Photo: NationsHeart’s Community Coordinator Scott Girvan with Naomi Giles, Ministry Team Leader and FoodHut Manager Wally Harrison are thrilled the new Community Hub is now open and serving the community.
By Emily Ferguson
After 14 years of operating their low-cost supermarket FoodHut ministry out of a small transportable building, NationsHeart Christian Community in Belconnen (ACT) has opened their newly constructed Community Hub.
The Hub, which opened in mid-October, will enable expanded ministry to vulnerable people in the local community by providing up to seven times more floor space for their FoodHut ministry as well as multi-purpose rooms for other ministries to emerge.
“The building which the FoodHut was in was already second-hand when we inherited it and it just started falling apart,” recalls Naomi Giles, Ministry Team Leader at NationsHeart Christian Community. “The elders prayed and affirmed that we felt the FoodHut was still going to be a core part of our response in community and once they did that, we started looking at the options that were there for us.”
NationsHeart’s Community Coordinator Scott Girvan adds, “We started asking, what’s the next step for us if we’re going to contribute to the community in a facility that would not only do that much better but also have capacity for other initiatives to emerge and be facilitated?”
Naomi continued, “It’s easy as churches to stop exercising faith and get too comfortable. We could have just built the same sized FoodHut, but instead we imagined more – a space for more of God’s breath amongst us. We felt that we shouldn’t just replace the FoodHut, but that there was something in this Community Hub idea which was more expansive.”
With the delays in approval and construction, the FoodHut was forced to operate out of a smaller room in the main church building for 18 months.
Another unexpected challenge arrived with COVID-19 in March, one month after the slab for The Hub was poured.
“You’re looking at this growing building and thinking – are we going to be allowed to have people in there? God, where have you led us on this crazy journey?” Naomi remembers. “We have really had to walk a journey of trust and holding on to why God had called us to do this, as well as his generosity in turning up in many ways. We just had to keep coming back to him and asking ‘What next, God?’”
God provided donations including electrical work, painting, flooring and two freezers, which enabled the the Community Hub to be completed and opened. Everyone was invited to participate in the project – $2700 was even raised through people, including FoodHut shoppers, dropping off used cans and bottles that were then returned for 10 cents each through a government initiative.
“My hope for the Hub is that people would find the wholeness and great life that comes through Christ – that they would find much more than the food they receive for this day,” said Scott. “That people’s lives would be changed because of the opportunity and the One who is available to them in this space.”
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