INVOLVED: From left, Pastor Gordon Johnson, Lois Johnson, Cissy Vora, and Maryanne Henderson, members of the Arising Aboriginal and Islander Ministries.
INVOLVED: From left, Pastor Gordon Johnson, Lois Johnson, Cissy Vora, and Maryanne Henderson, members of the Arising Aboriginal and Islander Ministries. Cathy Adams

Lismore indigenous and islander church helps abuse victims

FOR almost a decade Lismore's only indigenous and islander church has been helping communities across the Northern Rivers overcome the trauma of sexual and child abuse.

But to continue their work they need your help.

Arising Aboriginal and Islander Ministries Pastor Gordon Johnson and his wife Lois said many problems in Aboriginal communities stemmed from childhood abuse.

Pr Johnston said the church worked to help abuse victims in seven Aboriginal communities gain hope, employment and control of their lives.

"A lot of indigenous people have problems with alcohol, drugs and end up in jail, and that stems directly from childhood trauma," he said.

"We work to help them get back their self esteem and re-instil their pride so they will have more meaning in their life and something to work for."

Pr Johnson said several members of the church were victims of child sexual abuse and were overcoming their problems with counselling.

Mrs Johnson, who works with more than 100 clients a month, said locals had gained employment in counselling, aged care, child care, mining, pre-schools and horticulture through help from the church.

"We want victims of sexual and child abuse and those who use drugs and alcohol to come forward so we can work to get them rehabilitated," she said.

Arising Aboriginal and Islander Ministries meets every Sunday from 11.30am at St Paul's Memorial Hall in Keen St.

Mrs Johnson said the church had sought assistance from all levels of government to continue its work, which was currently self-funded.



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