Mardi Gras Outreach

Sharing the radical love of Jesus, with Sydney + beyond!

Our mission is and will always be to connect more people to the life, love and freedom Jesus offers! Partner with us on Saturday, 2 March 2024and be part of the Mardi Gras Outreach Team.

 

Why open our doors on Mardi Gras?

Every year in March, thousands of people walk past Vine Church to celebrate the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and you can’t miss the explosion of colour and glitter in Surry Hills. 

We see this as a great opportunity to make a space available where we are able to offer a space to rest and a bite to eat. But ultimately it’s our hope that people will encounter more than just free food — we’re hoping they would discover the life, love and freedom Jesus offers.

Our approach is not to protest the Mardi Gras, nor to participate in it. Rather, like any other event in our city, we want to use it as an opportunity to proclaim Jesus and offer his love.

We believe that the teaching of Jesus on sex and gender coheres with the way that God made us and is good for us. Yet we recognise that many in our community don’t share this view. However, we don’t feel this difference should drive a wedge between the Christian church and the local community. Jesus Christ taught his followers to love their neighbours whoever they were, whatever their background even if they share different beliefs. This is what Mardi Gras Outreach is about. We are seeking to show and proclaim the love of Jesus in a generous and non-divisive way.

Safe Space

Our doors are open from 6pm - 10pm, for anyone in need of rest or a safe place.

Free Food

Our volunteer teams will be serving chai tea, pancakes and a bbq. And best of all it’s free!

Real Connection

Our hope is that people will discover something of the radical love of Jesus.

Partner with us! Join a team.

Refreshments + Food

Prepare, cook, and serve the free food and drinks: bbq, pancakes + chai. 

Conversations + Chill Zone

Be available for conversations and resource the chill zone in the church.

Connections + Activities

Get to know guests by hosting connection activities like table tennis + games.

Expectations of Volunteers

If you are someone who follows Jesus, are a committed member of a local church and keen to connect people to the life, love and freedom Jesus offers, then we invite you to apply to be on team. 

Please read the following expectations for all our volunteers:

Volunteer Team Commitment

If you are someone who follows Jesus, are a committed member of a local church and keen to connect people to the life, love and freedom Jesus offers, then we invite you to apply to be on team!

What’s Involved?

    • Submit an application to be on team and agree to volunteer expectations.
    • We want all volunteers on the same page of this event. Please read key documents. 
    • Attend at least one compulsory team training event
    • Join a team (BBQ, Chai, Pancakes, Water, Chai, Live Music, Conversations)
    • Stay for the full event. Arrive at 3pm and leave at 11.30pm once everything has been packed up. Many hands make light work.
    • Have fun! Be approachable on the night, represent Jesus in all you say and do, get to know others on team.

What to expect on the night of Mardi Gras!

Vine Church’s property is on the same street as the Mardi Gras parade. On the night of the parade, we will open up our property to people participating in the parade and offer them a free BBQ, free pancakes, free Chai tea, water and a place to relax and talk.  Most people we come into contact with on the night are intrigued and surprised by a church that is opening its gates and providing a positive space. 

3pm            Prayer and team meeting
4pm            Setup
5pm            Team Dinner
6pm            Open doors/ gates
10pm          Pack up
10.45pm    Team debrief 
11.30pm     Night ends 

Last year we had over 60 volunteers and 1000 people come to the event. Hundreds of conversations were had. Negative stereotypes were broken, people that ordinarily would never step foot into a church did and people were given a taste of life, love and freedom Jesus offers.

Key Dates for Volunteers

Mardi Gras Outreach Event

Saturday, 2 March 2024
3pm - 11.30pm

Some FAQs about serving on team:

If you are someone who follows Jesus, are a committed member of a local church and keen to connect people to the life, love and freedom Jesus offers, then we invite you to apply to be on team!

We do conduct a reference check on all volunteers. 

You are expected to be at one of two available training events in the lead up to the event and to be available for the whole outreach event also. See website above!

Setup begins at 3PM, the gates of the event itself will open at 6PM and close at 10PM. Packup will finish at 11:30pm. It’s best if you can stay for the whole duration of the event. 

You will be expected to be around and at your station for your shift. If at any point you need a break, feel free to communicate with your team leader. Make sure you take at least 5-10 minutes on the night to refresh yourself. 

It’s expected that all volunteers will be warm and friendly, but not everyone will be expected to engage in deep conversation with others.

We hope to equip you with some general principles and tips on how to engage in conversation with all people from the LGBTIQ+ community.

Most people we come into contact with on the night are intrigued and surprised by a church that is opening its gates and providing a positive space.

We will have professional paid security on site. We have done a comprehensive risk assessment of the event. 

While we don’t expect anything to go wrong, it’s worth keeping an eye on your personal safety and thinking about what the night will involve. We often see people who are under the influence of drugs/ alcohol or engaging in risky activities so work as a team! If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable – walk away and ask security to assist if necessary. 

There will be first aid trained volunteers. 

Mardi Gras Outreach is a ministry of Vine Church, Surry Hills. It is lead by the staff and volunteers of Vine Church, and variety of other local churches. This event is funded by the generosity of the Vine Church community. 

We strongly recommend catching public transport as a lot of the roads around Vine Church will be closed and clearway are in place.

If you want to drive please check with City of Sydney for road closures. St Margarets Car Park is located conveniently on Bourke St. Please do your research on cost and availability. No information about rates on Mardi Gras night are is available at this time.

We are really thankful for you serving at Mardi Gras! We’ll be ordering a variety of pizzas for dinner at 5pm for the team. If you don’t like pizza, please bring some food with you to eat. 

Vine Church is located on the route of the parade. The event does get quite loud and busy.

Need more information

Feel free to get in touch with Grant Van Der Merwe who leads the Mardi Gras Outreach Team. Grant is full time on staff at Vine Church as an Assistant Minister. 

Search Vine Church:

One less time to meet, just two Sunday services this week!

There is no 9:15am service on Sunday, March 24, 2024, due to the 9.15am Weekend Away.