The gift I received at Redfern is Understanding.
I have experienced something quite wonderful at St Vincent‘s Church.
The warmth of the community, the stimulation of Ted’s sermons and his extraordinary vision and generosity, the very practical works of social justice, the energy and the space to grow as a Christian are all things I treasure.
When I was nine years old, a man with a begging bowl chanced to cross my path as I walked through my home- town in England. At that moment I felt deep anger at the indignity of his situation. I silently vowed that I would change the world. That moment has inspired my life. On “finding” Redfern those feelings flooded back. I had always perceived myself as different. At Redfern I came to realise that all of life’s experiences had conspired to fit me for life in an alien world.
I have been a member of St Vincent‘s Catholic Church since January 1988. I was drawn by a desire to be part of the healing between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and participate in the struggle for Aboriginal rights within the context of my faith. I was not disappointed. I was embraced for who I was, encouraged to develop and contribute freely as other members also are.
Your friendship support and love have been a backbone for me and I feel so privileged to know you.
Thank you for all your help over the years, in listening and supporting me.
These few lines are to convey my warmest thanks for your many years of service and leadership you have provided to the community at St Vincent de Paul Parish Redfern.
So many memories and reflections come crowding in as they have for everyone else, no doubt; the following are a few random ones:
Arriving at Redfern (St Vincent’s) for the first time was like coming home. I loved the "place" for being raw, earthy, sparse. I loved its gutsy Word, and its liberating unpredictability. I both loved and hated its dis-comforting challenges. I marvelled at the birds-in-residence.
I liken the Redfern Community to the Kingdom of God, described by Albert Nolan’s Jesus Before Christianity: