The following is an excerpt from a short talk by Riyanka Subrahmanyam on Manifesto Weekend at Riverview Church. You can watch this experience by clicking here.
"Humour me for a minute and close your eyes.
Take note of your surroundings, the comfort of the chair that you are sitting in, the cool AC breeze on your skin, the community of people around you, the freedom you have to worship.
Now take yourself to Hay Street in the middle of Perth city. It is a warm day, you are hurrying to meet your friend for a coffee. You see a young man seated on the edge of the side walk, leaning against a building. You notice his tattered clothes and the soles of his feet, caked with dirt and tiredness. You barely finish reading the sign beside him that says ‘ Alone, hungry and homeless. Please help’. You take a second to think if you have some change to put into his old soup tin, you realise you only have your card. You are running a little late for coffee.
Church, open your eyes. But do not get too comfortable in your seat. By being a part of this community, today we are saying that the future is about standing up and stopping for the most vulnerable in our city. A church that looks out in compassion AND service. And we have already started. In our Emergency relief program, in the last 365 days we have been home to the homeless, ex prisoners, refugees ,single parents, those who have lost jobs and people are who are simply struggling. We have seen 653 people, helped with 473 bills and handed out 300 bags of food. THIS is the church you belong to…A church where the hurt find healing and the despairing find hope.
Church, open your heart. By being a part of this community, today we are saying that the future is about loving God and loving people. A church that practises justice. And our practice is well underway. Through the Riverview Children’s Foundation, we bring the love of God along with aid and development to several communities in 4 different countries, through our support of 12 different projects. We have taken 26 people on 3 impact trips, handed out 650 kilos of care packs to prisoners in Cambodia and distributed well over a 1000 gifts to Children. THIS is the church you belong to… a church that has a heart for the whole world. A church that knows and shows God's love for every person regardless of where they were born or what they currently believe; that seeks to rescue, protect and empower.
Church, open your hands. By being a part of this community, today we are saying that the future is about blessing our community. A church that helps people recover from crisis and challenge, disconnection and disadvantage and puts them on a path to wholeness. Through our Street Teams program, we have begun this commission. In the last two years, two teams have faithfully served our city over 86 weekends, helping 56 families, mowed lawns, picked up 350 cubic meters of rubbish, painted fences and scrubbed bathroom floors. We have seen people take positive steps away from hoarding and kept people from loosing their homes by simply helping them get organised and clean. THIS is the church you belong to… A church that shows we belong together and are better together.
Open your eyes, look at what your church is already doing, see the world that you live in and keep a little change in your pocket.
Open your heart, feel what others feel and know that you are a part of something bigger that cares for you and others.
Open your hands, and get ready to make a tangible difference in this city and in this world. Because THAT is the church that you belong to."