The upper room
It was an appropriate time of year to hear from our guest speaker Louise Lang, who is team leader for Anglicare Victoria’s Homeless Support Services.
She explained Anglicare Victoria’s mission exists to create a more just society by expressing God’s love through service, education and advocacy. Anglicare’s vision is to resource and empower children, young people and families to achieve their full potential through the provision of quality innovative services for children and young people, supporting vulnerable families, and the promotion of social justice.
Louise pointed out that their work was not about getting people housed, though they do work with those agencies. They try to support people in their homelessness. She described homelessness as being of three types: primary - rough sleeping; secondary – emergency housing and couch surfing; and tertiary – rooming houses, boarding houses and transitional housing.
Anglicare operates the Lazarus Centre at St Peter’s Eastern Hill, providing breakfast from 7:30am to 9:00am 365 days a year. There is also a drop-in centre based at St Mark’s Fitzroy, where from 11:00am to 3:00pm there is assistance both social and sociable.
“In all the work we do,” she said, “we try to link our people to other services – health,housing, hospitals, mental health etc. “We treat people as people not as victims, not as weirdos but as normal people. More importantly we treat them with respect. We work with real people with real problems. And we try not to make judgments about them. “People experiencing homelessness are not very different from you or me. Our job and our responsibility is to work with them and do what we can to support them.”
Louise then shared with us stories of several clients, some with mental health and addiction problems, and how they were helped by her team. Discussion turned to the homeless situation in the city. She made the point that ‘do- gooders’ can do more harm than good, as with handouts of money and clothing, the homeless people have no incentive to seek appropriate help from organisations such as Anglicare and this does not break the homelessness cycle.
The next Upper Room will be on Tuesday 22 August. The speaker will be the Revd Professor Mark Lindsay, of Trinity College Theological School. Meet at Cafe Continental, Bridport Street, 6:00pm for 6:30pm dinner.
GREETINGS FROM THE Locum
For the majority of Sundays for the remainder of the Church’s liturgical year we will be reading on Sundays from the Gospel of Matthew. Scholars generally agree that it was written around 70-80 CE in the region of Antioch. Tradition attributes this Gospel to Matthew the tax collector. Mostly likely he was a Jewish Christian speaking to an emerging community, straddling both faiths and seeking to reconcile their Jewish heritage with Jesus the Messiah. In Matthew, Jesus emerges as an interpreter of the Torah and calls us to look at the world through the eyes of the one who comes to liberate and to set us free from all forms of adversity. In Matthew we are called to review our humanity in the image of God and to live our lives with wisdom and service. Matthew’s Gospel has also the reputation of being the Church’s Gospel and often the one we know the most about.
The source of his Gospel is not definitive, although it is generally agreed that Mark, as with Luke, forms a solid base alongside Matthew’s own editing and interpretation of the Jesus story. At a time when we are engaged in much soul-searching and reflection in the Church, it is fitting that we read this Gospel not simply as a story of the past but with insights that will help us all shape a Church of the future that is engaging, listening and responding to the pressures and demands of today’s world - a world that appears in many ways and places to be staggering from crisis to crisis, unsure of the future, not confident in leadership and uneasy in itself. Matthew gives us a starting point and a vision, like Mark and Luke, of the power of the risen Lord in our community.
I suggest you will find it helpful to read all of Matthew’s Gospel over the next few weeks to remind yourself of its message. I am sure this will help you in understanding the text as we read it in Church each week.
Finally, thanks to all who completed the survey on times for worship and your preferences. A report is being prepared for Parish Council and for distribution to the Parish.