The Presbyterian Church in NSW has been reaching out to those in need for around 100 years. Early records show that a Social Service Committee was set up and appointed a deaconess to run the first mercy ministry of the church. We have records that show that funds were raised to buy a wheel chair for a little girl. She ran classes to teach women how to use a sewing machine so that they could make their own clothes and perhaps earn a living. One story that makes me smile is the report that another deaconess was given the job of attending the children’s court each day to support any Presbyterian children that may be there. The report states that ‘fortunately, we have very few delinquent children in the Presbyterian church!’
When we started looking at what Presbyterian Social Services does, and what we want to do, it struck us that we needed to focus on the people that ‘fall through the gaps.’ We are not a big organisation and the Presbyterian Church is not a big denomination. But we can make a big difference to people who are missed by the bigger services.
I bet you know that story of Jericho Road. A man walking along the Road was attacked by thieves, beaten, robbed and left nearly dead. Two men passed by on the other side of the Road. People you would think should stop, look and help. Then a Samaritan had compassion, took the stranger to an inn, and saw he was well cared for. Not just first aid on the roadside… a generous helping hand in a time of need.
Jericho Road was a place of great risk, great vulnerability… there were thieves and robbers and many things that could go wrong… and it was a place where Jesus spoke of great mercy and he himself demonstrated great mercy to those in need, both physically and spiritually.
So what has Jericho Road got to do with us? We aim to provide high quality and distinctively Christian care to all those in the community who are most vulnerable and who would otherwise be isolated from support. Now just think of the Samaritan on Jericho Road. Just one man. Not an important man to our knowledge. Not a huge organisation with a complex plan of action to help all the needy on every road. But a man who had mercy on one who others had walked past. A man who took care of someone who otherwise would have had no care. That’s exactly what we aim to do. Every day. And everyone can have a part in that, wherever you live.
We run a small hospital for children with a disability, Allowah. We have a Disability Advocate, whose job it is to inform and encourage our churches to reach out to people with a disability and actively seek their involvement in our church life. We have chaplains in the major hospitals who meet people at moments of great need. We support children’s services, such as preschools, who reach out to families, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances. We have a student residence for uni students. We provide the church with guidance and training in the area of abuse through the CPU. We provide access to Christian counselling. We provide emergency relief, such as during the recent fires in the Blue Mountains. We have dreams of a Christian home for people who aren’t quite able to live independently.
Jericho Road is about joining us, walking with us and working with us. Jericho Road is about reaching the unreached with mercy and the gospel. Jericho Road is about continuing the good works we already do, and finding new ways to help the vulnerable.
If you would like to find out more, please visit our website at jerichoroad.org.au
Chief Executive Officer: Elizabeth McClean (ext 324)
Convener: Rev Dr Paul Logan
C/- Presbyterian Social Services
PO Box 2196, Strawberry Hiills, NSW 2012…