This Sunday we welcome Andre Van Eymeren from Melbourne. He brings a wealth of experience in working with communities and enabling them to think and plan for a more caring and effective place for their people to live.
The following is a small part of an article he has written on this subject for a conference called, “Urban Life Together: Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods.” In fact the quote below is simply the opening and the closing paragraph of the article but I encourage you to read the article in its fullness. This week we are being challenged to think about our perspective on local mission and then the following Sunday we will look further afield with Tear International.
“I wonder how do you see the people whom you work with? What are the views you hold of the communities that you seek to change? As you reflect on your answers to these questions, a challenge for us in the busyness of the everyday of caring community work, is to remember that each person we come across, whether an old friend, work colleague or a new connection from the street, has inherent worth, because they are a loved creation of our creative God. Each oneis made in God’s image and innately reflects something of the divine (Ps 8:4–9). However, for some people and for some communities, this spark of gold is hidden under layers of hurt, rejection, pain and heartbreak.”
“A local community can be described as a place where there is an interconnected web of relationships, structures and institutions, where people can gain a sense of belonging and support to discover and live out their place and purpose as contributors in the world. As we know the relational web in our communities is broken, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction affecting individuals, families and the very fabric of society. However, as people of faith we recognise that God is present in each individual and there are Kingdom possibilities in every community. Each person and every community has gold to be discovered, for many this gold is hidden under layers of poverty, unemployment and a raft of social issues, leaving the individual lost, alone and in pain. To unearth the gold we need to listen and build relationships that focus on the strengths of individuals and communities.”