The members of a small Bible study started feeling a nudge to get involved with underprivileged people in their community. None of them had experience with this kind of work before. They were simply fuelled with a growing awareness of need, and a desire to help. One of those people is Joan Henderson, who was happy to share about what’s been going with this project.
The Equality Project started about two years ago.
Just over a year into the project, a couple in Sage Hills EFC approached the group and offered to buy a facility to give it a home. This became The Equality Project Clubhouse. This same couple also provided for renovations which gave the Clubhouse a kitchen.
"Our jaws dropped to the ground, and I think they've been there ever since!"
People's immediate needs are often the most obvious. But The Equality Project team is keen to meet emotional and spiritual needs, as well as physical ones.
The Clubhouse is currently open on Mondays and Tuesdays, and provides a meal, a soup and a treat to each of its guests, which they call Clubhouse Friends. They regularly serve 15-30 on-site, and when factoring in delivered meals, the number goes up to 50. They're also
collecting and distributing clothes and household goods.
Calling this ministry The Equality Project was strategic. Often there is an implicit stigma that poor people feel when connecting with those who are more financially secure. Joan explained that to reach out and raise people up, we sometimes have to lower ourselves. It's less about providing gifts or services, and more about connecting with people on a relational level, as equals. And that is happening – people are lingering longer and engaging more with each other and the project’s volunteers.
This is currently all volunteer supported. Volunteers are welcome from other church denominations, and there are even people who are religiously unaffiliated, but who feel compelled to participate somehow.
"I've never seen God working like this before!"
The future is wide open for The Equality Project. There are opportunities to provide lifeskills training, and possibly workshop space might be available for people to make things to sell. The team has even been invited to collaborate with government initiatives to supply low-income housing. But this small band of volunteers doesn't want to get too far ahead of itself.
Pray for health and vitality of the team -- as you may imagine, they are encountering people's very real
issues all the time. Pray for wisdom and direction in taking next steps. And pray that other people would be open to God stirring their hearts to greater love and connections wherever they are, and wherever they feel called to go. The Equality Project is a wholly organic example of what we want to see accomplished in and through the EFCC.
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