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‘The new is here’ – Wednesday service meeting needs at Adelaide City Salvos


Ali Hall leads The 5:17 church service at Adelaide City Salvos on Wednesday evenings.

Adelaide City Salvos are ‘creating faith pathways’ through a thriving Wednesday evening church service that is connected to their DUOs (Do Unto Others) program.

 

BY ANTHONY CASTLE

Ali Halls is the DUOs Coordinator at Adelaide City Salvos, facilitating The 5:17 mid-week worship service each Wednesday. Operating in partnership with the DUOs program, the new service has been providing community for those most in need at a point when times have been toughest.

 

“The 5:17 is born out of The Salvation Army’s vision to create faith pathways connected to the DUOs program,” explains Ali Halls. “DUOs is based around a Wednesday meal, but more importantly it’s a space where we can build community, where people are accepted and loved. We cater for a vulnerable and diverse community, some with complex mental health needs.”

 

DUOs (Do Unto Others) is a variety of programs and activities aimed at meeting the needs of the inner-city community, including men’s and women’s activity-based support groups, meals, and Bible studies. The 5:17 chapel service averages about 50 attendees each week, mostly attending from the DUOs events.



 

“The 5:17 is still church, even if it’s not a Sunday service,” explains Ali. “People ask for prayer; community members share their stories. We have a community member who runs worship, singing and playing guitar. We have had one person who is deep in alcoholism. He may not be doing great, but he’s willing enough to share a poem he wrote. The service is called The 5:17 after 2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here’. It also starts at 5:17 pm.”

 

A domino effect

Launching The 5:17 service last year was personal for Ali, who had come through rehabilitation herself in 2018. Ali’s own journey saw her come to the Salvos in need, volunteer at the DUOs program as a result, and become an employee in 2021.

 

“It’s about reducing stigma,” Ali says. “I come from a paramedic and nursing background. Some things happened for me, and I turned to drugs. We’re all one step away from something quite chaotic. We’re dealing with the complex nature of mental health, increased crime, incarceration, homelessness; it’s a domino effect. If nothing changes for people, the worst thing that can happen is they die alone.”

 

Crises in the cost of living and housing have seen an increase in need, with more and more turning to services for support. While these crises have impacted the country, Adelaide has experienced the sharpest inflation in food and non-alcoholic beverages over the past three years.

 

Impact of crisis

“There’s been a lot of talk over the past year about the rise in the cost of living and the impact it’s having on families and individuals,” explains Major Mal Davies, Corps Officer at City Salvos. “We see clear evidence of this in the number of people presenting to us for the first time, meaning we also have to manage them carefully in terms of allowing for embarrassment and the fact life has humbled them perhaps unlike ever before.”

 

City Salvos is based in the heart of Adelaide, offering the urban community a café space, Sunday meetings, small groups, and a range of support services. Doorways services offer emergency relief, financial counselling and general counselling.

 

“There’s been little talk about the impact this crisis has had on people spiritually,” Mal says. “I’m amazed at the number of people who have said that they’ve ‘even turned to prayer’ and they’ve ‘even asked God for help’. The 5:17 is a relaxed, welcoming and casual worship service that doesn’t intimidate non-believers and welcomes people with no faith.”

 

The 5:17 has been running for eight months, with stable numbers in attendance. Now, Ali and Mal are looking at creating more pathways for those who are part of the chapel service, inviting them to connect with City Salvos more and to go deeper into faith.

 

“We’re designed for human connection,” Ali says. “Many at The 5:17 have lost families and friends and all of their connections. To a lot of people, we are their friends and families. We all desire love and want to be accepted. It’s really important to offer that, no matter what you’re going through. You’re loved here.”

 


The Wednesday evening church congregation at Adelaide City Salvos.

 

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