Category: radical discipleship


jars of preserves lined up on the window sill intentional community

This month marks the end of living in intentional community in Footscray for eight and a half years (albeit I will still be living in intentional proximity).

In that time, I have lived in six houses and with over 20 different people – some of them twice.  I’m packing at the house I’m in now to move again, and found it remarkable to have so much in the ‘storehouse’ to take with me preserved from various houses I’ve lived in. A metaphor somehow, of lives and home shared. I know my experiences of living in community will nourish me in the future as will the preserves I take with me and I’m conscious of the privilege of that.  Having good things stored up means the seasons have been fruitful. We have shared abundance together and there’s still some leftover.

I started this blog post wondering whether I might have some insight or wisdom I wanted to share but what comes are memories and gratitude:

Waking up my first morning in a new house to a stranger in the kitchen, the grief and grace of the days your good intentions come to nothing, the awful times when we weren’t sure we’d have anywhere to live, the raw joy when Maria got PR.  I remember working with Elizabeth Braid to create a grace resource celebrating something of Melbourne’s small alternative church communities, and the poem-prayer about negotiating everyone’s wants and needs:

A Prayer for the Share House

Take away my resentment that the dishes still have food on them, cold water-full sponge, soap bottle half gone…
and give me gratitude for the dishes that have been done today

Take away my resentment for the planned meal ingredients used and not replaced…
and give me gratitude for the food that has been provided today

Take away my resentment at the passive-aggressive pile of belongings outside my bedroom door…
and give me gratitude for the cleaning that has happened today

Take away my resentment for the sleep lost holding you crying after the nth fight with your boyfriend…
and give me gratitude that I have friends with whom to share life

Take away my resentment for the times you have company and I-just-want-to-be alone, for the reverse of that, and when we each want to be alone and the house just isn’t big enough for the both of us…
and give me gratitude for those moments…  the brief, beautiful moments… we get it right.

Take away my resentment for the things said, the things unsaid and those for which we do not have words but our spirit cries
and give me gratitude for the things said, the things unsaid and those for which we do not have words but our spirit cries

Amen

Today I add this addendum…

Take away those moments I felt like I failed, the guilt I felt falling short of all I imagined I should be able to be and do, all my ego thought I could.

and give me gratitude for my humanity, for leaning on and learning from others whose help I need – the seeds sown and fruit grown and the love. God, I’m so grateful for the love.

Thanks to all of you with whom I have lived, loved and shared life. May the road rise up to meet you and may it sometimes lead you back to my door.

Fifth Helpings

veg fresh vegetables cauliflower carrots celery silverbeet

We live in times where the focus is on those things that divide rather than connect us but as Chappo (Peter Chapman) says “You should share communion together, it has a unique power to unite beyond words.

I’ve heard someone in the community is sick. It’s cancer. It’s advanced. Chemo starts immediately and all their plans, all their future seems a question mark.  This is something the community does well, responding when someone is sick, when someone has died, when someone has had a baby… There is a sense of helplessness when people we know are struggling but we want to do what we can.  I add more vegies, I add more garlic, I pay for the leanest/highest grade mince and take care cutting everything nicely because I want to somehow imbue the food with wholesomeness and nurture, I want it to be restorative and healing. I pray as I cut and wash and I pray as I drain and brown and stir… I wish that Shepherd’s Pie were a cure for cancer but it isn’t. For some people, church is most meaningful at the high holidays of Christmas and Easter or as a venue for life celebrations like weddings and baptisms but for me often its most profound acts are in moments like these – when you’re scared, tired, sick… you actually can’t make it to church and your family come around and feed you the daily bread that nourishes, the water that quenches every thirst, the casserole that fits in the freezer.

Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 24 (fills three large tin foil casserole trays)

Ingredients

Shepherd’s Pie

Extra virgin olive oil
3 onions diced
2kg mince/ground lamb or beef
4 cloves garlic crushed
4 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
140g tomato paste
6 carrots (grated or chopped)
½ bunch chard chopped
250g frozen spinach (or fresh)
420g can corn kernels (drained) or 1.5 cups corn

Cauliflower Mash Topping

3 large cauliflower cut into florets (use potato if you want!)
150 g butter
Salt/pepper to taste
Grated cheese

Method

Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until soft.
  2. Add mince and stir until it is all cooked and browned.

[here I transferred to the slow cooker but you can cook at the stove]

  1. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chopped tomatoes and vegetables. Mix.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered while making the cauliflower topping. Let liquid evaporate so the mince thickens.

Cauliflower Topping

  1. Boil/steam the cauliflower until soft, this takes 8-10 minutes.
  2. Drain and allow ALL the steam to escape. Too much water left in the saucepan will make a ‘sloppy’ mash.
  3. Add the butter, salt, pepper. Using a stick blender puree until smooth.

To Assemble

  1. Place the shepherd’s pie mince/ground meat mix in the bottom of casserole dishes. Top with the cauliflower mash then sprinkle on the cheese.

Wrap for delivery/freezer storage OR

  1. Bake at 180C/350F for 20 mins and until the cheese is browned.

 

Published on Radical Discipleship.net

footscray station footscray market

There is an altercation down by the station. Shouting and swearing. It’s hard to gauge how to respond sometimes – witness, walk away, walk towards… I understand better these days that raised voices can be a mark of our desperation to be heard. What was clear to me, as observer, is that the participants knew they each felt unsafe, but couldn’t see in the moment that the other person didn’t either. Different genders, different cultures, different capacity, different experiences… The ways we are different from each other can be obvious but the ways we are the same can be subtle.

I walk towards…
All of us want to feel safe.
#safetyfirst #deescalation #pt’chang

20190406_131813.jpg

A take home message of any indigenous event such as ‘Land and Place: Indigenous Perspectives in the Era of Displacement‘ these days is that non-indigenous people need to do their own homework and help to educate their mob but it can be hard for individuals or churches to know where to start.  This is a synthesis of some suggestions that arose from the NAIITS launch sessions and yarning circles and some other resources that I’ve found useful along the way that resonated with what I was hearing…

  • Do undergrad or postgrad study in indigenous theology with indigenous teachers through Whitley at the University of Divinity!
  • Visit collections and exhibitions in national galleries and museums – like a First Peoples tour of the Bunjilaka Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum, a guided walking tour of Melbourne CBD through the Koori Heritage Trust, or visit Narana.
  • Folks go on pilgrimages such as the walking the Camino de Santiago, or Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem… what if we connected with the Creator Spirit right here in this place? Visit Uluru, an intentional community like Campfire in the Heart,  or just go camping in an area of native bush near you and experience the land around you… if you’re not sure where to go (ask permission and) join the mob sitting in at the Djab Wurrung Embassy protecting 800-year old birthing trees from a motorway extension that’ll save drivers merely 3 minutes.
  • Connect with the mob at Indigenous Hospitality House (IHH). The Indigenous Hospitality House is a Settler (non-Indigenous) household on Wurundjeri country in Melbourne, Australia. The residents open their home to provide short-term accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who need to come to Melbourne for hospital business. They also make space for others to rethink their Settler identity and discipleship journey in light of Australia’s colonial history – they run bible study series, host regular Learning Circles,  and have published a book called Tales from the Table on their reflections and learnings from 15 years of hosting guests.
  • Explore and practice different rhythms of ritual and liturgy such as those of the Wilderness Way Community – put phones down to leave chronos time behind, take off shoes to connect with the earth, everyone is outside so you are hearing the Bible stories orally and acting them out. There are no mikes or screens or songsheets – a lot of the songs therefore are call and response or echo format…
    Everything I need is right in front of me (x2)
    Can we be manna, manna?
    Can we be manna for each other? (x2)
    See more suggestions for meditating in your watershed here.
  • Integrate daily, monthly, annual rhythms – in what you read, watch, who you follow on Facebook or on Instagram, what you do and where you go. Commit to knowing more than you did yesterday or last year. Learn significant dates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Australians and find ways to acknowledge and observe them as an individual, a family, a community, a church… as a nation. You will find art and activism, celebrations and song.

Just like Aunty Rev Patricia Courtenay said: ‘Know the past, change the future’

Fourth Helpings

img_3366We live in times where the focus is on those things that divide rather than connect us but as Chappo (Peter Chapman) says “You should share communion together, it has a unique power to unite beyond words.

For many years I was a co-ordinator for a local community project called Sharing Abundance, the idea behind the project was food sustainability through food rescue and food redistribution. If we noticed a home in our neighbourhood had produce growing, especially if they didn’t seem to be using it, we’d knock and ask if we could pick it and donate it on to people in need: through our local church foodbank and outreach projects offering a community meal. Mostly people were happy to get rid of it seeing the produce as something that attracted lots of birds and bats or made a mess on the lawn below.

We knew when we started that an outcome would be produce: jam, chutney, cordial… what I didn’t know was how well this would work as a shared vision for bringing people together. A chain formed where people donated fruit, some people collected jars, some people picked produce, others were available for the processing and cooking days, a jar of the finished product might go back to the donor and others out to the projects for distribution. The members of this network didn’t necessarily meet one another but often the links were special points of connection. Connection to where our food comes from, to the seasons, to place, to the wisdom of our elders, to our neighbours, to each other. We learned about reducing waste, edible weeds, what to make with 5kg of parsley, what a loquat is and how to eat it (just bite it actually but mind the pips!). No one person had it all but the neighbourhood working together created more than the sum of its parts. Share the abundance and you will know what it is to be rich.

Apricot Jam

Ingredients

1kg apricots, halved and stoned, then quartered (or 1 kg of any fruit)
juice of a whole lemon (30-40ml)
1kg caster sugar
1 tsp butter (optional)

Method

Prepare: Wash fruit well then cut into even pieces discarding any leaves, stalks, stones, etc.

Sterilising jars

To sterilize the jars in the oven start by preheating the oven to 130 degrees Celsius/ 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the jars and the lids very thoroughly. Place the jars on a baking tray and put them in the oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime, boil the lids in a small pot full with water, drain in a colander.

Assemble: Put a saucer in the freezer to use to test the jam later. Place the apricots, lemon juice and sugar in a large non-reactive saucepan (like stainless steel or enamel). Use a large, wide pot for cooking the jam. The fruit-sugar mixture should only come one third up the sides of the pot. If you use a tall pot with a smaller diameter, the jam will need much longer until it sets.

Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. If you like use a potato masher to work the jam and sugar together — this releases moisture from the fruit and gets them cooking faster.

Boil the fruit for 15-20 minutes: Bring the fruit to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will start with big, juicy bubbles and slowly progress to small, tighter bubbles as the jam gets closer to doneness. If foam forms on the top of your jam mixture move pot away from the heat and scoop it out with a spoon or add a knob of butter (about 1 tsp) to make it break down and return to low heat until butter is melted.

Know when the jam is done: After 15 mins, simply dribble some hot jam from the pot onto the frozen saucer and wait a few seconds for it to cool. Run your finger through the jam — if it makes a clear path through the jam and doesn’t fill in, then you have a good set. If setting point has not been reached, boil for a few minutes more, then test again.

Jar and store the jam: When the jam is set to your liking, remove the jam from the heat and transfer to the clean jars. Do not fill the hot jam in cold jars or the jars may shatter. Make sure that the sterilized jars are still hot when you fill them.

Use a soup ladle to fill the jars with the jam. Or pour some of the jam in a heat proof jug and then pour the jam into the jars. Use a wet paper towel or tea towel to clean any spilled jam from around the top of the jar and immediately place the lids on top and tighten. Ideally you want to place these jars somewhere they can stay without being moved for 24 hours cooling slowly you will hear the ‘plink’ of the lids sealing as the metal contracts as the jars cool and securely seal.

24 hours later check the jars. If the lids have sealed tight and flat, store jam in a cool, dark place. If the jar lid did not seal keep it in the fridge and enjoy straight away.

Stay Strong

in the bonds of love we meet

Kia Kaha Otautahi, Stay Strong Christchurch, is a recurring theme in the outpouring of grief and love happening in New Zealand in response to the attacks of 15 March 2019 at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre that killed 50 and injured 50 more.

In the Christian tradition this is the season of Lent, a time to remember Jesus’ 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. The word “Lent” comes from the old English, “lencten,” which means “spring.” What struggle takes place in this desert? What are the questions we wrestle with? What are the demons we wrestle with? What spring might arise in this desert?

The saying “Kia Kaha Christchurch” came into use after the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 that decimated the city centre and in which many lives were lost. It was used by committed friends and family to affirm and encourage each other in rebuilding their lives and their city. We say ‘stay strong’ because the people of Christchurch are not strangers to death or loss, nor resiliency.

We say ‘stay strong’ because members of our Muslim community and all people of colour face experiences of racism, hate speech, violence and vilification every day, those of Muslim faith are not strangers to death or loss, nor resiliency.

We say ‘stay strong’ calling everyone impacted into the best truth of ourselves and our beliefs because we all know that it is easier in these times to hate, and be angry, than to love. And we rise.

 

love beats fear melbourne vigil for christchurch

 

Rallies against racism, vigils and tributes of flowers outside mosques are happening across New Zealand and around the world. Faith leaders of different religions, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu, lead these gatherings in prayer in many different languages.

islamic council of victoria open day 2019 A mere two days after the shooting, the Islamic Council of Victoria go ahead with their annual mosque open day – opening their doors and sharing with guests their faith and culture. Opening their hearts to those grieving and with questions to which no one knows an answer, like: ‘Why did this happen?

Their own hearts must be sore and grieving, and their actions speak yet to welcome, hospitality and courage. Choosing this, is spring.

Australian social commentator Waleed Aly in a poignant statement shares that the gunman was greeted “Welcome, brother” upon arriving at the mosque, those within were gathered kneeling, in silent communal prayer. They would be facing Mecca and have their backs to the door, unaware of any danger. And they will do this next Friday, and the Friday after that, and every Friday.   Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has announced that today’s Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast nationally on TV and radio and a two minute silence will be held as, nationally, we want to reclaim and hold that space as safe and sacred.  We say ‘stay strong’ but this doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own. We know we are stronger together.

Choosing this, is spring.

te aroha kiwis and muslim sing togetherIn the bonds of love we meet” (cover image) is a line from New Zealand’s national anthem and is on the banner I carry to a vigil. It is a signal to other New Zealanders where I am from and many give that head tilt of acknowledgement or stop to say “kia ora”.

The vigil leaders say from the front: “If you’re comfortable, hug or shake hands with the people nearest you” and, in this moment, in hugging one Muslim ,I feel I am hugging all Muslims; to hug one Kiwi, it feels I am hugging all Kiwis. Choosing this, is spring.

The vigil is over and people are drifting away to make their way home. A remnant of us gather to sing: people of different faiths, different cultures, speaking different languages. We sing for over an hour… Te Aroha (see image above for lyrics), the NZ national anthem in English and Maori,  John Lennon’s Imagine, and  Dave Dobbyn’s Welcome Home. (written in response to seeing anti-racism protests in Christchurch back in 2005). His words and melody are just as now poignant as they were then. What an extraordinary and beautiful thing to come of something so awful. Choosing this, is spring.

Meet in the bonds of love. Stay strong.

Choosing this, is spring.

Second Helpings

credo meal table hospitality.jpg

We live in times where the focus is on those things that divide rather than connect us but as Chappo (Peter Chapman) says “You should share communion together, it has a unique power to unite beyond words.

For over 20 years Credo, in Melbourne, Australia, was a community gathering around food, recreation and creative art to foster a sense of home – especially for those of us experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental illness and isolation.  The Credo community believed good community development is possible when people from all economic and cultural backgrounds get together and support one another…

Read the rest of this article on RadicalDiscipleship.net and find Credo’s Spaghetti Bolognese here…

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener execution of freedom fighters Melbourne monument Australian colonial history First Nations Freedom Fighters day

Today is the anniversary of the public execution of  two indigenous freedom fighters, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener, on the 20th January 1842. This commemoration is held annually at the monument established in their memory at the corner of Victoria and Franklin St in Melbourne. The monument was built in 2016 by Melbourne City Council after a decade long campaign by the Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener Commemoration Committee – it remains the only monument in a major Australian city that recognises the frontier wars that occurred as Australia was colonised. Had Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener killed? Yes. Fighting to protect their people, their lands, their culture, their languages, their laws and their way of life.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener execution of freedom fighters Melbourne monument Australian colonial history First Nations Freedom Fighters day

Aunty Carolyn Briggs standing with descendants of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener and representatives of their Tasmanian tribes

Australia is a country living out many complexities – the dominant narrative and what the history classes teach is that no one was here, or very few, or that those who were here were sub-human somehow and uncivilised. To name and recognise Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener is to honour those who survived a holocaust. The blood of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children has been spilled on this land, not all were able to fight; sometimes there were diseased blankets, poisoned food, attacks as people were sleeping, overwhelming numbers and overwhelming force.  To remember the names of these two men is to symbolically remember all those who lost their lives at the colonial frontier.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener execution of freedom fighters Melbourne monument Australian colonial history First Nations Freedom Fighters day

Acknowledging these men, hearing this story, knowing these names goes some way to undoing the erasure of aboriginal people existing in this place which is a step toward relationship with them now.

“What hope is there for us? …it’s you.”

Hear the anger and the grief of this question, yes – but hear too the longing in the answer. In her welcome, Aunty Carolyn Briggs asks another question: “How would you honour this sacred ground if you were walking in a churchyard? Peoples blood has been spilled on the ground here, how will you show them respect?”  She tells us that the answer is to live well here, bringing: no harm to the land, no harm to the water, no harm to children. This is a challenge when we know that fish are dying in our major waterways from mismanagement, Aboriginal people are still dying, locked up and their children are still being taken away.  But someone has hung a banner here today that reads: “Homelands Heal”, and someone has asked: “What hope is there for us?” and answered: “It’s you.”

homeleands heal

Today brings to mind Jacques Ellul’s, The Meaning of the City, in which he discusses how the Hebrew word for city is ‘iyr or ‘iyr re’em and that this can have multiple meanings – “it is not only the city, but also the Watching Angel, the Vengeance and the Terror… we must admit that the city is not just a collection of houses with ramparts, but also a spiritual power. I’m not saying it is a being. But like an angel it is a power, and what seems prodigious is that its power is on a spiritual plane.”  An old Uncle stands up and shares that he has a vision that this year might be the year of revelation.  He remarks that: “White men made this place lawless. You can’t have a spiritual connection to this place except through us.” Because there was law in this place before the colonisers introduced prison and executions, and spirituality in this place before the colonisers brought the Bible.  Are we listening to the city of Naarm (Melbourne)? What does it have to say?
Melbourne’s first official public execution was apparently quite the festive spectacle and we are given to know that 3000-5000 people attended the public hanging of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener.  There were perhaps 100 people gathered to listen to songs and stories at this years commemoration… maybe next year there will be more.
“What hope is there for us?
It’s you.”
buried below Queen Vic Markets
Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener execution of freedom fighters Melbourne monument Australian colonial history First Nations Freedom Fighters day

Helpings (1)

christop table of hospitality

Illustrator – Chris Booth

 

We live in times where the focus is on those things that divide rather than connect us but as Chappo (Peter Chapman) says “You should share communion together, it has a unique power to unite beyond words.

Our practices of radical hospitality and community have something to offer we know the world is hungry for and to that end we are going to share some recipes over the coming weeks that are for community meals. Don’t think: How can I reduce the scale of this to feed my family? Instead think: Who shall I invite to share food at my table?

This is the first of a series of reflections I’ve written on community meals with each one including a recipe…Enjoy Credo’s Carbonara recipe at RadicalDiscipleship.

 

scott ryan's office Aug 2018 refugee Christian sit in moonee ponds love makes a way end child detention #kidsoffnauru #kidsoffalloff

“We share communion to remember what has been dismembered.  This exhortation lies at the heart of the church’s eucharistic ritual, repeated with each element for emphasis. It reiterates and sums up the deep wisdom of biblical faith, the product of a people all too familiar with distress, displacements and near disappearance.  Whenever you ingest this memory, said Jesus on the eve of his execution, you join yourselves to our historic struggle to make the broken body whole.  It was, and is, both invitation and imperative, equally personal and political.  If we refuse to heed it, we are ourselves doomed to drift forever on or be drowned by the tides of empire, refugees all.” (Ched Myers, 2012, Our God is Undocumented)

This is one loaf of bread. One body.
It’s broken.

As Jesus’ body was broken on the cross for us.

this bit might be me…
this bit might be Andrea…
this bit might be Alex…this bit might be Sarah…

 [as we say each name of refugees on Manus and Nauru and our political leaders we place a piece of bread for each of those not here on the empty chairs]

this bit might be Abdul, or Shahriar, or Nasiri, or Shamindan or Scott Ryan, or Peter Dutton or Malcolm Turnbull

When we eat this bread it is a reminder that we are all part of one whole – we might be a different colour, we might be a different size, of a different shape – but we are all part of the same body… connected.  And we are all of us broken.  In each taking a piece, and eating it at the same time, we are invited back into wholeness with God and with each other.

scott ryan's office Aug 2018 refugee Christian sit in moonee ponds love makes a way end child detention #kidsoffnauru #kidsoffalloff  peaceful non-violent resistance

14 Nov:
#Manus refugee who has been catatonic & close to death for a week was taken to Port Moresby for treatment yesterday. Waited a week for treatment. Dangerous to make dying people wait. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/375889/catatonic-refugee-evacuated-from-manus-island  @ManusAlert

15 Nov:
A critically ill refugee was sent to Lorengau Hospital by the #PIH doctor in the #Manus camp. There were no beds in LGH. And no seats in the crowded hospital, so he had to sit on the floor. Doctor sent him back to the camp because it was better than sitting on the floor in the hospital. Standing room only for man who might die.  @ManusAlert

Nasiri, Manus
I just would like to say I would like to go out of here to start new life and normal life. I don’t want to go Australia at all, just need to go somewhere else to start my life. I would like to get out of here to treat my medical problem, because I didn’t receive treatment here. 

I know that we came to Australia illegally, but being a refugee is not illegal. The Australian government kept me here as a prisoner and we can’t go out of here by our decision, even for treatment.

Leader               Hear our cries of frustration, grief, and anger, O God
As the voices of asylum seekers are silenced by fear and the pursuit of power

Hear our cries in despair at the powerlessness we feel,
To make the story turn out right
To overturn the actions done in our name
To inspire our neighbourhoods to new attitudes
To infect the public discourse with grace

 

scott ryan's office Aug 2018 refugee Christian sit in moonee ponds love makes a way end child detention #kidsoffnauru #kidsoffalloff

(to the tune of Teddy Bears Picnic)

Every person who comes by boat is sent off across the sea
There’s lots of terrible things go on, so far from you and me
Across the seas where nobody sees
We drain the hope from refugees
Today’s the day the refugees have detention
Still 5 years on, the children have detention

 #kidsoffnauru #kidsoffalloff

scott ryan's office Aug 2018 refugee Christian sit in moonee ponds love makes a way end child detention #kidsoffnauru #kidsoffalloff

Universal Children’s Day deadline: Christians praying in Senator Scott Ryan’s office to get #KidsOffNauru

  • Five Christians praying in the Senator’s Moonee Ponds office intend to remain until he joins his three Coalition colleagues in calling for Australia to free all refugee children and to stop the inhumane offshore detention of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus.
  • The action, on Universal Children’s Day, coincides with today’s national Teachers Walk Off at 2.30pm calling for #KidsOffNauru and #KidsOffAllOff

Five Christian leaders and refugee advocates are holding a prayer vigil in the Moonee Ponds electoral office of Federal Liberal Senator Scott Ryan to call for the removal of children and adults from offshore detention on Nauru and Manus Island.

The prayer action by the inter-denominational movement Love Makes A Way coincides with the United Nations Universal Children’s Day, the deadline for the Kids Off Nauru campaign. Love Makes A Way is part of the campaign, which calls on members of the Australian Parliament to work together to bring all children and their families detained on Nauru to Australia by today and to resettle them in Australia or in another suitable and welcoming country.

Those praying inside intend to remain until Senator Ryan joins his Coalition colleagues Julia Banks, Russell Broadbent and Craig Laundy to publicly call on the Government to free refugee children and end offshore detention. Advocates outside Senator Ryan’s office will hold teddy bears and toys to symbolise the way that children in detention are being denied their basic rights.

Dozens of children and their families continue to be subjected to the effects of detention on Nauru. Recently there have been repeated incidents of suicide attempts, including children dousing themselves in petrol. Some children have given up eating, and many bang their bodies repeatedly against walls in their distress. Those that have been removed from Nauru are often confined to hotel rooms under guard, or are waiting in onshore detention centres. And even if they are released into the community, permanent protection and resettlement are not currently on the table, nor does there appear to be any discussions about resettlement happening with other safe and welcoming nations.
Andrea Alvis, a mother, social worker and Uniting Church member, is one of those praying in the Senator’s office. “I am deeply concerned that the Australian government is knowingly doing harm and causing irreparable trauma to the children, young people and adults held in indefinite detention,” she said.

Brad Coath, from Urban Neighbours of Hope (Churches of Christ) has been visiting people in immigration detention in Melbourne for seven years. He says: “We’ve seen that our policies are destroying people.”

Most major Christians denominations have publicly opposed child detention, and have called for Australian politicians to agree on a humane solution. Love Makes A Way is calling on Senator Ryan, as a senator representing all Victorians, to speak up in the Liberal Party and to publicly insist that Australia uphold its obligations, as a signatory to United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensure “in all actions concerning children…the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration”. This can only be guaranteed by ensuring all refugee children are removed from Nauru today.
“We pray for a change of heart in our leaders”, says Reverend Ian Ferguson. “We ask Senator Ryan to publicly call for the removal of children from Nauru and invite him to join us to pray for these children and families that are suffering because of our Government’s policies.”

The sit in and prayer vigil will run from 12 noon at the office of Senator Scott Ryan, Suite 1, 12 Pascoe Vale Road, Moonee Ponds VIC 3039.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LoveMakesAWayForAsylumSeekers
Twitter: @lovemakesaway #lovemakesaway
Web: http://lovemakesaway.org.au/

Participants in today’s prayer vigil:

  • Rev Alex Sangster – Uniting Church in Australia
  • Rev Ian Ferguson – Uniting Church in Australia
  • Brad Coath – Churches of Christ
  • Sarah D’Astoli – Catholic Church
  • Andrea Alvis – Uniting Church in Australia