The Culture Project reclaims love from distorted culture

Reaching 5000 young Australians each year through schools, conferences, youth groups and monthly 'Restore' nights.
Bella Augimeri played guitar and sang at last month’s Restore night. Photo: Jordan Grantham.

By Jordan Grantham, Catholic Outlook

One day, Frances Hopkins was contacted by a girl who was pregnant, alone and afraid. “She just needed someone to say ‘You are such a brave and incredible woman’ and needed someone to believe in her,” Frances said.

Frances Hopkins has been with The Culture Project since it was first launched. Photo: Kate Capato.

“She said ‘I can’t kill my baby, can you help me?’” Frances told Catholic Outlook. Then only 18 years old herself, Frances decided to support this younger woman in any way she could. “I know the little boy and he is four years old now and he almost didn’t make it.”

This is Frances’ personal catalyst for involvement in The Culture Project Australia. Launched on the night of Frances’ university graduation, the Australian spin-off of The Culture Project International reaches 5000 young people each year through schools, conferences, youth groups and their own monthly event, Restore nights.

The next Restore night on Activism is on Monday 6 March 2017 at the Commercial Hotel, 2 Hassall Street, Parramatta. Young adults aged 18-35 are welcome.

Now in its third year, The Culture Project Australia has brought on a new missionary, who is a full-time speaker about human dignity and sexual integrity. Chris Da Silva spent two years with The Culture Project Australia and is now entering his vocation.

Katherine Turnbull is joining The Culture Project as a missionary for 2017.

“I’m so pleased to be dedicating this year to an organisation that has authentic, boundary-crossing love for people at its heart, and that so fearlessly makes a real difference, one encounter at a time,” Katherine said.

The Culture Project Australia creates custom presentations as well as multiple standard talks and modules that are given from the perspective of humour, personal stories and natural law.

“They reach down to the core of what it is to be human, humanity’s desires for love, the way the culture twists those, making us doubt our self-worth,” Frances said.

The Culture Project members receive their training in the US in June each year. Speakers include Matt Fradd and Stephanie Grey.

Frances has an education qualification, Mental Health and First Aid training, and a Bachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts. When young people present mental health concerns, The Culture Project refers them to relevant medical professionals.

Katherine Turnbull is joining The Culture Project as a missionary. Photo: Jazz Chalouhi.

The first Restore night for 2017 was held at the Commercial Hotel in Parramatta on 6 February.

Bella Augimeri played guitar and sang for an hour before and after a talk on freedom by Fr Warren Edwards, Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill.

This was the first time a clergyman has addressed Restore. Fr Warren gave a brief overview of civilisations from the ancient city of Ur to the modern day. He focussed on the legal and inter-personal aspects of freedom.

Fr Warren referred to the greatest commandment from Christ. “I set you free, I give you only two rules: love God and love one another,” he said, interpreting scripture.

A common culture based on Christ’s teaching can create a greater sense of freedom. “We did not have a set of rules read out to us tonight …” he said.

The Christian views sin as the opposite of freedom. Even in most Christian societies there is evil and enslavement to sin. “Now all of this wasn’t rosy of course … sin exists,” Fr Warren said.

Restore nights are held on the first Monday of each month, focussing on a talk by a visiting speaker. People are encouraged to have a meal and enjoy the music gigs that start and close the night.

Previous speakers include Chantale Ishac, Chris Lee and Judi Limbers. Chantale is an expert on addiction in sports from Addiction Intervention. Chris Lee was named a 2017 Hills Citizen of the Year for leading men’s health Conviction Group. Judi Limbers is a fashion designer and women’s self-image activist.

The next Restore night will be on Monday 3 April 2017 at the Commercial Hotel, 2 Hassall Street, Parramatta.

For more information about The Culture Project visit

Join The Culture Project Australia on Facebook.

Published on 6 March 2017.

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