What my church did right
Lane Cove Uniting Church’s initiative Community Chaplaincy is building regular discipleship with non-church going people in the local community, and has also seen an increase in the number of congregation members.
Uniting Church minister, Rev. Karen Paull, heads the Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy and says the initiative has been offered to the Lane Cove municipality for the last four years.
“Four years is not long in missional terms. However, we are travelling well together and with the local community,” said Rev. Paull.
The Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy is explicit in its mission, to help people navigate grief, stress, find meaning and connect people. All the while sharing the Christian story and strengthen people’s spiritual understanding.
Rev. Paull works alongside the Lane Cove Uniting Church minister Rev. Rick Johnson who leads the local congregation part-time in terms of leading services and pastoral care. Together they have cultivated whole of church mission connecting and catering to the congregation and wider community.
Rev. Paull attributes the initiative’s success to the church eldership discernment and leadership both structurally and by also enabling her to effectively live out the missional work.
“[Church elders] thoroughly researched options to discerning the way forward, talking with actual practitioners for 18 months prior to commencement,” said Rev. Paull.
The decision to start community chaplaincy was borne from the congregation selling one of the church buildings in 2012/13 to combine worship services to one site.
“The congregation had stewardship of a large sum of money from the sale and intent on being good stewards, researched possible options for continuing ministry in Lane Cove.”
Rev. Paull explains that church elders helped members transition to the new worship centre and also assisted with budgeting and “wider church responsibilities and financial details.”
Rev. Paull goes on to say that the positive experience she has had in this placement is due to the support and high level of trust from the congregation.
“This included extensive freedom to listen to the local community and innovate according to my strengths as guided by the Spirit.”
“[They] encouraged me to pursue initiatives that lacked initial promise for at least 6 months.”
“[They also] understood that experimentation often leads to ‘failure’ (and analysis) and encouraged me through those times.”
Together through the community chaplaincy events and activities, the Lane Cove congregation continues to reach and share discipleship with the community.
“The congregation are encouraged from contributing well to wider society and the advancement of the kingdom of God,” said Rev. Paull.
Find out more about Lane Cove Uniting Church Community Chaplaincy.