The Easter weekend of 2013, Liverpool South Senior Minister Rev Manoj Chacko recevied an unexpected phone call that would signal the beginning of a new journey for the church.
On the other end of the phone was a concerned Sydney Anglican minister from another church who explained that he had been put in contact with a large group of Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka. Unsure of how to help, the minister phoned Rev Chacko who is fluent in Tamil and pastors a congregation with many people from the sub-continent.
Fast forward five years and Liverpool South Anglican has a substantial asylum seeker and refugee ministry that supports people from such countries as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cameroon, Burundi and Syria. The church runs ESL and homework classes, offers financial and pastoral care as well as hosting a monthly asylum seeker lunch and fellowship group.
Many refugee families living in local suburbs struggle financially with most unable to find work and entitled to only 85% of unemployment benefits.
Finding suitable accommodation is also challenging as many cannot provide a rental history. One practical way Liverpool South has been able to assist is by providing character references for housing applicants.
The ministry has been of mutual blessing, with Liverpool South finding encouragement in the fruit of the ministry. Recently an entire family of asylum seekers were baptised after placing their faith in Jesus. Rev Chacko said, “Seeing asylum seeker lives transformed for eternity has been exciting! And seeing our members discovering their gifts in this ministry has been a bonus!”.
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ABN 28 525 237 517