It’s exciting when the next generation of believers take Jesus’ commands seriously to care for the weak and vulnerable in our midst.
This was the inspiration for Take Love - an Anglicare initiative begun a decade ago specifically to encourage and facilitate youth in their service of others, with 1 John 4:19 ("We love because he first loved us") as its focus.
“We knew that we needed to speak to young people in a way that resonated with them, with a look and feel and message that they could get behind, taking the love of Jesus to their community,” says Asheigh Lee-Joe, Anglicare’s communications manager of engagement and partnerships.
She adds that while younger people may not have much money they do have time, and Take Love is able to help connect individuals, youth groups and schools with practical ways to support Anglicare’s work such as alleviating poverty, caring for the aged, the mentally ill and people fleeing domestic abuse.
The group’s most recent initiative is a range of merchandise celebrating the history and culture of Indigenous Australians, which was launched over the three weekends of KYCK last month.
Each of the items includes the artwork “Abundant Love” by Brisbane-based Indigenous artist Stevie O’Chin, which was inspired by 1 John 4:19. The white concentric circles represent the eternal nature of God's love and the white lines connecting the circles represent us loving each other. The pink dots are another representation of the fervent love shared between us.
“Being Indigenous and of Christian faith both form my identity and they represent who I am as a person,” Stevie O’Chin says. “To be able to create traditional art and combine it to relay the message of God’s word is very special and powerful to me.”
She says that she gave her life to Jesus as a young girl, adding:.” My faith has shaped and guided me to live my life under God’s love. Philippians 4:13 is my go-to verse: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.”
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.”
First Nations support
All the proceeds from the Take Love merchandise will be given to four community care programs that support Indigenous communities. One4LifeRedfern, Coledale Frontyard Church, Walgett Indigenous Ministry and Macarthur Indigenous Reconciliation Ministry provide pastoral care, food, English classes and outreach to people with addiction.
Over the three weekends of KYCK almost $12,000 was raised in support of these communities from teens from across NSW.
Says Ms Lee’Joe: “It’s an opportunity for teens to celebrate Indigenous culture and support the traditional custodians of the land, and we’ve seen a strong response”.
Nat, a Year 10 student from St Andrew’s, Roseville, is one of the hundreds of teens who have volunteered with Take Love. “It was an amazing experience to work behind the scenes and make a difference in so many people's lives.”
Those interested in volunteering with Take Love or supporting the First Nations fundraising initiative should go to takelove.org.au