A city’s care, two ways
St Andrew’s Cathedral is teaming up with Church Hill Anglican to expand the latter’s pre-existing ministry to the homeless, effectively doubling the impact for those sleeping on Sydney’s streets.
Church Hill’s City Care ministry has centred on a lunch held every second month, followed by a Bible and breakfast ministry held during the week. The rector of Church Hill, the Rev Justin Moffatt, says the ministry’s aim has never been about simple food handouts, but rather to share the love of Christ with Sydney’s rough sleepers.
“There are plenty of places people can get food around here,” he says. “But what we have offered to people through the City Care lunch, and what the Cathedral is joining with us in, is a chance for the city’s marginalised to spend time with Christian people. They can see and hear about what it’s like to be part of God’s people, they can hear of the hope to be had in the resurrection of Jesus, and they can form long-term relationships with others over the Bible, as well as lunches and breakfasts.”
When the Dean at the Cathedral, the Very Rev Kanishka Raffel, wanted to expand outreach to homeless people living in the Cathedral’s environs, it became clear that partnering with City Care would be an ideal step forward.
“There had been Cathedral ministries to people living in the Square for many years, but there was an opportunity to expand those and take the next step,” Dean Raffel says.
“I’d been talking with Justin about my desire to do something more at the Cathedral and he approached me and offered to show some of our people what they have been doing, and maybe look at taking on the alternate month of that. So now we’re essentially trading months, which means that the number of lunches has doubled.”
Members of Church Hill helped plan and support the Cathedral’s first City Care lunch, which was held in mid-March.
In addition to the Church Hill presence, about 60 people from the Cathedral’s congregations were involved in everything from preparing the barbecue to hosting tables – also running a free stall for people at the lunch who were in need of basic items such as hats and water bottles.
“I don’t think it’s an accident that the Bible uses the banquet as a way of picturing friendship with God,” Dean Raffel says. “We certainly hope a nice meal in a warm and welcoming atmosphere will create an environment in which people will hear about the God who deals graciously and generously with us.”
The partnership between the two churches also extends to youth ministry, with Church Hill ministry trainee Dylan Chalwell now leading and providing training for the youth leaders at the Cathedral. The youth group has recently been rebranded City Youth to reflect its inter-church nature, as well as the fact it draws from nearby schools such as St Andrew’s Cathedral School.
“It’s been a great example of city churches, as well as the school, contributing together in different ways to ministry here in the city,” Mr Moffatt says. “It’s really a perfect gospel partnership.”
Feature Photo: The Dean of Sydney Kanishka Raffel welcomes people at the Cathedral's first City Care lunch