The area surrounding the Marion Church of Christ has a higher than average Indigenous population for an inner-suburban area in Adelaide.
One of the challenges articulated but a large number of our indigenous neighbours was ensuring that their children had the support they needed to flourish in life. Many of these kids seemed to be falling through the cracks or having significant troubles in life and their carers felt isolated.
I was so proud of the Church who didn’t succumb to the temptation to simply meet this need through a flier of programs or something similar. Instead the Marion Church of Christ decided to come-alongside this group of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Parents and Caregivers by shouting them lunch once a month.
The Church chose to walk with, not for, these concerned community members.
These parents and caregivers now sit together in a circle each month and over coffee and lunch they share their stories (challenges, struggles and moments of greatness) and they workshop together the best way forward. There is nobody from the Church or Social Services here trying to tell them how to solve their problems- they are co-creating the solutions together. The senior pastor often sits in the circle with them, encouraging them and asking questions of curiosity- but he stops short of offering the solution. And the stories of strength coming out of this group are wonderful to hear. Of lives turned around, but mostly of people who previously felt alone in their problems and at a loss as to how to turn their lives around- now feeling empowered and a part of a community.
When I look at this growing circle of empowered carers I think: what a powerful thing it is to let those in need lead!
When I asked the Senior Pastor his thoughts on this project’s success he said:
“I think we often insult people simply by asking too little of them”
Do you agree?