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• Christmas @ Merri-bek

Christmas in July at Recovery Church@Merri-bek was a celebration of connection with 'family', friends and community.

“What an amazing time we had on Wednesday night at the Recovery Church Christmas in July celebration at our new venue at Merri-bek,” said Captain Melanie Cop, Recovery Church@Merri-bek Corps Officer, with Major Darren Aitken.

“An incredible meal, brass band, carols, and a powerful testimony from Brian, a valued long-term member. It was wonderful to connect with new and long-term ‘friends like family’ and share the joy of community. Many thanks to all those who put so much effort into making it such a special evening.”

Christmas in July has been a regular feature of the Recovery Church at Moonee Valley for many years. The congregation recently relocated and used the move to continue their much-loved tradition for their first meeting at Merri-bek.

Volunteers and community members helped serve the special Christmas meal.

“Christmas in July has always been a celebration of community and the connection we have with each other,” said Melanie Cop.

“The community members who join our celebration come from several of our social services, including Flagstaff Crisis Accommodation (men) and Bridgehaven Recovery Services (women). Chaplains from social centres also bring guests to Recovery Church.

“Our volunteers and community members cook the donated meat each year and prepare the veggies. They’re also involved in the table decorations. I put out ideas and collect resource, but they lead it, they own it.”

“Christmas in July is something special we celebrate together – another way of celebrating community together. It helps foster the relationships we have together and a way we can show our community how much we love, appreciate and care for them.”

Melanie explained that, like a family holiday, Christmas in July is something the community members appreciate and look forward to each year.

Faith is central to everything that is done at Recovery Church.

“It’s special, a small token of something they can be excited about. They can feel special, and we can spoil them. We really do appreciate them – it’s a beautiful community, they have each other’s backs. The community goes beyond the walls of the church –vthey get together, volunteer in other Salvos places, they support us with fundraising barbeques and the Red Shield appeal, support each other in their challenges, come alongside and care for and support each other – that’s what church is really all about.

“Faith is central to everything we do – it’s foundational, living out our beliefs, loving our neighbour and not our religions.”

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