Eastwood Uniting Church’s Community Chat Embraces Multiculturalism  

Eastwood Uniting Church’s Community Chat Embraces Multiculturalism  

Eastwood Uniting Church’s new program, Community Chat, aims to foster meaningful connections through shared experiences. The program invites members to share stories about their hometowns, areas of expertise, holiday experiences, and other topics to create mutual understanding. 

A Welcoming Haven 

Community Chat aims to build a sense of community. Church members are invited to participate regularly, creating a bridge between the congregation and the wider community.  

One example is an Iranian woman who recently moved to Sydney. With limited English skills and no local friends, she initially joined the church’s English class. Through the supportive environment of Community Chat, aided by translation apps and the kindness of church members, she began to feel a sense of belonging. This connection grew deeper when a church member gifted her a bike. Drawn by the kindness showed to her by the Eastwood congregation, she recently joined their worship services to learn more about the faith. 

A Reflection of Multicultural Values 

Community Chat participants hail from various corners of the globe, including Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea, Malaysia, and Iran. The program provides a platform for cross-cultural exchange. 

Respect is the cornerstone of these gatherings. Everyone is encouraged to express themselves freely and listen with an open mind. This inclusive approach not only fosters a sense of belonging but also encourages participants to share their unique perspectives and experiences, enriching the community. 

From Café Conversations to Community Chat 

The origins of Community Chat trace back to the Community Café, a bi-weekly meet-up held at a local café. Students from the church’s English classes practiced their conversational skills and made friends with congregation members. Recognising the success of these interactions, the church introduced a Chit-Chat Corner on alternate weeks to connect with users of their premises. This led to a merger between these programs into the weekly Community Chat. 

Small Gestures, Big Impacts 

The true measure of Community Chat’s success is not in numbers but in the positive changes it brings to individuals’ lives. Many participants, due to the transient nature of the community, may not stay long, but the impact of their time spent in the program is lasting. From the days of the Community Café to the present, the church has touched many lives, providing support and friendship to those who need it most. 

At its core, Community Chat aims to ensure that everyone feels valued and included. As long as people continue to join and benefit from the program, Eastwood Uniting Church considers it a success. 

Jermaine Yan, Lay Preacher, Eastwood Uniting Church


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