A Stawell church is bucking the trend facing many religious organisations around the world, and is expanding due to the increased demand.
City Heart Church of Christ Stawell recently received $20,000 through the Churches of Christ group, recognised for their ongoing growth and commitment to the community.
The money has been put to good use, with the church's kitchen undergoing a significant upgrade to allow for the opening of a food outreach service.
"One of the reasons we got the grant is we are bucking the trend by growing and attracting young families and others to the church," church pastor Terry Dunn said.
They were able to purchase a state of the art coffee machine and grinder, commercial standard dishwasher and a variety of other kitchen necessities with the funding.
With their new facilities, the church will open Heartbeat expresso and eats, a food outreach service "aimed at those who can't afford traditional restaurants".
"In the we would have called it a drop in centre. We want to attract people who are involved with the welfare centre next to the church," Mr Dunn said.
"We will be open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am until 1pm and could extend those hours depending on how we go. We will be serving all sorts of coffee and hot chocolate as well as home cooked light snacks and meals. We have a great chef in our congregation.
"This is one of many forays of ours into the community. As our name says, we want to be the heartbeat of the city."
The new service will open at 10am on Friday, July 26.
"We are excited to learn the basics of using the coffee machine and the opportunities that are now available," Mr Dunn said.
The church is not only growing in its kitchen, having also recently undergone renovations with the potential for more expansion.
"We are aware for a church to grow it has to be essential to the community and we may need upgrades to do so," Mr Dunn said.
"Because of the way the church is growing we are looking at potentially upgrading the facility size to better serve the community.
"We own the cottage next door so we are in the very preliminary stages of looking into how we can extend the church."
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