Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43: 18-19
It’s a new day, a new year and God is indeed doing a new thing! As I write this article, we have just welcomed in 2016 and, in the midst of making New Year’s resolutions we ponder what the next 12 months will bring. Reflecting upon the past few years at HopeStreet it has been quite the journey, at times very painful, but so worth persevering. 2013/14 stripped HopeStreet back to its foundations, 2014/15 was about discovering our core purpose, firming the foundations, transitioning, re-building and dreaming of what could be. We believe that 2016 will be a year of re-birth and release as we witness God do mighty things and see many of the plans we have laid come to fruition. We are also sure that the new things God is doing will surpass anything we could have dreamed or hoped for.
In the latter months of 2015 we began to see the beginnings of this new stage of our journey. We were able to host a number of HopeStreet facilitated events due to the generosity of donors and volunteers and this enabled broader community engagement. These events have been met with a level of positive feedback that has not been heard at HopeStreet for at least six years. And let me say, the benefits are not one sided; the opportunity to engage with people and build deep relationship enriches us all. Some of the events we have been able to host with the support of partner churches, organisations, donors and volunteers include:
- Woolloomooloo Block Party and Outdoor Art Project
- Fortnightly over 50’s lunch
- Movie screenings
- Ladies High Tea
- Christmas Hamper Campaign
- Christmas Party complete with beautiful gifts for our Women’s Space clients
These events along with many other activities and services are helping us to foster stronger ties and build solid relationships throughout the community. Ken and Marilyn Hall, who pastor Woolloomooloo Baptist Church, continue to work alongside the HopeStreet team. Ken has mentioned that a few of our more marginalised community members have become regular attendees at Sunday morning worship services – Praise God for his faithfulness!
While all of this may be painting a rather rosy picture, I should remind you that the environment we work within is unpredictable, volatile and sometimes quite hostile. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given the spiritual element of our work. I liken it to an ocean rip or a fast flowing river; don’t be fooled by appearances, things aren’t always as they seem. While the surface of the water may seem calm and inviting, lurking just below the surface can be strong cold currents and dangerous rips; similarly the underbelly of Woolloomooloo is actively undermining and destroying the lives of so many people and this is what we stand against. It can be exhausting and thoroughly draining at times; it is at these times that we must remind ourselves that we serve ‘the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth’ (Is 40:28) and He has promised that he is ‘making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’( Is 43:19).
So we will ‘go out with joy and be led forth in peace’ (Is 55:12) as we continue the work that God lays out before us in 2016. We will rejoice, we will cry, we will laugh, we will ache with this community but most of all; we will support and love them. Just a few of the initiatives we expect to see launched this year are: our HopeStreet Coffee Van which is an extension of our Employment Training Program; a Men’s Wellbeing group; CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) program within Women’s Services; Women’s Space move to their new location (DA pending); new Community Café space (DA pending). If serving in ministry has taught me anything it’s to expect the unexpected so we wait with great anticipation to see the new things that God is doing in us, through us and in the lives of the people who call Woolloomooloo home.
We ask that you would continue to support this vital ministry and stand with us as we minister to God’s people through the victory and power we have in Jesus.
For more information about HopeStreet, please contact Helen Dwyer on 02 9358 2388 or on 0466 524 153