Ministry Outreach 2014
For the past 18 years our ten Good Samaritan Colleges have been involved in a program of community service for Year 11 students. Ministry Outreach aims to provide students with the opportunity to gain an insight into the lives of those in our community who face a range of challenges on a daily basis; and to respond in a very practical way.
In groups of five, accompanied by a teacher, the students visit a range of agencies, such as refuges for women, soup kitchens, nursing homes and refugee centres in the Sydney area. The gospel values which lie at the heart of the Good Samaritan tradition are found in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Ministry Outreach engages participants in exploring the question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ in a setting which is out of their usual experience. Afterwards, they are impelled to ‘Go and do likewise’ in their own time and place, with a changed heart, a renewed spirit and an informed conscience.
Ministry Outreach 2014 was a wonderful experience for all involved. The students were outstanding in every respect. Their energy, enthusiasm and engagement with the program was wonderful to see, and it is hoped they return to school with a greater sense of awareness and understanding of various forms of disadvantage in the community, the services and carers who offer support, and how this insight may be able to inform their decisions, actions and leadership into the future.
Annabelle McEwen & Jordan Meyers from Rosebank College share their reflections on the week:
Annabelle McEwen: Ministry Outreach 2014 gave an unforgettable and irreplaceable series of experiences to fortunate and newly enlightened students. We were but two of many who were launched through physical and emotional highs and lows, being challenged by the realities of our world. The opportunity granted us, as listeners and observers, vast amounts of new knowledge. The insight we were offered enabled us to change our outlook on life, and has allowed us to see the truths of our world clearer.
A powerful result of Ministry Outreach is that it has struck the first domino in the line through each of us who attended, then flowing on through others around us, person by person. The countless amazing people we were privileged to have met and spent time with are unforgettable. Not only the talented and strong workers and clients of the many different services we visited, but also the generous and compassionate teachers and other students. Ministry Outreach left us saying good-bye to a newly formed family, but also left us with the ability to see many new paths. Whichever of these new path each of us choose to take, it has the ability to help growth in us as individuals, and growth in the world, the world we now see clearer than before.
Jordan Meyers: For me, Ministry Outreach 2014 was many things, but most of all it was quite an interesting and in many ways unexpected experience as we were exposed to the harsh circumstances that dictates the lives of so many other people. Not only were we challenged throughout the week through what we saw, but also through the fact that we were forced to step outside of our comfort zones several times in order to connect with our surroundings, and make the most of this opportunity.
A part of the journey just as rewarding as the activities themselves were the friendships that we made within our service groups, and the strengthening of the relationships already established with those from our own schools. This lead not only to a greater sense of community but added to the overall enjoyment of the week, unfortunately culminating in a rather sad departure.
I believe that we all hold the week that we have spent on Immersion in such high regard because of how it has allowed us to develop as people, not just giving us a different perspective on life, but opening our eyes to the extent of the world, allowing us to see how we can help those less fortunate. If I were to use one word to sum up the journey that was Ministry Outreach 2014, it would be the very beautiful, yet eloquent word that Mark showed us in our final hours together, sonder*.
Without doubt, it is safe to say that we have both greatly enjoyed this remarkable week, with Ministry Outreach 2014 acting as an experience that we will never cease to remember having tugged at our heartstrings.
Thank you to all those involved.
*the realisation that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own