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Manyallaluk community builds their own church

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Group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people standing in and outside of a green shed with a cross on top.
Roper Gulf Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto welcomes guests to the opening of the church and thanks the Manyallaluk community and CDP participants for their united efforts in ensuring the project was a success.
10 Apr 2017

After holding weekly services in a park or on a basketball court, and contending with the wet season and high temperatures, having a building in which to celebrate their faith had been a long-held dream for parishioners in Manyallaluk, located about 100 kilometres north-east of Katherine.

The dream came true last year when a church was built with materials sourced entirely from the local landfill as part of a Community Development Programme (CDP) activity offered by the local provider.

Before the church project was launched, the site was nothing but a concrete slab with dilapidated wall and roof sheeting that was not being used by the community.

After the hard work that CDP participants put in, it is now a place where the community can worship and can be proud of.

CDP participants used corrugated iron and security screens as well as panelling to shield the community from the elements. Sitting with pride, the church also features handmade pews and a pulpit, where a bible translated into Kriol permanently sits.

Janelle Iszlaub is the CDP Regional Manager for the Roper Gulf Regional Council.

“The Community Development Programme provides an opportunity for activities to be undertaken by participants that benefit the community they live in,” Janelle said.

“After consultation with the Manyallaluk community, it was clear that somewhere for people to worship was at the top of the wish list, so Council staff and CDP participants decided that creating a church out of an abandoned structure was something that would provide a long-term, genuine benefit.”

With the whole community attending the opening, church leader Rachel Kandino said parishioners had “joy in their hearts” that the project had been completed.

“The church has been praying for this to come to pass for some time,” Rachel said.

This was a common reaction amongst community members who attended the opening. In particular, one resident was unable to contain her excitement when the bright red ribbon was cut by community leaders and the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Berto.

“I never thought I would see this day,” she said as tears streamed down her face.

“This is so special for us”.

CDP Senior Employment Supervisor Sommer Meadows said she was incredibly proud of how participants had delivered on their commitment to build a permanent place of worship that embraced the essence of the Christian faith.

“It might not be much to look at for some, but this is a place of worship – this is a church,” Sommer told the audience during the opening.

To honour the opening, students from the local school performed a number of Christian raps and traditional dances, which had been taught to them by the men of the congregation.

After holding weekly services in a park or on a basketball court, and having to contend with the wet season and high temperatures, having a building in which to celebrate their faith had been a long-held dream for parishioners in Manyallaluk, located about 100 kilometres north-east of Katherine.

The dream came true last year when a church was built with materials sourced entirely from the local landfill as part of a Community Development Programme (CDP) activity offered by the local provider.

Before the church project was launched, the site was nothing but a concrete slab with dilapidated wall and roof sheeting that was not being used by the community.

After the hard work that CDP participants put in, it is now a place where the community can worship and can be proud of.

CDP participants used corrugated iron and security screens as well as panelling to shield the community from the elements. Sitting with pride, the church also features handmade pews and a pulpit, where a bible translated into Kriol permanently sits.

Janelle Iszlaub is the CDP Regional Manager for the Roper Gulf Regional Council.

“The Community Development Programme provides an opportunity for activities to be undertaken by participants that benefit the community they live in,” Janelle said.

“After consultation with the Manyallaluk community, it was clear that somewhere for people to worship was at the top of the wish list, so Council staff and CDP participants decided that creating a church out of an abandoned structure was something that would provide a long-term, genuine benefit.”

With the whole community attending the opening, church leader Rachel Kandino said parishioners had “joy in their hearts” that the project had been completed.

“The church has been praying for this to come to pass for some time,” Rachel said.

This was a common reaction amongst community members who attended the opening. In particular, one resident was unable to contain her excitement when the bright red ribbon was cut by community leaders and the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Berto.

“I never thought I would see this day,” she said as tears streamed down her face.

“This is so special for us”.

CDP Senior Employment Supervisor Sommer Meadows said she was incredibly proud of how participants had delivered on their commitment to build a permanent place of worship that embraced the essence of the Christian faith.

“It might not be much to look at for some, but this is a place of worship – this is a church,” Sommer told the audience during the opening.

To honour the opening, students from the local school performed a number of Christian raps and traditional dances, which had been taught to them by the men of the congregation.

Find out more

The Australian Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) is creating better opportunities for job seekers in remote Australia and strengthening remote economies.

 To find out about CDP activities in your area, contact your local Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Regional Network office.

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