Most rewarding ministry

Most rewarding ministry

Jesus Club members celebrating the club's 5th birthday

The role she initially accepted with some apprehension is now the ministry she finds most rewarding.

Julie Horgan has been coordinating Jesus Club Castle Hill at St Paul's Anglican Church for the past 5 years. She is also a teacher and wife to Michael.

St Paul's Anglican Church began planning for a disability ministry under the leadership of Keith Baker, who has a son with disability. They have had several rounds of funding to employ a staff when Julie heard about a new course on 'Disability and the Church' at Mary Andrew's college. She remembers how her heart just leapt when she heard the radio announcement.

With Keith's encouragement Julie took it up, and it was there where she first learnt about Jesus Club. Unbeknownst to her, her involvement with Jesus Club would quickly escalate as an announcement was made about a new Jesus Club, and to her complete surprise, it was to be St Paul's Anglican's Church!

Apprehensively, Julie accepted the role of coordinator, and Jesus Club Castle Hill opened in October 2014 to 6 members and 12 leaders.

Julie felt an instant relief as she watched her leaders interacted with the members, "They were fun, committed and caring" and she knew then, "It is going to work - God was providing all along!"

Indeed, God had it all worked out, and in Julie, he also chose a very experienced coordinator to head it up. With years of serving in different ministries, Julie brought a wealth of experience, from running a ladies' Bible study group to teaching scripture and leading a divorce recovery ministry. But the one she enjoys by far the most is Jesus Club:

"It is the most rewarding [ministry]. You can get a lot of feedback from the members, a lot of affirmations, and you see so much joy... delight that Jesus Club brings them!"

Even simple games like Musical Chairs or outings that Julie organises bring the members a lot of joy and excitement. "They enjoy and delight in social occasions even if they can't join in verbally," Julie said.

With loneliness and social isolation identified as the two major mental issues affecting people with disabilities, it is no wonder that Jesus Club members love attending every fortnight. At Jesus Club, adults with intellectual disabilities have found a sense of community, forged genuine friendships, but most importantly, new hope in Christ.