Australia

Road workers flocking to church

Every Friday morning construction workers on a major road widening project in northwest Sydney look forward to going to church in their morning break.

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That’s because they know that by 9:28am Harvey Weir is ready to serve them sausage, bacon and egg rolls cooked on a barbecue outside Wesley Castle Hill Uniting Church.

Harvey, a member of the church’s property committee, started offering the Friday morning breakfasts back in December as a gesture of goodwill to the local community. And he intends to keep it going for the rest of the year.

“These people form part of our local community in Castle Hill because they’re going to be here for 18 months/two years constructing the Showground Road at Castle Hill,” he tells Eternity.

 “Our message is ‘we’re here if you need us.'”- Harvey Weir

“We did it as a gesture of goodwill – mainly because these people don’t receive too many accolades, being road workers holding everyone up on the road, and they work in very oppressive conditions because they have a lot of hot weather there.”

Harvey says he has had lots of great conversations with the 30 or so construction and support workers who come for a feed each week.

“These people come from all walks of life, different backgrounds and different locations so it’s been a good opportunity to have some good quality conversations with them,” he says.

“A lot of them are interested in the church and what the church does and what our faith is, and our message is ‘we’re here if you need us.'”

“The workers get some food, Parramatta Mission get some money and everyone’s happy.” – Greg Woolnough

While the church initially covered the cost of the food, the grateful workers suggested putting out a donation basket, with the result that hundreds of dollars of donated funds have been given to Parramatta Mission Meals Plus to feed the homeless.

“It’s been a win-win all round,” comments Wesley Church minister Greg Woolnough. “The workers get some food, Parramatta Mission get some money and everyone’s happy.”

After faithfully turning up each Friday, Harvey now has his breakfast service down to a fine art. He fires up the barbecue at 9:12 and by 9:28am he’s ready for the influx.

“We’re scratching our heads about how we can be a Christian presence here.” Greg Woolnough

“I’ve had a number of offers of help but it’s just as easy to do it myself,” he says. “I have another gentleman who helps me set up and dismantle but I have all the cooked food and it’s just a matter of serving so it’s quite easy for one person.”

Woolnough says the church is looking for more ways to serve a dramatically changing community in Castle Hill, which was an area of orchards before becoming residential.

“The whole of the Castle Hill area is changing dramatically from a suburban area and there are going to be many high-rise buildings around the church in the not too distant future, so we’re scratching our heads about how we can be a Christian presence here and respond to the needs of the community and bring the gospel at the same time,” he says.

“So this was just a way to show Christian hospitality and what’s been really exciting is many of the road workers have been interested in the church and what we’re on about and we’ve been really encouraged by that.”

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