Tag Archive: home


Credo Christmas 2017

 

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You are God’s servants
Gifted with dreams and visions
Upon you rests the grace of God like flames of fire
Love and serve the Lord in the strength of the Spirit
May the deep peace of Christ be with you,
the strong arms of God sustain you
and the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen you
In every way

 Amen

Creating home…

 

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This image is likely a familiar one, it was my Facebook homepage banner for more than a year.   This symbolic little house is actually made up of  something I dumpster-dived. I think it’s meant to be the tip-top piece of a garden climbing frame to train plants over and it’s wound all around with stray bits of remnant wool from the Footscray Salvos Winter Warmth crafternoon projects.

This little prayer receptacle came about initially because housing conversations are always ones of potential and possibility, fears and hopes, needs and dreams – my own and those of others. It’s hard to hold “space” for all those conversations in your head and your heart, especially over time.  It occurred to me that a gift of faith is having the comfort (and discomfort) of verses such as this in Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds…” I’m not always that good at praying regularly but the prospect of somewhere to ‘hold’ all that felt too much to ‘hold’ was a powerful one and a visible manifestation in the world of putting down what I carried was a very helpful, and healthy, for my less visible inner world.

 

Over the last year, this little house has been a receptacle  and companion for prayers public and private, communal and individual, at home and away, morning and night… prayers over grace, dinner, stories, stones, and tears…

It has borne witness to the ending of the community house at Droop St and the journey of finding home for Hawo and Omar and their children Falis, Istanbul, Yehye, Hibo, Dihabo and also for ourselves: Maria and Eddy, Bron and myself relocating within Footscray to a five bedroom house and soon joined by Tekitah.

The latter of us were in our new place for perhaps 3 months before we discovered (through a planning permit notice getting hammered up in our front yard) that we would need to move again and, just like that, a shadow was cast over our sense of security and place. How do you develop attachment in a place you will not stay? How do you put down roots? All those conversations and yes – prayer… about people, place, priorities… community and commitments, calling and capacity…

We know a golden moment of deep-abiding joy when Maria gets news of residency.  She will not need now to fear being separated from her son or leaving their life here.  But there had been a kind of equilibrium to the status quo that was removed with the “asylum seeker” status and somehow, in short order, you become ineligible for many of the support systems you have solely relied on for the duration of that long road home.  After filling in the same identical form fortnightly and monthly over so many years there are now new ones – Centrelink, ID, healthcare/concession cards, housing applications, job applications…

The most recent move sees Tekitah, Maria, Eddy and I in a cosy 3-bedroom on a busy Footscray road.  I unpacked the little house along with everything else and it has sat waiting for its moment… I had some idea of “unpacking” the desperate wisps and slips of papery prayer into the layers of our new compost bin. Turning crap to good purpose is good theology.  How can what’ we experience, for better or for worse, serve us going forward in material and immaterial ways… in substantive and transubstantiated ways?  I wanted to mark the end of the season that has been. Honoring it but saying clearly:
We are done. We are home.

Some how I didn’t get around to it yet, though I can’t say I knew…

This week Centrelink have cancelled Maria’s benefit and the vagaries of the hospitality industry see Tekitah looking for a new gig.  We are given to know that our understanding  of home and security remains a fragile one (and there are more forms to fill in).

So, our journey is not over yet.  We know that the communities that work are communities of necessity and we need each other.  We’re going to keep praying and telling stories and reflecting on what home is – personally and politically speaking –  a bit of sacred and ordinary radical hospitality.  Please know that you are welcome to join us here if you want to travel alongside.

pre-pare

flowers and candles pink and tellows table set for birthday dinner

pre-pare
clear the way
and the table
flatware
plenty to share
light a candle
set it there
against the dark
and speak of grace

Talitha Fraser

Tis the season

 

Love making, creating, playing, eating and sharing life
with this crew – in every season

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I push the miscellany of moving to one side of the table. Housing applications, to-do lists, measuring tape, a stray key… the tissues can stay.  I light a candle.  I have to.  Nothing else makes sense. Be Thou my Vision O Lord of my heart.  It didn’t make much sense to take this on – planning a vigil, to add in an extra thing. What time or strength or capacity did I imagine I had? It’s a conceit for people to imagine the idea is mine or its execution.

I light a candle, teal, it transitions in colour from light to dark and I think of the waves. The overloaded boat you give up everything to catch – all that remains is you – skin, flesh, person, a life… alive. Unless the sea takes you.  You are rescued, you think saved, you are taken to a waiting place but it isn’t liminal or moving. It’s not a threshold to a new door.  It’s not a threshold to anything.  The door you knock on, pleading, cold, hungry, desperate, skin, flesh, person, alive… remains closed.

 

 

It’s hard to know how to respond when circumstances seem beyond understanding (such as Australia’s inhumane and fear-driven approach to asylum seekers and refugees).  It’s tempting to think ‘there’s nothing I can do’ or ‘nothing I do will make any difference’ and feel absolved of taking any action.  Both personal and political power are at play here.  The person I need to answer to is me.  Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do something because I believe people are using their agency where they can – doctors, teachers, church and community leaders, yes even some politicians…  in speaking out you aren’t raising your voice alone but joining in a bigger chorus that are asking for the world to be different. Do you want the world to be different? Say so.  Even if it’s with only the cat watching and some “Radical Paint”.

 


What are Australian politicians saying about refugees?

“And so what I say to people when they are a little bit apprehensive about Australia taking more refugees, it’s really about what are the services we are going to provide, what communities are we going to put in and how are we going to integrate people into our community.

“These are beautiful people.

“I am so proud of humble country folk who are being part of the solution. We can do this, we can replicate this in many towns across Australia and it will bring so much good.”

Andrew Broad, National MP

 

… the current refugee crisis [is] the defining humanitarian issue of our time “and a challenge Australia has all too often failed to rise to”.  While Australia’s refugee debate was toxic, there were points of potential consensus between political parties. “I believe we can build out from these areas of consensus to increase the positive impact Australia can have on the international refugee crisis.”

TimWatts, Labor MP

 

“We have been taken for a ride, I believe, by a lot of the advocates and people within Labor and the Greens who want you to believe this is a terrible existence. These photos demonstrate otherwise. People have seen other photos in recent weeks of those up on Manus out enjoying themselves outside this centre, by the beach and all the rest of it.”

Peter Dutton, Immigration & Home Affairs Minister

 

“This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90 per cent of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken — I have been very open about it — is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down — the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities.”

Malcolm Turnbull

 

“They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them …

They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here… They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them.”

Malcolm Turnbull

 

“They won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English,”… “These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that.

“For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there’s no sense in sugar-coating that, that’s the scenario.”

Peter Dutton, Immigration & Home Affairs Minister

 

“The difficulty of course on Manus is that this Government never put anybody on Manus. We inherited a situation where 50,000 people had come on 800 boats and it was a terrible, terrible situation. The deal that was struck between Prime Ministers O’Neil and Rudd at the time provided for no arrangement for what would happen to the people the end. It was open-ended and we have the mess to clean-up.”

Peter Dutton, Immigration & Home Affairs Minister

 

“You’re talking about those that have been found not to be genuine refugees. What should they do? They should go back home. Because if we allow people who are not refugees to come here, we then displace people who have a legitimate claim to make of persecution like the Yazidis we brought in most recently under the 12,000 Syrian and Iraq program. So if you want to displace genuine refugees you allow those in that are here simply for an economic claim.”

Peter Dutton, Immigration & Home Affairs Minister

 

 “The loss of one life is one too many, and I’m determined to get people off Manus, [and] to do it in such a way that we don’t restart boats.”

Peter Dutton, Immigration & Home Affairs Minister

 

 “To start off, you open up the camps. You bring transparency, you actually process these people, and you start actually finding a place for these people to go. I think that is a huge change from what we’re doing at the moment.”

Sam Dastyari, Labor MP – Shadow Minister for Immigration

 

“Well we’re the Opposition, so we’re calling on the Government. Australia has a moral obligation to ensure that these refugees have access to essential services- including security, health services, medical services- and we want the Government to be upfront. The Turnbull Government must work with PNG to guarantee the safety and security of these people and these men should immediately relocate to alternative accommodation in East Lorengau and the other facilities so they can access water, food, shelter, and receive the appropriate medical attention.”

Sam Dastyari, Labor MP – Shadow Minister for Immigration

Sacred ground

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Sacred ground
trembles beneath
our feet
“Where do I stand?
Can I hold this?”
Do not hide but ride
for me and the earth are one.
After dark storms churning,
world is turning and
new day’s burning.
A star rises in the East.

 

Talitha Fraser

Maria got PR

maria nheu PR

we weep tears
joy and relief together
sweet and salty
the longed for has come
and, for just a moment,
there is nowhere to be
and nothing to do
but be here with You

 

Slow Home

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God, I trust You are holding all these chats and more. You encompass all that is possible beyond any limitations of my mind and imagination to dream of. “Prepare ye the way”… Who prepares for who? You are not a God of poverty and scarcity but love and abundance. The answer is in the story and the story is still unfolding.
I want to know how it ends.
Amen