Finding a Place to call Home – Deep Listening 2019

The Deep Listening Festival returns this April with a new theme and line-up of speakers. The Festival aims to explore what it means to live in a community of acceptance and understanding through music, story-telling, art and the opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers and share stories.

The festival, which runs from Friday April 5 to Saturday April 6 offers an impressive collection of speakers, presenters and artists who will highlight the theme ‘Finding a place to call home’, particularly around the areas of homelessness and multiculturalism.

The Festival will feature an art exhibition on Friday evening from local ARTISTS Ian Dowling, Jenny Sanderson, Elaine Clocherty and Christopher Williamson, as well as live music by female vocal group the Charis Ensemble.

The program will have a series of WORKSHOPS such as ‘Building Bridges Across Cultures’, R U House Ready? And ‘The Inner Home’. It will also feature the ‘Cuppa With…’ sessions, which are approachable and informal chats with the presenters. ‘Building a Nest’ will be a community art project taking place throughout the festival, led by Cathie Lambert.

Festival Committee Member Mary Elton said the Church wants the festival to be an inspiring and inclusive activity.

“It’s a chance for people to listen to positive stories of overcoming adversity, be inspired by art and hear from the artists, and find ways to broaden your understanding of the community around you,” she said.

This year’s SPEAKERS:

Esther Amito Onek – Esther was a South Sudanese refugee before moving permanently to Australia in 2003. Esther earned a Bachelor or Social Work at Curtin University and got her first job with Women’s Health and Family Services as a Multicultural Women’s Domestic Violence Advocate.

Suresh Rajan – One of WA’s leading speakers and advocates on all things multicultural. Suresh was CEO of the Epilepsy Association of WA and President of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance. He is the Chair of West Australians for Racial Equality and Secretary of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA.

Naydeene Edwards – Naydeene is a proud and culturally aware woman from the ancestral line of the Ngoonooru Wadjari people in Yamatji country Midwest WA. Her extensive experience in the public housing sector, specifically as an Aboriginal Support Officer enabled her to identify the gaps and barriers which the most vulnerable experienced when stuck in the revolving door of homelessness. This inspired her to start her own business ‘R U House Ready’ to inspire, educate, inform and empower people on the pathway from homeless to home ownership.

Sean Hsu – Originally from Taiwan, Sean first came to Margaret River in 2012. After a stint of work elsewhere, Sean decided Margaret River was where he wanted to call home. Sean started a business with a local person, Chinafriendly, with the aim of building bridges between the two countries. Sean faced the disappointment of being offered sponsorship to stay in Australia, only for that company to close down. Fortunately another opportunity arose and Sean now works at Voyager Estate, where he can use his Chinese speaking and cultural skills.

Meire de Mello – Who is originally from Brazil, before moving to Margaret River worked as a Cultural Support Worker, helping young people from Afghanistan, Vietnam and South Sudan find their way in a new culture. Meire worked for public libraries for almost 3 years and created the first ongoing Multicultural Story-time program presented at the Victoria State Library/Melbourne in 2017. Meire was appointed and volunteered as Multicultural Ambassador for the City of Ballarat between 2014-2016.

Craig Mathieson – Craig grew up in Bunbury and has a string of acting and performing credits to his name, including the SBS TV series ‘Circuit’ and the Australian Opera Company. Craig has experienced difficulties with secure housing, along with his physical, emotional and mental health. This is a story he will share with those in attendance at the festival. He is presently Deputy Chairperson of Just Home Margaret River,where he is currently focusing on developing his creative talent and looks forward to finding secure decent housing that offers himself and his child more consistency and security.

Cathie Lambert – Cathie runs her own business Deep Water Dwelling, which is based around spiritual direction. She provides individual spiritual direction and runs retreats and workshops for groups. Cathie specialises in mandala workshops, which was the topic for her spiritual direction project and released a book in early 2018 through Mediacom, titled ‘A Mandala a Month Workbook’.

Michael Kiernan – Has extensive commercial and corporate background experience with previous positions as chairman and managing director roles in Australian and UK publicly listed companies. From a comfortable lifestyle, following an unfortunate financial occurrence with the ATO he became bankrupt with nothing left but his experiences. He regrouped and embarked on a life of helping homeless people and formed the Saint Benedict’s Homeless Foundation to help address the rough sleepers’ issue in our community of which there are some 2,500 in Western Australia with just under half being women.

More on the speakers here: https://margaretriveruniting.com/deep-listening-festival/speakers/

The 2019 Deep Listening Festival will take place on Friday 5th April and Saturday 6th April at the Margaret River Uniting Church. Prices to attend range from $18 -$85. For more information visit: https://margaretriveruniting.com/deep-listening-festival/

TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS TO THIS UNIQUE EVENT GO TO OUR TRYBOOKING PAGE

Deep Listening logo

The Blessing Orbs

The Blessing Orbs is a community artwork that was created to honour and acknowledge community strength and connection, and as a means to bring awareness of sources of support for locals in Margaret River.  (read more about the creation of the orbs here)

Five individual Orbs were made by participants in Creative Mindfulness workshops. These Orbs are ephemeral artworks. When left to the elements of nature, they will decompose over time, reflecting the natural rhythm of life.  The prayers and wishes within will then return to the earth, blessing the place and space.

The clay pieces will also break down, releasing seeds of Everlastings and Lavendar.  As Spring (the season of new life) comes around, the seeds of hope and peace are given opportunity to flourish.

During a morning tea on 19 October participants from the workshops and representatives from the community gathered to view the finished Orbs.  Ian Hackett from Tig-Le House offered a blessing to them, and then the following Blessing Orbs were gifted to these important community organisations:

  • Osmington Anglican Church – ‘Presence’
  • Margaret River Organic Gardens – ‘Shelter Within’
  • Margaret River Library – ‘Heart of Unity’
  • Margaret River Community Centre – ‘Grounded in Community’.

After our worship service on Sunday the our blessing orb, called ‘Peace Within’ was hung under the wattle tree alongside the Labyrinth.  Orb Labyrinth MRUC

We hope that the Blessing Orbs will continue to assist the community by being a focus point by which people can connect to support groups and services.  It is our hope that each Orb will be enjoyed for its medatative qualities, will inspire people to connect to the wider community and will encourage people to seek assistance when needed.

Many thanks to Cynamon from Wild Art Weaving for her creativity and guidance in this project.  And to Clare Smith for taking many of the beautiful photos throughout the process.

 

Creative Mindfulness

Creative Mindfulness Workshops were held on 14 & 15 September 2018 a the Margaret River Uniting Church. These workshops were offered to the Margaret River community as an acknowledgement and support following the recent experiences of loss and trauma. They were a collaboration between Margaret River Uniting Church, Wild Art Weaving and Tig-le Dharma HouseTig-le Dharma House, designed to provide a supportive, inclusive space for adults to create for, to share with and to honour the Margaret River Community.

Participants made sculptures of weaving and clay using locally found natural materials, native seeds and easy sculptural techniques. The large, hanging sculptural artworks created during the workshop were designed to be shared with the wider community. Throughout the workshops, participants were guided gently to practice mindfulness and centering techniques, combining with the creative aspects to bring focus and calmness.

In the final session of the workshop the small symbolic hanging sculptures made from seeded clay, were combined with the 5 large woven orbs that will be installed in various community spaces. Blessings were added to the orbs and a small ceremony was held to conclude the workshops.

The workshops were a peaceful, meaningful and enjoyable experience for those who attended, with participants appreciating taking some time out for themselves, and feeling a sense of peace and connected-ness.

Local community organisations were approached to enable the orbs to be hung in a suitable space to be enjoyed by the community. The Margaret River Library, the Margaret River Community Resource Centre and the Community Garden have already accepted the invitation. On Friday 19 October a small morning tea will be held at the Uniting Church where local community representatives and workshop participants will be invited and the orbs handed over.

Money raised from the workshop has been donated to Suicide Prevention Margaret River, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/spmr2017/)a local organisation which is driven to inspire change through sport, training, education and fun. Special thanks to Cynamon for bringing her wonderful creativity to running these workshops, and to the dedicated organising team to help make them happen, and to members of the Margaret River UCA congregation who supported the event by providing food for the participants.  It really was a wonderful experience of collaboration and community.

We are keen to organise future workshops – watch this space!

Thanks to Claire Smith for taking so many beautiful photos.

Giving Generously

Members of our congregation are taking part in an appeal to assist people in a practical way who are homeless or transient. This appeal is being conducted in partnership with Share the Dignity, and UnitingCare West Tranby House.  People are encouraged to fill a handbag, or a backpack with useful items, to be distributed to people in need.

DOWNLOAD INFORMATION FLYER HERE

The list below is for items you can bring to church to support Uniting Care West Tranby House and Share the Dignity. The list is not inclusive: bring anything a homeless person might appreciate.
If you are collecting for a woman: place your item in a used but useful handbag with a drawstring bag inside [the drawstring bag keeps everything neat]
If you are collecting for a man: place your items in a used but useful backpack or small duffle bag, with a drawstring bag inside

USEFUL ITEMS INCLUDE:

share the dignity list

Questions?

Contact Barb Maidment on 0437 800 489 or yuri2au@gmail.com
Bags are due back to church in mid-November!

Coffee Chat and More

Every second Monday a group from our church community gets together in Cowaramup to chat over a cuppa.  Some bring their craft projects, others simply enjoy the informal company over a hot drink.

“These people are my friends. They are like sisters.”

The initiative began about three and a half years ago after a casual discussion over a cuppa was being enjoyed midweek by a few congregational members.  The value and enjoyment of meeting and chatting was discussed, and so they decided to open it up to the congregation by way of a regular time and place to meet fortnightly.

Since its beginnings it has been a popular regular meeting space, and highly valued by those who attend.  We asked some of our regulars what it is they appreciate about Coffee Group, and these were some of the responses:

“This is where I can catch up with my church friends and share ideas and
skills.”

“Conversation is never dull on coffee mornings. We discuss a lot of issues
and I learn a lot, listening to different opinions.”

“It used to be something I attended if there was nothing else to do. Now I
mark it clearly in my diary so that nothing interferes with it.”

“It gives me a reason to get going on a Monday morning. What will I wear? I
watch the clock so that I’m not late.”

“These people are my friends. They are like sisters.”

“We don’t always see eye to eye but we are confident we can be ourselves.”

“We have seen many craft projects completed in the nearly four years we have
been meeting. But this is by no means the reason I go. Even if I sit and do
nothing, I am part of a supportive group that is an extension of my church
and my faith.”

It’s wonderful that something as simple as getting together over a cuppa can be such an important part of people’s week!

Coffee Group meets fortnightly on Monday mornings from 10am at Smithereens Cafe in Cowaramup.  If you would like to know more you can email the office and we will pass on the information – unitingchurch.mr@bigpond.com

Coffee Chat pic 1.jpg
A few of the Coffee Chat group meeting at Smithereens Cafe in Cowaramup