. The forgotten of Australia.
SYDNEY UNI DO MISSION IN BERKELEY
By Kat Pendlebury – Sydney Uni
Earlier in the month a team of 16 students from the Sydney University Evangelical Union visited Berkeley for five days to partner with the Berkeley Life Centre. For the team this was an opportunity to “see the church, serve the church and be the church”; essentially, a chance to have our eyes opened to what God is doing in and through the people of Berkeley, and to offer ourselves in service by being involved in local ministry. Whilst five days may not sound like a long time, there was lots we were able to see and do during our stay, including doing several sessions of Adopt-a-Block, visiting the Berkeley Neighbourhood Centre and hearing a bit more about the area, running kids activities and an outreach stall at the community carols and participating in the Sunday gathering.
As the ministry staff worker on the team, I was responsible, along with my student co-leader, for pastoral care of the team as well as sorting out the schedule for the week and other logistics, and at times it was easy to let these details become the focus. Yet across the five days, as schedules changed and new solutions had to be found for various difficulties, it became clear to me that at the Berkeley Life Centre, people matter most. Because people matter to Jesus most. This was evident on our very first evening together where, despite the torrential rain outside, I arrived at the Green Shed to see team members and church members chatting away over a BBQ dinner, regardless of not knowing each other or having vastly different lives. To see the unity we have in Christ with our brothers and sisters because of what Jesus has done for us expressed so tangibly was beautiful. Read more
CHILDREN’S WORKER – At one time, there were 60 kids involved in a Saturday night program in Berkeley. A recent holiday program saw 8 kids attend. We want our Sunday gatherings to be a family friendly environment, but currently this is limited by the lack of a childrens program. We need someone to come on board, initially to provide Bible teaching and activities for our children on Sunday mornings, but with a vision to expand this ministry. Time: 2 hours each Sunday morning + prep time, 6 month initial commitment. Job description: Responsible to coordinate and run a kids program during the service on Sunday mornings. Ability to sign the working with children check is vital.
CHRISTIAN MENTORS – Discipleship is vital to Christian growth. New mentors would receive training by the team at BLC, before being paired up with a mentee for a defined period of time, with the aim of preparing your mentee to go on to mentor others. Time: 2 hours a week, 6 month initial commitment. Job description: Meet one-to-one with one of the church members weekly to support and encourage. A typical meeting would include talking about life, reading the Bible together and prayer.
For more info contact Wayne: 0400357460 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Considering the low-income and high unemployment in Berkeley, we rely primarily on the financial support of individuals and churches outside of our congregation. Any contribution big or small helps us to spread the message of Jesus in Berkeley.
Berkeley Life Centre Anglican Church | BSB: 062531 | Acc. No.: 10257777
Please make cheques out to: Berkeley Life Centre Anglican Church | Send to: 54 Kelly Street Berkeley NSW 2506
LUB ANNUAL FUNDRAISER
For the past 3 years we have been holding our Lighting Up Berkeley fundraising and information night. This is an opportunity for us to communicate what mission in Berkeley is all about; the challenges, triumphs, strategies, logistics, budgets, challenges, testimonies, vision ……. did we mention the challenges? Our next LUB will be in June 2015 (date to be set) and we would love for you to join us!
A LuB first-timer’s reflections of the night.
By Jane – Mt Keira
On a winter night, rugged up against rising damp and cold, we found a welcoming and warm oasis in the middle of Berkeley with the people of the Green Shed. Berkeley has a bit of a rough reputation around town, and certainly the stats which were provided on the night highlighted the incredibly high levels of poverty and disadvantage so many in that area have struggled with for generations now. However those of us who were guests at the ‘lighting up Berkeley’ celebration, were embraced with generosity, openness, hospitality and a loving energy which gifted us with a life enriching experience. We met Shannon and Charmaine who described so powerfully the Green Shed community, where members hold with dignity each other’s brokenness and hard histories, and offer each other hope, friendship, forgiveness, value and belonging. This is a community where people are committed to each other for the long haul. Why? The transforming and besotted love of Jesus Christ has changed the life of Wayne, the senior minister, and continues to bring life and transformation to those who have found a home in the Green Shed, and through them to Berkeley and beyond. Jesus is rescuing people, in fact a whole community, from darkness, loneliness, hatred and despair…right in front of our eyes! No wonder the sense of love, gratitude and joy is so palpable. What a privilege it is to be offered the chance to support in whatever way, Jesus as he miraculously breathes life, warmth and salvation through an entire community. Jane, Mt Keira.