Batemans Bay Corps a classic example of The Salvation Army mission in action
The corps (church) has a small but dedicated band of members who are committed to making an impact in the community, according to Lesley Archer, Batemans Bay Corps Team Leader.
“Our attitude is to roll up our sleeves, get into it” says Lesley.
This is evident through the corps community garden – an active place that is being expanded. Locals get involved in growing produce and preparing meals for those in need. Bunnings have come on board, providing materials and assistance from staff to build a chicken coop. The garden produces honey as well.
Wednesdays are known as ‘Connect Day’, where the Connections Cafe (on site) provides a space for locals, especially those experiencing loneliness. Several groups meet at the cafe for good food, tea, coffee, and relationship-building.
Batemans Bay Corps hosts a Christianity Explained group, and the cafe hosts an art class twice a month, providing healing to participants. Doorways, a Salvos assistance service opens its doors on Wednesdays to dispense emergency food relief, as well as advocacy and referral to other support services such as Moneycare.
“Lonely people in our community are really finding a community, which allows them to do what they need to do,” says Lesley.
A key part of the corps’ strategy is to host other groups’ meetings, as they have a commercial kitchen. Lesley explained that they like to share God’s blessings with others, which allows the corps to build relationships with people and alert them to other programs and creates natural connections.
Lesley described multiple examples of community members coming to the corps for help, loving what they experienced, having their needs met, and deciding to come to church, volunteer, or rebuild relationships.
One recent example involved Lesley finding a group of young people camping in a local park. She invited them to the corps for a shower, food and conversation about their situation. With the help of a youth support worker, the young people decided to return to their respective families.
“We provided a space, looked after them, and loved them,” Lesley explained.
Barb, an older member of the corps, connected with a young woman struggling with life’s challenges. The woman – who says she has found a sense of belonging, especially after her father passed away last year – is now attending church and learning how to knit.
As Lesley says, “All we want to do is see salvation in our community.”
This article has been adapted from Batemans Bay on a roll with Local Mission Delivery by Cliff Worthing.