A new chapter

QUEANBEYAN Salvation Army's newly appointed ministers, Lieutenants Matt and Katie Ryan are itching to immerse themselves into the local community.

They are ready to get out and about in Queanbeyan after spending the last two years training for their jobs and studying theology at the Salvation Army Training College based in Sydney.

"We're excited to be here and we're looking forward to making it home," Mrs Ryan said. "We feel it's a good choice ... we want to part of the community and help in any way we can. We're not just here for one-off help but lifelong change. We don't have that attitude of a band aid solution but a lifelong fix."

Mr and Mrs Ryan said being a Salvation Army officer provided them with the opportunity to help people every day.

"Loving people is our job and that's exciting," Mr Ryan said. "Ideally we'd like to be doing this until we retire and even afterwards. We're so excited to be here and have the opportunity to meet people."

"There's no other place I'd rather be," Mrs Ryan added. "I've tried other jobs and it always felt like something was missing but here I feel like this is where God made me to be. It's daily fulfilment."

This is the couple's first posting and they're brimming with enthusiasm. They take over from departing Majors Peter and Debbie Hindle.

"I feel mixed emotions ... we look forward to meeting people, having a journey with people not just emotionally but spiritually," Mrs Ryan said. "We don't want to let anyone down or disappoint anyone. We're excited to take over but also nervous."

It is a year full of changes for the Queanbeyan Salvation Army as construction begins on a project to transform their former family store.

The site will house an industrial kitchen and multipurpose space for Connections Cafe which is currently being run from the church. In the long-term, the space will be used as a daily drop-in centre.

"[Connections Cafe] is a feeding program for the homeless and also creates a shared space for people who feel lonely to find a family. It's a space for the community to have morning tea and lunch," Mrs Ryan said.

"We came at an exciting time for this place. From [the Connections Cafe project] there will be new opportunities to help the community and along with the newly renovation welfare centre there's lots happening."

n The Queanbeyan Salvation Army is located at 9/10 Morisset Street. Connections Cafe is open every Thursday from 10am.

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