Manoj Chacko was born and brought up in Malaysia. His father was from India and moved to Malaysia before WW2 as an “economic migrant” looking for work. However due to racial riots in Malaysia in 1969, his parents moved back to India. He completed an MA and worked in Christian Education before migrating to Sydney aged 40, with his wife Ramabai and two young children. They attended Anglican churches at Revesby and Moorebank and grew in spiritual understanding.
At the age of 47, he felt the call to attend Moore College. Initially it was challenging for Manoj and Ramabai as he commuted to College each day. They were supported financially by several family members and parishioners from Moorebank Anglican. Despite challenges, Manoj grew under the teaching of faculty. In his words, “my biblical understanding changed from seeing seemingly unconnected narratives and stories, to God fulfilling His promises and purposes in Christ heading towards a New Heaven and New Earth.”
After graduating from Moore College, he began full-time ministry in the parish of Moorebank. A key ministry that began out of the Parish in the late 90’s was a ministry to new immigrants from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh etc). It was a ministry of “Transitions”, helping South Asians to adjust to an Aussie way of life. It was a practical ministry of support, as God drew more people towards the church. As well as helping with networking, guidance and advice, they also provided for practical needs. One church member from Moorebank would often open their home for free to families in their first weeks. Most of those who benefitted from this woman’s generous hospitality still visit her and refer to her affectionately as “Aunty Betty”! A South-Asian Fellowship service was also conducted once a term bringing together families across the Sydney basin from various denominations. Through these ministries the church helped several sub-continental families, some of whom are still active and serving members of Liverpool South, ministering to newer arrivals.
A ministry to refugees from Sri Lanka, Africa, Cambodia, Iraq and Syria later arose from this work, with many coming to faith. In 2008, when Manoj and Ramabai moved to Liverpool South, they were exposed to several Pakistani refugees. A number attending the World Youth Day conference in Sydney that year applied for asylum and a couple of these men stayed in the rectory. One of the families stayed with Manoj and Ramabai in the rectory for over 6 months. These men and their families were exposed to the Word & Biblical teaching. One was later to become a member of the Parish Council, and through Anglican Aid, now runs a School for Peace ministry in a major city in Pakistan.
In 2013, as the numbers of boats carrying asylum seekers multiplied, Liverpool South Church played a significant role in ministering to hundreds of Sri Lankans across Sydney. This included communal computer access at various locations in the church, so new arrivals could Skype and communicate with their families. Many were of Hindu background. Weekly Tamil meetings were run for them on Sundays where testimonies were shared, the gospel preached, and lunch was served. A number of these converts were baptised and have moved to regional towns like Orange to fulfil Government asylum seeker conditions.
Manoj has two prayers for future ministry:
1. For more students from multi-ethnic backgrounds to come to Moore College to be trained for kingdom work.
2. That workers be sent from Moore College to Southwest Sydney to reach the vulnerable (like refugees & asylum seeker) with the gospel of Christ.