“The natural outworking of being Christians in the Albany community is that we want to help Albany be a better community”, explains Carl Becker, Projects Coordinator for Shore Community Church (SCC). There was early dialogue with Love Your Neighbour as the church sought to find practical ways to be more missional.
Albany Community House was once a scout hall. The Scouts no longer used it and it was gifted to the Albany Community Board to be used by the community co-coordinator as an office and a meeting place for community groups.
The problem was that it needed $90,000 of work to be done on it before it could be used by the community. The community board had $20,000 to put towards the task. They had applied to several trusts for a grant but had been turned down. After looking over the renovation plans SCC decided that this could be their first community project, planned for the month of 'Servetember'.
The project involved the relining and painting of the inside, the installation of new deck and roof over the deck, the painting of the outside, building a new storage room on the side of the hall, new paths and a massive cleanup. “We knew that the project would need some cash so the church put in $10,000 from its mission budget plus free labour for three weekends” says Carl.
The weekends were divided into four hour shifts with a big lunch each day. This was a project that required a significant amount of specialist knowledge. Thankfully SCC had a good number of builders who could be fully involved in the project. (One of these weekends the church cancelled its Sunday service and also had people working at the local school installing seating and a 'Pipe Henge' in a garden setting. )
Members of the community also pitched in, and Mitre 10 provided materials at cost, so this was a partnership venture.
The community board is thrilled with the outcome, even if they are a little mystified as to why a church would do such a thing. “One of them made the comment, 'I don't know what's in your communion wine, but keep using it, it's doing a good job!'” laughs Carl.
“What was going to cost the community 90k was all done for $30K, and we got the chance to serve in a way that is consistent with the Gospel. Relationships within the church were strengthened, and our relationship with the community board and local school will open doors to more opportunities in the future!”