Parishes, schools and agencies

Church opens doors for people with disability


By Brotherhood of St Laurence

November 13 2019The Anglican Parish of Christ Church Essendon is forging a strong partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence's Local Area Coordination team to create community connections and safe spaces for people with disability.

The Revd Catherine Turnbull from the Anglican Parish of Christ Church Essendon is excited by the prospect of the church reaching out to individuals living with disability and groups in the community who may need accessible venues and groups to join.

“I see my ministry as connecting with the community to fill the gaps,” she says.

“When I met with the Local Area Coordinators it really resonated with my vision.”

The Brotherhood is partnering with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver Local Area Coordination (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Services for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across various regions in Melbourne.

The Revd Catherine Turnbull of Christ Church Essendon, and Amanda Berry, NDIS Linkage Coordinator for Moonee Valley and City of Melbourne, in front of a painting by NDIS participant Kate Knight.

Our Niddrie LAC team, headed up by senior manager Luba Josevski, said collaborating with the church was a perfect way to find new inclusive locations for people with a disability and their carers.

“It’s looking at what people want and what is missing in the community and seeing if that need can be met.”

Ms Turnbull says, “We have a fully accessible space including a disabled toilet and we want to be able to offer that space to others.”

The church has a craft group and a playgroup that meet weekly and men’s and ladies’ groups that meet monthly.

One initiative has been establishing a group of NDIS participants who make boomerang bags for use by the local community. After consulting with the Brotherhood, the church has also agreed to provide a facility for a multiple sclerosis support group operating in the local area.

Area Dean of Essendon and Incumbent at Christ Church Father John Mathes said the parish was keeping an open mind about where the collaboration will go and was keen to fulfil what is needed in the community.

“We are moving towards a mission approach – going into the community – and are hoping what we are doing will encourage other parishes to do something similar.

“Our view is – let’s think about what the needs are and if we can help, let’s get on and do it.”

Find out more about Brotherhood NDIS LAC and ECEI services at