For almost 100 years, Hervey Bay Baptist Church (HBBC) has been transforming lives and spreading hope within the local community. As a part of their dedication to inclusion and diversity, they hold Auslan translated services every Sunday, and they have now further extended their reach even further.
HBBC have recently finalised a counselling room, which will allow people to access the support and understanding they require in a quiet, calm corner of the church. The room was made possible in part by a grant from EPIC Assist, and Pastoral Care Pastor Neil Folling says it will make a big difference to those in need.
“Our congregation welcomes everyone and is inclusive of those who have a physical or mental disability,” says Neil.
“We value our ability to provide an open door for people of our community to be welcomed, accepted and supported spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”
The work to bring the counselling room to fruition included building a new sound proof wall, a new door, and acoustic treatment to an existing wall. The counselling room is the latest in a series of programs and initiatives designed to support the community.
“Another of our key programs is called Community Pastoral Care, which provides spiritual and practical support to persons in our community who have a temporary or permanent change in living circumstances which impacts their physical and mental health, finances, living conditions, and/or general well-being,” says Neil.
Community Pastoral Care is run purely by volunteers who give up their time to support and offer a hand up. Many of the volunteers are people with disability, and Neil says that the program is a powerful way to improve well-being and become a valued member of the community.
“Pastoral Care offers volunteers an opportunity for people to focus on their abilities and regain focus. It is an opportunity to serve a person who has fallen on difficult times to have a fuller, more meaningful life,” says Neil.