Ten Years of English Club!

On Tuesday 21 May 2019, some 20 supporters, leaders past and present, and participants past and present, gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Margaret River English Club with a Korean meal prepared by chef JD Kim, a former participant and now owner of Margaret River Kimchi, and a 6-layer rainbow celebration cake from Grab A Spoon, Cowaramup.

10 years ago, on 21 May 2009, 6 young backpackers, all from Korea and all on working holiday visa in Margaret River, gathered to begin casual conversation in English, under the auspices of the Margaret River Uniting Church.

Since that time, nearly 2000 young adults have passed through the program. Taiwan has had the most participants, followed closely by South Korea, however, 9 other Asian countries, 15 European countries and 4 countries from South America have all been represented by one or more participants.

Additionally, some 26 local folks have assisted by being discussion or small group leaders over the years.

At our celebrations, it was noted that 11 marriages have also come out of English Club friendships!

Participants were invited to relate a memory of their time in English Club. Several funny stories were related, along with heartfelt thanks to the Uniting Church and the community of Margaret River for their support.

English Club continues to meet every Tuesday evening from 5 – 7pm during school terms. New participants are always welcome.

New discussion leaders are also invited to make contact with Barbara Maidment, Convenor, on yuri2au@gmail.com

Happy Birthday!Article credit to Barbara Maidment, photos by Theo Matthews.

The Margaret River Uniting Church congregation are so grateful for the dedicated work of Barbara, and the other volunteers that have helped make English Club happen, and of course to the wonderful participants who have passed through our doors over the last ten years! 

 

May Leeuwin Link

Do you receive our monthly newsletter called the ‘Leeuwin Link’? This informative round up of information, events and news from the Margaret River and Augusta Uniting Church, the wider community and beyond is sent out by email.  If you wish to subscribe simply send an email to – unitingchurch.mr@bigpond.com and let us know to add you to the list!

In case you missed it, here is where you can find the latest one:

May Leeuwin Link – Mailchimp

 

Reflections on Deep Listening

Our 2019 Deep Listening Festival, on the theme of “Finding a Place to Call Home”, was inspirational. We’re finding that we are being changed by this experience in ways which deepen our compassion and faith.

Homelessness, multicultural difficulties of settling in a new country and Margaret River and our inner home were explored through sharing stories, experiences, art and music. The dynamic presentations and conversations, complimented by the interactive art and music, created a community of people who were surprised at new learnings and heartfelt connections.

Why ‘deep listening’?
Sometimes we only half hear, or find someone else’s point of view difficult, or perhaps we just don’t have time to let their story unfold. We don’t quite know where it’s going and occasionally where we think it was going is absolutely not where a conversation ends up!

Ultimately we hoped that the community would think about the myriad of aspects of “Finding a Place to Call Home” in a way that they may not have thought about before.

This Deep Listening Festival gave us the opportunity for change in what we think is valuable, and our capabilities to respond to issues which can be painful and leave people on the edge of the community. When we can do this there is a change in culture and community hopefully for the common good.

A BIG thanks to our amazing team of volunteers who helped make Deep Listening possible this year, and to our wonderful contributors and participants. Plans are already underway for 2020, with a slight name change to ‘Deep Listening Forum’ and a growing list of ideas for another meaningful community event.  Follow our Facebook page for news and updates throughout the year – https://www.facebook.com/deeplisteningmruc/

Thanks to Kay Dowling for contributing to this reflection.

Please enjoy looking through some photos from our wonderful weekend! Big thanks to Clare Smith for capturing these moments!

 

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

RSG…to Kindy 2018 Graduates!

There was a combination of laughter and tears as our class of 2018 concluded their year with a short rendition of their favourite songs from the program. Tears as we cherish our memories of friendship and fun during year, knowing we will no longer spend that precious time together, but also knowing that the children have developed the skills ready for their next adventure. Laughter as they entertain us with their singing and spontaneous joy.

Children were presented with a book from the Margaret River Uniting Church  Community and all their Christmas craft had been saved for them to take home and share with their families. A beautiful Christmas morning tea was then enjoyed by all.

It is an end of a chapter for some families who have been with us since the birth of their first child, through playgroup, followed by Ready Set Go for all their children. The beauty of a small town community is that we will still maintain contact. It has been a privilege for us to be part of their journey.

Many thanks to Kim and Yvette for their dedication to providing such a fantastic learning journey for these children. The 2019 session is fully booked, but we do have a wait list if you are interested. Please contact Mary 0429797767.