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Fellows award to aid Menai's five-year vision

Fellows award to aid Menai's five-year vision

Fellows award to aid Menai's five-year vision

4 September 2017

The Menai Corps in Sydney will use its Aged Care Plus Fellows scholarship for travel to Ingle Farm Corps (members pictured above), South Australia, to learn more about integration of corps and social programs, and holistically serving the local community.

By Simone Worthing

Every year in the Australia Eastern Territory, The Salvation Army Fellows program, sponsored by Aged Care Plus, awards scholarships of up to $5000 to employees, officers and volunteers towards their professional and personal development. Over the next couple of months, others online will talk to several recipients, explore the focus areas of their Fellowship award, and share the difference it is, and will make, in their lives, the lives of others, and in the ministry of The Salvation Army.

The Menai Corps, in the southern suburbs of Sydney, is one of 17 recipients of this year’s program. This growing and self-sustaining corps, pastored by Mark Soper, is known for its expanding ministry in the local area, and its vibrant and engaged worship community.

The corps’ scholarship is for “research and development” and will fund the corps’ senior leadership team and some staff travelling to the Ingle Farm Corps in South Australia to spend time looking at how the corps and social programs there are integrated, their holistic approach to serving their community, and the overall financial structure of the corps.

The research trip will take place 6-8 March next year.

“It’s important for our corps here at Menai to learn from others as we grow towards having a greater social impact in our community,” said Mark. “This trip is an essential part of putting together our next five-year plan and integrating social and corps programs for greater impact and the financial and business side of things is an important part of this as well.”

Ingle Farm Corps Officers, Captains David and Kylie Collinson, their staff and volunteers, will host the Menai team. Neighbouring officers in the southern Sydney corps of Miranda, Captains Peter and Rebecca Gott, will accompany the group, and will work closely with them in serving in the Sutherland Shire.

“Our church, and our social programs, are growing well, but we are passionate about them not running in isolation,” Mark explained. “Ingle Farm is a great example of the two working together well, and with more than 90 ministry and social staff and a budget over six million, they have much to teach us on how to transition to do this effectively, pitfalls to avoid, possible challenges we might face and even what they might do differently if they were starting again from scratch.

“We want this to be sustainable. We are only starting programs we can sustain over the long term – to sow seeds of what can be achieved over time in the Sutherland Shire.”

Mark and the Menai team want to give the corps a vision of where God can take them as they follow this path. “It’s important for our local leaders to be part of this trip and see first-hand at Ingle Farm what can be done,” Mark explained. “This is about empowering them and letting them drive it. It’s about motivating our people who will see the vision and make it happen.”

Providing affordable housing and support for women transitioning from a domestic violence situation is a key focus area for the Menai Corps, with support from the Miranda Corps.

The corps has established Samara House, which has already accommodated several women and children, with some transitioning through the house into the community. While staying in the house the women are case-managed through Sutherland Shire Family Services, who also refer the clients.

“We do what we are good at and work with other agencies who work in their areas of specialty,” Mark said. “We want to be strategic about finding, and addressing, some of these social needs. Domestic violence is one of the biggest underlying issue in the Sutherland Shire and we are partnering with other agencies in our response to this.

“Part of the funds we raised in the recent Big 50 Walk will go, not just towards Samara House, but to other agencies, to bless people and lift them and their services up.”

For the team at the Menai Corps, the focus is on developing at a pace that can sustain and grow the greatest impact for the Kingdom, and for transitioning people to faith.

“The goal is for people to know Jesus through practical love and assistance and finding a community to belong,” said Mark.

 

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