Hunter Friends of L'Arche
There are three activities that are absolutely vital in the creation of a community. The first is eating together around the same table. The second is praying together. And the third is celebrating together. By celebrating I mean to laugh, to fool around, to have fun, to give thanks together for life. When we are laughing together with belly laughs we are all the same. Jean Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, p. 37
Hunter Friends of L’Arche is a community of about 30 people with and without intellectual disabilities who meet regularly in the Newcastle area to do just that. We enjoy eating, praying and celebrating together at community gatherings, social activities, workshops and other events.
We have been working hard to establish a community living the L'Arche vision, but we will still need to gain additional financial support to enable our long term aim of having one or more homes to become a reality.
Then some people with intellectual disabilities within the Newcastle/Hunter area could live with assistants as a L’Arche family.
At present we are exploring other ways to live as a supportive community where all can belong and be valued. Following a generous offer from the Uniting Church Presbytery we are currently entering into a partnership agreement to establish an office in their building in Garden Suburb. This will enable us to be a more visible presence in the community and hopefully allow us to employ at least a part time office assistant. We will then start to implement a program of establishing a supportive, trustworthy circle of friends around people with disability and their parents/carers.
Through our current activities of community meals and social gatherings we are making contact with and learning from L’Arche groups in Sydney, and friends from the Hope Street Baptist Community in Glebe. We have also been able to welcome two student volunteers from the University of Newcastle and look forward to meeting other families who have become aware of community through our participation in workshops run by other care-giving agancies. All are welcome to join in any of our activities and we would be happy to provide any further details or discuss any offers of assistance.
New South Wales Australia