Celebrating the Manly-Manado Walk
This September Seaforth Baptist Church celebrated 10 years of the Manly-Manado Walk which raises funds for vulnerable mums and babies in Indonesia. With close to $300,000 raised to date, it’s an event that gets the whole community involved, and even inspired the creation of the Manado sausage.
30 Sep, 2015
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality. —2 Corinthians 8:13-14 (NIV)
This is the core of the longstanding partnership between Seaforth Baptist Church in Manly and Getsemani Baptist Church in Manado, Indonesia.
While the partnership didn’t begin until 2010, Seaforth Baptist Church has long-held ties to the community of Manado. Back in 2005, they started the Manly-Manado Walk as part of Action Against Poverty with eight other churches in the Manly region. It was all about uniting communities, educating them about poverty, and giving them a tangible way to make a difference.
In 2010 came a partnership with Compassion. Seaforth Baptist Church began sponsoring children from the Manado region and supporting the Child Survival Program run by Getsemani Baptist Church.Five years later, the partnership between the two churches has gone from strength to strength. On Sunday 13 September 2015, the Manly-Manado Walk, which helps support Getsemani Church’s Child Survival Program, celebrated its 10th anniversary. The crescendo of the celebration was all about the precious mums and babies.
“When people registered [for the event], they received a beautiful handmade bracelet from one of the mothers in Manado,” says Justice Pastor Vikki Howorth from Seaforth Baptist Church.
“They received photos of the mothers and babies they were walking for because we want to make it relational.”
Part way through the 10 kilometre walk from Spit Bridge to Manly, walkers were told the name of the mother they were walking for and were excited to share photos on social media.
In the truest sense of partnership, Seaforth Baptist Church isn’t acting alone during the Manly-Manado Walk.
“At the same time back in Manado, all the youth, leaders of the church and kids are united with us in prayer,” says Justice Pastor Howorth. “We don’t do this alone, we do it in partnership.”
Sonya, who runs Getsemani Child Survival Program, and Debbie, who works for Compassion East Indonesia came to Australia to participate in the walk and were blown away by the local support.
The walk has grown over the years into a major community event that gives locals the opportunity to play their own part in making a difference in the lives of children and families in Manado. Even New South Wales Premier Mike Baird participated in the walk this year, providing Seaforth Baptist Church with an even bigger platform to share with the community what they’re doing.
“It’s so encouraging to see the community get behind this cause,” says Justice Pastor Howorth.
“We are just one local church but through our partnership with Compassion we have had the opportunity to connect with Getsemani Baptist Church in Manado and support them to transform the lives of mothers and babies living in poverty. It’s a partnership that our church has been inspired by and benefited from.”
A week after the walk, local butcher Dave Head from Shiralee Meats created the Manado Sausage specifically to raise funds for Getsemani Child Survival Program.
“This is the first time that I have ever tasted a sausage,” says Sonya. “I wish I could take some back for the mums in the program. They won’t believe that a local butcher has made a Manado sausage just for them. We are so thankful.”
Since the walk first began, over 2400 people have made the trek and have raised nearly $300,000! The Manly-Manado Walk is a prime example of how the church can get the whole community involved to make a difference to the lives of children living in poverty.
If you’re interested in your church engaging with Compassion, find out more here.
Words by Monique Wallace
Photos supplied by Seaforth Baptist Church