Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Werribee Salvation Army, whose leaders Captain Catherine Abram and Captain Phill Abram and their team, build their health and vitality through initiatives such as this.

Read the conversation below.

PA: One of the questions that I’m asking is how do we connect with the non-Australian communities, that multiracial or multicultural society? Are we reflecting, as a congregation, the multicultural society that we’re living in? We’re starting to but we don’t. We’re still very Anglo, we’re still very driven by the history. 

CA: We are looking at that. We’re looking at saying, how do we reach into these different cultures? It’s still the first generation that often still want to meet together culturally. Where second generation, the kids, they don’t want to just hang out with, say Indian people, or just African people, or people of their own ethnicity. They want to be immersed. But how do you do this first generation? 

PA: But that also leads to the next level of flourishing as well. Yes, this foundation has been set but how do we now set the next bit of it for those extra nationalities to be able to be connected into a Christian faith community. Because if you say faith community that could be anything, but if we’re trying to say Christian faith community, how do we draw those? 

NCLS: It sounds like you’ve described seasons where your church has explored different shapes and ways of doing ministry. Then you also have the seasons within the local community and how’s that changing socially over time. 

CA: Yes, and it’s just beautiful. One morning at church we had different people praying in their own native language. We were talking about Acts. So, if someone was speaking in tongues no-one would know because you’ve got someone speaking in Dutch, you’ve got someone speaking in one dialect of Swahili, you’ve got another Indian person.  

PA: French.

CA: Yes. With them naturally being able to express in their own tongue their love for God and it’s just beautiful.

There’s a song in the Salvation Army that sings, they shall come from the east, they shall come from the west and sit down at the feet of Jesus. And you go, that’s what we want. We want there not to be any difference, that people just see we’re the body of Christ.  

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