As we go to print with this edition of Revive, my family and I are right in the middle of moving house. We’re currently responsible for two houses – the old one and the new one – and they are both in complete chaos.
I don’t know much about my new neighbourhood yet, I haven’t really had time to explore. But I know it must be a nice place to live, as on our first day of moving boxes over, we were greeted with a delicious plate of brownies by one of my partner’s colleagues, Rev Narelle Collas. The plate was adorned with a gorgeous card, which read ‘welcome to the neighbourhood’. You can actually see some of her handiwork, as this card was used in a picture of a chocolate slice recipe, which we’ve included here.
It was a simple act. But in a stressful time, it really went a long way to make us feel welcome. Especially during a time, which while exciting, can also feel like you’re leaving people and a community you really love behind.
Everybody deserves to feel welcomed. And as a nation I don’t think we’re doing such a great job of welcoming at the moment. If I felt mixed emotions about moving from one side of the river to the other, just imagine what someone fleeing their homelands in fear is feeling. It really does put things in perspective.
While I was welcomed into my new neighbourhood, these people are not being welcomed into Australia. There are lots of good stories about churches, organisations and individuals who are making a difference in peoples’ lives. But as a nation we really should be doing better.
I can remember once, as a child, asking my dad what a refugee was. After he had explained it to me, I asked ‘why can’t we just let them all in? We have so much room.’ While I was a pretty naïve child, I think the question still has some validity. Obviously we can’t welcome them all, but we could at least be doing more than we are.
The Uniting Church Adult Fellowship (UCAF) have adopted ‘who is my neighbour’ as their theme from 2013-2015, the idea being that we will be encouraged to move out of our comfort zones to meet people who wouldn’t normally be part of our regular circle. While individually we can’t change how our government is treating those who are marginalised, we can respond by taking up the challenge from UCAF and think about ways we can welcome people into our communities and our lives.