My Talks On Community Work

Four Of My Compassionate Community Work Lectures

  • Video 1 – Characteristics of Christlike Community Work
  • Video 2 – The Trinity as a Model for Human Community
  • Video 3 – The Trinity As A Method For Community Development
  • Video 4 – The Trinity As A Matrix For Organisational Transformation

Recommendation by Rev. Dr. Charles Ringma

‘Unlike most Christian leaders, Dave Andrews is not a cleric. He is not the pastor of a Christian congregation nor the director of Christian agency. He is not a scholar in a seminary nor a leader at the centre of the church’s life. He is a man at the margins.

What makes Dave Andrews so impressive is this – he has chosen to live out his calling in a very different way. Dave is someone who has been captivated by the radical and compassionate Christ. His Jesus is not the person of the stained-glass window, nor of popular religiosity. At an early age, Dave encountered a very different Jesus who later called him, together with his wife Ange, to walk the road of costly discipleship in service to the poor.

This road led him in 1972 to work with travellers on the Asian hippie trail in the Dilaram Houses. Extending hos­pitality and support to the many drug users on the trail. That some of them were healed was both a sign of God’s grace and the tenacity of Dave and Ange and their fellow workers.

This formative experience led Dave and Ange, together with some Indian friends, to establish an intentional discipleship community in Delhi five years later. Aashiana practised cluster living and simple lifestyle. Out of their life together developed ministries of personal care, social justice, and community development.

Under the auspices of Aashiana, Dave and Ange and their friends set up Sahara to cater for people with personality disorders and drug dependency. Structured as a therapeutic community, Sahara today continues to be a place of refuge and rehabilitation for troubled young people from all over India seeking help, as well as a training program for those wishing to initiate similar ministries.

Out of the Sahara ministry, a community development program, Sharan, was initiated. The link between the two reflects a commitment to holism. Those helped at Sahara were empowered to help others. Renewal is never simply for ourselves. We are also called to serve others. From these tentative beginnings, Sharan today has become a large well-known voluntary organizations working in the slums and resettlement areas of Delhi. Sponsoring educational, health, employment, and other community development programs, Sharan serves thousands of marginalised people who are HIV positive, or have full blown AIDS, all over India.

Dave had to leave India in 1984 when the government did not issue him a visa. That these ministries have not only continued, but have expanded since Dave and Ange’s return to Australia, is evidence of their empowering leadership style.

The Andrews’ return to Australia meant a new location, but resulted in the pursuit of a similar vision. In this sense, Dave is single-minded and irrepressible. The vision for community, and the care of marginalised people, adapted from their experience in India, not only continued in Australia, but deepened.

The Waiters Union was born in the inner-city suburb of West End, Brisbane. Here, a network of families and singles living in the local area with Dave and Ange developed a number of programs working with Aboriginal peoples, migrants, refugees, abused women, broken men, and particularly those abandoned by the psychiatric system.

While the Waiters Union is sometimes wonderfully chaotic, because it is held together by a network of friendships rather than organisational rules and regulations, the vision is clear. It is focused on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and living out the love and justice that typified his life in the locality.

While inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and other leaders, Dave’s central impulse comes from his loyalty to Jesus. And this Jesus has kept him in the faith, has kept his heart soft and his imagination strong, and has kept him on the road of servanthood and frequent powerlessness in the face of disappointments.

The fruit of Dave and Ange’s life is evident – ministries established, friendships forged, people helped, communities transformed, and workers trained to do likewise.’

– Dr. Charles Ringma

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