Saturday, June 3

Community

Last weekend our parish celebrated jointly our patrons Mary and St Kizito who is the patron saint of our sister parish in Malawi. I had been asked to say a few words on what it means to be part of our parish and what motivated me to join the Malawi Support Group.

I first joined the parish in 1983, becoming a catholic in 1986 and I think I can say what it meant to me then, applies equally to day, that is to be part of a vibrant community.

That community like the branches of a tree needs nourishment. For me that nourishment of community has its expression in a parish fellowship and friendship together, a spiritual uplifting liturgy, sharing in a common faith and hope that enhance our wellbeing. To join in our parish is to join in a communal oasis. A sanctuary to be sustained in a renewed reverence for life. Hence I rather like the expression, the deer refreshed from the cool steams.

Turning to the second question on what motivated me to join the Malawi Support group I also begin with the idea of community which was the primary motivational force, to share one community’s gifts with another.
Many years ago when I belonged to an Anglican Fellowship I was interested in communities abroad and drawn to become their Missionary Secretary, raising small amounts of money for African missions.
So my interest in a sister parish in Malawi was a natural corollary that quickly caught my attention, just after formation. My motivation arises from a desire to share our gifts with those in the poorest communities, wherever they are but particularly in Africa and in Malawi.

For me there was strong motivation to help in a small way the warm heart of Malawi and Africa, cradle of our civilisation, bleeding badly to day.

Just after the talk we shared with the congregation recent photos from Malawi. The photos are also posted on the Malawi Website(click here to view) and include pictures of women knitting sweaters for orphans for the coming cold season.
Currently there is a group of 60 girls learning to knit and trying to improve their English. All have just about completed knitting hats and sweaters for themselves. Fr. Paddy Hagan from Mtsiriza who has also started a small project where he is distributing fruit tree seedlings for folk to plant trees.

Their mosquito net scheme is proving to be an effective deterrent to the incidence of malaria, with nets distributed by woman vendors who make a small profit of 20KW on each net sold. Their VCT-ARV clinic dispenses AIDS drugs for aids sufferers as part of the home based care centre and has up to 35 clients a day.

At the same time we also presented contrasting scenes of our own parish life, to give a perspective of the two communities.

On the Saturday evening as part of that celebration we were entertained in our School Hall by the ‘DEGENERATES”, a musical group of fathers of students attending Genazzao school in Melbourner who had kindly agreed to play for us on the night. The dollars raised on the night go to a parish fund for the legal costs for our friends we are currently supporting in an application to allow them to stay in Australia.

It was great night and we look forword to having the “THE DEGENARATES “back in the future for a fully supported function.

I had the pleasure of singing one number with the band, "White Christmas" as one of our parishioners has requested it. He had served in the Merchant Navy in WW2, and tells the story of how morale was low, following an Air raid, when over the loud speakers they heard the recording of “White Christmas” which immediately had a calming effect, as morale was restored. Just as it did on so many other occasions during WW2.

9 comments:

madcapmum said...

Well, I learned something new. I didn't realize that you're a convert. Did the rest of your family convert too?

I like getting the updates on Malawi.

Granny said...

I didn't know that either. Interesting.

laura said...

Thanks for posting that! I didn't know you were a singer!! Your daughter is like her father then - poetic and musical.

Very nice post.

Jacqui said...

Hi Lindsay,
thanks for visiting, I'm glad you enjoyed y posts.
I am an old Melbourne girl, left in 1973, went back to Vic between 1989 and 1994 and established a lavender farm in Gippsland.
I just love "granny's" blog site, she really is an extraordinary lady.
cheers jacqui

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Madcap /Granny
My wife was Catholic, so the family were brought up as Catholics, but when we moved to Melbourne I converted a few years later.
Hi Arulba
yes I have done a lot of singing and you might be interested to learn Rachael was conceived as we we both played parts in the New Moon Musical. Anne was on stage with me just a few weeks before she gave birth, so baby Rachael heard orchestra and music in large doses.!! over 6 months.

We were involved together in numerous musicals and
reviews. We both still sing in the church Choir.
Hi jacquai
Thanks for visting.
Best wishes

abhay k said...

Wow! thats what i can say about the poem you posted as comment...its soooo..beautiful..I love reading it and I would read it many times...may be you can post it on your blog...
Thank you so much..

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Abhay
I have posted the poem -called it young hearts. Best wishes

Nerdine said...

I like being a part of a community too. And if being a member of a community also helps others it's even better!!
There are so many people in the world needing help, and if I can help just one person - I'll be happy. Ofcourse if I can help more than one it's all a bonus!
Oh, and I really liked the poem "young hearts" too.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Nerdine
I am sure you are a very positive force in your community.
Best wishes