Claude Roberts late wife Aunty Larna originally had a vision of a church being built on the Dunghutti land at Nancy Ellis St, West Kempsey.
After the passing of Aunty Larna, Mr Roberts (or Uncle Claude) reached out to Redeemer Baptist School who he had heard had completed similar projects in regional Indigenous communities in the past.
Jonathan Cannon met with Uncle Claude who began discussing a plan to bring Larna’s vision to life.
Construction started with the clearing of the land before the metal structure was assembled.
With the help of qualified tradies - including electricians, carpenters, builders, a plumber, a town planner, and an architect - our Year 10 students and senior Construction students successfully completed the construction of the shelter for the Kempsey AICM ministry which serves the needs of Aboriginal young people and families in the Kempsey region. The work, from excavation to completion, was done in just seven days!
Church on Sunday involved singing, dancing and the celebration that Jesus is our friend. There was also a presentation made by the local community to the school for their contribution to the building of the centre.
On the Monday and Tuesday, Year 10 students worked to complete the paving for the structure. They also made a number of picnic tables that could be used in and around the building.
All those present spent some time painting a canvas that remains in the centre. It is the constant reminder of the promise now fulfilled and that what God has promised will happen.
All those on the site gathered to watch Uncle Claude lay the final brick in the project marking it’s completion.
When the students arrived in Kempsey, they were greeted at their makeshift accommodation provided by Kempsey High School with a sign board announcing 'Welcome & Thank You Redeemer Baptist School'. Kempsey Rotarians and the Kempsey office of Uniting Care also provided meals for the volunteers.
Thank you to all parents who have contributed so generously through the Gala Day program and with food donations. The gifts of so many in the wider School community have enabled the vision of this project to become a reality.