Queensland, Australia: In 2016, the Church of the Nazarene Inala was a small congregation of around 15 people. Many were commuters living outside of our local community; a community indifferent to our presence and unimpacted by the saving grace experienced within. The local church and its members did not give up, and renewed their commitment to demonstrating love which changed everything!
The church became a vibrant and relevant reflection of the local community’s multi-cultural dynamic. Today, it demonstrates a unique glimpse of God’s Kingdom’s promise with people worshipping together from several nations and languages (Revelation 7:9 and Zechariah 2:11).
“Embracing and empowering all people with hope, worth, and peace.”
The church’s transformation took shape as they approached their 50th anniversary. The church changed its name to Place of Peace Church of Nazarene (Inala means place of peace in the aboriginal language). This action symbolized embracing a pursuit of sanctified existence in the right relationship with God and others. We adopted a new mission statement: “Embracing and empowering all people with hope, worth, and peace.”
Our church is committed to praying as we begin to engage in the community. All the members committed to becoming a living expression of God’s love. Our group mowed lawns, collected rubbish, washed cars, shared food/clothes, and hosted community BBQs and Christmas celebrations. By God’s grace, we extended our fellowship to our community without expecting anything in return. We built bridges with neighboring schools and local community service organizations. This led to opportunities that impact the lives of the students, staff, and surrounding community.
Ministering to the Refugee Community
Our neighbors took notice and began to build relationships with our group. People from our local community became a part of the church. One Sunday morning, a recently resettled refugee from DR Congo walked in. He spoke very little English. We did not know his language or culture. We simply embraced him with the communal hospitality of God’s overflowing love! Different cultures began learning from each other as more resettled African refugees made Place of Peace their home.
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After overcoming the barriers of language and culture, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges. However, the church saw this as a new opportunity to show God’s love in creative ways. When Holy Week activities were canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions, we delivered palm fronds to congregants’ homes and encouraged them to celebrate together during the live stream. Each morning of Holy Week, we brought the Easter message to local individual households by delivering a surprise egg with a discipling message inside. Postcards offering help with shopping or a friendly listener to call were delivered as restrictions continued. We hope to share God’s loving presence in creative ways throughout the challenging year.
As worship gatherings slowly returned to normal, the church we have seen new faces from more nations – Papua New Guinea and Brazil join in. Embracing our identity as a Place of Peace where God’s love and renewed expressions of hope, worth and peace can be experienced amongst every nation and tongue. We have experienced the biblical truth of God’s conquering love!
Watch their inspiring story of hope, worth, and peace on this video:
Submitted by: Pastor Jade Chapman, co-Lead Pastor of Place of Peace Church of The Nazarene