Table tennis Tuesdays at Hurstville
By LAUREN MARTIN
A partnership between Hurstville Corps and a local table tennis association in Sydney’s south has created new connections and opportunities for ministry.
When the association needed a location to hold its games several years ago, Hurstville’s then corps officer Captain Sean Li jumped on the opportunity to create connections in the community and offered the use of the corps cost-free. Since then, the group has grown, and deeper relationships formed.
The Georges River Association (GRA) runs the table tennis group, which meets at Hurstville Corps every Tuesday. Corps Officer Lieutenant Beth Shao says the corps is passionate about incorporating the four mission pillars in everything it does, so a corps member is always present “to chat with people and build relationships with them.”
“We want to work on The Salvation Army’s mission of creating faith pathways and building healthy communities,” she said. “I approach people regularly and explain who we are and how we serve community people and help those in need.”
Councillor Ben Wang, from Georges River Council, is a Salvation Army Ambassador. He was instrumental in setting up the agreement between Hurstville Corps and the Georges River Association.
“As a leader in the multicultural community, I always understand the community is in desperate need of venues to meet, to socialise, and seek support from each other. It’s especially important in the culturally and linguistically diverse community as they don’t normally play in the mainstream sports,” he said.
The Tuesday Table Tennis group is a place for the people involved – mainly from the local Chinese community – to socialise and exercise. Those who attend are also invited to participate in other corps-based ministries like English-speaking classes, the Wednesday community centre coffee and conversation group and fellowship gatherings. Some members of the table tennis group have now become corps volunteers.
Councillor Wang believes that there could be an opportunity for more table tennis ministries to be started in other south-west Sydney locations connected to neighbouring corps.
“I’m passionate about The Salvation Army because I have witnessed the devotion of so many Salvo officers and the positive impact they have brought to the individual and community,” he said.
“Equally importantly, for the past two years or so, as part of The Salvation Army movement, I have experienced how the love of Jesus has made a better community through my own faith and action.”