Advent – Order of Malta in Brisbane shares communal service through ECM
On Sunday 4 December 2022, eight Order of Malta Members and Volunteers (OMV) helped to serve an unexpectedly larger gathering of almost 100 people, who began arriving at the Emmanuel City Mission (ECM) homeless sanctuary hours before the doors officially opened.
Each month, across 4-5 hour sessions on the second and fourth Sundays, our OMV teams share bright welcoming conversations, while preparing and serving a free breakfast, drinks and BBQ lunch for all who come to ECM.
OMV NER (Brisbane) Co-ordinator Joseph reflects upon the communal spirit of ECM and OMV.
“Mutual friendliness and consistent presence has nurtured a warm, communal rapport. We welcome and are welcomed with first-name familiarity. We share Scotty’s excitement in revealing his latest Marvel or DC keepsake. We’ve learned which brethren are too shy to ask for a few left-over sausages to wrap in foil for their dinner, so we gently and discreetly approach and offer.
A strong work ethic is required, especially on a cold Sunday morning or extra hot day. Yet we are always touched by everyone’s helpfulness when setting up or taking down the street-side cafe marquees. At the end of the session, volunteers and attendees alike help to clean the benches, compile the tables, and dispose of the rubbish.
Occasionally, some tensions arise if an attendee arrives under the influence of substance use. The ECM team are to be commended for their courage and compassion when intervening and defusing delicate situations.
Yet, harmony and goodwill swiftly prevail. For ECM represents a shared communal sanctuary, a safe home, rooted in Matthew 25:40, “Whatsoever you do unto the least of My people, this you do unto Me”.
Resonant with the Order of Malta’s charism of, Service of the Sick and Poor and Defence of the Faith.
We wish all of our OMV team and ECM community bright Advent and Christmas blessings”.
To register interest in joining our OMV team, https://www.orderofmalta.org.au/i-want-to-help/volunteer/