Local unity in Hervey Bay
Regional Engagement Partner for Churches of Christ in Queensland, Sue Ellis, is the chairwoman of Hervey Bay Combined Christian Churches. She said the response to COVID-19 by the group comes off the back of a really great history of unity.
“The Churches have come together at other times for prayer and for Church Services – for instance, each year the Christian Churches usually have a Combined Service for Pentecost. Hervey Bay is blessed to have a Ministers Association that has a history of working well together and supporting each other,” Sue said.
Initiatives implement in response to the crisis included a Care Line for locals to call and access supports including food hampers, fuel vouchers, and support for paying bills. It is also there to provide a listening ear to those who need to have a chat, either with a member of the triage team or an experienced pastoral carer or qualified counsellor.
Through their Facebook page – @Hervey Bay Combined Christian Churches—they provide self-help videos from local Christian counsellors, with topics include loneliness and self-soothing. There are also videos of blessings and testimonies of faith from local ministering people. The Facebook page and phone line is supported by a website, herveybaychurches.care, where locals can access a range of useful resources detailing where they can find support for their area of need, including homelessness, looking for work, food, domestic violence, mental health, help for seniors, and much more.
With COVID-19 thankfully settling down and the Hervey Bay community on the road to recovery, Sue said they are working on what the group looks like moving forward. Some initiatives supported by the group include Coffee Chaplaincy delivered by Churches of Christ in Queensland to mental health facilities across the Wide Bay region with volunteers from various churches. They are also considering programs such as Neighbourhood Helps to assist older people and those with mobility limitations with help around the garden and house, as well as spiritual retreats and Street Pastors ministry.
“It is very exciting, that out of such a terrible crisis, there is a deep sense of unity between the Christian Churches of Hervey Bay. There is a genuine united heart, to care for our local people – our slogan has been ‘locals caring for locals’,” Sue said.
“I am honestly privileged to have been asked to lead the initiatives to date, but to also be immersed in the future direction of Hervey Bay Combined Christian Churches.
“It really has been an amazing outcome from such a terrible crisis. And we are here to stay for the foreseeable future.”