Thornbury Community Church, a Church of the Nazarene located in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, is learning what it means to welcome their neighbor and become a globally-minded body of believers.
In December of 2017 they shared the beginnings of their journey.
This ministry and investment in the refugee community has led the church to open a Farsi worship service. Associate Pastor Britni Green reports, “Our Farsi Bible study was getting too large to host in homes. Now we use the Farsi worship service as a big Bible study to help new Iranian Christians learn about the basics and build their faith.” One of the new believers recently shared in their baptism testimony, “I have accepted Jesus and come to Christ because this is the way that teaches me how to belong to others, how to forgive others, even if they have treated us badly, even if they think we are the enemies. I will live in Jesus Christ and worship God as Jesus worshipped God.”
The church community can trace these signs of spiritual growth to the weekly work of ministering in places of greatest need. Their foodbank continues to provide relief for immigrant families, and that outreach is run completely by Iranian volunteers. Job skill classes are growing, and in April of 2018, 20 participants will take the church’s barista training course, joining 60 who have already graduated.
One particularly vital ministry unfolds weekly, as a team of volunteers brings hope and friendship to asylum seekers who remain in local detention centers.
“We are still visiting detention centers every week, many of whom have been imprisoned for years just for being a refugee and fleeing danger. Please keep those still in detention in your prayers,” Pastor Green says. “Since opening our doors and hearts to the refugee, we have been beyond blessed by their perseverance, determination, and strength in themselves, the community, and in their convictions of becoming Christ followers.”
We are grateful for Nazarene churches like these who are radically living compassion in their communities!