Earlier this month we had an article appear on the Eternity website (and in their print edition) about Break the Cycle, the charity in Macquarie Fields which I chair; “Breaking bad cycles: a ministry to Macquarie Fields”.
Here’s a little excerpt. I’m really pleased with how the author, Guan Un, has done such a good job of portraying the multi-faceted work we do and the stories of some of the people we’ve helped.
“It’s a general go-to place, for people here. And doing it in an environment that’s a bit nicer than queueing up at Centrelink,” says David Ould, the minister at Glenquarie Anglican.
Not content with any one offering, they offer a vast array of services. Community breakfasts, facilities for a local TAFE class, community garden, Anglicare counselling, no interest loans, emergency grants, financial counselling, anger management classes, cooking classes, community kitchen, men’s shed, children’s playground: the list goes on and on.
David has been the minister at Glenquarie for five months, and he admits, “I can’t get anybody anywhere in Macquarie Fields to say a bad word about us.” David also gained some recent media attention after winning a contest by Channel Ten’s The Project where he was chosen as a co-host for a day.
The kind of services Break the Cycle offers is best understood in terms of the surrounding area. Located in the outskirts of Sydney’s suburbs, it has a lower median income than most, exemplified by Macquarie Fields which lies inside the bounds of the parish and is a suburb with a troubled history. At the 2011 census, it had 9.9 per cent unemployment, almost twice the national average. In 2005, it was the source of an infamous four days of violent riots within the large housing commission area, culminating in clashes with police, and a state parliamentary discussion.
David arrived at Glenquarie from being an assistant minister at Neutral Bay—one of the richest suburbs in Sydney. When I asked him about this shift, David said that while there’s some systemic problems in the suburb, there’s also advantages to ministering where he is.
“It’s actually been refreshing coming here because people talk. They talk on the north shore, but people talk about life here much more openly and readily. One of the things I say is people vomit their life here in front of you. It’s a bit overwhelming if you’re not ready for it. But actually, as a minister, you’re desperate for people to talk about reality with you, right?”
well worth reading the whole thing.