Parkside Op Shop is not for profit and is staffed by volunteers and runs every Saturday morning (apart from when the church is used for Weddings) from 9:30am – 12:30pm. Clothes are donated from many different people and priced extremely cheaply to benefit those in our local community who need it most.
Many people also travel from near and far because they like it so much and are regular customers. Tea and Coffee and morning tea is also provided free of charge as well as space for people to sit and chat about issues they may be facing in life. People can also ask for prayer requests which are then passed on to the church prayer team.
Money that is raised from the sales is used to fund a range of ministry including supporting young people to go on camps, helping refugees, supporting our local mission generally.
Parkside Baptist Church has a long and rich history of sending people to serve on mission overseas. Apart from sharing God’s love many have served in providing training and skills in literacy, medical work and community development. The first missionary recorded was Gladys Collins who went to India in 1913. Since then Parkside has always had a missionary actively serving on the field somewhere in the world for the past 100 years.
We have had around 60 missionaries over this period serving in many countries and with a wide variety of mission agencies. Currently we have 10 people working in long term mission who are supported by the church and they are working with 4 separate mission organisations. They range from Africa to Japan to central Australia and the Americas.
Parkside also has a great history of sending short term teams and supporting young people in experiencing what it is like to serve in developing nations. In the past few years we have sent 6 teams to Papua New Guinea, India and Indonesia. We have also sponsored young people on 6 month YWAM discipleship training schools on a regular basis.
As a church we are passionate about issues of social justice both in Australia and around the world. We seek to support movements like the Fair Trade Movement and encourage our members to buy coffee and chocolate that is grown and sourced in a sustainable way and does not involve slavery.
We have been involved in lobbying our politicians both locally and nationally to meet their commitments to overseas aid as agreed to under the Millennium Development Goals and some of our members have participated in road trips to Canberra to lobby and raise awareness. We believe the church should have a prophetic voice in this area of our national government.
We have also been involved in campaigns against child slavery and sex slavery and seek to support projects in India that are involved in helping women get out of the sex industry and find sustainable jobs in other industries. In all of this we want to reflect God’s heart for justice and concern for the poor and marginalised in our world.
Baptist World Aid Catalyst Group
Catalyst is Baptist World Aid Australia’s advocacy program. Our Catalyst group at Parkside Baptist Church is one of about 50 across Australia. Our aim is to speak up for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized and to learn about, pray about and act on global justice issues.
Catalyst aligns itself with Micah Challenge which is a global Christian organisation. Its direction is taken from Micah 6:8 ‘He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’
A focus of Catalyst has been and is to work towards meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose target for completion is 2015. These goals were agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading institutions and include halving extreme poverty rates and providing universal education. A special focus this year is to shine the light on companies who practice tax evasion, thereby robbing poor countries of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
While these issues can be overwhelming for us, we seek to be informed about areas of injustice and to pass this information on to our own congregation. We have seen how effective advocacy can be in bringing about change. Our group’s activities have included bible studies (End of Greed, Be Love), visiting our local politician when we requested a clearly identified allocation of the health aid budget to sanitation as well as keeping our promise to increase foreign aid, taking a Sunday service explaining the 8 MGDs in a fun and creative way, selling Little Gift Ideas at Christmas and conducting ethical shopping tours. We have had activities around the Dying for a Dunny campaign and Stop the Traffic.