Most rewarding ministry
The role she initially accepted with some apprehension has now become the ministry she finds most rewarding.
Julie Horgan has been coordinating the Jesus Club at St Paul's Anglican Church since 2014. She is also a teacher and wife to Michael.
St Paul's Anglican Church began planning for a disability ministry under the leadership of Keith Baker, who has a son with disability. They had had several rounds of funding to try and employ someone when Julie heard about a new course on 'Disability and the Church' at Mary Andrew's college. She remembers how her heart just leaped when she listened to the radio announcement.
With Keith's encouragement Julie took it up, and it was there where she first learnt about Jesus Club. But Julie's involvement with Jesus Club would escalate very quickly as she soon discovered - an announcement was made about a new Jesus Club at the course, and to her complete surprise, it was to be St Paul's Anglican's Church!
Though apprehensive at first, Julie quickly accepted the role of coordinator, and Jesus Club Castle Hill officially opened in October that year.
At the first meeting, 6 members and 12 leaders showed up, and Julie felt an instant relief as she watched her leaders interacted with the members, "They were fun, committed and caring" and she knew then, "It is going to work - God was providing all along!"
Indeed, God had it all worked out, and in Julie, he has also chosen a very experienced coordinator to head it up. With years of service in different ministries, Julie brought with her a wealth of experience from running a ladies' bible study group, teaching scripture, to leading a divorce recovery ministry. But Julie admits that Jesus Club is the most enjoyable and fun ministry by far.
With their simple, child-like acceptance, the members revel in everything God and Jesus Club prepares for them. Even simple games like Musical Chairs or outings and gatherings which Julie organises for the club bring the members a lot of joy and excitement. "They hardly ever miss a meeting," Julie said. "They want to be there, they are keen and excited!"
"It is the most rewarding [ministry], you get a lot of feedback from the members, a lot of affirmations, and you see so much joy... delight that Jesus Club brings them!"
And almost nine years later, Jesus Club Castle Hill members still enjoy every meeting as they once did. Sixteen now meet every fortnight, and some even attend their new online Bible study group on alternate weeks - a group started at the beginning of Covid to help members stay connected but has since taken Julie by surprise with its success.
"[The Bible Study had] some of our members quite engaged, and [they] were retaining the [teaching] content. During this time, I have seen our group meld into a caring, supportive group of friends. We have moved from our members just listening to me and occasionally answering a comprehension question to having deep discussions about how the passage applies to our lives."
The group has ten regular members every fortnight. Some are members of Jesus Club, but others are former members who moved away from the area or had never been able to attend the club in person for whatever reason. The group is currently moving through the gospel of John and has been going for more than two years.
Please give thanks for the growth of Jesus Club Castle Hill. Praise God for the enthusiastic leaders and members who continue to enjoy learning from His word. May He keep deepening their understanding of the bible so they may find joy and lasting hope in Him.