Christian Community Worker
Bullpitt, National Church Life Survey
Extraordinary Risk Taker
Engwicht, Author Eco-City
Mango Milkshake Maker
Reith, Zoo Studios
On The Margins
Ringma, Regent College
Bio One – A
Christian Community Worker
was brought up in the Baptist Church. His father, Rev.
Frank Andrews, was a Queensland Baptist pastor, who,
with his mother, Margaret Andrews, was involved in
ministries in churches up and down the Queensland
coast, from Cairns in the north to Southport in the
Dave made a
commitment to follow Christ when he was just a young
boy, and has continued to follow the way of Christ
ever since. He married his wife Ange when they were
twenty, and they went as missionaries to India when
they were twenty-one. They served there with
Interserve for the next twelve years.
They began by
starting Dilaram, a Christian community working with
travellers on the hippie trail, then started Aashiana,
a Christian community working with local young people.
Out of Aashiana grew Sahara, a well-respected Indian
drug rehab centre, and Sharan, a world-famous
community ministry helping the poorest of the poor in
the slums of New Delhi.
When Dave and
Ange returned to Australia with their daughters Evonne
and Navi, they were employed by Queensland Baptist
Care, and started the Waiters Union, an inner city
community ministry working with disadvantaged people
in West End, in collaboration with St Andrew's, the
local church that their family continue to be involved
with till today.
studied anthropology, theology and mission at Fuller
Seminary and community development at a postgraduate
level at the University of Queensland. He did his
master's thesis on how to develop a community of hope
in a hopeless situation. Tony Kelly, Senior Lecturer
in Community Work at the Department of Social Work and
Social Policy said Dave 'is an extraordinary
individual. He is arguably the most outstanding
community development worker, both theoretically and
technically, to have graduated from this department.'
courses on community development in Australia at the
Bible College of Queensland, the Queensland College of
Theology and Australian College of Ministries, and in
many countries including Cambodia, India, and
Afghanistan as a consultant with Tear Australia, a
Christian Aid Agency.
written many articles and books - the latest of which
is the text for Compassionate Community Work. Charles
Ringma, Professor of Missions at Regent College,
Vancouver, Canada, says “Dave Andrews’ Not
Religion, But Love shows us how we can follow Christ
in our community.”
National Church Life Survey (NCLS)
Bio Two –
An Extraordinary Risk Taker
and his wife Ange arrived to work in Afghanistan in
1973. At the age of 22, they set up an open home
in Delhi - a half-way house for the thousands of
disillusioned travellers passing through India.
short time the house was home to scores of junkies,
freaks and just plain ordinary people. Some were
desperately sick with hepatitis, tuberculosis and
typhoid. Others had been robbed of passports and
money. Others were strung out on drugs or
disorientated by weird religious experiences.
Others felt abandoned in a strange land, far from
community house, with its atmosphere of faith and
love, became home for hundreds of people.
years Dave and Ange worked intimately with these
people, supporting them through their personal crises
- even when they hurled plates of food at the wall,
stabbed themselves, jumped off the roof, swung on the
power lines or ran down the street naked.
Many of these
people seemed to remain the same - in spite of the
constant care. But others, like Schultz (not his
real name), experienced dramatic change. Schultz
had grown up wild on the streets of Austria.
After some years he became a morphine addict. He
skipped military duty, forged his passport and went to
India where he overstayed his visa. While
staying with Dave and Ange, he became a follower of
decided to deal with his past and start afresh.
He turned himself into the authorities and served a
jail sentence for overstaying his visa. He was
then deported to Austria where he served another jail
sentence for forging his passport. Because of
his pacifist beliefs, Schultz refused to serve the
balance of his military duty and opted to sweep the
streets for two years instead. Today, Schultz is
minister of a church in Austria.
after establishing that Dilaram community in India,
the number of local people coming for help began to
increase. More and more, Dave and Ange became
convinced that they should start a community with
Indians - solely for Indians.
Aashiana, meaning 'nest' - a place where broken people
could become whole persons and 'learn to fly again'.
auspices of Aashiana, Dave and Ange and their Indian
friends set up a small but unique therapeutic
community known as Sahara. Today Sahara is so
well regarded as a rehabilitation centre, that people
with personality disorders and drug dependency come to
it from all over India.
All those who
come for help are encouraged to help others.
They are put to work serving the poor.
Consequently, out of Sahara has emerged Sharan, a
community development ministry. Today Sharan is
recognised as one of the largest and most energetic
voluntary organisations working in the slums and
resettlement areas of Delhi, sponsoring educational,
health, employment and community programmes with
up to 40,000 forgotten people.
In 1984 Dave
and Ange had to leave their beloved India when the
Indian Government did not issue them visas to stay.
Australia, they began working with the dispossessed
people in that society: Aborigines, refugees,
migrants, battered women, broken men, abused children,
and those with mental and emotional problems.
the principles for working with people who had been
pushed to one side were the same in Australia as they
were in India.
There is one
thing you need to know about Dave Andrews. He is
dangerous. For example, after Indira Gandhi was shot,
two or three thousand people were killed in
twenty-four hours in the riots that followed.
Mobs rampaged through streets looking for Sikhs to
murder. Dave convinced Tony, a friend , that it
was their job to go out and save these Sikhs.
Finding a besieged house, they put themselves between
an armed mob and a Sikh family and saved them from
certain death. That's why Dave Andrews is dangerous.
He is ordinary, yet believes ordinary people should
take extraordinary risks to confront the cruelty in
Engwicht, Author Eco-City
Bio Three –
A Mango Milkshake Maker
really want to spend the weekend with a couple of
saints? My wife Judy and I were sweating at the
thought even before we disembarked at Brisbane airport
into the stinking Australian summer heat. It
turned out that the sainted couple and family were on
holiday and had returned from their time away to spend
the weekend hanging out with us.
need to explain my worries - Dave Andrews and his wife
Ange have been terrorising my conscience for about 20
years now. They first began to do so when me met
in India where they started working, aged 22, with the
unworkable. Junkies, psychos, dropouts,
travellers on the hippy trail and prisoners fell under
their peaceful spell, along the ordinary 18 year old
pimply youths like me.
I have not
shaken that spell. After five years Dave and
Ange stopped working with dropouts and joined the
community of the poorest of all poor people - the
shanty-town dwellers of Delhi. The people whom
the churches of Delhi wouldn't help because they
squatted illegally, on a rubbish tip.
years Dave, Ange and a small group of helpers lived
for these people, and in some ways, died for these
people. Priorities were to help the illegal
community find drinking water, healthcare and
education - dignifying them through co-operative
action rather than a relief work' approach. They
were happy to be identified with these people – to
be part of an exchange. I think that's where
Dave got TB. It was certainly where he continued
his flirtation with violence.
you see, Dave has a long history of violence.
That is, he has a long habit (from school days) of
putting himself between people in violent conflict.
His technique, he says is to engage the
aggressor in non-threatening, trivial conversation.
Picture the scene: someone is attacking another with a
broken bottle on the street when Dave happens to be
passing. He first considers running away but
thinks the better of it. He walks towards the
action and kicks off with an Aussie-ism: "How's
it going, mate ?" and proceeds from there hoping
to divert the attention of the one beating the hell
out of the other y engaging him in polite
conversation... "Mmmm, radical, " I hear you
say. Meanwhile, St Dave's knees are in major
have rather been watching cricket or making mango
shakes, do you think? Dave would, certainly.
In fact that's what we spent a large part of our
weekend together in Brisbane doing - no violence, no
conflict except in my own conscience. You see,
that's where the terror of getting to know Dave lies.
He's not preachy doesn't say, "you should do
this," or, "you shouldn't be doing
that" and yet to hear him tell his stories
(mostly about others, not himself) you feel immensely
drawn to live like him. Spooky. It's
almost as if someone other than Dave is talking to
you can imagine why we were so apprehensive about our
holiday weekend visit which, incidentally, turned out
milkshakes and cricket, Dave's other weaknesses are
playing football (he's rough), music, cinema and
endless cups of tea.
perfectly ordinary bloke to me. Beware."
Four – A Man On The Margins
Christian leaders, Dave Andrews is not a cleric. He is
not the pastor of a
Christian congregation nor the director of Christian
agency. He is not a scholar in a seminary nor a leader
at the centre of the church’s life. He is a man at
makes Dave Andrews so impressive is this – he has
chosen to live out his
calling in a very different way. Dave is someone who
has been captivated by the radical and compassionate
Christ. His Jesus is not the person of the
stained-glass window, nor of popular religiosity. At
an early age, Dave encountered a very different Jesus
who later called him, together with his wife Ange, to
walk the road of costly discipleship in service to the
This road led
him in 1972 to work with travellers on the Asian
hippie trail in the Dilaram Houses. Extending hospitality
and support to the many drug users on the trail. There
was nothing ordinary about the young people who came
to Dilaram. Many had tripped out on hallucinogenic
drugs, indulged in weird religious experiences and
were psychologically disturbed. They vomited on the
floor, stabbed themselves, and ran naked down the
That some of
them were healed was both a sign of God’s grace and
the tenacity of
Dave and Ange and their fellow workers.
formative experience led Dave and Ange, together with
some Indian friends, to
intentional discipleship community in Delhi five years
later. Aashiana practised cluster living and simple
lifestyle. Out of their life together developed
ministries of personal care, social justice, and
auspices of Aashiana, Dave and Ange and their friends
set up Sahara to
cater for people with personality disorders and drug
dependency. Structured as a therapeutic community,
Sahara today continues to be a place of refuge and
rehabilitation for troubled young people from all over
India seeking help, as well as a training program for
those wishing to initiate similar ministries.
Out of the
Sahara ministry, a community development program,
Sharan, was initiated. The link between the two
reflects a commitment to holism. Those helped at
Sahara were empowered to help others. Renewal is never
simply for ourselves. We are also called to serve
others. From these tentative beginnings, Sharan today
has become a large well-known voluntary organizations
working in the slums and resettlement areas of Delhi.
Sponsoring educational, health, employment, and other
community development programs, Sharan serves
thousands of marginalised people who are HIV positive,
or have full blown AIDS, all over India.
Dave had to
leave India in 1984 when the government did not issue
him a visa. That
these ministries have not only continued, but have
expanded since Dave and Ange’s return to Australia,
is evidence of their empowering leadership style.
Andrews’ return to Australia meant a new location,
but resulted in the pursuit of a
vision. In this sense, Dave is single-minded and
irrepressible. The vision for
community, and the care of marginalised people,
adapted from their experience in India, not only
continued in Australia, but deepened.
Union was born in the inner-city suburb of West End,
Brisbane. Here, a
network of families and singles living in the local
area with Dave and Ange developed a number of programs
working with aborigines, migrants, refugees, abused
women, broken men, and particularly those abandoned by
the psychiatric system.
Waiters Union is sometimes wonderfully chaotic,
because it is held
together by a network of friendships rather than
organisational rules and regulations, the vision is
clear. It is focused on the life of Jesus of Nazareth,
and living out the love and justice that typified his
life in the locality. People can join the Waiters by
participating in the existing ministries, or by
creating new ones. Here, creativity is the order of
the day. Their strategy? To work with people rather
than for people! .Sharing good news in the context of
friendship. Empowering people in a caring setting.
Connecting people to information and resources.
Providing people with more choices and a greater
control over their lives. While engaging people at the
grass-roots, they also seek to change unjust
structures that depower the poor and keep them
outline of some of the things Dave Andrews has done
hardly explains the
man, let alone his passion. Labels such as
“activist,” "agitator," or
"prophet," doesn't help at all. But that
Dave is an important leader is a given. That he is not
always understood by the church should hardly be
always carry a certain mystique. He is a charismatic
person both at the
speaker’s rostrum and face to face. There is an
energy that oozes out of him even when he is
overworked. My long association with him has convinced
me that he is a natural leader with sharp mind as well
as a very good community worker who has committed
himself to empowering the poor.
inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and
other leaders, Dave’s
central impulse comes from his loyalty to Jesus. And
this Jesus has kept him in the faith, has kept his
heart soft and his imagination strong, and has kept
him on the road of servanthood and frequent
powerlessness in the face of disappointments.
The fruit of
Dave and Ange’s life is evident – ministries
forged, people helped, communities transformed, and
workers trained to do likewise.
Ringma, Regent College