Sydney Anglican Parishes Are among many not-for-profit and community organisations that have benefited from the latest round of community Building partnership (CBP) grants, with 61 parish projects successfully obtaining grants totalling over $1.2 million.

The CBP, administered by the NSW Government, provides funds towards the purchase or maintenance of capital works that provide community services, including the work of many churches.

Albion Park church south of sydney received $24,000 toward the construction of a new community hub on its property, as well as a synthetic surface for the church- operated preschool.

The Rev Steve Roberts, senior minister at Albion Park, says it presents an opportunity for his church to develop its ministry of hospitality.

“It’s off an existing hall and we love that we will be able to develop it as a place to sit, to eat, to really make it more of a gathering space,” Mr Roberts says. “I think one of the key things is it would give a bigger safe area particularly for children... which would encourage families to stay on site.”

Mr Roberts hopes it will offer more opportunities to connect and then share their beliefs with locals.

“It’s a chance for them to see that it’s a really nice area, and might draw them to sit down so we can get to know them better,” he says. “The purpose is connecting with people to also engage them with the gospel. It’s not just purely functional.”

Minchinbury Anglican in Sydney’s west also received a grant worth just over $80,000 towards the construction of a new kitchen and other food preparation facilities, including new ovens and industrial dishwashers. Senior minister the Rev David Mears says his church will now begin thinking of ways to extend current ministries and create new ones, including the possibility of hosting cooking classes.

“Especially in our area, it would be nice to do things like that,” he says. “We run a pre-Christmas meal... for those who might be alone, or are unable financially to have a nice meal. so we might be able to do more of that, or do that better.”

Apart from large-scale ministries, Mr Mears says the new assets will also mean less time needed to individually manage food handling regulations, so more time can be devoted to ministry.

“I want to see people who have become Christians in our church because of contacts they made when they got to sit down and have a good cappuccino, whereas a styrofoam cup and Nescafé doesn’t really turn a five-minute conversation into a half-hour one.”

Mr Mears is grateful for the funding because it will enable the facilities to be constructed without having to divert money from day-to- day ministries. “It’s a very unexpected but very appreciated blessing that God has given,” he says. “I remind our people that we love to whinge about our comforts but we are blessed to live in a place that has the rule of law, and where government is really trying its best to be generous and supportive of the community.”

Minchinbury has been the beneficiary of grants before and Mr Mears says other churches in similar situations should also apply.

“I encourage people to, if they are in a similar position to us, to make the effort,” he says. “It’s not like there’s a snowball’s chance that something might happen. It really could.