If I mentioned unreached people groups, you’d be forgiven if your mind didn’t automatically think of Woolloomooloo but that is exactly what we have here. You may be surprised to hear that with the exception of a small Catholic Church at the ‘trendier’ end of this small suburb, Woolloomooloo Baptist Church (WBC) is the only Church present.
With a population of just under 4,000 and only 10 locals who regularly attend WBC, we have a rather healthy looking mission field. This is where it gets really exciting! Over the past 12 months we’ve been re-building our Urban Education Program at BaptistCare HopeStreet and now it is time to expand and re-introduce our HopeStreet Urban Internship.
The Internship is designed to provide training and experience in urban mission combining a unique blend of Community Development and Ministry. The Internship is a three way partnership between Morling College, BaptistCare HopeStreet and WBC. Each Intern will work alongside the HopeStreet and WBC teams while undertaking a Diploma of Christian Studies at Morling College. It is our desire that many Christian leaders will be equipped and mobilised to do urban mission through this program.
I asked Adam Debenham, who heads up our Urban Education Program, to share with us a little of the background and vision for the Internship:
“When I commenced this role, almost 12 months ago, the discussion centred very much around urban engagement and how we would practically connect others with what we do on the ground at HopeStreet. We considered how we could strengthen our mission in Woolloomooloo alongside WBC and in partnership with other churches and organisations. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we best express Christ to this community?’ We began to dream of raising up people with a passion to represent Jesus in Woolloomooloo. As a result we thought about how we would train people to work in this community and then go from here to other places where people experience marginalisation. We want to build stronger bridges between what HopeStreet do and what WBC can offer in this unique partnership of community work and ministry.
Urban Ed is about educating people, giving them an experience and encouraging them to go love their neighbours as we do. The internship will help people explore what that might look like if they build relationships with people instead of just visiting them once. Our internship is an opportunity to learn to love their neighbours in a practical way through being at HopeStreet.
Over the past year our Urban Education Program has hosted many groups from Churches, Bible colleges and Schools. As we shared with them our story they would often ask about how we share the Gospel here in Woolloomooloo? We didn’t have an exact answer, except to say that we love without judgement in a community that struggles to love. As we chatted with these groups it became obvious that we could offer an opportunity for a longer term experience to individuals with a heart for our community. We don’t know what the full outcome of this Internship Program will be, but I believe we can start a spark in someone’s heart that may go on to create the change in our society that looks after the poor, the broken and the hurting. We may be the catalyst that ignites a movement of Gospel centred social justice in our city. Our program may be the experience that releases someone into the call of God on their life. And who knows, this may even be a movement that changes our nation.”
For further information about the HopeStreet Urban Internship, please contact Adam on 02 9358 2388 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.