Ashburton Baptist Community Services Inc (ABCSI)
ABCSI is a not-for-profit charity organisation sponsored by the church with the broad objective of providing benevolent services to the community. It holds DGR status from Australian Taxation Office, which allows donors to claim an income tax deduction for gifts to ABCSI. ABCSI supports and maintains responsibility for the work of the Community Care Group and for the church’s involvement with the local Asylum Seeker Support Group.
The Community Care Group co-ordinates projects that provide financial or other practical assistance for community needs.
The generous support and assistance of church folk has enabled a variety of community projects including Winter Warmer hampers and Christmas food hampers for local needy families. A weekly Fill the Basket Appeal is situated in the church sanctuary providing our congregation with the opportunity to make donations of food items to be directed to local needy families throughout the year, via Camcare.
The Community Care Group made donations to the Ashburton Baptist Pastor’s Emergency Relief Fund so that our pastors have funds to assist people with special needs who become known to them.
In October we helped host a Caring for Ex-Offenders training day convened by Rev. John Clarke, the Coordinator of Alpha for Prisons.
The Community Care Group continued its commitment to support asylum seekers in our community directing donations to the Hotham Mission to be used primarily for the payment of rent, utility bills and monthly living allowances (i.e. to pay for food and other home essentials) for asylum seeker families.
Asylum Seeker Project
The Ashburton Asylum Seeker Support Group was formed in early 2002 with representation from local churches (Baptist, Catholic, Anglican and Uniting) with the aim of helping asylum seekers in our Melbourne community – especially those on bridging visas with little or no means of support. The Group agreed to work in association with, and utilise the asylum seeker expertise of, Hotham Mission.
Our Group has been able to provide housing, utilities and a living allowance for two families - a Sri Lankan and a Turkish Kurd family. We have endeavoured to show them the care and compassion that has been lacking elsewhere. A support network with representation from our Churches was established to ensure the families received hands-on social support and encouragement whilst seeking refugee status.
The Ashburton Asylum Seeker Support Group remains committed to continue to do what it can for our Sri Lankan family and other asylum seekers. Our Group will continue to support the work of Hotham Mission.
One of the most exciting aspects of this Project is that Christian sisters and brothers from different denominations (five churches) are working together cooperatively to achieve something positive for asylum seekers – giving them some dignity. There is more we can do together.