Parishes, schools and agencies

Ministries to disabled part of the Parish’s DNA

A project of All Saints Greensborough is helping to train intellectually disabled adults for work.

By Alan Nichols

September 30 2015In twelve months working in a bookshop, 29 year old Luke Heffernan has learned to make coffee, serve customers, price books and cook muffins.

This is no ordinary bookshop. It has a contract with Araluen, a not-for-profit community group in Melbourne’s north east suburbs, to train some of the intellectually disabled adults in preparing for work. Luke is one of three who give three half days a week to the bookshop.

What does he enjoy most in the work environment? “I enjoy cleaning up and being tidy, and I have learned to make coffee and muffins. And customers like them. I love this job.”

Just 12 months ago, Archbishop Freier dedicated the coffee shop as part of Greensborough Christian Book Centre, a ministry of All Saints Anglican Church Greensborough. The idea was to attract more customers into the shop, and encourage them to stop for coffee and take time to look at the books, cards, gifts, and choice of Bibles.

Bookshop manager Christine Kollaris explains: “Employing three people from Araluen has been very successful. In a way, it’s another ministry we can offer the community. And Araluen says they have seen improvement in the three workers in confidence, motor skills, speech and relating to people. What we haven’t seen yet is a significant growth in the number of customers, but we still have hopes about this.”

The bookshop at All Saints has been going for more than 35 years. It is one of the last two parish bookshops in Melbourne – the other is at St Peter’s Eastern Hill. But it is not the only ministry the people of All Saints have with disability. Their Friendship Club has been operating for 30 years, with an annual camp, regular worship and stimulation of friendships. “It’s all part of the DNA of our parish,” says the vicar, Dave Fuller. “And it’s all in tune with my own theological convictions and past experience.”

The Diocese also has an involvement helping with the salaries of the three part-time workers met from a Northwest Region Ministry grant. Apart from the bookshop manager, all other staff are volunteers.

The coffee shop is open 10am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 3pm Saturday and is available for bookings for groups. They have home-made fare and aim at having ‘low-mileage food’, with organic and fair trade coffee. It is located at 14 Church St, Greensborough at the top car park entrance to Greensborough Plaza.

For more information visit www.gcbc.net.au or phone 9435 5762.