Church gets creative as community efforts continue through pandemic

Eastlake Church pastor Josh Edwards. Photo: Justin Rake.
Eastlake Church pastor Josh Edwards. Photo: Justin Rake.

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, one of the main fears facing the members of Eastlake Church was whether they would be able to carry out their usual community work.

Like many places of worship around Mandurah, the church has a large focus on initiatives like youth programs and drives for the city's more vulnerable residents.

Many of those were put on hold after the government's social distancing directive came into play, but the church has been able to adapt several of its community initiatives to adhere to the new normal.

Prior to the pandemic's restrictions, the church had been planning an easter egg hunt for foster children around the Peel region.

Unfortunately the hunt had to be called off, but that didn't stop organisers bundling hundreds of easter eggs into hampers and dropping them at the doors of foster homes.

A more recent example came on Mother's Day, when the church donated bundles to single mothers doing it tough in the region.

Mr Edwards said the community drives were of paramount importance for the church, and that he was surprised by how many people had jumped on board to help out.

"We want to traffic hope and positivity in our neck of the woods, and that doesn't stop in any season or circumstance," he said.

"I knew we would find a way to do that, but it has definitely surprised me to see so many people getting involved.

"In a time where so many people are doing it tough maybe financially, maybe with their mental health, I wasn't quite sure what response we would get.

"But we've seen so many people, even people not in our church community, actively wanting to help out wherever they can.

"We actually started an isolation support network where people can nominate their neighbour who might need a call or some help, and not many people have taken us up on it because they've already taken it on themselves to make that contact and check up on them.

"I think the kindness the Mandurah community has shown as a whole through all of this is impressive."

Eastlake Church has also turned to online services and sermons over the past few months, an initiative it plans to continue with even after the pandemic becomes a thing of the past.

The church won't officially reopen for usual services until restrictions are further relaxed.