John Wollaston Anglican Community School
There is great opportunity, in service to the community, to forge important connections with other Anglican agencies.
(From ‘Enhancing our Anglican Identity’, by The Revd Dr Daniel Heischman)
Through service to the community, students at John Wollaston Anglican Community School (JWACS) are developing a stronger sense of their Anglican Identity and forging new connections with our local Anglican parish church, St Matthew’s in Armadale.
For the past two years JWACS has held a Winter Appeal to collect donations of non-perishable foods, warm clothes and toiletries for people experiencing hardship in our local area of Armadale and Kelmscott. The first Winter Appeal followed an excursion to St Matthew’s Anglican Church organised by our school chaplain, The Revd Justine Coverdale. A group of twenty secondary students, Sacristans and members of the Service Council, visited St Matthew’s and its café, run by volunteers, which provides food hampers and other necessities to families in financial hardship and people who are homeless.
Fr Jeff Astfalck, the Priest-in-Charge, and two parish wardens welcomed the students, they explained how the café raises money to purchase food for people who come to the church seeking help. The students ate lunch at the café, helped pack food hampers and saw firsthand how their local Anglican church is serving the community. Most of the students, who live in the local area, had never noticed the church or its café and none of them had any idea about the church’s mission.
They returned to school inspired and galvanised to organise a collection of food and warm blankets to help St Matthew’s mission through the winter months. What these students learned through this firsthand experience, is best summarised in their own words.
I discovered that the wardens and other volunteers from St Matthew’s Church pack hampers every week for people in need who visit their café. The hampers include long-life foods, which lowers the cost of their grocery bill... It is small actions like these that show the church has a huge impact on people's lives. Georgia, Year 10
The church cafe does not just fill the physical hunger of these people, but also the hunger to interact with other people without being looked down upon. Many of these people needed someone to talk to and feel valued again. The volunteers at the church and cafe showed interest in everyone who came by, no matter their appearance, and did so with a smile on their faces. Rico, Year 9
There is a wonderful team at St Matthews, who dedicate a lot of their time to the community. If their good work is supported, we can ensure that they continue to operate. Anna, Year 11
The idea of helping homeless people during the harsh winter touched my heart deeply. Witnessing their struggles and knowing that we could make a difference in their lives drove me to take an active role in organising and promoting the appeal. The school partnership with the local Anglican church provided a wonderful opportunity to extend our reach and make a greater impact together. Millie, Year 10