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 for the past 5 years. 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 2014.
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:
"It is the most rewarding, you can get a lot of feedback from the members, a lot of affirmations, and you see so much joy... delight that Jesus Club brings 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 enjoy and delight in social occasions even if they can't join in verbally," Julie said.
With loneliness and social isolation identified by recent research from the University of New South Wales as two major mental issues affecting people with disabilities, it is no wonder then that Julie's members revel at everything that Jesus Club gives.
At Jesus Club, adults with intellectual disabilities have a place they can find purpose, connection, and a new hope in Christ. And the core group at Castle Hill is undoubtedly showing how much they enjoy the club by their regular attendance. "They hardly ever miss a meeting," Julie said. "They want to be there, they are keen and excited!"
Please give thanks for the growth of Jesus Club Castle Hill. Praise God for the enthusiastic leaders who continue to enjoy leading. May He raise up more young men to lead the many male members there. Pray that God will deepen the members' understanding of the bible so they can mature in the knowledge of Him.