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Inner-West Corps meets the community at its doorstep


Volunteers Nika Pobjie and Warwick Kingston prepare to serve at the Inner-West Salvos’ Christmas meal.
BY LAUREN MARTIN

 

A practical ministry backed by powerful prayer is enabling Sydney’s Inner-West Corps to connect with some of its most marginalised neighbours.

 

The corps is surrounded by an eclectic mix of people in the Dulwich Hill community – different nationalities, levels of income and household make-ups.

 

Ten years ago, retired Salvation Army officer Major Hilton Harmer began a ministry to people living in the many boarding houses in the inner-west area, delivering food and other essential items. The last stop was the Inner-West Corps carpark, where people in need living nearby would walk down and access the food service.  


Major Hilton Harmer assists a member of the community with some food during his boarding house ministry days.

Whilst he is no longer running it himself, Hilton’s boarding house ministry has continued, in largely the same format, for all those years.

 

Inner-West Salvos Corps Officer Captain Ben Knight said when he and the corps were praying about mission and ministry opportunities, it seemed that God prompted them to simply open the door to their own carpark and join with the existing food service ministry, but in a way that strengthens relationships with those accessing the service.

 

“We started a barbeque and had a few volunteers from the church come along. It was a slow burn; it took a while for community members to open up, but we just kept turning up every Tuesday, remembering their names and remembering parts of what they had told us the week before, and they began to open up and build relationships.”

 

Inner-West Corps Officer Captain Ben Knight says a new ministry to build relationships with the corps’ most vulnerable neighbours has seen God at work in 2023.

Now, many community members help set up the tables and chairs for the meal, and many are making new friends and mingling more. “It’s been a real blessing to see,” said Ben.

 

While some corps members couldn’t commit to the hands-on aspect of the ministry, Ben said their commitment to prayer has been just as powerful.

 

“It’s something that they can seek the heart of God in and pray about. You can really sense the engine room – from our prayer warriors – the Holy Spirit has been at work in that space ... and we update them and talk to them about what God is doing and tell good news stories from the barbeque, and that’s been a real blessing to them as well.”

 

As Christmas approached, the barbeque team decided to put on something special and organised a Christmas dinner. It was one of hundreds of Christmas meals The Salvation Army offered to vulnerable community members throughout December as part of its 100,000 Meals Campaign.

 

“The community appreciated it a lot,” said Ben.

 

The 100,000 Meals Campaign was supported by Coca-Cola, which also donated drinks and merchandise for the Inner-West Salvos Christmas dinner.

 

At the time, Kate Miller, Marketing Director at Coca‑Cola South Pacific, said, “We’re proud to play our part in spreading joy this Christmas and encouraging kindness and connection by supporting the Salvos in their mission and contributing up to 5000 delicious meals to community members who need it.”


Volunteers Lena Pobjie and her daughter Nika from Sydney’s Inner-West Corps serve Christmas dinner.

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