Port Hedland, Western Australia
Some 1600 kilometres north of Perth, Port Hedland is a hard-working town servicing Western Australia’s iron ore industry, processing more tonnes of freight than any other port in Australia. Wages are high—rents astronomical—and some companies organise their workforce on a fly-in fly-out basis.
Although the working families are busy helping Australia’s mining boom during the week, they still make time for outreach, running men’s and women’s groups for encouragement and discipleship.
Port Hedland is not much of a retirement destination, which has an impact on the local Adventist fellowship. “We operate without a base,” says Robert Mance, referring to the lack of over 50s members who are usually the backbone of congregations. “It’s a transient town; people come and go.”
Nevertheless, the group is growing, needing to move out of a private home in 2011 and into a community hall. Between 25 and 30 people attend most Sabbaths, including 15 children. Each family takes turns organising the church service, which sometimes features preaching by Pastor Jim Fitzsimmons on his visits from Broome, 600 kilometres away.
Although the working families are busy helping Australia’s mining boom during the week, they still make time for outreach, running men’s and women’s groups for encouragement and discipleship. Four of the regulars (pictured) devoted several weeks last year travelling to a remote Aboriginal community south of Alice Springs (NT) to lend their trade skills to a volunteer church building project.