A growing church community
Church helps local migrants grow small crops to use at home or to sell at farmers markets.
The congregation of Jehovah Jireh Baptist Church in Logan, a city south of Brisbane, may be small, but they have big dreams. Their latest venture is helping to grow its community through a neighbourhood outreach program that assists vulnerable residents.
Perched on a block of land in the suburb of Berrinba, the church is predominantly made up of Burmese migrants and asylum seekers who have settled in the area. The church provides not only spiritual guidance but a place to refine English language skills, learn about family budgeting and use of social media, enjoy a sense of community, and engage in a favourite pursuit – growing fresh fruit and vegetables.
Pastor Lal Fanai’s vision to transform vacant land on the church’s property for the benefit of his congregation and community is taking shape. An existing crop of chilli and ginger grown by the women’s group will be extended to include Asian green vegetables and herbs assisted by a grant from Carinity’s Collaborative Community Projects.
“We plan to extend our hand to the entire community by operating regular farmers’ markets on site that would be open to all local market gardeners.” – Lal Fanai
The grant will allow an additional 1000sqm of church land to be cultivated, with participants given the opportunity to adapt agrarian skills learnt in their homeland to suit the Australian climate. The group’s chillies are already in hot demand at Inala markets in Brisbane, but Lal’s vision for community engagement doesn’t stop there.
“We have been blessed with this land and we want to make it a genuine community resource. We plan to extend our hand to the entire community by operating regular farmers’ markets on site that would be open to all local market gardeners. It is a great way for a diverse section of the community to come together and earn an income,” Lal explained.
Collaborative Community Projects is a new initiative from Carinity, an organisation that provides financial support to Queensland Baptist churches to carry out local activities that relieve and mitigate disadvantage, promote connectivity for vulnerable people and increase the strength of neighbourhoods against disadvantage. In all, 14 local churches and their communities, including Park Ridge Baptist Church, will benefit from the program in the first round of funding.