Don's story: The beginnings of J-Club
Pastor Don Walker is the Chaplain for Wesley Disability Services and Crisis Support. Eighteen months ago, two young men, Lucas and Stewart from Wesley Woodward, a residence for young people living with disability in western Sydney, asked him to run a regular chapel service at the centre. Don remembers asking one of the men, Lucas, why he wanted a chapel service and was blown away by the simple, direct and truly honest response: “I love God” Lucas said from his wheelchair. “I like praising the Lord. He made everything.”
In these early days, the group revolved around watching DVDs and listening to music containing the gospel message. Word got around about what they were doing and staff at Wesley Disability Services, Ashfield asked Don to set up a similar group for them.
J–Club was born and continues to grow today, inspiring clients, residents and staff across three different locations. Residents and clients play a major role in leading the study and activities. “The group members really drive the club in each location,” Don said, and each club has developed its own style and structure. “Clients at Wesley Woodward have restricted mobility so we tend to watch DVDs and listen to music. At Ashfield, clients have intellectual disabilities, but because they are very physically functional, they are able to do team activities. At Campbelltown, the clients have more severe intellectual disabilities and respond more to colouring-in activities,” he said.
Don said, “The whole aim of J–Club now is to really instil leadership skills and build confidence in a Christian context.”