Photo: The distribution of hampers to local health workers by the Forster/Tuncurry Church of Christ has been an important project for the community-focused church.

By Josh Gibbon

Tamara and Bret Clarke, pastors of Forster/Tuncurry Church of Christ, are leading their community in blessing frontline health workers by delivering care packages to medical centres each week.  

Bret shared how this project started: “I had someone preach for us online, maybe second or third week of lockdown. The challenge was: ‘How are we going to live and show love to people (during this time)?’” 

In response, Tamara had the idea to bless medical teams that are sacrificing so much for the community at the moment.  

“We just want to bless the people in that area on the frontline – they’re probably copping a lot of abuse,” Bret said.  

Tamara and their daughter started by delivering a care package to three doctors’ practices at the beginning of September. The following week they visited a private hospital and three more doctors’ practices. When they handed the hampers to the receptionists, one woman burst into tears, and another had to find a tissue to wipe her eyes. 

Bret reflected, “Some (frontline health workers) are feeling it without knowing they’re feeling it… carrying stuff they don’t realise.” They quickly realised these acts of kindness were bringing much-needed hope. 

The church community has quickly shown a desire to continue this ministry and donate what they can to continue sending out care packages. The donations have been so overwhelming that they’ve been able to give packages to the post office, Centrelink, Service NSW, aged care facilities, and pre-schools in Tuncurry.   

Bret reflected that this project was a natural response to the community’s desire to love others rather than an orchestrated project by him as a pastor. 

He said, “It doesn’t need to come from the top, just people’s hearts. The church going, ‘Let’s give it a crack.’ 

“Often ministry seems to be about KPIs. Jesus wasn’t doing that. Just valuing people … no agenda. 

In addition to more care packages, they are now working with a restaurant to deliver leftover meals to those doing it tough. A class from a local school has been donating some money to the project along with some members of the community playgroup hosted by the church.  

“If people want to keep donating to the community, we’ll find people to give it to,” Bret concluded.  

Forster/Tuncurry Church of Christ is one of many Fresh Hope churches in NSW and ACT that are finding creative ways to support frontline workers at the moment!

Keep an eye on Fresh Hope’s Instagram and Facebook pages for more stories like this!