Rockingham Safety Bay Parish Hero

Around the Diocese:
Fruit (and veg!) in Rockingham

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Around the Diocese:
Fruit (and veg!) in Rockingham

The Revd Andy Pearce Rector, Parish of Rockingham-Safety Bay

I want to share an exciting initiative from down here in little-old Rockingham. We call it Sprouts! Every Thursday afternoon a small group of us from St Nicholas’ Rockingham join a small group of boys from a local primary school to grow vegetables, hang-out and laugh together.

It all started after I googled the suburb in which my family and I would be moving to; having been invited to serve as the Rector of the Parish of Rockingham-Safety Bay. Google ‘Cooloongup’ and you get a colourful set of results; news reports of gangs of kids stealing, assaulting and vandalising the suburb.
God instantly put these kids on our hearts and in the prayers of my wife, Kim and I. We knew we had to do something to get into the lives of these kids. We didn’t know what, but we knew we had to pray for these kids.

After arriving in ‘Rocko’ we saw them in action; roaming the streets late at night, throwing rocks at cars and abusing members of the public. We also learned that these kids were victims of complex and messy social problems that had left them on the fringe of our community and the focus of much hatred.

Having called our church to pray, we discovered God had already stirred a passion among others to serve and reach the Youth of Rockingham. We increased our church’s financial giving to YouthCARE school chaplaincy, invited our regional YouthCARE chaplain to come and share some insights at a Sunday service and we purposefully started to pray for one of the local schools where many of the kids who hit the headlines start out.

I’ve been a Christian for 25 years now and it still amazes me that when you pray, things happen.

We were subsequently invited by the YouthCARE chaplain of that school to start something for a group of Years 5 and 6 boys. Karen had established a good initiative with the girls, but wanted something for the boys. We instantly said yes, gathered a small team and decided that we would make use of a neglected veggie patch on the school grounds.

We have much to give thanks for. For term four of 2021, we have weekly met with two cohorts of kids, we’ve formed friendships, turned a weed-covered patch of mud into harvest of corn, chillies, peas, tomatoes and cucumbers and we’ve formed relationship with kids we’d never have met otherwise. The school chaplain Karen’s vision for the initiative is to ‘break cycles’ of brokenness and give the kids some role-models and friendship. We do this in the name of Jesus in the hope that he would become their hero and saviour. We have already seen fruit beyond the veggie patch and we wait with excitement and anticipation for what God will do in and through the Sprouts kids.

Thank you for reading this and for praying for us down here in Rockingham.

St Nicholas, Rockingham

We seek to encourage people of all ages to grow in their knowledge of God and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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