BCA has been supporting ministry in mining communities across the country since the 1950s. A continued presence is vital because while the lure of the dollar brings in many people, the isolation can cause loneliness, and redundancies lead to loss of dignity and hope.
BCA Field Staff Mary and Owen Lewis have faithfully served the South Australian community of Roxby Downs for six years. This purpose built mining town has some 4500 residents, most of whom work in the mining sector.
“Ninety per cent of people are connected in some way to BHP Billiton,” says Mary. “It’s a very transitory population; about 20 per cent of the town turn over each year. That makes for a changing ministry – always saying goodbye, always saying hello.”
Mary is the Parish Priest at Roxby Downs Community Church. She has developed strong ties with the community and through her ministry looks to raise up servants of the Lord.
“I think the potential for a church like this in a small community is very big,” says Roxby Downs Community Church Parishioner Johan van der Merwe. “A lot of the people in the community move here and think the money is going to make them happy but we know that is not the case. So the church has a big part to play. Also being a mining community people lose their jobs, people get fired, we go through redundancies and the church needs to be there to be shoulder to shoulder with the people.”