The church here in Bondi has been keen for us to help them connect with young families. Well, we have opportunities coming out of our ears!
On Wednesday morning our team took over the running of Mainly Music, a program for pre-school kids that Bondi Anglican runs weekly. Our team was able to supplement the regular programme with live music, which the children loved. Conversations with the parents were comfortable and free-flowing. Our team reckons that there’s great potential for transitioning families contacted though the friendly environment of Mainly Music into the friendly environment of the Sunday gathering. Pray that the conversations begun here will flourish into fruit for the kingdom!
In addition to Mainly Music, we’ve had the chance to jump into the regular primary school scripture programme. Despite competing for space with Buddhist monks and the sounds of neighbouring classrooms, the kids were enthusiastic and engaged. Tim and Tom (fourth and third year, respectively) told Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep – Tim fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a human puppet! – after which second year student Alan gave a short talk. The years 3–6 students were so well behaved that there was an extra ten minutes for questions and another song!
The really exciting development this week – something the church hasn’t attempted before – is the two seminars being run on Thursday and Friday evenings. Thursday’s event was a parenting seminar, featuring Jenny Brown, a clinical social worker and director of the Family Systems Institute. Held at a popular vegan café across the road from the church at the beach-end of the suburb, her topic was ‘More Nurturing of Firmer Limits? The Tightrope of Parenting’. While the event wasn’t as well attended as we might have liked – the church are just beginning their attempts to connect with the local community in this way – it was a really useful night for the parents who were there. In addition to the practical parenting advice, those present were able to see that the church cares about good parenting, and were introduced to the church.
This was really the first attempt, in ministers Martin and Blake’s terms, ‘to present an open face to the public’ since beginning to revitalise the church in the last few years. As such, it represented a real step forward in the church;s witness, as they seek to provide soft entry points for locals to connect with the church – and, under God, to meet the Lord Jesus.