Moore Missions 2013 - Parramatta
At St Johns Parramatta, mission started out with a hands-on lesson in multiculturalism – quite literally.
Senior Associate Minister Rev Tom Harricks wanted the Moore College team to broaden their horizons during a meeting with their hosts in the local congregation, many of whom originally come from India and Sri Lanka.
“My instructions were to make sure to teach the Moore College Students how to eat with their hands,” he laughs.
For Mr Harricks, one of the key challenges for the future is supporting a church of multiple ages and ethnicities. In his 9:30 service, 30 percent of the congregation is from the Indian subcontinent.
“The key to the multi-ethnic church is the second generation [of migrants]. This is because they will always speak English, no matter where their parents are from. As a church, we’ve got to serve our first generation well so that the second generation are captured for Jesus in a language they’re most familiar with,” Mr Harricks says.
Having 27 Moore College students readily available is proving to be a great help in reaching the parts of the community who may not be familiar with Australian culture, or Christianity. They went on two doorknocking appeals over the mission week, and they recently began a “New Australian Resume Night” to help migrants improve their employability. Human Resources professionals host the night, and go through their resumes individually.
The students are helping to run a Hope for Uganda Night “for our friends who love Africa or have a finely tuned social conscience”. Community events like these are also used to promote Christianity Explained or upcoming services, such as Easter.
On a day-to-day basis, the students attend seminars, run youth and children’s programs, and prepare activities for the adults.
Mr Harricks says one of the blessings of having Moore College work in various people groups is that it helps to see the “big picture of God’s mission”.
“We catch a little bit of a vision of what residential Parramatta might look for us as a church. It’s such a complex mix of ministries.”
His hopes for the mission and, indeed, for the church reflect that diversity.
“I think there’s always ways that we could be integrating better and welcoming people better but that comes from Christian maturity. I know it sounds basic but we need to keep praying and keep preaching the Word and keep calling people to get onboard. No matter how many activities we plan in the future that will always be our core business.”
Plug directly into the mission feed at mission.moore.edu.au