Rev Liellie McLaughlin, Community Connections Facilitator, Pilgrim Uniting Church, reflects on the Pilgrim Refugee Event: ‘Celebrate with Refugees’.
Thank you to Pilgrim for your support in kind, in donations and in person. Being able to invite the incredible panel, and Allen Edwards, Kaurna person who did the ‘Welcome to Country’, and the photographer, is part of the rich relationships which grows from the work of Community Connections. This panel, consisting of a young man and his dad from Iran ( who are seen to be asylum seekers, thus not allowed to be citizens, will have to pay for education in Australia at international student rates), the young lady from Afghanistan who is allowed to study physiotherapy as a recognised refugee, a mum from the Congo (who is so grateful for the school and tertiary education she received in Australia and the support for her child with autism) and the highly qualified Sudanese person, who entered Australia with a Masters degree and excellent English, yet gratefully cleaned the bins at Flinders Medical Centre as his first job) are all part of the great bridge-building and ‘safe passage’ support Random Acts of Welcome and Community Connections strive for.
Sandy’s message about the work of Justice for Refugees and Bruce Whyatt, David Winderlich and Libby Hogarth explaining the vast work of Circle of Friends complemented the evening and our knowledge so well.
I wrote this to thank the panel:
“One cannot express in words what an event like ‘Celebrate with refugees’ would bring in terms of joy, partnerships, community-enrichment, a sense of tapping into the heart to do what is worthwhile, what is good and what is core to us all.
It was so good to hear the feedback at the end of the evening, the next day and flowing into this week…and all of those on the panel were equally picked as favourite speakers and preferred prime minister! Inspirational. And the bridge Allen built between the losses suffered by refugees and the position of the Indigenous was very well articulated and build the bridge for the event.
Due to the great team-work you have given so graciously and so abundantly to this event, COFA Pilgrim has raised +/- $1300.00 last week. However, that is only the ‘countable assets’, the unseen is for us to explore to see how it will grow wings. The awareness-making is very worthwhile and many a heart was stirred”
The work of Community Connections was so well complemented with the presence, dedication and commitment from Pilgrim UCA and Bridgewater UCA and some from the Interfaith Forum. The work of Sandy, Margaret, Libby and Bron, providing the great hospitality and the gracious welcome – this great work underpins and frames an event like this, together with the free photography from Subodh (connected via Cofa Jobs).
With a grateful heart to Pilgrim for the support.
Warm regards, Liellie
Facilitator: Community Connections
(more photos on Pilgrim Uniting Church Facebook page)