Wednesday, 09 November 2016

A Gathering Place For All

Written by Stuart McMillan

Leprena is a gathering place welcoming all, a ministry of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in Glenorchy, Tasmania.

On Monday 7 November 2016 I dropped in on the folk at this beautiful centre not too far from Hobart. Rev. Tim Matton-Johnson and Alison Overeem welcomed me warmly, although the real welcome to country was around the fire in ceremony, song and dance by Harley and Sheldon, two of the many volunteers who are part of this caring community.

I was struck by the contemporary and traditionally influenced mural painted on the main meeting room wall which Grace a young community member had won a grant to do.

Leprena has recently received a government contract for a community development project on domestic violence. An intergenerational gathering of women on country had recently been held as a first step in the project: “Listening with our Takila (heart)”. Tameeka who works with Alison told us the story of this time together.

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Alya, Grace’s twin sister told us how her life had been changed in this community. She begins a Community Service course very shortly.

It was good to hear from those Leprena collaborates with who Alison invited to our gathering - other service providers from government agencies and a First Peoples cultural tourism and events business.

It was also important that Rev Denise Savage the Presbytery Minister, Leadership Formation was also able to be with us.

Thank you to the Leprena community for welcoming me. You have big dreams but nothing is impossible with God.