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Batemans Bay on a roll with Local Mission Delivery


Batemans Bay Salvation Army community garden volunteers (from left) James, Jill, Michael, and Helen.
Batemans Bay Salvation Army community garden volunteers (from left) James, Jill, Michael, and Helen.
BY CLIFF WORTHING

Batemans Bay Corps is a classic example of The Salvation Army’s Local Mission Delivery in action.


The corps has a small, dedicated band of members who are committed to making an impact in the community, according to Lesley Archer, Batemans Bay Corps Team Leader.


“Our attitude is to roll up our sleeves, get into it, and see what Jesus can do,” Lesley said. “There is something special happening here, lots of different things, but they’re all intermingled.”


One example of multiple connections is the corps community garden, which has become an active place and is being expanded. Locals get involved in growing produce, which is used for fresh greens, and preparing meals for those in need. Bunnings have come on board to provide materials and their staff to build a chicken coop. Honey is produced in the garden as well.


Team Leader Lesley Archer says the corps is making multiple connections in the community.
Team Leader Lesley Archer says the corps is making multiple connections in the community.

Wednesday is known as ‘Connect Day’. Connections Cafe provides a space for locals, especially those who are lonely. Several groups meet at the cafe for good food, tea, coffee, and relationship-building.


The corps hosts a Christianity Explained group. The cafe also hosts an art class twice a month, providing healing to participants. Doorways opens its doors on a Wednesday for emergency food relief and an advocacy and referral service to other support services such as Moneycare.


“The Lord is bringing people together in an organic way through all the various connection points,” Lesley said. “Lonely people in our community are really finding a community, which allows them to do what they need to do.”


A key part of the corps’ mission strategy is to host other groups’ meetings, such as University for the Third Age (U3A) and a Christian youth group – all because the corps has a commercial kitchen.


Lesley explained that they like to share God’s blessings with others, which allows the corps to build relationships with parents of the youth and alert them to their other programs. It also creates natural connections, such as a recent example of U3A participants playfully tapping on the window to tell the youth group to stop making so much noise. “It was such a delightful interaction to witness,” Lesley said.


Connections Cafe provides a space for locals to eat and share conversations
Connections Cafe provides a space for locals to eat and share conversations

Lesley described multiple examples of community members coming to the corps for help, loving what they experienced, having their needs met, and deciding to come to church, volunteer, or rebuild broken relationships.


One recent example involved Lesley finding a group of young people camping in a local park. She invited them to the corps for a shower, food and conversation about their situation. With the help of a youth support worker, the young people decided to return to their respective families.


“We provided a space, looked after them, and loved them,” Lesley explained. “When people are touched, Christ can do stuff.”


Barb, an older corps member, has connected with a young woman struggling with life’s challenges. The woman is now attending church services, and Barb is teaching her how to knit. The woman says she has found a sense of belonging, especially after her father passed away last year.


“What the corps is doing can get messy, but it’s Jesus,” Lesley said. “All we want to do is see salvation in our community.”

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